Even though the entire first season of Luke Cage was available on Netflix at once, there definitely was a mid-season finale vibe at episode seven. The second part of Luke’s story picks up at the eight episode and introduces the main villain of the series: Diamondback. Or is he?
Be sure to read the review of the first seven episodes of Luke Cage here. The problem with the first half of the season was the pace, which was too slow at times. That certainly isn’t an issue anymore as events keep piling up. There is Diamondback, who has a special weapon with which he can hurt Luke. There’s the police who don’t mind buying a similar kind of weapon and also don’t mind profiling black people as Luke is a wanted man now. This ofcourse resonates back to real life and gives the show a deeper meaning and topics to think about.
Diamondback & Shades
While the pace-problem is solved, another problem emerges: Diamondback is not a great villain. Though the backstory of him being Luke’s brother is surprising, it sadly gives a ‘been there, done that’ vibe and it’s just not very interesting. Their backstory could have been explored more, but that probably will happen in season two. The final fight between the two brothers is actually pretty boring and predictable (what a surprise, Luke won), though the action was enjoyable.
Luckily, there is another villain who doesn’t get enough praise or screentime: Shades. Shades is sneaky and moves in the background. He is not just Shades, he is Shady and Shadowy. He manipulates Mariah and Diamondback. Everybody remembers the shocking elevator scene in Jessica Jones; Luke Cage has it’s own epic elevator scene with Shades kicking ass on his way to a certain death. It’s a great quality of Marvel to get the audience to root for the bad guy but they did it again. Shades has it all: the intellect, the connections, the cunning and he even has a backstory with Luke as well, but same as with Diamondback: we’ll probably get more of that in season 2. All the praise goes to Theo Rossi, who probably gets to play the best character in this entire series.
Claire Temple & Iron Fist
A major disappointment is the relationship between Claire and Luke. Did the writers think they had to put a romantic relationship in the show? It just doesn’t work. Sure, there is enough chemistry between the two but not nearly as much as Luke had with his one night stand with Misty or his relationship with Jessica Jones. Claire and Luke worked so much better as just friends and it’s sad to see them end up together. Claire ties all of the Defenders shows together, as she picks up a number to a martial arts teacher at the end of Luke Cage, which of course will lead to her part in Iron Fist.
Luke Cage ends up asking for more, even though it certainly isn’t the best Defenders show (yet). There are enough open ends and small cliffhangers, as well as characters who have to be explored more, Mariah and Shades being at the top of that list. While you could say the ending was a bit dull with Luke being in the back of a police car by his own choice, it just shows that Luke Cage is indeed, one of the good guys. Hopefully the second season of Luke Cage will feature more background information, but before there will be a second season, Luke will appear in The Defenders’ own show.
Next up for Marvel’s Defenders on Netflix:
Iron Fist (2017)
The Defenders (2017)
The Punisher (2017)
Jessica Jones season 2 (probably 2018)
Daredevil season 3 (probably 2018)