Luke Cage: Soul Brother #1
June 24, 2018 5:58 AM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

As Luke adjusts to his growing fame and tries to shut down the flow of heroin branded with his name, someone from his past reaches out. (directed by Lucy Liu, written by Cheo Hodari Coker)

AV Club recap - Luke Cage reinvents itself along with its hero

Den of Geek episode review

*Misty struggles to cope with having lost her arm (in The Defenders), but learning that many convictions on cases she closed have been overturned due to Scarfe's corruption motivates her to return to the job.

*Luke spends his nights shutting down heroin labs and street corner sellers. Pop's Barber Shop has become a Luke Cage merch gift shop, run by D-Dub, but Bobby Fish warns that the rent being doubled means they'll have to shut down/move out soon.

*Luke's father the preacher, James Lucas (played by the late Reg E. Cathey) has come to Harlem, and shows no remorse over his abandonment of Luke to Seagate.

*Mariah is given insider info on Atreus Industries and wants to sell her gun-running business to raise the money to buy a controlling interest and go legit. She entertains offers from several players, going with Arturo 'El Rey' Gomez because she says he'll keep Harlem safe.

*Former buddy Sugar gives Luke a tip about Arturo's shipment but it's just a setup. Arturo blows up a truck when Luke enters it, to no effect, then shoots him with a Judas bullet, which surprisingly does not make it through Luke's skin. Luke leaves Arturo and the gun to Misty and Captain Ridenhour to deal with, then confronts Mariah with the fact of his newly-improved invulnerability and tells her never to threaten Claire again.

*Bushmaster confronts Nigel over his failure to take over Mariah's operation, ultimately physically by slashing a knife across his eyes, and revealing himself to be another bulletproof man.
posted by oh yeah! (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just started watching the show this morning - where are people at with their binging? AV Club posted recaps of 1-5 yesterday, and Den of Geek will be doing 1 per day. If most people have zipped through the season already, I'll try to catch up to the AV Club pace, but if most people are taking it slow maybe I will too?

Not much to say about this episode. Glad to have Mariah back and scheming again. Looking forward to Misty getting a robot arm.

Oh - question about the bit with Mariah's new hostess during the Club Paradise scene before Arturo et al made their pitches to buy Mariah's business. I couldn't make out who she was talking to when Mariah was all "I knew it" at the guy, was I supposed to recognize him? It wasn't Luke's dad, was it?
posted by oh yeah! at 6:42 AM on June 24, 2018

I'm resisting the temptation to shotgun these, as they're among Reg E. Cathey's last appearances in anything. I may go back and rewatch that scene in the club to see if I can make out what's happening.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:27 AM on June 24, 2018

Just started watching the show this morning - where are people at with their binging?

I'm almost done with the season, but I was planning to hold off on much discussion until a second viewing. Without getting into spoilery specifics, this is pretty dense stuff and I want to mull it over a little.

they're among Reg E. Cathey's last appearances in anything.

Yeah. I was sad to see he'd died. :(
posted by mordax at 9:06 AM on June 24, 2018

I enjoyed seeing how Misty was framed in each scene to make digitally erasing her arm easier.
I also enjoyed their Thor-like turn in delighting in some blatant objectification of Luke Cage.
Other than that, though, I thought this was off to a moody, slow start. And the Jamaican accents are... well, the writers must have had fun doing research by reading Marlon James.
posted by TwoStride at 10:39 AM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Stephanie/Billie was talking to Mark Higgins, who I understood to be a council member. I don’t know if that was said in this episode, but that’s how I read him.

Was anyone else surprised that Mariah and Shades are openly in a relationship? I’m thrilled, but I was expecting something more covert in keeping with last season.

I was binging, but stopped to watch with my spouse, and he’s had other things to do. GRRR So I’m only at Ep 3.
posted by epj at 11:06 AM on June 24, 2018

Jamaican/West Indian Twitter is going to town on the accents, with everything from serious messages to Netflix asking about casting/coaching, to repurposing of Cool Runnings gifs.
posted by TwoStride at 11:34 AM on June 24, 2018

The dude Stephanie/Billie was talking to is the CEO of the largest black-owned company in the world, Atreus Plastics.
posted by axiom at 12:18 PM on June 24, 2018

Glad to see they've finally managed to match up Claire and her Gregory Isaacs song.

I'm only a few minutes in - well, as far as Night Nurse, obviously - but it struck me that the main thing about this show is that it's pure pleasure: in the acting, the cinematography, the music (not just the songs, but the actual soundtrack so far is fantastic), and the ambience most of all. If it manages to match that a tiny bit in the writing it's a definite plus, but I'm not worried if they can keep the other pleasures up.
posted by Grangousier at 1:49 PM on June 24, 2018

Just started season two and I’m liking it. Luke in an HBCU shirt was a nice touch and a fun throwback to the early-90s aesthetic that the show has been using. So far I’m heartened that they seem to have backed off of last season’s Cosby-style respectability politics (whoever found that they were writing a show set in Harlem and decided that the hero should describe the most famous AfAm community in the country with the line “everyone has a gun; no one has a father” needs to go sit in a dark room and have a good think about their choices).

It is weird that the drug dealers who Luke is beating up and running out of business haven’t bothered to use the app that tells people where he is at all times. If I was in the drug-selling line of work in Harlem I feel I would make getting that app a priority. I assume that it will be a plot point later in the season, but for now it feels like a glaring oversight.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 5:22 PM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'm super digging the music, and the use of music, this episode. Hope its a trend for the season.
posted by porpoise at 5:36 PM on June 24, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm binging and up to episode 12, but that was only because I didn't feel like going out last night and didn't have anything to do this morning.

This was a pretty solid start for the season. I remember enjoying the ending to last season, and had forgotten some of the stuff in Defenders so I was slightly taken aback by Misty's missing arm. I also enjoyed seeing how they framed stuff so there was less CG work for her arm.

They showed Mark Higgins on a magazine cover while Mariah and Shades were planning the insider trading with Piranha. It was a quick blink-and-you-miss-it scene. So that's why Mariah sent Billie to him.

I was also surprised by Shades and Mariah being together. At that point I realized I don't remember a whole lot from last season's ending aside from Diamonback going down. But yes it was in the last episode that Mariah made her move on Shades and he didn't turn her down. That kiss in the finale was... odd? It was just... that's not how people kiss... right? And I noticed their chemistry in this episode was also off. I just don't think they make a good onscreen couple.

The music is pretty good (and very slight spoiler: continue to be pretty good and episode-appropriate through out the season so far).
posted by numaner at 6:58 PM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I finished up season 5 of Agents of SHIELD just before watching this season of Luke Cage, and I've never noticed until now that Theo Rossi's voice sounds almost identical to Clark Gregg's sometimes.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:40 PM on June 24, 2018

I did, but I'm sure others sat out Ironfist and Defenders since those are the lowest rated Netflix Marvel shows. I'm near the end right now so I can tell you that you don't actually need to watch Defenders, the show eventually tells you the gist of what happened with Misty in Defenders. Sorry if that's too spoilery, feel free to flag.
posted by numaner at 3:56 PM on June 25, 2018

I wish I was into this show more. I like the main characters, but I just do not seem to be into gangland turf war mafia uh, whatever the heck that is going on all the time. I dragged through season one and I dragged through this episode and am wondering if I should just read the recaps and skip watching. Sigh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:40 PM on June 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm real happy to have this show back. I love the club giving us a structure that includes all of this fantastic music, and I am really enjoying how they weave in the context of the neighborhood. It all strikes me as both highly stylish and pretty conscientious. Luke's predilection for corny puns is silly but not annoying.

I'd love some links to what Jamaican/West African twitter is doing with those accents, though because they sound both...meticulous and labored? Is that a fair assessment? I'm no expert.
posted by desuetude at 11:09 PM on June 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Whooboy. Thanks, TwoStride.

Why not just have the Jamaican characters go with Patwa when they speak to each other and have them code-switch into "proper English" when they talk to anyone else?

The allegedly-Obeah "nightshade" (uh, I guess they don't mean tomatoes, peppers, tobacco, and potatoes) raised my eyebrow, too.
posted by desuetude at 12:15 PM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

one of those tweets had a good point: "Jamaican accent on Luke Cage aren’t bad like ppl are saying. Real yardie accents would need subtitles. Fuck that, I’m not trying to read while watching TV."

I have a Jamaican neighbor and I definitely need subtitles IRL when talking to him. I just happen to always watch everything with subtitles, but for those who can't stand it, having nearly all Jamaican characters speaking with real accents would kind of be a pain.
posted by numaner at 3:27 PM on June 28, 2018

having nearly all Jamaican characters speaking with real accents would kind of be a pain.

Well, it's more of a pain for the accent to be so butchered, for a large swath of people, people the show is condescendingly saying should be grateful they're getting representation at all. There is no reason that subtitles cannot be used or they should just forego accents altogether.
posted by TwoStride at 4:11 PM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

oh i agree completely, as someone who regularly watches non-english shows. but i have friends who have actual learning disabilities that causes them to not able to enjoy visual media with subtitles to the full extent. i usually only recommend shows where they don't need subtitles, and at least this one i can, even though this is one of the flaws of the show.
posted by numaner at 10:47 AM on June 29, 2018

Sweet Christmas!

on the other hand, Piranha Jones
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:12 PM on July 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just watched this episode last night, and I am not at all on board with Mariah and Shades. Something about the two of them together makes me viscerally uncomfortable. I don't even know what it is, but I can't watch any scene when they're alone.

I'm not that interested in the turf war element, but I would watch Mike Coulter wash dishes, so I am watching all of this no matter what.

Fish's " a logo is a terrible thing to waste" was amazing.
posted by minsies at 8:03 AM on July 2, 2018

minsies, you weren't the only one who felt that way about Mariah and Shades;

Dear Mariah and Shades on Luke Cage ... I Love You, but 'OMG Please Stop!'
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:30 AM on July 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thanks, ActingTheGoat! Danielle C. Belton and I are on the same ham sandwich wavelength.

Nothing prepared me for Woodard becoming a temptress in sensible, jazzy flats and Rossi staring at her like he’s a starving man and she’s a delicious ham sandwich. It was the hungriest, nakedest, weirdest performance I’d ever seen and it shook me to my core.
posted by minsies at 11:22 AM on July 2, 2018

> Nothing prepared me for Woodard becoming a temptress in sensible, jazzy flats and Rossi staring at her like he’s a starving man and she’s a delicious ham sandwich. It was the hungriest, nakedest, weirdest performance I’d ever seen and it shook me to my core.

See, I agree with this statement but kinda LOVE the Mariah/Shades excessive sexytimes thing.
posted by desuetude at 9:40 AM on July 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm liking everything except the deeply cliche "clear my family name / go legit in one swoop" plotline. The lines feel forced to me.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:58 PM on July 27, 2018

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