Jumping back in! This review covers the next three episodes of ‘Luke Cage’ Season 2, titled ‘I Get Physical,’ ‘All Souled Out,’ and ‘The Basement,’ which continued an excellent trend of great episodes for the season and some stellar performances from all of the cast!
Luke’s story picks up right where we left him; getting knocked out by Bushmaster. All of this is filmed by DW which really hurts Luke’s reputation as DW sells the video to make a profit and everyone is thrilled to see the King fall. The video even made it onto ESPN. Meeting up with Misty, she tells him to give Claire space for the moment, and also that he CANNOT stay with her. They investigate the warehouse where Luke was attacked by Bushmaster’s men and while there, find the beheaded body of the former head gangster Nigel which Misty has to call in. They also find evidence which leads Luke to Tilda Johnson’s store, ‘Mother’s Touch,’ which Luke visits next. Meeting Tilda, he learns that Bushmaster had also visited. While there, Luke received some herbs to help with his concussion from Bushmaster’s attack.
When Luke returns to the Barber Shop, he learns Bobby is leaving to be a donor for his sick daughter. If that news isn’t enough, he is served papers as Cockroach is suing him for his beating, a lawsuit that does not go well despite Foggy representing Luke, mainly because Luke cannot control his temper and accident snaps the end off of the conference room table (of course Claire was right about his anger…). He ends up making a deal wherein he owes Cockroach $100,000, but sadly for him, all income has dried up with his sponsors since he was beaten by Bushmaster, so he is out of options except for one.
Foggy has been contacted by Pirahna who is apparently a HUGE Luke Cage fan (i.e. having a shrine full of Luke memorabilia including bullet-riddled hoodies and crumpled guns) and Pirahna wants to pay Luke to make an appearance to celebrate the money he and Mariah just made on the plastic company stocks (Luke is unaware of Mariah’s involvement at first). Luke reluctantly agrees, especially when he learns Pirahna wants him to cosplay in a holy hoodie, but he does up the price to $150,000 and sticks around once he learns Mariah is linked to Pirahna. The party is awful as Pirahna forces Luke to “perform” as his bodyguard, and guests have fun trying to hurt him with punches and bottles to the head. The whole thing coming to a point when Pirahna wants guests to have fun SHOOTING Luke with guns. Before that can happen though, the party is attacked by Bushmaster and his men who want Pirahna.
Luke is forced to save the slimy little man, truly becoming the “hero for hire.” As they hide out on the run in the neighborhood, Luke gets Pirahna’s backstory with Mariah, and bonds somewhat with the man, who only wants to escape, jump on a jet, and get out of the country. Speaking about fathers, Luke comes up with a good place to hide Pirahna and proceeds to take the man to James Lucas’s church seeking sanctuary. His father takes the man in and is happy Luke has come to him for help, but Luke does not stay. Instead, he challenges Bushmaster to a duel that would decide the fate of both Harlem and Pirahna. Though Luke seems to have the upper hand in this fight on the bridge, Bushmaster plays dirty and uses some herbal powder to paralyze Luke and knock him into the river, which is where we leave our hero.
Misty finally gets the amazing bionic arm we had seen in the preview photos, gifted to her by Colleen and Danny Rand, and she starts adjusting to life with her new limb, which only makes her a little more bad-ass than she already was. Problem is, though she is fully armed again, she is still handicapped by the rules of the police force and she flirts with the idea of planting evidence to take down Cockroach who she knows is still beating his wife as she finds the woman in the hospital. Misty, remembering Scarfe and everything she learned from him, take a Judas bullet and goes to Cockroach’s apartment to plant the false evidence, but at the last minute decides she cannot do it, that she has to be better than Scarfe. Sadly for her, as she turns to leave, she discovers Cockroach’s headless body on the couch, and she has to call it in, which later puts her in the unfortunate position of having to explain what she was doing there in the first place. She comes clean to Captain Ridenhour, who is impressed with her honesty and does not reprimand her, telling her living with what she did will be punishment enough. Still, that is not enough for Misty, as she feels she cannot keep being a cop because it will force her to either do things the Scarfe way or sit back and be unable to make any real change, so she hands in her badge and gun, and quits.
Mariah meets up with Bushmaster to finalize their deal, happy to meet the man who knocked out Luke Cage and brushes off vague recollections of her grandfather and the name ‘Bushmaster,’ which you know is going to haunt her later down the road. Bushmaster informs her their grandfathers worked together to build Harlem’s paradise. They have words and Bushmaster leaves Mariah feeling slightly uneasy after their meeting. Shades follows Bushmaster to Brooklyn where he meets up with his family who owns a restaurant there, taking note of its location and significance for later.
Mariah continues her angry relationship with Comanche, who does not appreciate the way she talks to him and expresses this to Shades, and we learn the two are old friends and prison buddies, and Comanche thinks Shades should get rid of Mariah and take over the business himself. Of course, we also learn Comanche is a snitch who is talking to the police captain Ridenhour, looking for more dirt on Mariah. Meanwhile, Mariah gets closer to Tilda as she reveals her plans for a “family first” center for the community that would offer support services for women, medical services and help erase her family’s dark legacy by being a beacon of hope for Harlem. She offers Tilda a new job as the head of the center, which Tilda is reluctant to take, especially when she hears Mariah lie about speaking to Mike Higgins, the man she blackmailed for the plastics deal to go through, who police reveal has gone missing. Mariah and Shades speak on it and Shades assures her they did nothing to Higgins, and they brush it off, preparing for the opening of her center, which ends in tragedy as, surrounded by the community and a lot of press at a big grand opening, Mariah opens the doors to her new center and finds 3 severed heads within, Higgins, one of Shades’ men Ray Ray, and Cockroach, all clearly put there by Bushmaster to ruin her big moment. Mariah is taken in to police custody where we learn she has history with Ridenhour, who calls her ‘May May,’ though she offers no new information, protecting herself and her business despite the fact that clearly Bushmaster has declared a gang war in Harlem. Meanwhile, Shades and Comanche retrieve the last of the gun Mariah did not sell to Bushmaster (the good ones that you keep) and go out looking for Luke and Pirahna, staking out the barbershop first, where it is first hinted that their relationship went a little deeper than good friends, especially when they were alone in prison together, which is why Shades looks after Comanche, and why Comanche seems to be pushing Shades to get rid of Mariah. Deciding they aren’t going to find Luke, they head back to Harlem’s Paradise where Mariah has returned, and Shades tells her about the restaurant Bushmaster’s family owns, and Mariah says they will move on that information once they get Pirahna safely back.
These were some ACTION packed episodes, and I love that the season seems to be moving forward with so much momentum! Everything seems to be clicking, we got to Misty’s arm faster than I thought we would, Bushmaster is fully villainous now, things are all in place for some great action, and I really enjoy that he is a match for Luke in combat, which is always a worry with a character who is bulletproof and unbreakable. Looking forward to seeing how they get Luke out of that river and what Misty will do now that she has left the police force, and wants to make some real changes, especially since she has that super-powerful bionic arm! Be back soon with a review of the next three episodes!