SPOILER ALERT: Right away I will be getting into the death of a major character, and I already spoiled this once for one of our loyal readers in the comments section months ago (Weresmurf, I believe), so take heed.
Netfix’s Luke Cage was good, not great, but it was a decent watch. I still put the other 3 seasons of Marvel shows previously aired above it, and the show could have been better had they not killed off one of the best villains halfway through the series. There was excellent buildup to Mahershala Ali’s character (don’t call me) Cottonmouth, and in an effort to give one episode a nudge, they sacrificed him for the entire season, as he was pushed off a balcony to his death by his sister around midseries. This may have worked if this was a weekly show instead of a binge, but alas, I believe it hurt the series considering he may have been the best character on the show.
Recently, Mike Colter (Luke Cage himself) appeared on ESPN’s First Take where he was asked by a clearly perturbed Stephen A Smith on why the character was killed too soon. He answered with a sports reference to keep the relevant audience enthralled.
“The decision to do that was done way before we started production. It’s a lot of people that’s involved in this. When you do it on paper, here’s what it is. It’s like running a play in football. You do it in practice. It works. Looks good. In the game, it doesn’t work, and all of the sudden in retrospect, it seems stupid. Because what you have is all the series have a bad guy, and usually by the end of the season people are going ‘well, we’re tired of this bad guy and we think the bad guy should’ve been, we should’ve been able to resolve this in 10 episodes, in 8, so in theory you’re going, wow, you bring another baddie in, if the baddie is good and people are enthralled by this guy, now you’ve reset the series in a sense, and now people are in another direction, and they don’t know what’s going to happen.’ You basically knock them on their heels. It’s like running a trick play on an onside kick to start the second half. These things work, but when they don’t work people go ‘aww, that was ridiculous.'”
Well it was ridiculous. Ali’s character was way too good to die that early, and in that fashion.
UPDATE: I have translated this for non sports fans. He is basically saying that they threw a Hail Mary… bah now I am doing it… He is saying they took a gamble by killing Cottonmouth early, and it basically did not work the way they thought it would. I do not think they anticipated how popular Ali’s character would be.
We will next see Luke Cage in Netflix’s Defenders set to air this year, and it will feature a culmination of all previous Marvel Netflix heroes, likely in an attempt to save the world. The full ESPN interview can be seen here: