With Can’t Front On Me we’ve reached the penultimate episode of a very fast-paced and eventful second season of Luke Cage. This was a somewhat tricky episode as the pacing of the season dictated this episode have some major fallout while leaving something for the season finale.
That led to everything coming to a head at Harlem’s Paradise once all the main players arrived.
Cage seemed to be legit torn. Mariah has thrown in with the Chinese gang to sell drugs labeled Bush Master in Harlem. This was an ironic and intentional twist on the Luke Cage drug that was sold in episode 1. Bushmaster was itching for payback, but even he couldn’t take on all of the gang. It’s here that we get the long teased Bushmaster and Cage team-up as they take down the gang. Together they’re too much for any regular opponent so it was fun to at least get it once.
Mariah is lining up new allies including Italian mob head Rosalie Carbone (Annabella Sciorra). As we saw last season in Cage, the writers are patient in lining up villains. This seemed to be an introduction to a character who will pose real problems next season. When Luke comes by to warn Mariah he’s staying out of her war with Bushmaster, she says she knows she can count on her dark chocolate Boy Scout saving the day.
Just to be on the safe side, Mariah throws a Unity Jam with special guest KRS-One. Horrified over her mother’s crimes, Tilda gives Bushmaster a super shot of nightshade to take out Mariah’s men and still get her. Tilda views Mariah as a virus that can’t be quarantined. That’s about right.
Shades meanwhile is busy spilling full gallons of tea in his interrogation with Misty. His glee in recalling all of his crimes doesn’t let up until he sees a picture of the Gwen’s massacre. To ensure Mariah goes away, Shades has to get the revolver from Mariah.
At times this season the musical special guest scene has gone a little long. With everyone converging on Harlem’s Paradise, I didn’t necessarily need to see KRS-One on stage for five minutes. Almost on cue, Bushmaster arrives through a secret passage to get to Mariah. He levels an impressive beat down on her guards while Luke and Misty quickly pursue.
Mariah was set to kill Shades, but needed him to keep her safe in the vault. Even with the super shot, Cage eventually beats Bushmaster down. I’m down with Mariah facing justice blah blah, but I was more interested in seeing what Bushmaster was going to do to her. With the odds firmly against him, Bushmaster escapes presumably with his new partner in crime Tilda.
Shades seizes the moment and hands Misty the revolver. Time to face the music Mariah. Misty is pretty happy about these developments, but Cage is correctly cynical and knows they haven’t won squat. Not with Bushmaster still out there and gunning for Mariah.
Can’t Front on Me left just enough lingering for an exciting season finale. With one more Cage/Bushmaster confrontation the catch is what’s going to be different this time since Luke is 3-2 against him now and seems to have the edge.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix