Marvel’s Luke Cage season 2 is available now on NETFLIX. Based on the Marvel character and after his heroics; Luke Cage finds himself a celebrity in Harlem, with people believing in him and calling him their hero. After a while Cage cannot deny who he is and declares Harlem is under his protection, this leads to the emergence of a new villain – Bushmaster who can match Luke Cage in popularity and power. Bushmaster is determined to take Harlem and more importantly seek revenge on those who have harmed him and his family in the past. Even though the two of them have the same enemy they will find themselves at a crossroad as they both stand for different values, and Luke Cage finds himself protecting the very person he knows brings the most harm to Harlem because of his values.
Honestly speaking, Luke Cage Season 2 is actually not that bad. I do not know whether that is because a) season 1 was so poor, b) I expected it to be terrible or c) I just didn’t care about it, as is proof because it is the first MARVEL NETFLIX show I did not binge in a weekend instead it took me three weeks to watch. But all that aside, Season 2 genuinely shows that the creators of the season listened to the feedback they got and they actually did something about it, a better (wouldn’t say great) villain, a clearer narrative throughout the series as they is an overall story. Season 1 would’ve been great, if it had just kept Cottonmouth, he was the best thing in the first season, by all means kill him but at least wait until the season finale. Season 1 just felt crazy, it had a story, had characters and then all of a sudden – brings in his brother and they have a massive fight in public, there was no clear narrative from start to end almost as if someone saw the finished product and said “we got to drag this out more”.
I actually found myself liking Season 2, Bushmaster is compelling enough, Shades actually has a arc, Dillard becomes someone you can relate to (at times) and Knight actually gets development. The best thing about the season is that it actually gives conclusions to certain loose ends in the first season, and it means that we don’t have to get the same story just rehashed in the third season. But (and there always is a but), Luke Cage seems to get lost in his own season, now – that isn’t because he isn’t given enough screen-time but because of the thirteen episode count, his development doesn’t fill enough for thirteen episodes, with some of his development in each episode being the exact same as the one who had just passed, the introduction of his father allows Cage to remember who he was but there is only so much the show does with this. The fight within Cage to resist being a hero ends up resolved quite quickly and then reopened quickly. And this isn’t a terrible thing in hindsight but it still doesn’t feel as though I am really routing for Cage, even at times I am routing for Bushmaster.
As I have said, Season 2 is great for conclusions as it finishes predictable story lines with predictable characters, Season 2 even brings in new characters, Bushmaster is great, and I loved how they incorporate him into the season, Dillard’s daughter is there, and is good for the majority of the season until the very end. And, the new edition of D.W, gives Cage more development as he has a team and in the season finale D.W and Cage have a scene that is truly the defining moment for the next season, better than any other attempt at the same scene. But, the season still struggles, especially during and in between episodes 3-7, with episode eight delivering a great final tease only for episode 9 to literally sell you a dream (I still didn’t mind this as it allowed more development between all these characters), but the writers believed they could cover the lack of story with style, and by that I mean the live performances, the camera shots but it just doesn’t cover it. I wouldn’t say the pacing ruins a show, but for Season 2 it does, there isn’t enough story and yet each – yes each episode is in excess of fifty minutes, with some even going up to over an hour, this is for each episode, and it just drags.
It is no coincidence that the one of the best episode in the season is a direct tie-in to the MCU world, giving a huge shout to have a spin-off with those characters. The season finale is also great and is definitely a conclusion of not only Season 2 but both of the seasons. Of course the season contains a tease for what is to come and some will hate it, I personally hope it is the main plot of the third season and not just resolved in the first episode, I hope that they are able to flip the script and make the tease the villain.