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REVIEW: Luke Cage 1×02 “Code of the Streets”

Well that was an explosive end to episode two! One that I certainly didn’t see coming. (Okay, so I did, a little… but not in the way that says it was predictable.) By now we’ve all gotten a little flavour of the different characters and their identities from the first episode, meaning episode 2 provided the opportunity to dig a little deeper.

And boy, did, “Code of the Streets,” delve deeper.

Let’s start from the beginning.

What a great opening scene.

Given that you’d (assumingly) just finished watching the first episode, this perfectly joins the two together. Not only that, but it misleads you into thinking you’re on the same page as Luke, which you’re not; and then it just changes the subject completely and leaves you on a little cliff-hanger!

I briefly wondered what would become of the poor soul who dared to put a gun to Cage’s head… then I remembered the Chekhov’s gun principle. For those of you who don’t what Chekhov’s gun is, it’s a rule in storytelling that dictates that everything must be of some relevance or importance to the story. Chekhov states, “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”

Hence, the name.

Taking that into consideration, I knew that opening was going to come back around later in the episode, the question was: how?

And keeping that in mind, I’d like to bring your attention to Turk. Oh, Turk. Did you grow weary of Daredevil constantly breaking your fingers and leaving you out to dry? Did you need a Mid-Town break from Hell’s Kitchen? I’m sorry it didn’t quite work out for you. (I’m not.) Maybe you’ll get to play chess with your friend some other time… (Side-note – I didn’t peg Turk as the chess playing type, so either there’s a lot more to him than meets the eye, or it was foreshadowing. And given the theme of shady deals and crime bosses, I’m willing to bet it was the latter…)

Next up on our closer look is Misty Knight. Sorry, Detective Misty Knight. There’s always something innately fascinating about a person who can dissect and analyse a scene from the smallest of details and it’s definitely a lot of fun taking a peek into their minds as they reconstruct an accurate retelling of a scene from mere fragments. Sherlock Holmes better watch his back! Powers of deduction notwithstanding, I can’t wait to see more of her. Simone Missick does a great job of not taking crap from anyone, including her partner Detective Scarfe, and there’s definitely tension between Misty and Luke that I feel is going to grow as she tries to figure out who and what he is.

Now, back to the main event.

This was a critical episode for Cage’s character. Before we saw him still at a point where he was running away from his past, now we got to see him slowly come out of hiding and ultimately accepting his identity. It was great to see him battling with the issue of Shades and trying to not let his past dictate his future.

I think that moment in the barber shop was well-timed and well-executed because it gave the audience a sense of this man’s internal conflict. Despite being invulnerable to bullets, knives and explosions, Luke’s mind isn’t as unbreakable.

So far, Mike Colter has done a good job of expressing his character’s emotional state, but I can’t help but want a little more. Right now, it feels a little flat to me and I’m hoping it picks up later. It is evident he’s still dealing with the trauma of acquiring his powers, so that juxtaposition of external and internal conflicts is what is going to motivate him in future episodes. And I’m excited for that because that’s going to be terrific to watch.

It’s also interesting to consider that Wilfredo ‘Chico’ Diaz is to Luke what Hope Shlottman was to Jessica Jones. A cause to get behind. A shot at redemption. Something for our heroes to fight for, protect, defend. With Jessica it was the death of The Shlottmans, with Luke, the death of Pop. This moment in the story is pivotal to the growth of Luke’s character, and ultimately the bubbling situation in Harlem.

And now that the metaphoric Switzerland is gone, who knows what will happen?

What did you think of Luke Cage 1×02 “Code of the Streets”? What possible directions can the story go in? Give us a shout in the comments or on Twitter! Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for the next episode review!

About the author

Z. B. Hunter

Fresh out of university, Zaibien is hoping to make a splash in the world of literary art. When he's not figuring out new ways to subvert the fantasy genre, he's somewhere between writing his first novel and wishing there was a way to telepathically communicate his ideas onto paper exactly as they are in his head.
Unlike his characters, we can't all have superpowers, so he's just having to settle with reading comics, going to the gym and occasionally pouring his heart out over his laptop.