Note: There are minor spoilers for this episode! When discussing this episode in the comments below, please do not spoil future episodes of the series.
One of the biggest problems with Marvel’s Netflix shows has been their second seasons. In the case of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, both of their second seasons have failed to stick the landing. They always have a lot to live up to. Couple that with the lengthy break between seasons, and it often meant that those second seasons were underwhelming. It remains to be seen where Luke Cage ends up on the overall scale, but in terms of episode content, Soul Brother #1 puts things back on a right track and instills confidence that Netflix has learned from its mistakes.
Luke Cage’s popularity has risen in the wake of Defenders, and he seems to be enjoying his time as a superhero vigilante a whole lot more than say, Jessica Jones does. His popularity is everywhere; there are Luke Cage T-Shirts, a Luke Cage app, but his popularity can have negative side effects too – drug suppliers are branding their drugs with his name. It’s interesting seeing what effect Luke’s raised public awareness is having on his super-heroic activities, and it’s amusing seeing the bad guys who he confronts know that they’re not going to be able to harm him with their weapons, but it has to at least look like they’ve tried.
One of the biggest debates of Soul Brother #1 was whether or not Luke should be paid for his vigilante job. It’s a full-time position without the wages of the full-time commitment, and everyone – Claire Temple, Misty Knight et al, are all talking about the same thing. The debate’s resolution will be interesting to see by the end of the season. Comics fans will be aware that Luke is part of the Heroes for Hire team, and maybe Season 2 is pushing him on a path to that front? It would make sense for the two to make that connection, especially as Danny Rand is rumoured to guest star later in this season.
Having both Claire and Misty back for this second season is a welcome boost to the show’s supporting cast. Rosario Dawson excels as ever in her recurring role, and the more time we spend with Simone Missick’s character the more we get to know her and the more we see how she’s dealing with the loss of her arm. Mike Colter as always boasts charisma as Luke, and the only real negative here is that it’s rumoured to be Dawson’s last season in the Netflix corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that we’ll see one of the best Netflix Marvel characters killed off before the end of the season.
The soundtrack is one of the most unique things about Luke Cage and it has returned again in style here to make the show arguably the coolest Marvel show on Netflix. It’s got style and it’s expertly curated, from live performances to backing tracks, everything works. And that’s just the premiere; if you’re someone with an eye for music then much like the first season, Luke Cage’s music is going to be a real treat for you.
Whilst it’s too early to tell whether or not the second season will fall apart halfway through like the first did, Luke Cage puts all the pieces in place for what should be at the very least, a memorable ride.