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A bleak, amazing ending distracts from Game of Thrones’ inconsistent storytelling (newbies) A bleak, amazing ending distracts from Game of Thrones’ inconsistent storytelling (newbies)

Welcome to another season of Game Of Thrones reviews for those who have not read the books the series is based on. Since critics won’t be receiving screeners this season, each week I’ll publish the episode page once the broadcast ends and add my review to the page when I finish. That way newbies have a spoiler-free…

Ice and fire finally meet in a front-loaded episode of Game Of Thrones (newbies) Ice and fire finally meet in a front-loaded episode of Game Of Thrones (newbies)

Welcome to another season of Game Of Thrones reviews for those who have not read the books the series is based on. Since critics won’t be receiving screeners this season, each week I’ll publish the episode page once the broadcast ends and add my review to the page when I finish. That way newbies have a spoiler-free…

Luke Cage finale is more a recap than a conclusion Luke Cage finale is more a recap than a conclusion

Luke Cage was building toward something, right? The wise words of Pop, Cottonmouth’s musical ability, Diamondback’s pursuit of revenge—all of those things meant something, right? Even though Luke was a reluctant hero, there still was a final boss to defeat before returning to normalcy, awaiting his next challenge,…

Luke Cage tries to right itself, return to theme Luke Cage tries to right itself, return to theme

The first thing any of us knew about Luke Cage was that he was a bulletproof black man. His impenetrable skin was supposed to be a fierce rebuttal to police brutality, or, at the very least, a hope that a black person could walk down the street in a hoodie and not be afraid. To Luke, his abilities were a burden, an…

Luke Cage can’t push past standard action fare Luke Cage can’t push past standard action fare

For a show that elevated itself from standard action television with stunning visuals and stylistic choices, it’s disappointing to see it all comes down to a tired villain trope: A scorned illegitimate child taking their anger and frustration out on their half-sibling. “Now You’re Mine” centers on the aftermath of…

Tragedy and twists trip up Luke Cage Tragedy and twists trip up Luke Cage

Episode 10, “Take it Personal,” wrestles with the theme “tragedy can be exploited for personal gain” and the most palpable exploration of this theme is Mariah becoming more entwined with Diamondback. She’s using the language of black pain and black mourning to create a frenzy within the police and the public to find…

The fight for control motivates Misty and Mariah in Luke Cage The fight for control motivates Misty and Mariah in Luke Cage

In this episode of Luke Cage, “DWYCK,” the case is made for any one of the number of criminals and villains running around Harlem to fill the vacuum left by Cottonmouth’s death: Diamondback, Shades, Domingo, Dr. Burstein. Diamondback is invested in eliminating the competition and finding Luke Cage. Shades appears to…

Diamondback turns Luke Cage into a horror movie Diamondback turns Luke Cage into a horror movie

The actors on Luke Cage whose performances lean into the genre and style of the series for their introductions are all the more engaging and unique. The first line spoken by Willis “Diamondback” Stryker is a shouted “Can you dig it!?”, after he fires The Judas Bullet at an ambulance carrying Luke and Claire. You don’t…

The women of Luke Cage buoy the series and its lead The women of Luke Cage buoy the series and its lead

Luke Cage is not like your typical comic book tale. Luke, in all his blackness, would stand out anyway, but Luke Cage also presents us with a world where the hero needs to be constantly prodded into action. Willing to run at any moment, Luke has be to drawn back to heroism by Claire. His reluctance and need to be…

Luke Cage clears the table for greater adversaries Luke Cage clears the table for greater adversaries

“Suckas Need Bodyguards” is not quite a table-setting episode—it might be something closer to a “table-clearing” episode. The beginning of the season was focused on Luke’s mission to do right by Pop and take down Cottonmouth the right way. With Cottonmouth in cuffs at the end of this episode and Scarfe dead in…

Is Luke Cage the weakest part of Luke Cage? Is Luke Cage the weakest part of Luke Cage?

Allow me to take a bit of a more conversational tone with you, my readers and children. Is it just me or is Luke Cage the weakest part of Luke Cage? You could call him Luke, Plain and Strong. His action sequences this episode fetching back the precious items of his neighbors was less compelling than seeing Claire…

Luke Cage finds himself trapped in the present, imprisoned in his origin story Luke Cage finds himself trapped in the present, imprisoned in his origin story

A sense of claustrophobia overwhelms this episode: Mike Colter’s face and hair filling the frame that explodes into screams, glistening blood on his knuckles. The claustrophobia makes sense for an episode that switches between Luke and Connie trapped under the rubble and Luke’s time at Seagate Prison. The cells at…

When Luke Cage adds kung fu to the mix, its world gets richer When Luke Cage adds kung fu to the mix, its world gets richer

In the 1970s, the only two places to see a non-white action hero was either in a kung fu film or a blaxploitation one. The two genres came together in Enter The Dragon starring Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly, who went on to star in several martial-arts inspired blaxploitation films. One model for a kung fu hero is the…

Luke Cage avoids respectability politics, goes for emotion Luke Cage avoids respectability politics, goes for emotion

Most conversations about blackness somehow end up being centered on black-on-black crime. However, the conversation about black-on-black crime is not always about black-on-black crime. It’s about a standard of behavior. It’s about setting the bar for compassion and sympathy for black lives. It inevitably ends up a…

Luke Cage worships the black body in its strength, power, and vulnerability Luke Cage worships the black body in its strength, power, and vulnerability

The word “Blaxploitation” has become a dirty word when it comes to TV and film—a genre ripe for parody, not worth a second look. When the films first emerged in the ’70s, they were a quick cash grab by white studios but became an outlet of authentic expression for black filmmakers and performers. Blaxploitation films…

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