Luke Cage Recap: Harlem's Hero Takes Multiple Kinds of Beatings in Episode 3

Luke Cage Season 2

Three episodes into Season 2 of Marvel’s Luke Cage, the title character has been dealt blows explosive, emotional, shoulder-dislocating and even concussive.

Despite being stronger than ever, has Harlem’s Hero lost his mojo?

Luke’s mission as this season opened is to 1) get “Luke Cage”-branded drugs off the streets and, along the way, 2) keep up-and-coming bosses from aligning with Mariah “Don’t Call Me Stokes” Dillard, who is aiming to go legit by pawning off her guns biz and using the haul to buy into a tech firm.

To the latter end, Luke sought out a discount furniture king who imports smack via his wares. Luke was led into a trap, though, by an old friend, and found himself in the belly of an exploding 18-wheeler. Emerging with only his clothes singed, Luke confronted “Merlin,” who responded by whipping out a gun and shooting the hero with a “Judas bullet.” Unlike last season, though, when the Chitauri-based munitions first surfaced, this time the bullet made impact with barely a whimper, causing Luke little harm.

Later, studying the point of impact, Claire surmised that Luke is more indestructible than ever, probably as a result of what Dr. Burnstein did to him late last season in the barn. So, just how super is he nowadays? Claire put her fella to the literal test, in a public, media-covered display of his strength, speed and agility.

Luke’s growing level of fame and notoriety, though, is starting to skew his sense of purpose. In fact, in a dare-you-to-watch scene at the close of Episode 2, he played judge, jury and (almost!) executioner when he interrupted Cockroach’s latest beating of his lady and proceeded to pummel and choke the thug to within an inch of his life, only easing his grip when he saw Cockroach’s cowered kid watching in horror.

Claire arrived to tend to a barely alive Cockroach, and then call in Misty — which, despite its outcome, Luke saw as a betrayal of sorts. That led to an epic argument between Luke (who insisted that “S–t’s getting done!” his way) and Claire (who countered that he is not being himself). When Luke’s frustration led him to punch a hole in the wall of the apartment, Claire was justifiably shook. After she decided to seek some space by visiting family in Cuba, Luke strolled the streets… in a defeated daze that left him vulnerable to a strike to the head, out of seeming nowhere, that sent him tumbling to the pavement.

Barely propping himself up, he saw the face of John McIver (aka Bushmaster), another of the would-be heirs to Mariah’s gun cache, and with whom Luke nearly traded blows with earlier inside a warehouse. (The Jamaican baddie is also rather bulletproof, thanks to his inhalation of a smoke made from a burned mash of nightshade and other ingredients.)

“You told me stay out of your yard,” Bushmaster bellowed in supine Luke’s face. “But Harlem’s not your yard, boy. It’s mine.”

What do you think of Luke Cage Season 2 thus far, and Bushmaster making his mark?