Alright, down to reviewing the final stretch of episodes before the finale, which includes episodes 210-212 titled ‘The Main Ingredient,’ ‘The Creator,’ and ‘Can’t Front On Me.’ Oddly enough these episodes to me felt like the real “end” of the season as they wrapped up most of the main plot points involving Bushmaster with a pretty climactic scene, same with Mariah, with the actual finale (episode 213) actually feeling more like a bridge to get us to next season. Regardless, while the first two of these episodes definitely felt a bit slower than the rest of the season, I suppose that was mainly due to them having to set up the ending and make sure all the pieces were in place. Even when ‘Luke Cage’ Season 2 gets a little slow, there still seems to be A LOT going on and a lot of fun things happening, including the cameo of Danny Rand and some interesting flashbacks to Bushmaster’s past and what made him who he is now.
So it all starts off with a visit that I had been waiting for all season: Danny Rand walks into the Barbershop, ready and willing to help Luke in person after previously lending a hand (err… Iron Fist?) by giving him a safe house. Of course, we’ll later learn that Claire sent Danny to keep an eye on Luke after everything that has been going on but regardless of the reason, it is very cool to see the “Heroes for Hire” on screen together again. Danny Rand arguably makes his best MCU appearance here, almost coming off cool and (FINALLY) like the Danny Rand from the comics. He encourages Luke to center himself and warns him that if his mind is not still, he will not be able to fight as well as he should be able to. They go through some exercises including a sparring match to get the point across.
Eventually, they learn that Bushmaster’s men are trying to grow Nightshade at a weed warehouse in Brooklyn. Even though the plant supposedly can only be grown in Jamaica, they head there to take it down, knowing it to be the source of Bushmaster’s physical prowess. And then we get my favorite scene of these three episodes: Luke and Danny making their way through the goons at the warehouse, combining their powers in fun and creative ways including Danny being thrown, glowing fist ready, into a pair of gangsters and the “Patty Cake” where Danny punches Luke’s outstretched hand and creates a shockwave that knocks out everyone around them. It is immensely entertaining to watch, and in the end, they learn that Bushmaster’s men were not able to properly grow the plant at all, just a sapling version that would most likely never mature outside of Jamaica. They destroy the grow house and then head out for Chinese food and talk a little more. Danny reminds Luke that he will always have back-up from him or Jessica.
Meanwhile Misty and Chief Ridley discover evidence that Nandi was the one who betrayed Luke and Mariah’s location to Bushmaster, and they track her down, catching her right as she is about to board a private jet and flee. Misty knocks her down when Nandi tries to run. As Misty interrogates her, we learn the two knew each other from high school. Nandi explains she is tired of the leeway Misty gets in the precinct and could not believe they were going to let Mariah walk with a deal. Afterward, Ridley informs Misty that when she leaves, she is going to recommend making Misty the next Captain of the precinct due to her recent maturity while dealing with Mariah, her experience, and her skills.
As for Mariah herself, her lawyer returns and explains that because Piranha signed over all her holdings to Bushmaster under duress, the exchange was not legally binding. Hence, Mariah regains all her money and Harlem’s Paradise, though she makes sure to threaten the lawyer who abandoned her and remind him not to do so again. Mariah finally fully takes on the name “Stokes” and decides it is finally time for her revenge, so she takes Bushmaster’s uncle Anansi back to the restaurant his family owns. There she and her men slaughter everyone present, including the hostess who worked at Harlem’s Paradise that Mariah had suspected was a spy for Bushmaster.
As for Anansi, Mariah uses him to send a message, drenching him in rum and setting him on fire, and when that takes too long, she shoots him to finish the job using Mama Mable’s family gun which was finally returned to her by Shades earlier in the episode. Before the massacre, Sugar, her driver and the informant for Luke, abandons the cause sensing dark things were about to go down, and heads to Luke to share information. Shades himself is blown away from Mariah’s actions informing her there is a code for gangsters and she was breaking all the rules by killing innocents. He also tells her he was disturbed by the way she seemed to enjoy watching Anansi burn. The whole event is eventually known as the Rum-Punch Massacre.
Bushmaster himself is brought to Tilda for aid as they hoped she might have more Nightshade, but even her supplies were limited. So while they gather what they can from their new grow houses, she struggles to keep Bushmaster alive all while his mind flashes back to the events that made him who he is. We learn as a boy he was the sole survivor of a bad vaccination in Jamaica, proving that he was already strong and potentially was born with some healing abilities. We see the events leading up to his mother’s death, including her suing Mama Mable for a piece of the money from the club, which is why Mama Mable burned her alive. Later, we learn that the first time Bushmaster used Nightshade was after Peter Stokes came to Jamaica and shot him. Bushmaster was brought to a healer in the jungle who used the Nightshade to save him claiming that the drug “does not heal, it reveals,” hinting again that the healing factor was something already inside of Bushmaster. Eventually, Tilda is able to get enough of the Brooklyn Nightshade to save Bushmaster, but she warns him he is overdosing on the drug and it might be killing him, shutting down his organs. But he seems back to normal and heads out to make plans, right before learning about the Rum-Punch massacre, and the death of so many family members.