The second season of Marvel’s Luke Cage comes out of the gate strong. The first few episodes of the season show Luke Cage (Mike Colter) as a local celebrity after having defended Harlem from disaster in the first season. However, it seems there is always trouble brewing for Cage, and it isn’t long before his celebrity status begins to cause more problems than it is solving. Add in a new rival, Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir), who can match Cage’s strength and durability, and it’s going to be a tough road for the savior of Harlem.
All in all, the second season of Luke Cage is a good effort, living up to its first season and to the rest of Netflix’s Defenders titles (Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist). In addition to the requisite action and intrigue, Luke Cage does a good job with its titular character. Cage’s struggle to be the good guy and play by the rules when confronted with the worst humanity has to offer is compelling and well portrayed by the show. Other quality story arcs also highlight the struggles in other characters. Fortunately, the cast is up to the task, and there is some solid writing to help them along. The end result makes for an engaging show.
Despite all the things that Luke Cage is bringing to the table, the show is not without some flaws. The most noticeable is the 13-episode season could have used some tidying up, especially around the halfway point where the show bogs down a bit. There are a few plotlines that go nowhere and a few too many scenes that feel like filler. Perhaps a 10-episode season would have served Luke Cage better. Despite a touch of mid-season slump, Luke Cage finishes strong and winds up culminating in a satisfying conclusion. Unlike the first season, which felt like it was meant to stand alone, the second season feels like part of a larger world. This is not only because of its connection to the other titles in The Defenders franchise but also because the overarching story seems to reach past this season’s run. While it isn’t official yet, it seems likely that we are going to get at least one more season of Luke Cage, and maybe more, before the series wraps.