Thursday, October 6, 2016

Luke Cage - Code of the Streets

The second episode of Luke Cage works to push its title character out of the shadows and back into action. Pressured into service by a debt, Luke (Mike Colter) agrees to track down Chico (Brian 'Sene' Marc) for Pop (Frankie Faison) who hopes he can trade on his longtime friendship with Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) to save the young punk's life. What neither Luke nor Pop take into account, however, is the gangster's trigger-happy lieutenant who decides to shoot up the entire barbershop once he learns where Chico is hiding. While Cottonmouth gets some swift justice for Pop's murder, the attack is exactly what's needed to push Luke out of hiding and take action.

Putting the title character front-and-center, "Code of the Streets" works better than the show's first episode which spent too much time setting up a questionable villain and a host of supporting characters (many of whom won't make it out of the first few episodes). You can argue the show wastes more time than necessary on Pop, the barbershop, and shaking Luke out of his fog of disinterest. Pop's death certainly has an impact, but the same effect could likely have been achieved in far less time. Luke's survival in the attack alerts Misty Knight (Simone Missick) to the fact that there's something unusual about her latest one-night stand, a feeling which will only grow stronger in the next few episodes. Of course that insight is completely blind when it comes to her partner whose true motivations are far too easy to see.

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