Marvel’s Luke Cage episode 2 viewing notes: Code Of The Streets

It's Day 2 of our episode-by-episode viewing notes for Marvel's Luke Cage, the latest comic book Netflix Original...

Luke Cage is back! In his own show! And so are our Marvel-Netflix episode notes where we’ll do a bit of commentary and reference-spotting for each episode of the series. Feel free to read along as you watch too, but please don’t spoil future episodes for anyone in the comments!

Code Of The Streets sees Luke tracking down Chico – the guy who stole Cottonmouth’s money – and bringing him to the barbershop. Unfortunately, a tipoff sees one of Cottonmouth’s lieutenants try to take care of the problem the old-fashioned way: a lot of bullets. Cage survives, though Pop is killed, which angers Stokes. Though not so much he can’t give his recovered money to Dillard.

As good as this episode is, not least the absolute shocker of Pop being killed, it’s hard not to feel a little worried for Misty Knight’s detection skills. She sees the bullet holes in Luke’s clothing and seems surprised he hasn’t got a scratch on him. I don’t know about you, but I feel like it’d be easy to put two and two together in a world where superheroes are a thing.

Unfortunately, this is the kind of situation where the Netflix shows are harmed by a shared universe. Really, Luke Cage wants to be a street-level drama with Luke at the centre and for us not to imagine that Iron Man’s flying around somewhere out there. But at the very least, you’d expect Knight to be saying “Does he have superpowers? Is he an alien? An Asgardian in disguise?” instead of “how is this possible there is no explanation”. I had this problem with Daredevil too and I’m still not sure there’s a very good solution other than outright ignoring the MCU as a concept. Which, to be clear, I’m okay with. It’s just a little distracting with the show trying to have its cake but not eat it.

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The best moment of the episode was Cottonmouth’s reaction to Pop’s death though. The little touch of him offering to fund the barbershop’s reconstruction before he realised the full extent of what had happened hit home really well. He clearly respected the guy, and as he says: “Believe it or not, there’s supposed to be rules to this shit”. Although apparently there’s no rule about not chucking your henchmen off a building when you lose your temper. No wonder Turk isn’t sticking around.

Reference-wise, there’s a not a huge amount in episode two but:

Turk, the guy who informs Cottonmouth’s goons where Chico is (and later has a great deadpan exit after witnessing Tone get turned into street-pizza) is the same guy from Daredevil and Jessica Jones. We’ve done this before but just in case Luke Cage is your first go around: Turk Barrett was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan in Daredevil (1963) #69. He’s been in both seasons of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, and even turned up in the 1989 TV movie, The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk.

And because I had to look up more on the historical figure, knowing nothing about him, Crispus Attucks was a mixed-race Native American/black man who was considered the first American casualty of the U.S. War of Independence. You can read more at Wikipedia.

Also, just because there might be a little grey area, Misty’s crime-vision isn’t a super-power or anything. It’s purely a metaphorical trick, like Sherlock’s memory palace.

Oh, and because I forgot to mention it last episode: Alfre Woodward isn’t playing the same character as she did in Captain America: Civil War. That puts her on a very short list of people who have doubled up on roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – but given the number of movies and TV shows that now take place there, that sort of thing is inevitable.

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Remember: keep the discussion as far as episode 2 only, please!

Read James’ viewing notes on episode one, Moment Of Truth, here.