The second season of Luke Cage took Harlem's hero to some interesting places, leaving him in a dark spot with a season finale twist that changes everything going in to Season Three.
Warning: Major spoilers for Luke Cage Season Two below.
After putting Mariah Dillard in jail, Luke arrives at an uneasy truce with the Carbone crime family, where they decide to leave Harlem alone and Luke will not disrupt their business. If it seems like he's making a deal with the devil, it's because that's exactly what he's doing.
Luke ends up inheriting the nightclub Harlem's Paradise by Mariah after she is murdered in prison, hoping its position will corrupt Luke. It seems like her plan is working out in the end, as Luke stands on the balcony much like Cottonmouth would in Season One, all while the Carbones and other gangsters hang out in the VIP section below.
Showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker spoke about this major change in Luke Cage and how the titular hero essentially became the crime boss of Harlem, hoping he can stomp crime out by controlling it.
"The thing is, hopefully enough people will watch Season 2 to inspire Netflix to order Season 3. But one of the reasons that we did what we did was, if this is the last Luke Cage, we’re leaving in a very interesting place," Coker told CBR. "If we get to move on beyond this, it also leads us into an interesting, unpredictable place. […] You’ve got these mirrors to gangster politics, you’ve got these mirrors to presidential politics, because people always think that if they have the juice, if they’re in power, they can do things differently, and they begin to realize that all systems, in their own way, corrupt the people at the top of those systems.
"And so what it does is, the power defines who you really are, and it brings out both impulses, so I don’t care if it’s the perch at Harlem’s Paradise, I don’t care if it’s ruling the galaxy in Star Wars, I don’t care if it’s the presidency, that kind of power can corrupt you awfully, in really bad ways, if you’re not prepared for it."
Cage has since been kicked out of Pop's Barbershop for his position, shunning some of his former allies like D.W., Misty Knight (and her new bionic arm), and even Claire, all so he can do what he thinks is right for Harlem.1comments
It's an interesting place to leave the season, setting up some intriguing storylines for the series' future.
Luke Cage Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.