[Review] Luke Cage Episode 2×08: “If It Ain’t Rough, It Ain’t Right”

written by Kiara Williams


This season has had a running theme of handling the bitterness of the past. In one of my earlier reviews, I talked about how anger isn’t automatically a bad thing, and I still hold that stance. Anger can be used to motivate and do something constructive with that emotion.

This episode starts to show the negative sides of anger via Bushmaster. He’s already taken Mariah’s money, her club, and even her lawyer. (And I admit, I feel for Mariah, but I cackled when the lawyer bounced on Shades because she was broke. “It’s just business”, indeed.) Bushmaster has taken all this and it’s still not enough, because he wants Mariah dead. He holds so much anger towards someone who didn’t even do anything to him directly, so even with everything he’s gained, he’s still going to use the nightshade to try and kill Luke Cage and Mariah. The original nightshade was already breaking down his body, but now he’s trying to make the ingredients on his own, which I doubt will have a better effect on him. His resolve to carry out his revenge is physically killing him.

On the flip side, Luke has to rush to the church to protect his father after he finds out that Bushmaster is going after people he loves. (And hell, Claire and Bobby ain’t there at the moment, so…) Of course, Papa Lucas being Papa Lucas, he refuses to leave, because Bible study. (Well, I assume it was Bible study; that crowd was awfully small for a church that big.) I got flashbacks to my younger days as a junior usher in my church when Luke started passing out the pamphlets. And did Papa Lucas smile?! Hm. Maybe he’s not completely bad. But I do hope his and Luke’s subplot is solved with more than just this bonding moment during the gunfight. We have a long way to go, so I’m not gonna worry about that yet. I did really enjoy Papa punching out one of his attackers. There’s a “fist of an angry God” or an Angemon’s “Hand of Fate” joke in here somewhere, but it’s not coming to me, so I’ll let you guys make your own.

Shades is on a level of gangster only joked about until now. He literally shot his friend and went to his mom’s house to tell her that her son had died. That is wild. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen one too many grieving black mothers over the past few years, but that scene with Comanche’s mother was particularly painful. Afterwards, Shades finds Mariah trying to pick up the quite literal pieces of her life in her burnt-down home. He’s grieving and angry, but he still uses that to convince Mariah to get up and start rebuilding everything. Oddly enough, he’s probably the best example so far of what I said before about using emotions as motivation. Shades gets shit done.

Mariah regains a bit of motivation from Shades, but she isn’t able to do much before the Stylers come after her and Tilda again. With nowhere else left to hide, Misty makes a phone call to ask for some help…from Danny?

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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