A Lukewarm Second Season
I want to start this review off by stating that I am a self-proclaimed comic book nerd. I’ve been reading comics since I could read and I feel like I’m close to being an authority on the matter. I review comics weekly in a podcast produced by the very site I write for and the main reason I met my significant other is also comics… so it’s safe to say that I understand the genre. That being said, I really wish I understood what marvel wanted when they produced this season of Luke Cage. Because for the life of me, I cannot figure it out. Maybe it’s going to lead to something bigger? Something… better? I don’t know. I sure hope so, because throughout this season, there are moments of greatness but it never really seems to find its footing and it drove me crazy.
The season consists of 13 episodes and I can’t remember a singular episode or major event albeit a few separate moments (that I can’t spoil) that were the glimmer amongst the mess that this show was overall. The season takes place a little while after the first ends and shoves us back into the world of Marvel’s “street-level” heroes. The entire cast from last season is back; Shades, Mariah Dillard (stokes), Misty Knight and Rosario Dawson’s universe binding character Claire (the night nurse). Joining the cast from the last season, Mustafa Shakir appears as the new villain and with it a whole mess of trouble. Mustafa plays the character Bushmaster; a Jamaican, whose family had been jilted and demands revenge, and then exacts said revenge on everyone in Harlem that he finds responsible.
The story is slow, just like the last season but unlike the last season, it takes doesn’t ever hit the mark and become fully interesting. There are some amazing bouts of action and some incredible conflicts that at some points shock and, as previously mentioned, they border greatness but never quite hit it. There is one point in this season that is so great, so enjoyable it actually makes me dislike the entire season more so, because (in my opinion) it’s what the show should’ve been the whole time. Without spoiling anything, please watch episode 10. Everything about that specific episode is amazing and I hope to god that Marvel gets the memo and maybe make something happen.
The other part of the season I think was actually decent, was the music. Just like the last season, live acts perform in the local club and again most of the songs are either thematically symbolic or just go along with the action of the scene that accompanies it. Most of the performances were good, and I had heard earlier that one of my favourite artists, Gary Clark Jr, would be in it and play a song, so my hopes were higher than normal. Sadly his performance was a variation of one of his best songs and not only did it not suit what was happening, it didn’t sound as good as it usually did and once again I was let down.
If it seems like I’m being harsh on this season, it’s because I am. Not because I want to but because I just wanted to like this season so much and for many reasons I just couldn’t. From the main villain disappearing for episodes at a time, from the show trying to get an emotional response from characters that don’t deserve one, to just not having an engaging or enjoyable story, they were all things that stopped me from loving it. Saying that there are parts of this season that are decent and I feel it still should be watched, I just don’t think it was as good as it could’ve been.