Grumpy Bird Reviews: Luke Cage s01e04 Step in the Arena

Having a one year old in the house, a full time job and aspirations of being a novelist means it is hard to binge a show unless I just want it to be background noise. Only just now finishing episode four. Slow and steady wins the race?

tumblr_oece3zgsba1r8iw09o1_r1_1280Luke Cage s01e04 Step in the Arena

writer: Charles Murray

director: Vincenzo Natali


Quick Review:

Overall this wasn’t an especially exciting episode of Luke Cage. It certainly wasn’t bad, but it didn’t seem to be that exciting. Due to it’s being an origin show, with most of the story being a flashback, there wasn’t any forward progression to speak of. Sure, we learned about Luke’s past but really only how he got his powers and that he was a cop. The rest of the insights are things we basically already new. Don’t get me wrong, it was an enjoyable hour of television, but I would call it more solidly done rather than engrossing.

Spoilers Lurk Below


Yes, we do get insight into Luke, but what really did this show us? He is a man of principal. He is capable of cutting insight. He can project a tremendous glacial calm while still being capable of explosive power. That he is willing to put himself at risk in order to help others. These are all things we knew about him from he first three episodes. Arguable even from his Jessica Jones appearances. The twist about him being a cop is new to me. I like it, but do wonder if there will be more to come from it.

I do have some nitpicks about this episode. These are little problems that might not bother anyone else, and shouldn’t really hurt the quality of the overall, but it does make me wince a bit. First off, I totally appreciated that we were given the classic Luke Cage costume. They just kept going farther and farther with it. We got the full tiara, bracers, yellow blouse and chain belt. Cheers for that. Still, having Cage then comment about looking awful just felt like a cheap shot to me. I really appreciate all the set up and that they are not going to use that outfit, but to end it how they did was a bit of a poke in the eye that wasn’t necessary.

The bigger, at least more sensitive issue, involves this episode being set in Georgia. I have to wonder why. In the comics Cage is from New York. This episode makes me wonder if they wanted to play things with (arguably only) a dash or racism mixed in with the prison corruption angle and that sort of thing always plays better with a southern twang. While I would never deny that racism exists in the South, (it truly does) it also exists in every other part of the US as well. Depending on how the rest of the show plays out, I am curious if there will be any other reason for making that change.

Edited to Add: In the comics, Seagate Prison was in Georgia, so that is remaining faithful. Maybe that is all it is?

Wrap Up:

Again, this show has some great performances and remains incredibly steady. Despite all my poo-pooing about little things my first thought when this episode ended was “start the next one!” I might not be hooked to the screen just yet, but I am certainly left wanting more.

Want to read the rest of my Luke Cage reviews?

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

One thought on “Grumpy Bird Reviews: Luke Cage s01e04 Step in the Arena

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