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Last night I finally managed to finish Luke Cage season 1 after a lot of being busy—and a lot of Internet and Netflix frustrations. Consequently, here is my (non-spoiler) review of the second half of the season, episodes 7-13. If you missed the first half, here it is.
If you’re looking for a quick verdict of whether or not to see it, the answer is: Yes.
Luke Cage follows in the tradition of Daredevil and Jessica Jones by offering a good, character-driven series that mixes in strong super-powered action. The character beats his extremely well, particularly with the main characters.
As I said in my review of the first half, episode 6 ties things up a little too neatly. After finishing the series, I can say that that neat ending may be the neatest one of the season! Episode 7, “Manifest,” picks up where 6 left off and builds from the foundation laid by the first half. The first half in fact did not conclude as neatly as it appeared, and this messiness propels the plot forward.
All of the characters get strong development, particularly Luke and Misty. Luke in particular does a good job of carrying the series as it delves further into parts of his past of which even he is not aware. The second half of the season also does a good job of setting Misty’s character on a similar trajectory to her comic counterpart.
The villains shift somewhat in the second half of the season, which is actually a good thing. It’s not that the villain who is removed for the second half was not compelling. Rather, the added villain adds a whole new element to the season that is far greater than what is lost. I wasn’t too enamored with the new villain at first, but by the end of the season I was completely sold. The character was kept out of all the marketing before the season, so I really don’t want to spoil the identity. But the entrance is pretty unforgettable.
The second half of the season works in a lot of good action sequences, including a really good final fight between Luke and the main villain. However, this fight does suffer a little. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how else they could raise the stakes when the hero has bulletproof skin and super-strength.
As a whole, Luke Cage season 1 definitely lives up to and exceeds expectations. The story is great. The characters are great. There are a lot of shared universe nods, but in general they do not distract from the story at hand. In fact, it’s a testament to how comfortable Marvel and Netflix are with this shared universe that we don’t even blink when supporting characters from the other series appear in this series.
Overall I highly recommend Luke Cage. And as far as sex and violence go, if you could get through the other series you will have no problem with this one. In fact, there is even less sexual content than Jessica Jones, and less violence and graphic imagery than Daredevil. I still don’t think I would recommend it for children, but if you’re not a fan of gore and sex you will be able to enjoy it.
If you’ve seen Luke Cage season 1, what do you think of it? Let me know in the comments, but avoid spoilers!