The first episode of Luke Cage has graced us with its presence. The first thing I noticed is the tribute to Malcolm X. He’s one of my heroes, and was a great role model for the black community. The theme song is catchy too. I love all of the theme songs for the Netflix shows. Each one of them gives the show its own personality.
Mike Colter shines in the first scene of the show. I love the old school vs. new school mentality. It’s such a great scene because the barber shop in black neighborhoods is where generations collide. I was happy to see that dynamic explored because it felt completely natural. Colter is established as a no nonsense good guy who has traditional values. That old school vs. new school is touched on later too: Shameek, one of the boys in the barber shop, robs Cottonmouth and goes to a strip club to get girls while Luke has women wanting to be with him because of his charm and intelligence.
Cottonmouth is established as a know-it-all gangster and I love it. He’s youngster and thinks he has it all together. I love the scene at his club where we first see his cousin, Mariah, who is a politician. They’re doing this whole “Make Harlem Black Again” campaign. She creates the policy, he enforces it. The show does a great job of world building here. The story of this episode was solid too. Shameek, Chico, and Dante steal money from Cottonmouth. Shameek kills Dante because he’s a hothead. Cottonmouth picks up Shameek at a strip club and beats him to death. It was a brutal scene. Definitely setting up a solid story.
My favorite scene came after the robbery. Pops, the owner of the barber shop, and Luke talk about Shameek and Dante’s death. Luke says, “Everyone’s got a gun. No one’s got a father.” That hurts because it’s an unfortunate true stereotype of black young men. Pops reminds me of my own grandfather. He talks about how he would give the kids at the shop some accountability. It kept them out of trouble and made them feel important. That’s all a kid needs, whether they are white or black. My absolute favorite thing about the show so far though is the music. In one episode the music has surpassed both Daredevil and Jessica Jones. The show definitely has a soulful feel. I forgot how great jazz and soul music was because most shows featuring mainly black characters don’t use it. I was expecting old-school hip hop to start the show off, but this was a nice surprise.
Overall, this episode was great. My only negative was Misty Knight and Luke Cage hooking up. She seems like she’s going to be an awesome character, but that felt unnecessary. Her partner was okay, but I like how she carries herself. This episode was a great introduction to Harlem as a community and Luke as a character. Definitely excited to see more.