Luke Cage Season 2 Episode 8 Review: If It Ain’t Rough, It Ain’t Right

Fears that the season might slip up after episode 7 have, at least for now, been assuaged by this episode.

This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

This review contains spoilers.

Luke Cage Season 2, Episode 8 

Fears that the season might slip up after episode seven have, at least for now, been assuaged by this episode which might actually be my favourite so far. Is that just because of the A+ advancement of Shades and Mariah’s plotlines? Well, yeah, probably, but look at it this way – the Netflix shows have largely been great with their villains, and so I feel absolutely zero shame in preferring them to Luke.

What I liked most about this episode, actually, was seeing Mariah rattled. She’s lost almost everything – her friends, her club, her money – but even though it looked like she and Shades were going to tear themselves apart, his coolness managed to prevent them from turning on each other and instead made them stronger. His speech about how she can’t just quit because she’s a gangster was actually great, though let’s face it, the people who hang out at Gwen’s aren’t going to be as excited as I am.

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I’m also glad someone finally looked into Bushmaster’s powers, given that they likely know the source of them. Tilda and Mariah’s relationship isn’t the strongest aspect of this season but it’s thematically on point with the focus on inter-generational sins and debt, so I appreciate its place in the story. I like that Mariah does genuinely seem to care for her, even if it is in her own twisted way.

It was also good to see Misty grilling people for information about her chief’s death. I knew Shades’ second gunshot was going to come back to haunt him, but with credit to him (and his one-time lawyer) he knows he just has to stay quiet and they can’t make it stick. The tension between what the cops know and what they can prove is a great source of drama for this season, and while the department seems oddly small it is, at least, easy to empathise with their problems.

(Actually, as an aside, I’m enjoying people jumping to the wrong conclusion too – Comanche thinking Shades was onto him, Comanche’s mother thinking Shades was lying to her, Misty thinking Mariah was in on Ridenhour’s murder – it makes the accurate guesses we see seem all the more impressive if we know people are fallible too.)

I think I’ve even been won over by Luke’s father being genuinely reformed too, which means if there’s a last-minute twist where he’s the mastermind behind everything I’m going to end up rolling my eyes a lot. (Do you think he knows his other son is actually alive somewhere out there?)

Perhaps the only real criticism I’ve got of the show at this point is that Luke isn’t really driving the narrative, which was a problem for bits of last season but when it comes to this episode I’m not sure what he was even doing for big chunks of it.

Suggesting he calls Danny Rand though? Mate, that is not going to win you many friends inside the fandom. Although let’s be fair, I’m quite looking forward to seeing dumb ol’ Iron Fist turn up just to see if Coker can make him cool, or whether he’ll lean into him being so stupid he almost helped destroy the whole city.