Grumpy Bird Reviews: Luke Cage s01e02 Code of the Streets

Episode two is out. Yeah. And it is kind of what I expected. What does that mean? Read on.

tumblr_oece3zgsba1r8iw09o1_r1_1280Luke Cage s01e02 Code of the Streets

writer: Cheo Hodari Coker

director: Paul McGuigan

Netflix

Quick Review:

What Luke Cage brings is a lot of excellent performances. And some pretty excellent music that harkens back to the blaxploitation movies this is echoing while still somehow feeling modern. I goes that also goes for the basic design and costuming as well. What it doesn’t offer is much surprise as this episode does seem fairly paint by numbers. So while executed quite well, Have to admit that having a plot that creeps forward in only the most expected of ways doesn’t fill me with much excitement for this season.

Spoilers lurk below

Analysis:

In college I had a friend who was fairly obsessed with Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. I have to be honest that I haven’t read his actual writings but have certainly heard the sermons. The hero is called to action. The hero refuses. Bad things happen to get him moving. And I think that is the shortest version of the ever told.

When I watched the first two episodes of Luke Cage my first thought was “I guess this was the prologue.” And then I started thinking “doesn’t this line up almost exactly with the hero’s journey?”Maybe if reduced enough it does. Basically until the end of episode 2 Luke is refusing to get involved and the end of the episode he decides he needs to do something.

I guess what happens from here on out will be the exploration of his actions and from what. Right now Luke has no allies and no real attachments. He’s lost them all. There is an interesting angle because so far in these shoes we’ve had heroes with communities to lose. But then again, the show is setting up Luke to be the protector of Harlem, so maybe that will end up being the target at risk.

I guess right now I just want more wheels in motion. We have Luke, who while very charismatic is also still a cypher. We have number one baddie, Cottonmouth, and mystery baddie, the power behind Shades. Then there is the corrupt politician who might also be violently against anyone not black living in Harlem. And there is Misty Knight who is currently following the action and not yet taking part in it. I’m worried that the next eleven episodes will just be these threads circling each other again and again.

It probably isn’t fair that I am judging this show and my perceived failings of what has come before, but they all exist in the same world and all have similar feelings. I’m worried that this will be another aesthetically pleasing show with great performances and great mood but ultimately lacking greater substance.

Please prove me wrong.

Wrap Up:

This version of Luke Cage is from Savannah, Georgia. Only mentioning that because Savannah is where my family moved to when I was in the 5th grade and is as much home as any part of the world. Now I’m wondering which part of Savannah Cage is supposed to be from. And also hoping that we get a super hero show in the South. But the real South, not the fake version we so often see on TV.

Want to read the rest of my Luke Cage reviews?

Episode 1


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