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TV Review: Marvel's Luke Cage - Season 1 Finale "You Know My Steez"

10.24.2016

Read Luke Cage Season 1 Reviews HERE!

EPISODE 13: "You Know My Steez"

SYNOPSIS: With all of Harlem bearing witness, Luke takes on the fight of his life in hopes of emerging as the defender his city needs.

Alfre Woodard, comic book, Drama, Luke Cage, Luke Cage TV Review, Mahershala Ali, Marvel Studios, Marvel's Luke Cage, Mike Colter, Netflix, Rosario Dawson, Superhero, TV Review

REVIEW: When the fight between Luke and Diamondback broke out at the end of the previous episode, the first thought that I had was how were they going to stretch the face-off to a full hour? Clearly, a battle of that scale was never going to happen on a series like Luke Cage, but what followed was so much better. For the first time since the inception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we have an ending that lives up to the potential of the material. This season doesn't end with a nice bow and the good guy getting the girl after defeating his adversary. No, Luke Cage ends with a downer of a finale but one that portends big things for this show in the future while doing what everything else in the MCU has not been able to do: be like a comic book. 

Interspersed with a flashback to Luke and Willis Stryker as teenager learning to box, the big fight between good and bad guy erupts in Pop's Barbershop before spilling out into the streets of Harlem. Like any good street fight, civilians egg on the combatants, most of them rooting for Luke. Stryker, equipped in a supersuit of Hammer tech, is essentially bulletproof and able to absorb anything Luke throws at him. He also strikes back and is able to injure his half brother, the first equal opponent we have seen on this series. The fight is long and arduous and draws out Misty, who loses her phone in the scuffle while Mariah and Shades try to get away. Shades drops the dossier that can exonerate Luke but with all of the craziness around them, no one can do much but watch the fight. Claire leaves Candance with her mom and rushes to Luke's side and gives him the emotional support he needs to finish this.

Alfre Woodard, comic book, Drama, Luke Cage, Luke Cage TV Review, Mahershala Ali, Marvel Studios, Marvel's Luke Cage, Mike Colter, Netflix, Rosario Dawson, Superhero, TV Review

Harkening back to advice a young Stryker gave Luke, the former Carl Lucas apologizes to his half brother while taking a barrage of hits. He wears Stryker down enough to crush his suit and be victorious to the delight of the citizens of Harlem. It is a powerful sequence that ends with Stryker taken into custody by Misty as well as Luke being arrested for the supposed murders his antagonist pinned on him. Claire refuses to leave Luke's side and the pair share a corny take-out dinner while Misty triumphantly questions Mariah. For the first time, we see cracks in Mariah's exterior but it is all too simple. Shades found Misty's phone and draws out Candace, executing her and giving the NYPD nothing with which to hold Mariah for her involvement in the death of Cottonmouth or Diamondback's plans. Misty loses her shit and almost her job. The cherry on top comes when Mariah's press conference revealed that Luke Cage is actually Carl Lucas which draws the Marshals to Harlem to take him back to prison. Without the dossier, he is out of luck.

Before heading back to Seagate, Luke passionately kisses Claire. To be honest, I fully expected Luke and Misty to end up together, but I really enjoy the amount of screen time that Rosario Dawson has gotten this season. Plus, she seems a better fit for this iteration of the character. I just hope Jessica Jones is okay with this when the crew teams up for The Defenders. As Luke is led away to prison, we get a stirring closing montage set to a performance by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at Harlem's Paradise. The club, now run by Mariah, is shown back in order. Mariah kisses Shades which cannot bode well for season two. Misty also arrives at the club, her hair up in an exact throwback to her character from the pages of Marvel Comics. We also see Bobby Fish discover the dossier which clearly means that Luke will be freed sooner rather than later, but Luke has also come to terms with closing a chapter of his life and hopefully will be ready to open a new one. What doesn't look good for Luke is Diamondback in a hospital bed recovering from their battle as Dr. Burstein looks on with an evil smile on his face.

Alfre Woodard, comic book, Drama, Luke Cage, Luke Cage TV Review, Mahershala Ali, Marvel Studios, Marvel's Luke Cage, Mike Colter, Netflix, Rosario Dawson, Superhero, TV Review

I was very impressed with the final episode of Luke Cage. As it has done all season, this episode relies heavily on music and political references to the life of African-Americans living in this country, specifically New York City. It does so in a way that doesn't condescend to the viewer while driving the message home about hope for a group of people who are often left without a hero to look up to. The season also ends on a creative high as the writers did not rely on killing off their villain but rather setting him up to come back stronger and more evil than ever in the future. With Daredevil having left Wilson Fisk alive and now Diamondback on the road to recovery, there could be a nice cabal of bad guys ready to face off against The Defenders next year. Here's hoping everything can be as good as this season has been.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Claire offers to get an attorney for Luke, saying she knows a good one. This is a reference to Matt Murdock. 

Final Verdict:

Season Verdict:

Luke Cage is by far the most balanced and well executed of the Marvel/Netflix series to date. As much as I enjoyed the faithful recreation of Matt Murdock and the unique themes of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage delivers on all fronts. It works to present a superhero that many audiences may not be knowledgeable of and injects him into a contemporary setting reeling from the real life politics of race in America. Luke Cage faces these issues head on and makes this bulletproof black man a symbol for an entire cultural group that has otherwise been without a relatable hero. But, the series manages to present this in a way that is inviting for viewers of any race or creed and that is proof enough that Luke Cage is worthwhile viewing. Plus, I am astounded that we got a superhero property from Marvel that didn't kill of the villain or end things on a happy note. That in and of itself is worthy of a stellar review.

NEXT ON MARVEL'S LUKE CAGE: Luke Cage will return in THE DEFENDERS, premiering in 2017 on Netflix.

Source: JoBlo.com

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8:00PM on 10/24/2016

Episode 6/10 - Series 7/10

The funny thing about this series is I thought it was great for the first 7 episodes. I'd given most of those episodes 8's and 9's. Unfortunately the last 6 episodes, while having bright spots, were in a big falloff from the first 7. Most of that blame lies with Diamondback. Styker is a terrible villain. He is corny, campy, and overly comic booky. His motivations are relatively weak. Netflix Marvel villains to this point have been a huge bright spot to the MCU as a whole. Of the top 3 Marvel
The funny thing about this series is I thought it was great for the first 7 episodes. I'd given most of those episodes 8's and 9's. Unfortunately the last 6 episodes, while having bright spots, were in a big falloff from the first 7. Most of that blame lies with Diamondback. Styker is a terrible villain. He is corny, campy, and overly comic booky. His motivations are relatively weak. Netflix Marvel villains to this point have been a huge bright spot to the MCU as a whole. Of the top 3 Marvel villains, the Netflix series own 2 of the 3. Loki, Killgrave, and Kingpin are the best they have to offer. So the expectation for Cage would be that it follows suit. It definitely did not. Well I correct that, it had the possibility of if Cottonmouth stayed alive. Cottonmouth had charisma, and while he would never be a physical threat to Cage, he was a great puppetmaster style of villain. When Styker entered the series took a huge downturn for me. Like I said far too campy, like he walked right out of the SW Arrow set. And while his suit, minus the helmet was pretty comic book accurate, it came off looking like a cheap ass janitor with a helmet. They changed Cage's uniform maybe they should have considered doing the same for Styrker, and this is coming from me a purist. I also hated the fact that Alfre Woodard was in it, not because I dislike her, but because she was just in Captain America Civil War 5 months ago playing a completely different character. Common Marvel there is supposed to be continuity here. I know its not the first time, but it is the most recognizable time. Her character was decent, but she should have been in a fat suit for it. Lastly Misty Knight, her jumps in logic were a bit too much for me. The character had some good moments, and she had good chemistry with Colter, but I got a little tired of the "I'm a strong black woman hear me roar" shtick they seem to interject at every moment possible with her.

Anyway DD s1 & JJ s1 9/10, DD s2 8/10, LC s1 7/10
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7:22PM on 10/24/2016

Really?

I thought this was the worst episode of the series. I hated the fight, and the macguffin of the Hammer tech suit (since when has Hammer been able to come up with magic outfits better than Stark's tech?) was beyond stupid (and looked terrible). I won't give this a thumbs down because I loved the series so much, but I'd give this episode a 5.
I thought this was the worst episode of the series. I hated the fight, and the macguffin of the Hammer tech suit (since when has Hammer been able to come up with magic outfits better than Stark's tech?) was beyond stupid (and looked terrible). I won't give this a thumbs down because I loved the series so much, but I'd give this episode a 5.
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7:33PM on 10/24/2016
True. May be it was Stark tech...he just didn't know. Moreover, May be Stark was using Hammer tech in IM3...I mean...it didn't take much for his suits to fall apart. :o)
True. May be it was Stark tech...he just didn't know. Moreover, May be Stark was using Hammer tech in IM3...I mean...it didn't take much for his suits to fall apart. :o)
+0
6:59PM on 10/24/2016
Spoilers Ahead.

So, I don't know where this is in the current timeline, in terms of the current Shield series (I'm 4 episodes in to that) so it's possible they haven't revealed themselves to the world yet. Still, the fact that a superhero brawl on the streets of Harlem is being shown live for all to see...I'm somewhat disappointed that one else made an appearance...no Shield to take the bad guy away (fair enough, they might still not be official yet)...or anyone else connected to the rest
Spoilers Ahead.

So, I don't know where this is in the current timeline, in terms of the current Shield series (I'm 4 episodes in to that) so it's possible they haven't revealed themselves to the world yet. Still, the fact that a superhero brawl on the streets of Harlem is being shown live for all to see...I'm somewhat disappointed that one else made an appearance...no Shield to take the bad guy away (fair enough, they might still not be official yet)...or anyone else connected to the rest of the MCU. I guess ninjas fighting vigilantes on a rooftop might be considered non super powered stuff...okay for local law enforcement...but this....this is something different. I guess all I can do is accept the fact that no one showed up in the final episode to connect this to the larger universe...but I'll be very disappointed if this does not get referred to in Shield moving forward.

As for the series as a whole - really enjoyed it - the first 10-15 minutes of this episode was as comic booky as you'll get which I think is mostly in contrast to how the series developed over the previous episodes (and what came after the first 10-15 minutes of the finale) - I'm okay with that. I still have Daredevil first...then this...then JJ.
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6:46PM on 10/24/2016
I still like the Daredevil series the most, especially the first season which had more time for Wilson Fisk, the best villain so far in the recent MCU-related shows and movies. Luke Cage is a close second. I didn't really care for the show Jessica Jones because I felt like it had too much filler, but I will say I like the character Jessica Jones more than Cage, who sometimes was dull but I think the character was written that way.
I still like the Daredevil series the most, especially the first season which had more time for Wilson Fisk, the best villain so far in the recent MCU-related shows and movies. Luke Cage is a close second. I didn't really care for the show Jessica Jones because I felt like it had too much filler, but I will say I like the character Jessica Jones more than Cage, who sometimes was dull but I think the character was written that way.
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6:39PM on 10/24/2016

Overall liked it, but..

The fight scene was extreme cheese. How many times are we going to have a lame crowd chant a fighter's name? Extreme cheeessee! Also when they were fighting on tv, were they moving really slow or was it just me?
The fight scene was extreme cheese. How many times are we going to have a lame crowd chant a fighter's name? Extreme cheeessee! Also when they were fighting on tv, were they moving really slow or was it just me?
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5:50PM on 10/24/2016
I agree with Preston_79 that the fight scenes were pretty weak especially compared to what we've been given in Daredevil, but the characters are a lot better developed and the writing is overall more solid and it doesn't have the shoehorned "zany antics" that make Daredevil feel like a bizarre cross between The Dark Knight and Friends. Overall, I like Daredevil and I like Jessica Jones, but I agree that Luke Cage is the strongest and most balanced series yet. Here's hoping Iron Fist is even
I agree with Preston_79 that the fight scenes were pretty weak especially compared to what we've been given in Daredevil, but the characters are a lot better developed and the writing is overall more solid and it doesn't have the shoehorned "zany antics" that make Daredevil feel like a bizarre cross between The Dark Knight and Friends. Overall, I like Daredevil and I like Jessica Jones, but I agree that Luke Cage is the strongest and most balanced series yet. Here's hoping Iron Fist is even better.
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3:14PM on 10/24/2016
The fight scenes are kind of weak, but overall it's a good show.
The fight scenes are kind of weak, but overall it's a good show.
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1:52PM on 10/24/2016

Y'all crazy

This episode sucked so bad, it brings down the rest of the season by a solid 2 points. What a terribly paced, terribly choreographed, tension-less final fight made that much worse by the cheesy dialogue and overly dramatic deliveries (as well as Diamondback's silly lookin special-kid helmet). And to top it off, the fight was done like 10 minutes into the episode, followed by the world's longest denouement. I didn't need 45 minutes of wrap-up, it really could've all been handled in maybe
This episode sucked so bad, it brings down the rest of the season by a solid 2 points. What a terribly paced, terribly choreographed, tension-less final fight made that much worse by the cheesy dialogue and overly dramatic deliveries (as well as Diamondback's silly lookin special-kid helmet). And to top it off, the fight was done like 10 minutes into the episode, followed by the world's longest denouement. I didn't need 45 minutes of wrap-up, it really could've all been handled in maybe 15-20. Even Misty, who was the breakout star of the show, started grating and making just too many dumb decisions by the end of the season to be really likeable. You guys are straight nuts givin this a 9. It's still better than most comic based TV shows, and on the whole it was great to see Luke get a show, but it's by far the worst of the 3 Marvel Netflix shows. It should have ended when Cottonmouth died and left it at that.
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1:56PM on 10/24/2016
Oh yeah, and the Luke/Claire romance came off forced and terrible.
Oh yeah, and the Luke/Claire romance came off forced and terrible.
10:29PM on 10/24/2016
Agree 110%. Garbage episode. Cringe ending with Shades, etc. My lord so bad. LC gets a solid 4/10 because the first half...second half fell off like a ton of bricks.
Agree 110%. Garbage episode. Cringe ending with Shades, etc. My lord so bad. LC gets a solid 4/10 because the first half...second half fell off like a ton of bricks.
10:58AM on 10/24/2016
I so want Fisk and Diamondback to team up at some point. Two larger-than-life villains is just too good to waste.

Luke Cage was overall an impressive feat to me. Daredevil and Jesica Jones both had episodes where it felt like they'd run out of material for a 13-episode run, and were stalling for time. Luke Cage didn't have that problem for me. Between his own story, paying homage to the history of Harlem, the recent focus on Black Lives Matter, the music, and all the says they found to
I so want Fisk and Diamondback to team up at some point. Two larger-than-life villains is just too good to waste.

Luke Cage was overall an impressive feat to me. Daredevil and Jesica Jones both had episodes where it felt like they'd run out of material for a 13-episode run, and were stalling for time. Luke Cage didn't have that problem for me. Between his own story, paying homage to the history of Harlem, the recent focus on Black Lives Matter, the music, and all the says they found to integrate these ideas into one show so that every episode was saying something, moving the story, or at least the theme of the show, forward. The idea of a bulletproof black man in a hoodie is total fairy tale, but what are superheroes, if not the modern equivalent of fairy tale heroes?
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