TV Review: Marvel's Luke Cage - Season 1 Episode 12 "Soliloquy of Chaos"

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EPISODE 12: "Soliloquy of Chaos"

SYNOPSIS: Misty digs deeper for the truth as the neighborhood’s power players throw the city into confusion.

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REVIEW: Jessica Jones and both seasons of Daredevil had issues leading up to their respective finales with the two or three hours before the last hour resulting in a mixed bag of drama and narrative. As I approached the penultimate hour of Luke Cage, I realized that there wasn't a truly bad episode in the eleven leading up to this one. So, I braced for impact and expected "Soliloquy of Chaos" to be a shit show. As it turns out, it is one of the better hours of the whole season despite a couple of missteps along the way. We have yet to really see Diamondback as a true villain after spending nearly half the season waiting for Cottonmouth or Mariah Dillard to be the thorn in Luke's side. While Diamondback offers much more reason for Luke to face off against him, he was never a real threat once he ran out of Judas bullets. That was, until this hour.

Taken to jail after his arrest at Harlem's Paradise, Luke manages to escape thanks to a cop who was friends with Pops. Luke, whom Harlem had turned on in the previous episodes, becomes a folk hero of sorts spurred by the words of none other than Method Man. Yeah, the Wu-Tang rapper appears as himself in a hold up at a local bodega. Even on the run, Luke stops to help someone in need and swaps hoodies with Meth which the rapper then talks about on MTV veejay Sway's radio show. This, along with the accounts of the civilians trapped inside the club who know Luke wasn't the attacker, leads to people donning hoodies riddled with bullet holes as a sign of solidarity with the Harlem Avenger. It is a nice touch which adds to the John Henry-esque mystique of Luke that has been building all season.

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

Diamondback begins to feel cornered and starts taking out the trash. First, he tries to have Shades killed. Instead Shades kills Zip and his crew and decides to turn on Diamondback. Mariah Dillard, more convinced than ever that she wants out of this mess is confronted by Diamondback who offers her a bag full of money to rebuild Harlem's Paradise. Diamondback then takes down Domingo and his gang who see a chance to take over all of the drugs and guns in the city. Diamondback instead takes them all out and unleashes a bomb in his warehouse, the first of many moves leading up to his big reveal at the end of the hours. The more time goes by, the more desperate Diamondback begins to seem and it becomes clearly apparent that his single-minded focus has begun to cost him his flock, namely Shades and Mariah.

With Misty trying to convince the NYPD that Luke Cage is innocent, everyone begins to plot their final moves in this chess match. Shades approaches Mariah with the goal being an alliance with Luke Cage to bring down Diamondback. Mariah will pin her murder of Cottonmouth on Stryker and Shades will offer Luke what he cannot refuse: proof that he was innocent and a chance to get his life back as Carl Lucas. Luke wants to finally end this and stop Diamondback once and for all and bring peace to Harlem, at least for the time being. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen from the actions of our characters. Claire Temple doesn't really figure into this episode which leaves us to wonder if she will appear in the finale to bring everything together. First, though, everyone has to meet at Pops' barbershop to plan their next move.

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

It is fitting that Bobby Fish is at the shop playing chess as all of the pieces converge. Mariah and Shades make their offer, but Luke is not convinced of their altruism. Misty appears and holds them at gunpoint after learning about Mariah's lies about her brother's death from Candace earlier in the episode. With everyone present, it seems inevitable that Diamondback will appear and he does. Wearing a customized suit of bulletproof armor with his enhanced gloves, Diamondback is truly able to go toe to toe with his half brother. Now knowing Shades and Mariah have stabbed him in the back, there is no going back for anyone. The finale comes up next and I cannot wait to see what happens.

The only missteps I found in this episode of Luke Cage was just how simply everything seems to work out for our hero. He easily escapes from the NYPD and everything goes just right for him to get back in the good graces of the people of Harlem. Diamondback's plan also seems incredibly naive. There do not seem to be any stakes leading into this last episode aside from the anticipated duel between Luke and Willis Stryker. Don't get me wrong, it is going to be one hell of a fight, but I was hoping things would line up a little more than just them punching each other. Granted, there is a whole hour left to go and a lot of unanswered questions, I just hope the show ends with a bang and not a whimper.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Willis Stryker's costume in the final scenes of the episode are the same design as his Marvel Comics character. Turk Barrett makes another appearance.

Final Verdict:

NEXT ON MARVEL'S LUKE CAGE: Episode 13 "You Know My Steez" - With all of Harlem bearing witness, Luke takes on the fight of his life in hopes of emerging as the defender his city needs.

Source: JoBlo.com



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