Episode 9 gives us a couple of great conversations as well as a superb action sequence, episode 10 comes really close to giving us the Power Man & Iron Fist TV show I’ve wanted since 1982, and the final three episodes bring Luke Cage‘s sophomore season to a resounding finish that makes me anticipate season three, y’know, a lot. Check out my review of the final third of season 2 of Marvel’s Luke Cage.
It’s also the final straw for Shades, but for a different reason. He’s not thrilled with the killing of innocents, and he’s right as far as that goes. Criminals killing criminals doesn’t get you much attention from the press or the police, but criminals killing innocents is a whole ‘nother thing. Mariah indiscriminately killed everyone in Gwen’s—including the domino-playing Greek chorus that I so adored from episode 3 (rest in peace, cranky old men)—and that’s a step too far for Shades.
But it’s only part of the problem. There was one survivor of that massacre, Bushmaster’s aunt, and Shades tracks her down, but can’t pull the trigger. Having to kill his best friend has broken him. He can’t be a gangster anymore, and he can’t be the chief advisor to royalty anymore, because Mariah has stopped taking his advice.
So he turns himself in, but even then he can’t get it right. He’s too in love with his lifestyle to be anything other than a dick when he’s making his statement, going so far as to alienate his lawyer (whose son was in Pop’s when Tone shot it up back in season one and is only alive because of Cage). That proves problematic for him, as Knight coerces him into going into Harlem’s Paradise wearing a wire (something a lawyer probably would’ve at least negotiated) and he’s later arrested because his deal was contingent on Mariah being convicted, a deal that evaporates after Mariah dies in prison at her daughter’s hands.