Season 1, Episode 4 "Step in the Arena"
That story that came out a few weeks ago about Quentin Tarantino wanting to direct a Luke Cage movie in the 90s turned out to be oddly prophetic in regard to this week's episode. We take a trip to flashback city this week as the story comes to an abrupt halt and rewinds all the way back to Luke's (Mike Colter) days in prison. It makes sense now why Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) doesn't recognize Luke and I feel like an idiot for thinking otherwise two episodes ago because, yeah, I wouldn't recognize him either...
He looks like what's his name that played B.A. Baracus in that A-Team movie from a few years ago.
Okay, a couple of things about this episode. First and foremost, it was pretty great. There were some questionable choices throughout, but we did get the rather unexpected return of Reva (Parisa Fitz-Henley) and a fairly nice bit of backstory on her and Luke as a couple. Thankfully this prisoner/counselor relationship is nowhere near as offensively framed as it was in Suicide Squad, but I digress.
My other favorite character, who sadly doesn't make it to the end of the episode, has to be the crooked prison guard Rackham. They must have sent the actor who played him, Chance Kelly, to the infirmary after filming his scenes to get his stomach pumped because it had to have been full of all the scenery he was devouring. I kinda wish there were more villains like him in the Marvel Universe, unrepentant crazy people who fuck shit up when things don't go their way. His little fight club made for some of the more enjoyable moments in the episode.
Luke's superhero origin was pretty great too, even though it sent Rackham to an early grave and had more than a few overtones of both Frankenstein and Captain America.
The episode ends with the Iron Man-esque moment of Luke revealing his name to the press while Misty (Simone Missick) looks on in astonishment, and though it is a pretty blatant rip-off/homage to the ending of the first Iron Man, it was pretty cool hearing him say his name.
I enjoyed the non-linear storytelling on display in this episode, it definitely helped to suck me back in to the narrative. I think this was a better than average episode with yet another ridiculously low body count. Part of me wonders if shit's just gonna start exploding soon or if this will end up being the least violent Netflix series ever. Oh well, time will tell I'm sure.
Body Count: 1
Poor old Rackham, rest well, you were one in a million!