[Review] Luke Cage Episode 2×12: “Can’t Front On Me”

written by Kiara Williams


Man, I had to double-check to make sure I clicked on the right Netflix episode. Today’s intro brought to you by The Vampire Diaries!

When a new drug pops up in Harlem with the name “Bushmaster” printed on them, Luke sets out to go find whoever it was that set these dangerous drugs loose. Sounds like a Law and Order episode, but with superpowers. Sugar confirms to Luke that Mariah is the one who released the drug, thanks to her new partnership with the Chinese gang. Luke goes to investigate, and he finds the gang’s drug plant along with Bushmaster, who hasn’t forgotten about Mariah in spite of everything. Luke and Bushmaster team up to take down the plant, under the condition that Bushmaster doesn’t kill anyone. This brings about one of the best fight scenes so far, and I really enjoyed Bushmaster returning to Eddie Gordo status. His movements are slick and Mustafa Shakir did a fine job in these action sequences. Even after the plant is shut down, Luke and Bushmaster still wind up fighting each other until Luke chases him off, the lack of nightshade giving Bushmaster a big disadvantage.

At the precinct, Misty and Ridley have Shades in the interrogation room, using a voice recorder as Shades recounts his actions from Season One, confessing everything he’s done in the time we’ve known him. His lawyer quickly (and understandably) recuses herself from the case when Shades admits to being involved in the shooting at Pop’s Barbershop, and even though he tried to stop it, said lawyer’s son was nearly killed that night.

Shades also explains how Mariah’s pearl-handled revolver is connected to so many murders: Candace, Anansi, Pete Stokes, and Comanche, whose mother Janice was watching Shades’ confession. Ridley allows Janice to spit in Shades’ face before leaving without a word. Shades looks heartbroken, but he had it coming. Shooting Comanche for his betrayal was the most gangster thing I’ve seen since BeyoncĂ© put Jay-Z in the visual album made partially to drag him. Misty tells Shades that he has to get the gun in order to take down Mariah, or else the whole deal goes away. So Shades goes back to Mariah to pretend to try and get back together with her.

Before Shades gets back to Harlem’s Paradise, Luke shows up to tell Mariah that she’s on her own from now on, and that he won’t save her the next time Bushmaster comes for her. Mariah only laughs, claiming that Luke is too much of a hero to let her die, and that he’s the only man that Mariah’s been able to rely on to save her. Luke only doubles down on his warning; he’s off-duty. After Luke leaves, Mariah schedules a free concert in order to pile civilians into Harlem’s Paradise. If innocent people get caught in a confrontation with Bushmaster, Luke will have no choice but to stop it to protect them.

Bushmaster and Nigel have a run-in with…Tilda? She’s angry that her mother killed so many people pointlessly, calling her “a virus”, so she’s handing Bushmaster the key to killing Mariah: a supershot of nightshade. Tilda tells him not to take it all at once because it’ll adversely affect his body and mind if he does so.

So of course, he takes it all at once.

Mariah has led Shades into the underground lair that she’s made. Shades knows he’s probably screwed, and he’s proven right when Mariah pulls out her famous revolver on him, outing him as a snitch when she reveals the wire he’s wearing. Mariah almost shoots him, but Bushmaster breaks up the tension as he tears up the club looking for Mariah.

After a fight with Luke, Misty and Shades, Luke gets Bushmaster into a choke hold. Mariah shouts at him to kill Bushmaster, but Misty’s voice cuts in telling him not to. Finally faced with his anger, Luke overcomes it and lets Bushmaster live, allowing him to get away. In the chaos, Shades is able to get Mariah’s revolver and hand it over to Misty – finally, finally giving her what she needs to cuff Mariah and bring her in for all the murders she’s committed.

“Finally, a win,” Misty says.

But we still have one episode left, and Bushmaster is still running around Harlem. What’s going to happen when he and Luke clash for the final time? Will anything happen to Tilda by the end of this? Will anger end up consuming her as well? Will Luke’s fight be on camera this time so Harlem can finally lay off the man?

So many questions!

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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