Season 1, Episode 1.

Going into Marvel’s Luke Cage, we’re expecting another gritty and somewhat dark story that takes us on a journey. We know people are talking about the show being awesome because it tackles the stigma of race, but we’ve always felt Luke Cage would be universal in his appeal. Thankfully, we were right.

Marvel and Netflix have a great track record with opening sequences, and Luke Cage continues this tradition. Comprising of a bunch of photographs that show the personality and ins-and-out of Harlem, the sequence has an original backdrop that reminds us of a 70’s hip hop beat. The show also gives off this vibe, meaning they’ve pretty much got it spot on. Again.

After the events of Jessica Jones, Luke got away from Hell’s Kitchen (giving us a welcome change of scenery,) and has now got a little job in a local barber’s in Harlem, as well as washing dishes on the side. It’s obvious from the get go that he’s trying to live a normal life – much like he was when he ran the bar – so it’ll probably take a lot for him to get into fighting crime.

This episode wastes no time in establishing the core players in the show, with Cottonmouth and Mariah Dillard meeting at his club. Mariah is a crook politician, though she doesn’t seem to have the core values and corrupt mindset that Cottonmouth does. Misty Knight is introduced early on too, and the chemistry between her and Luke is undeniable from the get-go.

First impressions of the writing are positive – though they’re world-building at the moment, instead of delving into the story and setting Luke on the path of heroics instantly. Harlem itself feels like a character, much like Hell’s Kitchen in Daredevil, and that’s down to good writing. There’s enough connective tissue to other Marvel properties to keep fans happy – in fact it’s a little in your face at the beginning of the episode – but it’s a nice way of showing it’s all still connected.

It’s shot beautifully, with a consistent murky and gritty tone that matches the feel of the story. We’re impressed so far, and we’re hopping straight into the next episode.

8.4 Awesome

Moment of Truth is a case of world-building, while introducing the main players in the show.

  • Luke Cage himself 9
  • Cast 9
  • Cottonmouth & Shades 9
  • Mariah Dillard 8
  • Slower start 7
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Northerner with an interest in digital stuff.