[Review] Luke Cage Episode 2×05: “All Souled Out”

written by Kiara Williams


There’s a saying within the black community: “Your skinfolk ain’t always your kinfolk.” It means that other black people don’t always have your best interest at heart, no matter what good you may have done in the past.

Mariah Dillard tends to flip switches so fast whenever someone crosses her that it’s hard to tell when she’s being sincere. When Mariah opens the Family First Clinic, she tries to convince Tilda to join in with the new family business. If Mariah is still following the plan from earlier this season, this is all just a ploy to make Mariah look like a family woman who’s trying to reconnect with her daughter.

Her clinic is lined with images of famous and impactful black women from history, and I can’t help but wonder if she’s just using these images to help improve her own. In general, black people respect those who know the history of our people, so the images of Sojourner Truth, Mary McLeod Bethune and other women – along with the “Family First” name on her clinic – is pretty damn good marketing to make Mariah look both knowledgeable and family-oriented. Mariah also tries to use this tactic on Tilda to convince her to join the clinic, which, woo boy that made me mad. Referencing the historical struggles of the black woman in order to manipulate her daughter made me angry, and I was glad to see it didn’t work.

Well, poo, we didn’t get too much badassery with Misty’s bionic arm just yet, but that’s all right. It was actually very interesting to see Misty adjust to her new arm. It reminded me of when characters adjusted to automail in Fullmetal Alchemist. So far, it’s been endearing to see Misty move past her internalized ableism and begin her new life with a bionic prosthetic. I really, really want her to deck Cockroach with that arm. C’mon, I’ve been so good, Santa!

Speaking of Cockroach, at the end of the previous episode, Luke was served papers. Cockroach is suing him for the beatdown he took at the end of Episode 2, and Luke’s status as an ex-con is leaving him without many options other than settling the suit outside of court. So, Luke needs money. Don’t we all?

Luke’s lawyer sets him up with a deal to appear at a millionaire’s party. This guy, Piranha, is a “fan” – and I use that term loosely – of Luke’s and offers more than enough money to help Luke out of his jam. It seems simple enough until Luke starts to get treated like a sideshow instead of a guest. In real life, celebrities are often paid to go to clubs as guests in order to draw crowds, but they’re never told what to wear or made to perform tricks for the host who invited them, and that’s exactly what Luke is forced to do in order to get his money.

I got a bit of secondhand embarrassment watching Luke be told what to do like some birthday party clown. “Put your hood up”, “Take a picture with them”, “Let me shoot you”. Piranha himself is black, so it was disheartening to see him treat Luke as his “pet bitch”, knowing the help and inspiration Luke’s given to Harlem as a whole. Even when Luke tries to tell Piranha that he’s putting people in danger by shooting him, Piranha doesn’t listen, as his entertainment seems to be worth more than people’s lives. Thankfully, Piranha gets his comeuppance quickly as he needs Luke to catch the people who interrupt his party to try and kill him. Luke does it…for an extra fee, of course. (Nice Heroes For Hire reference, by the way.)

The episode ends on a cliffhanger as Luke goes to do the job he’s paid to do. I hope we get to see a Luke/Misty team-up soon!

Luke Cage is available now on Netflix. Kiara can be reached on Twitter @DJPrincessK and her webcomic can be found at http://www.electricrosecomic.com/.

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