Netflix and Marvel have come a long way since the release of Daredevil. The success of that show laid the foundation that would give fans an introduction to characters only known in the comics. Characters like Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and the power man himself, Luke Cage. Now with his second season released, Mike Colter is breaking new barriers by portraying a side of the bulletproof hero of Harlem that’s both interesting, yet terrifying. Netflix’s shows of the Marvel characters have all been dark, but things take a new twist with Luke Cage. The best addition this season comes with the arrival of the new antagonist, Bushmaster, played by Mustafa Shakir.
The season starts off some time after the events of The Defenders, and Luke Cage has become the unofficial sheriff of Harlem. Luke is hellbent on his war to bring down his rival, Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard), but soon realizes that he isn’t the only one willing to burn in Hell to get to the devil. When Bushmaster arrives, Luke is pushed into a situation where he must either help the devil he knows or the devil he doesn’t. The problem with that situation is neither choice is good for Harlem, and Luke knows he must dig deep to find another way where Harlem wins. It’s a battle that will force Luke to battle demons both externally and internally.
The only help Luke has during this war is his old friend Misty who is fighting her own battles after losing her arm. There’s an unexpected surprise character introduced to help Luke through his internal crisis by actor, Reg E. Cathey, who died in February this year. There are also cameos from other marvel shows that come in to help Luke contain the chaos, but soon Luke realizes this is a war he must end on his own. The war will end as it began, with a bloody and shocking end that will leave the audience guessing what could come in the next season. The ending is a twist that resembles the ending of one of America’s most classic movies, and it will make people wonder how this will affect Harlem.
Mustafa Shakir did a fantastic job as Bushmaster, I almost say that he’s my second favorite villain next to Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin. Introducing fans to a new kind of villain with his marital arts and practice of Voodoo, Shakir should be considered to return if possible. Viewers will immediately see how Bushmaster and Luke Cage are alike as the show progresses to the eventual showdown which is brutal at best. The action is par compared to other shows, but as stated before, the ending is what makes the show worth all the drama. The drama all centers around one person and that’s Mariah Dillard.
Mariah’s past comes back to destroy her, but she puts all of Harlem in the crossfire to protect her and the people she loves. If Bushmaster isn’t enough trouble, Misty is digging with her bare hands to find something in the dirt that will finally put Mariah behind bars. Alfre Woodard portrays a new side of Mariah that is both vicious and psychotic. Delivering an award-winning performance, most fans of the famous antagonist might be sad by the ending of her story, but I got a feeling we will still see her next season. What can we expect to see from Netflix and Marvel?
Daredevil should be making his return soon after being presumed dead after the events of The Defenders. Matt Murdock may be coming back to a few surprises since Foggy is with a new law firm, Karen has been seen with The Punisher, and Wilson Fisk may be returning from his incarceration. Wilson Bethel is set to appear as the legendary assassin, Bullseye, and that’s a showdown many have been waiting to see since the character went mainstream after being introduced by Colin Farrell in the box office bomb, Daredevil. Maybe Hell’s Kitchen has learned to move on without the blind vigilante, or it might need him more than ever. We’ll have to wait sometime later in 2018 or maybe early 2019.