This article contains spoilers for the Marvel’s Luke Cage season two episode – The Main Ingredient.
This episode starts with Luke Cage (Mike Colter) walking down the street, but not getting the love he used to. Now he gets complaints and criticisms. He gets to the barbershop where D.W. Griffith (Jeremiah Craft) shows him the new merchandise, sweatshirts that say, ‘Sweet X-Man’, ‘Sweet Sister’ and ‘Power Man’. But they’re not selling because John “Bushmaster” McIver beat Luke on video but no one filmed Luke beating Bushmaster. Danny Rand (Finn Jones) shows up with the idea of helping Luke find Bushmaster. D.W. loves that Danny calls himself the Iron Fist and says that he’s going to put ‘Power Man and Iron Fist’ on a sweatshirt. Luke is hesitant to accept the help, but realizes he has no choice and agrees as long as they do it his way. Misty Knight (Simone Missick) is trying to figure out where Nandi Tyler (Antonique Smith) has gone. Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) and Hernan “Shades” Alvarez (Theo Rossi) regain control of Harlem’s Paradise and all of her money because Ben Donovan (Danny Johnson) was able to prove that the transfer done by Piranha Jones was done while being tortured. Donovan asks if that makes up for things between them, she grabs him by the groin and says, “not by a long shot.”
We go back to the barbershop where Danny asks Luke about the fight, how Bushmaster reacted, if he bled and worked out that after the explosion he would need a doctor. Someone special, off the books. As they walk, Luke comments about how Danny seems different, settled. Cut to the station where Misty and Priscilla Ridley (Karen Pittman) talk to Mark Bailey (Justin Swain) about his partner and the belief she may have tipped Bushmaster on where Luke was keeping Mariah safe. He doesn’t believe it, but they tell him to help clear her then. Luke and Danny get to Mother’s Touch and Luke tells him what Tilda Dillard (Gabrielle Dennis) told him about Nightshade. Danny is able to find parallels between what Tilda does and the apothecaries in K’un L’un. They need to find Tilda which means going to see Mariah. Bailey and Misty find evidence of Nandi leaving Harlem’s Paradise just before Bushmaster went after Mariah. Meanwhile Mariah is talking to Bushmaster’s captured uncle Anansi (Sahr Ngaujah) when Luke and Danny arrive, she goes down to meet them. She is combative with Luke as ever and has no idea where Tilda is. And she lets him know she have every intention of going after Bushmaster. As the leave, Danny has an idea. Misty and the cops find Nandi trying to get on a privet jet, she punches Misty and tries to run, but Misty catches her and beats her around a bit before they cuff Nandi.
Danny takes Luke up to a quite perch where he picks a fight to show Luke that he’s unbalanced and angry inside. That he needs to focus his chi, find his center again. Luke realizes they need to go low to find Bushmaster, which means finding Turk Barrett (Rob Morgan). Misty questions Nandi and we find out the reason she did it was she didn’t like Mariah getting immunity. That she was worse than Bushmaster and he was just after justice of a different kind… and if she got paid while making that happen, all the better. Mariah talks more with Anansi and we see the true hatred between the families. He won’t give up Bushmaster, but now he understands why Bushmaster wants Mariah to suffer so bad. Turk is now working at a head shop when Luke finds him. He knows who Danny is when he walks in too. Turk explains that he’s doing so well that he’s gone legit. Luke drops and expensive glass bong and then asks where Bushmaster is. Turk, upset, tells him the Jamaicans have taken over a grow house and tells him where. Turk comments on what a great aura Danny has, but Luke makes Danny leave before he can tell Turk about K’un L’un.
They find the grow house and it looks like a fortress. Neither Danny nor Luke look bothered by that. The go in fighting, Danny blows the door apart and they start tearing through thugs like crazy. The fight individually for a while but eventually they are surrounded by a dozen or more, so Luke calls for “Patty Cake”. Danny fires up the fist and hits Luke in the palm sending a shockwave our and flooring all their opponents. Then when a guy is about to fire a rocket, Luke grabs and throws Danny at him, ala “Fastball Special”. They find the nursery growing the nightshade, destroy the plant and then Danny buys the warehouse before burning everything inside. Nandi is taken away and Ridley tells Misty that she wants Misty to be the next captain to replace Ridenhour.
Mariah, Shades and her crew are walking Anansi to Gwen’s, but it doesn’t sit right with Sugar so he leaves. They go inside the restaurant and Mariah sees her old hostess who was Bushmasters snitch and has her killed. Mariah says her last name is Stokes. Then they shoot everyone else in the place. They walked Anansi in and he sees all of his family and his wife dead. Mariah then has him covered in Bushmaster rum and she lights him on fire. Shades is stunned. This wasn’t what they had talked about. He looks almost sickened by what she has done. When Ananis takes too long to burn to death, she shoots him and say, “now Bushmaster has to come to us.” Then back at the club she has Cottonmouth’s Biggie picture put back up on the wall. Shades leaves not looking too happy.
The episode ends with Danny and Luke have dinner at Genghis Connie’s Too and Connie (Jade Wu) asks if Luke is okay and if he needs to rent a room. She says they have insurance so it would be okay. Danny and Luke talk about Luke’s anger and how he got into the flow when fighting. The Luke isn’t alone, he and Misty and Jessica have his back as does Claire. Danny admits that Claire called and asked him to check on Luke. Then Luke asked Danny if the dragon he fought was metaphorical. Danny is almost offended by the question.
I’ll admit I got a bit excited to see Danny walk in the shop. They way they bantered and the Power Man and Iron Fist reference made my inner geek very happy. Also when Danny is wearing the green and yellow hoodie is a nice homage to his comic uniform. The two of them fighting together was great. Finn Jones still has a ways to go as a fighter, but he has improved. He looks likes like a first year student and a bit more like a dancer with some fluidity, but he’s not quite there yet. But the character of Danny is definitely evolved and closer to the comic version and watching them interact was so much fun. And the scene with them and Turk is another one of the reasons I love the connected universe. It’s one thing to see how much Mariah has changed in two episodes, but to see it through Shades eyes is all the more shocking. It will be interesting to see what happens now with Shades and Sugar.