Season 1 of “Luke Cage” can be a bit over the top at times, but when you have a lead character that has super strength, sometimes huge measures are needed to take him out. Like Cornell who decided to blow up Genghis Connie’s with a rocket launcher after he found out that Luke Cage was responsible for ripping him off. Will Luke and Connie survive an entire building collapsing on them? Well we know Luke will, but what about Connie… it’s time to find out.
While trapped under the debris of the collapsed building, Luke has flash backs to his time in prison and we get our first bit of Luke’s backstory. It’s a flash back episode!
Before he was Luke Cage, he was a man named Carl Lucas, who is a former police officer. While in prison he meets a counselor named Reva, his future wife, who guides him into opening up and making friends. During one of their sessions, Carl pushes Reva to open up about own her past and while she doesn’t in the group, she does to just him afterwards saying that she had a brother in jail who needed her while she was busy off getting her degree. The bond between them starts to grow between them.
Shades is also a prisoner there and with a push from a crooked guard named Rackham, they decide to see how long it will take to break him. Shades and another inmate try to beat Carl to the ground, but even without his super powers he’s still fairly strong. After seeing how well Carl can fight, Rackham offers him a trade: If he enters the prison fight ring and wins then Rackham will give him a better life at the prison, but Carl says no. After making friends with a man named Squabbles, Rackham threatens to beat Squabbles until Carl participates. Eventually Carl submits and when he gets to the ring, he notices cameras taping the fight, learning that Rackham is streaming these on the internet for cash.
The inmates think that some of the other prisoners are being experimented on, and while they have no proof (except for people talking), they try to bring it up to Reva. She gives her word that it’s not happening. Later Carl confides in her that there is an illegal fight ring going on and that Rackham is going after people he cares about, so she needs to leave, but she won’t.
He confides in Squabbles that he’s building a case against Rackham to shut everything down. Will he turn on Carl? He does after they beat Squabbles to death and he’s not the only one that gets a bad beating – Shades and another inmate work Carl over until he’s put in the infirmary. Luke is in such bad shape that the doctor doesn’t know what he can do because Carl is dying, but Reva begs him to do whatever he has to. Bring in the experimentation!
While in the “healing” experimentation tank Rackham comes in and messes around with the experiment to try to kill Carl, but instead it gives him his powers. After realizing he has super strength he punches a hole through the wall and escapes prison. He calls Reva and when they meet up he tells her about the abilities he’s gain as their relationship grows closer. He decides to change his name now that he is a fugitive, and because his father was a preacher, he lands on Luke because of a passage his father used to read to him from that chapter of the bible.
Back in the real world Luke and Connie both wake up and her leg is trapped under a rock. He reveals to her that he has super strength and that he’s going to get them out of there. After smashing through all the rocks he is able to get him and Connie out of the mess. Misty wants answers on how he not only survived the explosion, but how he got out from underneath the rocks, but he’s not ready to talk.
Before going into this show we didn’t know a lot about Luke Cage, (spoilers ahead) just that he eventually marries Jessica Jones in the comic books, so getting a chance to learn how he got his powers and how he met Reva was great. We were also happy that this episode happened pretty early on, so now we have the build up and the history out of the way, we can focus on Luke’s battle with Cornell. Episode grade: B
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