luke cage

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The slow inter-connection between Netflix’s four Marvel super-hero shows begins here as Misty Knight‘s (Simone Missick) multiple run-ins with Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) and the bitchy private eye’s proximity to dead bodies, which also allows her to meet a certain Hell’s Kitchen lawyer, and the more violent meeting between Danny Rand (Finn Jones) and Luke Cage (Mike Colter) whose separate investigations lead them to the same warehouse where the Chaste have been slaughtered. The Cage/Iron Fist battle is pretty much run-of-the-mill comic story with two heroes mistaking each other for adversaries and duking it out before discovering they are on the same side. While the Knight/Jones interaction is less explosive, it does help set the stage for the police getting involved in the heroes’ battle with the Hand.

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For a show that had 65 previous episodes to set-up all the characters necessary to tell a combined storyline, the first episode of The Defenders spends an awful long time reintroducing us to the characters from each show. Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is released from prison, thanks in part to the help of Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), and returns to Harlem and Claire (Rosario Dawson). Danny Rand (Finn Jones) and Colleen (Jessica Henwick) stop their worldwide travels searching for the Hand and return to New York after an encounter with a familiar deadly warrior. Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is slowly drinking herself to death and refusing to take any case until threatened to stay away from the search for a missing architect piques her interest. And Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), long since putting his horned-mask and billy-club aside, continues to struggle against leaving that part of his life behind.

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After that completely forgettable tease of the return of Elektra, we now have our first look at Netflix’s The Defenders which will unite the stars from the four previous series together in their fight against the Hand.

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Spurred on by the murder of Pop (Frankie Faison), begins targeting the stash houses of Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) and forces the gangster to pull back all his ill-gotten gains into a single location which, while heavily fortified, can’t keep out a man with unbreakable skin and super-strength. The episode offers another hallway sequence, made famous in the First Season of Daredevil and less and less impressive with each rip-off, as Luke breaks through every level of protection the fortress has in order to allow the police to confiscate nearly all of Cottonmouth’s wealth. This of course means reprisal from his enemy who escalate the situation and allow for the part of the origins of Luke Cage to be revealed in the next episode.

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The second episode of Luke Cage works to push its title character out of the shadows and back into action. Pressured into service by a debt, Luke (Mike Colter) agrees to track down Chico (Brian ‘Sene’ Marc) for Pop (Frankie Faison) who hopes he can trade on his longtime friendship with Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) to save the young punk’s life. What neither Luke nor Pop take into account, however, is the gangster’s trigger-happy lieutenant who decides to shoot up the entire barbershop once he learns where Chico is hiding. While Cottonmouth gets some swift justice for Pop’s murder, the attack is exactly what’s needed to push Luke out of hiding and take action.

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Isaiah Mustafa parodies his own Old Spice commercials and makes a somewhat convincing argument for his casting as Luke Cage. No, he wouldn’t be my first choice, but his version of the hero formerly known as Power Man would definitely up the banter and humor in the Avengers mansion.

MSH: What The–?! The Hero Your Hero Could Smell Like

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