Season 2 of LUKE CAGE definitely suffers a bit of a sophomore slump, especially in early episodes, but a show stopping performance from Alfre Woodard (Mariah Dillard) is worth the watch. The first few episodes of the season spends time following up the events from the first season finale. Luke is still struggling with accepting his super powers, while the rest of Harlem looks at him as a local celebrity and often times a novelty. He can’t walk down the street without someone snapping his picture, asking for a selfie or sharing his location on an app.
Because the show is setting up the season’s new villains and story arcs, we see a few familiar faces disappear to accommodate a host of new characters. Honestly, it was hard to keep track of the newbies. This season is saddled with a villain whose super powers are hard for the writers to explain and even more confusing for the viewer.
But, the no holds barred performance of Alfre Woodard as saves the season. Her grasp of who Mariah is, her motivations, her determination and vulnerabilities is truly one of the best performances of the year. Make no mistake about it, Mariah is one of the bad guys and she in this set of episodes, she owns it. In lesser hands, the character would be a caricature of a super hero villain, but not here. Woodard embodies Mariah as powerful, frenetic, sexual, damaged and sociopathic. Even though she has no super powers, can’t fly, or doesn’t have any epic fight scenes, Mariah is the true super villain of LUKE CAGE.
I really don’t understand why someone hasn’t built a series around Woodard. She is a queen and it’s time Hollywood recognize this fact!