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Gabrielle Dennis as Tilda. Photo taken via screenshot of the official Luke Cage season two trailer.

**This review contains spoilers for “Pete’s Sake” and events that occurred in Marvel Netflix shows prior**

“Harlem doesn’t need a hero…it needs a queen.”

Well I guess they couldn’t get Danny’s help, but his empty building did the trick. The entire gang holed up in the closed Rand Industries building as everyone tried to figure a way out of their predicament. Even though everyone was grouped tightly in one space, one relationship took the bulk of the spotlight: Mariah and Tilda.

Man.  Their big scene was rough. It was brutally raw and emotional—much like Luke’s last scene with Claire.  The scene also took it’s time to unravel in a similar, impactful manner. The terrible and devastating truth about Tilda’s parentage came to light. I can’t imagine how much a truth like that could shatter someone. Gabrielle Dennis’ performance was truly soul shattering. Tilda will never be the same, as Mariah’s cold truths tore her down to the bone. With her being forced into helping Bushmaster, I can see her—out of spite—starting to go down a very dark path.

Mariah herself had her best episode—and performance—to date. We finally got past all of the crocodile tears. The lies. The bullshit. Her history with Uncle Pete was heartbreaking and put her entire character into perspective. Speaking her truths aloud freed Mariah to be who she truly is:  a cold-hearted woman of drive who was meant to be in this business. But man did she emphasis her coldness. It was hard watching her completely tear down her daughter—admitting that she didn’t ever want to love her despite her attempts to. It was all a show. This was the episode that was truly her turning point. Mariah is now The Queen she kept always trying to deny herself…and Harlem should be scared.

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Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard. Photo taken via screenshot of the official Luke Cage season two trailer.

While Mariah and Tilda’s story reached tragic heights, things were far more uplifting for Luke Cage and his father. That personal Judas bullet that Claire warned Luke about may have just been fully mended.  The two of them have put the past behind them. It’s nice to have a happy parental relationship now, especially after Mariah’s cold abandonment of Tilda.

Misty had an intriguing struggle as she had to decide whether or not to give Mariah full immunity in exchange for Bushmaster’s arrest—AKA the more immediate threat. The parallels between her and the late Captain were great. Misty couldn’t get past the fact that their last conversation was her reaming him out over trying to cut a deal with Mariah. Yet, here she is about to give Mariah the deal of all deals. Thankfully for Misty, it all didn’t matter in the end—but the fact remains that she was ultimately willing to do it for the greater good of Harlem.

Thanks to Nandi being a dirty cop, Bushmaster eventually made his way to the Rand building.  It’s here that he led another bombastic attack against our protagonists. This time though, Luke had the upper hand and bested Bushmaster—even making sure to swat away his paralyzing powder. The sequence overall was really great, and watching everyone hold their own against Bushmaster’s onslaught was satisfying.  This season continues it’s trend of great action sequences, though I’m not sure if it has quite bested Daredevil yet.

Another great episode kept the show’s momentum going as Mariah stole the show by embracing who she really is. She has escaped the police, and thanks to Shades has an upper hand over Bushmaster. Having escaped police captivity fairly quickly, Bushmaster isn’t in a good state.  In fact, he has gone to Tilda and is forcing her to help him replenish both his health and abilities. Lucky for him, Tilda isn’t feeling very fond of her mother right now.

What did you guys think about the episode? Make sure to leave your thoughts down below! Please be courteous by not talking about any details or spoilers from future episodes.  Also make sure to check out our Luke Cage season 2 HUB to keep up to date on all of our reviews for the new season!

Bonus Notes:

  • The way that Mariah stole Luke’s father’s phone was entirely unnatural, and the scene was oddly blocked.
  • I really enjoyed the episode’s effort to not forget Mariah’s actions of the past, particularly her killing of Cottonmouth.
  • I really did think this was the Danny episode. Guess we gotta keep waiting!


You can catch Luke Cage Season 2 available now on Netflix.