Luke Cage: Welcome To Harlem

So, here’s what’s going on with this. I started doing an episode by episode review, but then I stopped. When I get there, I will explain it. I promise.

Episode 1: “The Moment Of Truth” 

I love this show. I love Luke, I loved him on Jessicca Jones and I love him here. Mike Colter is phenomenal. I’d watch Alfre Woodard do anything. Misty Knight is my brand new spanking favorite. (Though my white girl heart breaks for Jessica when he’s with anyone else…) The music is amazing, the setting is amazing, I’m 100% in for this. I’m in for this not being 100% for me, included in that, by the way. I’m white, there are parts of this narrative that I’ll never be able to penetrate. Like Lemonade, and Beloved, and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, I can love these things, but they’ll never be mine. I’m ready for that. I’m thrilled for that. (Besides as a justice minded Catholic, Marvel Netflix has given me my guy. I’m covered!)

But I’m excited for Luke and for this show and everything that it’s doing artistically. I’m into the cast, and Misty Knight is incredible. And Theo Rossi is back on my TV, and having given up on Sons of Anarchy in season 6, I’m very happy to see him again. Overall, I’m excited to get further into the story of our bullet proof hero (not for hire, as he notes in the final scene, though he PROBABLY MIGHT BE THAT AT SOME POINT!)

Episode 2: “Code Of The Streets”

All shows from now on require a scene where people discuss authors who are pertinent to the protagonist. Hannah Horvath must now talk about Edith Wharton and Jackie Collins and maybe Candace Bushnell. It is required, because the scene where Luke and Pops talk about black authors and black male heroes, GOD that kind of scene needs to be in everything. Anyway, other things happened here.

Misty is on the case of a robbery that has lead to two kids being killed already. This is what causes Pops to draw Luke back inttohe fray of fighting for things, but this ends badly, because now Pops is dead. He was shot down by some of Colton (Cottonmouth’s) men, one of whom was Shades (E TU JUICE?) and Luke has decided that this enough to get him into things.

He recites the story of Crispus Aducks, pointing out that a black man started The Revolution, (true!)

Also, Misty has an interaction with Turk, and tells him to go back downtown. YES! Turk! Go home to Hell’s Kitchen and let Matt kick your ass a little.

Episode 3: “Who’s Gonna Take The Weight?”

I was ready to abandon the episode by episode exercise, but then they gave Luke his own hallway fight set to The Wu-Tang Clan, and well, I can’t bail after that. Nor can I after Misty and her partner discuss whether powered folks should have rights above the police in a way that relates straight back to Civil War, but contextualizes that argument from a side we haven’t seen before.

It’s all well and good for Tony Stark, nominally powerless, but also powerful, to argue with Steve Rogers, the world’s first super hero, about who should be able to delve out justice. It’s fine for Melinda May and Phil Coulson to worry about their surrogate daughter, Daisy Johnson, and what their Agency means for her and what her powers can do, but when two cops (even when one of them turns out to be the bad guy, talk it through, after having lived through “The Incident” and seeing Luke Cage  walk through bullets, that conversation is different, and as a crazy person who has watched every minute of the MCU, I’m thrilled to see a new take on it.

I’m noticing that these are taking on more thematic thrust than plot. The plot of this show is good too, but the THEMES man. They’re even heavier than they were in Jessica Jones, and they were pretty heavy there too…

Also, I would watch Alfre Woodard read the god damned phone book. She’s amazing. She should be in everything.

Episode 4: “Step In The Arena”

Prison Luke is everything. His afro is everything. As is his beard. As is the line “slavery always seems like a good deal to a master.” His growing report with Reva is everything. I love this show so much it is making my head hurt.

This was a good episode to watch right before I turned in for the night on Saturday though as it’s Luke’s origin story and pretty straight forward!

It is interesting that Luke’s powers came at Reva’s request, and had less to do with Jessica’s than I thought they would have. (Though we don’t quite know what happened while Jess was in that coma before Trish’s mother adopted her.) Either way, the whole thing is beautiful and the image of him saying “Sweet Christmas” complete with Silver Circlet is worth the whole episode, which would be worthy on it’s own.

Everything Else

So, there’s a really good reason why I stopped reviewing episode by episode. CLAIRE TEMPLE!

Sweet Christmas Indeed, you guys, remember how mad I was at Jessica Jones and Daredevil season 2 for their overall lack of Claire? Luke Cage made up for it. Claire is in it, she’s the best.

Although they are pulling a Lois with her a little bit…but I couldn’t track episode to episode anymore, because all I cared about was Claire. And Luke, and Claire and Luke together. (DAMNIT Netflix, stop messing with my OTPs, Claire with Matt, Luke with Jessica!)  This is partially because I’m pretty sure that Rosario Dawson could have romantic chemistry with a lamp post. (Seriously! Watch Rent, I love Adam Pascal but the man is a bad actor and they are hot together. Or don’t watch Rent, it’s not very good…)

Overall I enjoyed the series, loved it’s pulpy tone and it’s soundtrack. (GOOD GOD THAT SOUNDTRACK!) Liked the villains, and the main action. I think Mike Colter is phenomenal, and I hope that Claire’s constant reference to her “lawyer friend” helping Luke leads to either Matt or Foggy helping him out of his jam during The Defenders.

I’m excited to see what happens with this universe going forward.

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