‘Luke Cage’ Season 2 Review: High highs and Low lows

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At times, I really liked season 2 of Luke Cage. I definitely liked it more than I liked the first one, which started amazingly, lost steam around the middle and just never recovered. But I also had more problems with some of the story-lines in Season 2 than I had with anything in Season 1. I guess that means they took more chances? Either way, the highs were high, but for me, the lows were low and that’s why I can’t really say I loved this.

Though I can say I want more of Luke Cage. Preferably with Danny Rand (HEROES FOR HIRE PLEASE) – or hell, with Jessica Jones.

Not to say that Mike Colter cannot carry a show, he absolutely can. But I’ve found myself enjoying his dynamic with Danny way more than I expected, so a Heroes for Hire limited series would be a dream (just like Daughters of the Dragon would be, but that’s a story for later), and as a fan of the Alias comic book series, I just really love Luke and Jessica and that’s probably not gonna change.

Either back, back to our review, all of this comes back to me saying I loved and hated this season in equal measure, and I’m here to talk about why:

Overall Impression

Let me repeat myself: when this season of Luke Cage was good, it was very good. And to be fair, it was more good than bad.  When it was bad (or problematic, and issue I’ll get into below), however, it was VERY bad. So, if you ask me about it on the street, I’ll just shrug my shoulders and say something along the lines of: it was okay? It’s hard to divorce yourself from the things you really didn’t like, but the show also doesn’t deserve the Iron Fist Season 1 treatment, my standard for bad in this universe.

So, what you should probably do is watch it, and then tell me what you thought about the things that bothered me. How about that?

What Worked

Misty Knight: I always liked Misty in a general way – Season 2 of Luke Cage made me LOVE Misty in a specific way, perhaps because it made her more real and relatable, by bringing her down so low and then building her up again. She got the kind of arc women, and especially WOC don’t usually get, and I felt empowered by every second she was on screen. Which is why, seriously ….can she just get her own show? Preferably with Colleen? Because …

Daughters of the Dragon: The little we got of Colleen and Misty together made it imperative for me to at some point get Daughters of the Dragon. I went and picked up the comics a while back, when they were first going to be introduced, and I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, and I didn’t expect to want this pairing as much as I did, considering Colleen wasn’t my favorite in Season 1 of Iron Fist. But here we are, and I not just want it, but with how very little female friendships we get on TV in general, and on the Marvel universe in particular, I’m gonna say they owe us.

Danny Rand: Yes, yes, I know. You don’t like Danny that much. Neither did I in Season 1 of Iron Fist. He was better in The Defenders, and then came Luke Cage Season 2 and the incredible happened. I actually ….liked him. A lot. He cam into Luke’s show, didn’t steal the spotlight, actually helped Luke the way a friend would, advised him and then got out of the way so Luke could shine. Best version of Danny Rand ever.

Mariah: Yeah, I’m gonna say she worked. Not because she’s a good person, but because she’s a great character and her arc made sense for who she was, and so did her ending. Plus, the performance was out of this world good, and her whole relationship with Hernan, as much as I dislike the actor, also worked really, really well.

What Didn’t Work

Luke/Claire: I’ve always liked Claire, and even as someone who didn’t see this as endgame, I enjoyed this relationship – which is why I surprised to find myself just not liking Claire this season. Let’s be clear, she was right about many things, but she also wasn’t and she meddled in things I thought were not on her, like trying to dictate Luke’s relationship with his father. Plus, it just seemed like, after what we got in season 1 and in The Defenders, this season just wanted to get this storyline over and done with, and though both Colter and Dawson delivered a heck of a performance, especially in Season 3, there’s no part of me that wants her back or cares about this relationship ever being repaired.

Hernan: My rage about fake latinx Theo Rossi is taking over everything, I realize that, because Hernan is actually one of the best characters on this damn show, and his arc is one of the most interesting and I just cannot get invested in absolutely anything because why the fuck are they casting Theo Rossi as a latinx man I swear to God, this is a travesty, someone save me.

The LGBTQ+ storyline and it’s inevitable end: Did they really need to kill Che like that?  I mean, I get that this is Luke Cage and this is war and all of that, and I also get that there was likely no happy ending to be had here BUT WHY ALWAYS DEATH? And at the hands of Hernan? I would have taken any sort of betrayal over this. There was so much potential to do something else, and then they …just did the easy thing, the thing all shows do. SIGH.

What We Wanted to See More Of

Daughters of the Dragon: Misty and Collen were my highlight for Season 2 of Luke Cage, and I definitely wanted more of them – not just in the season, but, to be honest, as their own entity, away from Luke and Danny, just getting to solve their own problems and kick ass on their own without a man in the vicinity.

Heroes for Hire: They did The Defenders, they can give me this teamup too, right?

What We Wanted to See Less Of

Italians playing Latinx: Fuck Theo Rossi and fuck the fact that, for so many years, I’ve thought he was Puerto Rican because he has done absolutely nothing BUT play latinx roles. Fuck casting directors that think it’s okay to hire any actor who looks vaguely tan because that’s the latinx look. (There is no such thing as a latinx look for crying out loud, latinx is an ETHNICITY, NOT A RACE, we’re all different, there are afro-latinx and white latinx and asian latinx and indigenous latinx and WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME GODDAMNIT). Fuck the writers for making it worse by using the n-word. Fuck them all.

Favorite Episodes

The highs and lows made it hard to choose a whole favorite episode – except, of course, for 2×10, because that was pretty much all good brotastic fun throughout. Danny and Luke just work together, and I loved that in no way I felt like Danny was overshadowing Luke or trying to take center stage, no, he was just there to help a friend.

Least Favorite Episodes

Again, it’s hard when the season was so uneven for me to choose a whole episode I liked and a whole episode I dislike, so I’ll just say there were parts of some episodes I really didn’t like, especially 2×07. And, honestly, most of the story-line with Hernan and Mariah. And Theo Rossi in general. And how they killed Che. Did I mention I hated when they killed Che?

Season Finale Impression

Probably the best episode of the second half of the season (minus Danny, I’m already on record as saying I loved that episode I’m not taking it back I don’t care what you think), this was a real conclusion for Luke’s arc during this season, and I can’t say I enjoyed where that arc took him, but I did enjoy that the show didn’t, at any point, back down from where they felt the character had to go, even if that might have shocked some fans.

Am I worried about what comes next? You can bet your ass I am. More worried that I’ve been for any other of the DCTV characters at the end of their season, and that includes Matt’s almost-death-experience. But I’m also intrigued. So, season 3, right?

Next Season Speculation

What’s interesting is not just what happens next season, but how the ending of Season 2 of Luke Cage ties into what happens with the other Defenders. It’s the kind of thing I’ll assume might come up, if not on Iron Fist (I don’t need an appearance, but a mention, at least?), on next season of Jessica Jones. Or hey, can that ungrateful supposed dead lawyer come pay a visit to Luke? Why not? Either way, the game is completely different for Luke in season 3. He thinks he can protect Harlem from a different place. Question is, can he do it without becoming the thing he’s been fighting from the beginning? We shall see.

What did you think of Season 2 of Luke Cage?

Luke Cage Season 2 is available to stream on Netflix.

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