Bunkered in an empty Rand Corp building, Luke and company plot ways to confront dangers both without and within.
Luke Cage – “For Pete’s Sake”, Season 2, Episode 09
Airdate: June 22nd, 2018
Director: Clark Johnson
Writer: Matt Ownes
Based on Marvel Comics Characters by: Roy Thomas, Archie Goodwin, and John Romita Sr.
What You’ll Find Out:
Games are beings played across the board as preparations and machinations are set into motion. While Luke, James, Misty, Tilda, and Mariah are hunkered down inside an empty Rand Corp building in Queens, information is exchanged between our ragtag group. Mariah exchanges parenting failures with James, Luke informs Tilda of who Mariah really is, and eventually, Mariah breaks the “truth” of Tilda’s parentage (claiming Tilda was the result of Mariah’s repeated raping by Uncle Pete; I’m not totally sold that this was the truth given the patterns of previous MCU Netflix shows).
Misty and Luke convince Mariah to strike a deal with DA, offering her immunity on any gun-related charges in exchange for testimony against Bushmaster on his possession of Hammer weapons and the attempted murder of Mariah and Tilda. As Misty discusses the deal with the new Chief in town, Ridley, Nandi listens in and reports back to Bushmaster seeking the bounty on Mariah’s head and thwarting Bushmaster’s arrest for the time being.
Bushmaster and his crew arrive at the Rand building and an extended battle sequence ensues that includes the weakened, Nightshade-light Bushmaster getting finally bested by Luke and Mariah escaping. The police arrest Bushmaster, but in a moment of pure ineptitude, manage to not notice the bomb in the palm of his hands that enables him to escape and flee to Mother’s Touch to be healed by Tilda. While Luke and Misty start to get comfortable, Mariah finally locates Shades, who shows her that he has abducted Anansi.
What Just Happened?
Despite the gratifying feeling of watching Luke actually win a fight this season, the crux of this episode revolves around Mariah’s long (and extremely poorly acted) confession to Tilda. In the confession, Mariah draws on a number of relevant themes, from her rape by Pete, the antagonization that lead to Cornell’s murder, the difficulties of being dark black even among black communities, the stigma against the gay community (Jackson Dillard was revealed to have been gay, and Mariah his “beard”), and the sometimes-detrimental effects of placing “family first. Always.” The result of the monologue is the long road towards Mariah admitting that she never loved Tilda because of her conception via rape. The attempts to paint Mariah the victim and draw sympathy from the audience in the face of all of Mariah’s frequent lies and two-facedness falls on deaf ears for this viewer, although the pain on Tilda’s face was very convincing. With four episodes left, it will be interesting to learn what, if any of those stories, remains true by the end (other than the rape, which is a thread from last season, confirmed by Cornell).
Bushmaster, on the other hand, continues to establish himself as a sympathetic villain. His stories of the Maroons’ 80-year battle for independence against the colonial British in Jamaica is an endearing story of the survival of a people and mirrors Bushmaster’s current narrative of freedom from the stolen legacy of his family. What appears as savage brutality could be read, from a different perspective, as a tenacious fight against tyranny and subjugation.
Final Thought: There were a number of excellent moments in this episode, but the pace felt off. Too slow in some moments, too hurried in others. One highlight was the original number, “Stylers Arriving” by Adrian Younge as Bushmaster’s crew approached the Rand building.
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