Luke Cage’s second (and sadly last, thanks a lot Netflix) season continues with “For Pete’s Sake,” a title that takes on a whole different meaning as the show goes on. It opens with Luke, Misty, Reverend Lucas, Mariah, and Tilda on the run as Bushmaster’s thugs look for them. Mariah is thrown for a loop when she finds out Harlem’s Hero knows billionaire Danny Rand, but Luke isn’t about to give her any information he doesn’t have to. They get inside a Rand facility to hide out and figure out what to do next. Reverend Lucas wants to pray, and, to no surprise, Mariah mocks him for it. Her daughter goes by Nightshade in the comics, but Mariah herself is more like pure poison. There’s a lot of snarking throughout the episode between Misty and Mariah, and I think Misty gets most of the better lines.
Bushmaster gets to Mother’s Touch and finds his thugs defeated, moaning about Luke Cage. Bushmaster is furious and ups the reward for Mariah and Tilda to $3 million each. That is a hell of a reward, you have to admit. Back at the Rand building, Reverend Lucas is feeling the aftereffects of punching out the thug last time, and Tilda helps care for his hand. While the reverend and Tilda seem to be getting on quite well, Mariah is continuing to be difficult, at best, with Misty and Luke. Misty is pressing Mariah to testify against Bushmaster, and Mariah is refusing. After some back and forth, Mariah makes her demands, which infuriate Misty. Misty pulls Luke aside, protesting even considering what Mariah wants, and Luke makes some very good points. Misty asks about Luke testifying instead, and he again has some good counters for the idea.
Bowing to the inevitable, Misty goes back to the precinct. After a few words with sometime friend/sometime rival Nandi Tyler, Misty finds out that, for now, her new boss is Deputy Chief Ridley, a familiar face from Season One. The two bicker a bit before Misty asks for a private meeting to discuss her news. Since Misty is gone, Mariah hurls insults at Luke for a while instead, arguing over what Harlem really needs. Luke gets some great lines in. At the end, they stalk off in separate directions, despite Luke just now saying he wasn’t letting her out of his sight. Didn’t really stick to that one, Luke. Misty and Ridley finish hammering out the details and Ridley goes to talk to DA Tower, who was part of Daredevil’s second season. I do (or did, I guess) enjoy the connectivity of these shows.
Luke loses an argument with a vending machine, and he and his father have an actual talk, no screaming, blaming, or recriminations. When he’s not being a dick, Reverend Lucas is a smart and insightful man, and offers Luke some good advice. They talk about family, nature, being a man and a hero. Lucas does make a passing comment that gets Luke’s interest. Misty and Ridley finish up, and Misty reflects on her final words to the late Captain Ridenhour. The two talk about growth and change, and the details of what’s going on. Unfortunately and foolishly, they do this where they can be observed and Bushmaster’s offer is tempting.
Luke interrupts Tilda’s studying for the two of them to talk. He asks questions about Bushmaster, and Tilda shares some of her background. She’s worried she helped power up the criminal, and isn’t sure what she can do about it. This also circles back around to their first meeting and some things Tilda asked Luke. She agrees to help against Bushmaster, but has a surprising condition.
Bushmaster’s thugs are screwing around with their new weapons as Anansi warns Bushmaster about the side effects of the potion giving him his powers. There’s some cryptic reference to another project that Sheldon is working on for Bushmaster, and then everyone gets surprised when someone walks in and offers up information on where Mariah is. Some of the thugs are acting like kids with the new armament and Sheldon angrily admonishes them.
Mariah goes to talk to Lucas, and right off the bat you know she’s up to something. He talks about seeing her on the news. They have a very wide-ranging and philosophical conversation about raising kids and their respective failings. It seems like a good conversation, until the very end when Mariah pulls something slick and shows what she was up to all along. When her trick comes to nothing, Mariah ends up talking with Tilda. It’s one of the most brutal, ugly scenes I can remember in a long while. Tilda asked for the truth, and you know that old saying about be careful what you wish for? I feel really bad for Tilda by the end of this, and really want to punch Mariah. A lot.
Misty gets back with the deal Mariah wanted, and the annoying gangster takes her time going over it, slowly, taunting Luke and Misty. Deputy Chief Ridley leads a raid on Harlem’s Paradise, but it doesn’t go as either planned or hoped for. Just as Misty is putting the pieces together about what all this means, a caravan of thugs pulls up outside. Bushmaster is coming to play, and he brought lots of friends and firepower. Bushmaster yells out an offer which Luke seems to actually consider. But, of course, he’s a hero, so this is going to turn into a major fight. It opens with a flying desk versus a rocket launcher and goes from there. Luke and Bushmaster square off, while Misty deal with the thugs that get inside, and even gets a bit of help. Considering some things I’d heard about the season and a guest star, I was halfway expecting a very different type of help, but it didn’t show up. Oh well. My idea would have been cool. The fight ends with Bushmaster taunting Cage, and Luke taking the high road.
The police arrive in time to help clean up afterwards, and the EMT’s take a look at Reverend Lucas. He and Luke have a really good talk, which is touching to hear. Misty and Luke have a nice little moment, too, and Luke congratulates Ridley on her promotion. Reverend Lucas makes Luke a surprising offer, which Luke is tempted by, but has to turn down, at least for now.
Since there are still a few episodes left in the season, it’s no surprise at all that Bushmaster escapes. It’s a little surprising how he does it, which speaks to both his level of dedication to his cause, and the police’s utter incompetence in searching him. Tilda goes back to her shop and gets several unpleasant surprises in short order. The woman is having a really bad time of it this season in general and this episode in particular.
The episode ends with Mariah walking down the street. She’s gotten away from everyone, again, proving she earned the Cockroach nickname much more than the late Mr. Hamilton. She meets up with her one remaining ally, who, in turn, has a surprise for her that should send Bushmaster over the edge.
What I liked: I was glad to see Luke and his father talking like they did. It showed growth on both characters’ parts. Misty made some hard choices. There were some great bits in the big fight near the end. I was glad to see Luke was at least somewhat tempted by Bushmaster’s offer.
What I didn’t: Mariah. She’s just utterly without redeeming qualities. She’s vile, evil, heartless, and picks at everyone around her until she draws blood. I felt so bad for Tilda. I still like my idea for the help that could have gotten there for Luke better than some of what happened. The cops screwed up royally in their part in Bushmaster’s escape.
I thought this was a really good episode. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5.