|Thought they were gonna do a more standard HUBRIS story but no.|
Stylistically, Cage picks up right where he left off. Lots of music, lots of slow-motion walking, lots of hooded street justice. Since the new villain (Bushmaster) is Jamaican and the leader of a Jamaican gang, there’s a lot more reggae this season, which is a bit on the nose but still works.
The plot so far is simple. Mariah is trying to go legit, so she needs to sell off her gun-running business to invest in plastics. But she seems to be in a constant state of desperation, trying to keep her criminal career, political career, and personal life all in the air at the same time. Luke Cage is trying to stop the drugs and the guns by punching them. And Bushmaster wants to take over Harlem, possibly because of a connection as yet unrevealed (he claims it’s his birthright).
The character work is... odd. I mentioned Mariah already and her weird, obsessive desperation, which was there in the first season but wasn’t as pronounced. She’s fucking Shades, and while I started out assuming one of them was using the other or both, I now think it’s the opposite - both of them act in ways that are only consistent with mutual desire/obsession/whatever.
I’m not sure what’s going on with Luke and Claire. Luke’s character has taken a turn for the dark, with an angry, dangerous, obsessive edge that is just on the edge of being out of character. I can see how they get there from the character they gave us in Season 1 and The Defenders, but it’s a looooooong stretch. I get that they may need to write Claire out of the shows, but is having Luke Cage boil over with toxic masculinity the way to do it? It’s certainly not the most appealing way.
At least Misty’s character moves make sense. She’s rushing to return to normal even though she’s not recovered, mentally or emotionally, from losing her arm, and all her beats ring true.
It’s a solid start, but like Jessica Jones S2, full of surprising and sometimes unappealing choices.