Saturday, January 5, 2019
Luke Cage 2.13
There's a lot in this final episode of the season and the series. It is pretty clear from the way it ended that it wasn't the end that the show runner wanted. He had other things planned. This is not the way to leave things hanging for a character like Luke Cage unless you have at least one more segment of the story left to tell.
Mariah goes to jail, following her arrest. She tries to make a case at the bail hearing that Harlem needs her and that she should be allowed to post bail. The judge doesn't respect Mariah's rhetoric and denies her request. Things start to break down on the streets without Mariah's presence. The Stylers have been broken and are no longer a problem but the Russians and Italians are looking to take over.
Shades visits Pop's Barber Shop and chats with Luke and DW. He tries making the case to Luke that he needs to step in and take over. DW doesn't like it and doesn't support it but Luke is swayed. He goes to visit Rosalie Carbone. They talk about Harlem and he seems to talk her into keeping her people out of Harlem.
Mariah gets a special welcome when she arrives at Riker's. The guard escorting her gets stabbed to death and then Mariah almost gets killed. The killers are inmates on the payroll of Rosalie Carbone. The killers get knifed by another group that step into save her. They are led by Sunflower, a woman from Mariah's past. Mariah bends temporarily but then slices Sunflower's throat.
Matilda gets a visit from Misty in her shop, Mother's Touch. Misty suspects that Matilda helped Bushmaster but Matilda denies it. She claims to know nothing of John McIver's whereabouts. After Misty leaves the back door opens and Sheldon, Ingrid, and Bushmaster step in to the shop. They were there the whole time. Bushmaster is still looking very rough and not quite there. They leave the shop after Matilda gives him a dose of nightshade. Before the episode is over Matilda says a final goodbye to them.
Mariah decides that they need to take out everyone connected to her. The only ones who are spared are Donovan, Matilda, and Sugar. Shades was expecting this and is ready for the attempt on his life. Alex is not tough enough to deal with it. He comes running to Matilda who refuses to help him. He turns up dead soon after that. Sugar is saved because his wife once helped Mariah. I thought this was a little convenient but as Sugar later explains it he was very close to Mariah's family.
Shades goes to see Mariah at Riker's. I was a little surprised by this move on his part. It was more poetic than practical to have Shades go to the prison. He gives her some advice about how to handle herself in prison.
Luke wants to talk to Mariah face to face. He wants the killing to end. Misty refuses to let him go see her. Luke turns to Foggy Nelson for help. Matilda also wants to see Mariah but for her own reasons. She brews up something that looks thick and red, almost like a tomato sauce. It is called Beso de la Arana, Kiss of the Spider. Matilda is very cool and cold when she talks to her mother. She kisses her on the lips on the way out. Mariah suspects that Matilda was up to something but she isn't sure what.
Luke goes to visit Mariah. She is pleased with the role he is taking in Harlem, as its king. He prefers to think of himself as the sheriff. Before their meeting ends Mariah starts coughing up blood. She dies in Luke's arms.
That could have been the end of the season but there's another 15-20 minutes which felt similar to the end of season 1. Luke gets a visit from Donovan at Pop's. He is summoned for the reading of Mariah's will. The only other attendee is Matilda. She gets Cornell's keyboard. Luke gets Harlem's Paradise. D.W. doesn't like it. He tells Luke he is no longer welcome to hang out at Pop's Barber Shop. He can come there as a customer but that's it.
Shades gets arrested by Misty for all his crimes. His deal was contingent on Mariah getting convicted.
Many of the players are there for the final scene at Harlem's Paradise: Luke, Misty, Ridley, Sugar, Matilda. The show would clearly be headed in a different direction next season if there was a next season.
I'm not completely satisfied with this show but so far I say it is still the most interesting of the Marvel Netflix shows. I'm not sure how to rate this season as compared to the previous one. It lacked a big, definitive showdown. I was expecting one more fight between Luke and McIver. Maybe that was planned for the next season. I think it is a sad state of affairs that this show gets dumped along with Iron Fist when it is clearly a much better show.