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satisfying, stylish finale erases some of Luke
Cage’s flaws A satisfying, stylish finale erases some of Luke Cage’s flaws

Luke Cage has drawn on Blaxploitation films for its visual style and its themes. The character in the comic books was created at the height of Blaxploitation’s popularity and the character had to adapt as the popularity of Blaxploitation faded. Luke Cage needs to adopt a new style after getting rid of this season’s…

Luke Cage finds its footing leading into the finale Luke Cage finds its footing leading into the finale

I fully understand that there are some among you in the comments that disagree with my hot takes on Luke Cage this season. My main struggle is that Luke Cage wants to be two different shows. It wants to be a plot driven intrigue, but it also wants to elevate itself from other entries in that genre. It wants to be a…

Flashbacks
invigorate Luke Cage but don’t do
much for character development Flashbacks invigorate Luke Cage but don’t do much for character development

I know it must get a little repetitive to read these reviews where I keep saying that I want something more from Luke Cage. I’ve been more critical of the season because I know that there is a confident, sexy, socially conscious show buried deep in Luke Cage. Even though I’m not the season’s biggest fan, this episode…

A
playful Luke Cage feels unbalanced, out of place
this late in the season A playful Luke Cage feels unbalanced, out of place this late in the season

After the emotional thrill ride of the last episode and the threat of Bushmaster on the loose, “The Main Ingredient” felt like an unbalanced detour. There was plenty of tension and emotion built up in the last episode with the disappearance of Bushmaster but this episode takes Luke on a side quest with Danny Rand.…

Luke Cage invokes deep pain but doesn’t fully explore it Luke Cage invokes deep pain but doesn’t fully explore it

Luke Cage wants to position itself as a series about oppressed people and resistance. The first season utilized the imagery of a Black man in a hoodie riddled with bullet holes to illustrate that. The imagery of a Black man in a hoodie is so potent because of the pain and violence associated with that image,…

Luke Cage needs to rely on its more interesting characters instead of the well-trod plot Luke Cage needs to rely on its more interesting characters instead of the well-trod plot

Even a mediocre episode of Luke Cage feels like a really good episode of any police procedural. It makes sense that the most satisfying moments to be had here involve watching Simone Missick as a solving crime and kicking ass. She’s consistently one of the strongest players on Luke Cage but it still often feels like…

Luke Cage doesn't know what to do with its strongest characters  Luke Cage doesn't know what to do with its strongest characters 

The issue with Luke Cage being the least interesting character on the series could be mitigated if the series used the other characters wisely. Unfortunately, Luke Cage is devoting too much time to Mariah and Shades when their story lines are no longer interesting. Alfre Woodard is doing her best but Mariah has been…

Flawed characterization of the lead hurts Luke Cage Flawed characterization of the lead hurts Luke Cage

We’re almost at the midpoint of the season and by the midpoint of any work of fiction, we should be turning some emotional corner. Things are changing and the stakes are being raised considerably. The issues that have been simmering under the surface should be starting to bubble up. This episode sets us up for Luke’s…

Luke Cage debases its characters and leaves us with blood on our hands  Luke Cage debases its characters and leaves us with blood on our hands 

Luke Cage is a lot of things: a crime drama, a comic book show, a modern take on blaxploitation. But this episode reveals that the writers and director of Luke Cage are able to deliver a taste of all these genres in one episode and pull off a devious misdirection. The first portion of “All Souled Out” is a light…

Luke
Cage suffers a defeat and the series slows down to watch his fall Luke Cage suffers a defeat and the series slows down to watch his fall

Because Netflix series are intended for binge-watching, it’s difficult for a single episode to stand out. Episode three of Luke Cage was a tremendous episode. The episode that would follow a stand-out episode would naturally feel like a bit of a letdown after such an emotional episode. “I Get Physical” features the…

A
tremendous emotional scene sets high expectations for the rest of Luke Cage’s second season A tremendous emotional scene sets high expectations for the rest of Luke Cage’s second season

There’s a lot written on “Netflix’s Strategy” to get viewers hooked. Pacing the season out to have the most impact on the viewer and carefully placing huge moments to get the viewers hooked to finish the season. Netflix also has a tendency for their series to feel aimless in the middle of the season, and season one of …

Quick
pace and a mysterious villain make for a thrilling Luke Cage Quick pace and a mysterious villain make for a thrilling Luke Cage

When it comes to comic book villains, there are two tactics to take when it comes to their backstory. One: to carefully and deliberately lay out every single part of the character’s backstory so the audience can understand each nuance of the villain’s motivations. Then there is the strategy of The Joker in The Dark…

Luke Cage reinvents itself along with its hero Luke Cage reinvents itself along with its hero

After the mystical and enigmatic happenings in The Defenders, it’s a real treat to return to the down-to-earth setting of Luke Cage. The subject matter feels familiar; the thrilling chess game of the underworld, dirty cops, drugs, stylish musical performances, and jazz and that’s a good thing. The season two premiere…

A
lighter episode of Rise isn't invested in the drama department A lighter episode of Rise isn't invested in the drama department

It’s telling that this episode of Rise spent an entire almost act of the episode on a tense, artfully shot football game and its aftermath. Rise just can’t help itself. It finds football more interesting and worthwhile than anyone or anything else involved in the play. For all its flaws (and it has many), Smash …

Rise can’t figure out how to mitigate its biggest problems Rise can’t figure out how to mitigate its biggest problems

In my experience, the third episode of a television show can be a make-or-break situation. In the best-case scenario, by its third episode a TV show should be able to exist and thrive confidently. Any initial issues from the pilot have been fixed, there’s been an additional week to stretch and get comfortable, and now…

Lou’s
sincerity hurts Rise more than it
helps and doesn't elevate cliches Lou’s sincerity hurts Rise more than it helps and doesn't elevate cliches

Over and over throughout this episode, characters tell Lou he can’t fix his problems with another passionate speech or a deep heart-to-heart conversation. Gordy, Gwen, and Tracy all are frustrated with Lou. Gordy is frustrated with his father trying to mold him into an when all Gordy wants is to play football and be…

Lazy
choices and too many tragedies lead to a disappointing Rise Lazy choices and too many tragedies lead to a disappointing Rise

Watching creative people build something together makes for great television. Whether it’s an ad, a musical, or a television show within a television show, the creative process is full of tension and release, and when the romantic subplots get a little tired, there’s always the finished product to look forward to.…

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