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In Netflix’s final trailer for season 2 of Marvel’s Luke Cage, Alfre Woodard’s character declares with conviction, "Black women have always had superpowers. Turning pain into progress." She continues, “Harlem doesn’t need a hero. It needs a queen.”
This matter-of-fact assertion positions Mariah Dillard, a Harlem politician who side hustles as a crime lord, as more defiant and more goal oriented than ever, emphasized by the booming foreshadow of Lauryn Hill singing The Fugee’s “Ready or Not.” But Dillard’s main opponent in her quest to save Harlem through corrupt dealings may not be Mike Colter’s hero or even Bushmaster, but her own daughter Tilda, played by Gabrielle Dennis.
Still, Bushmaster, played by Mustafa Shakir, is certainly up to no good. He burns down what seems like Mariah’s home and dislodges bullets from his chest like Cage, thanks to some strange ritual. The trailer makes it clear, right now Dillard is Bushmaster's No. 1 enemy. “Everything that belongs to Mariah should be mine,” he says.
This puts Cage in a bit of a bind. “Harlem can only handle one devil at a time,” he says. The hero may have to pick a side and form an unlikely alliance with Dillard for the sake of Harlem. But as the opening line should tell you, Mariah is no damsel in distress. The trailer also shows her burning someone alive and declaring, “I’m done playing by the rules.” Go off, I guess.
Marvel’s Season 2 of Luke Cage—all 13 episodes—premiere June 22 on Netflix.