There is a Cherokee legend about two wolves. One good. One bad. And they are in a fight. You probably already know this, but the one that wins in the one you feed. One of my favorite scenes in season two of Marvel’s Luke Cage has a pastor telling this story, foreshadowing what will soon become the primary conflict for nearly every major character of the show. They are all pulled into two different directions, fueled by anger or some wrong done to done to them.
Luke Cage is angry. His antagonist and friends are angry At times, his beloved city of Harlem is angry too. In the context of both this season, last season, and the other Marvel shows where Luke Cage and company have made an appearance, it's easy to see why. Injustice after injustice and murder after murder happen. All while, the law fails over and over again to set things right. Plus, it seems like everyone has their own nefarious or selfish plans for Harlem, the city Luke Cage protects with his super strength and bulletproof skin. The question every character eventually answers, is what to do with that well earned anger. Which of their two wolves will that anger feed?
And that is one of many things that makes season two of Luke Cage even more compelling than the first. So many times, we aren’t sure for whom should we cheer. Who is using their anger to accomplish something good and who is consumed by it? Who can we trust to do the right thing? When is someone fighting for vengeance, and when are they fighting for justice? When these characters enter morally gray areas to accomplish the right thing, are they helping others or just feeding their lesser wolves? I’m still wrestling with these questions.
This is partly because anger is a complicated emotion. Its propelled revolutions and rebellions. Anger has fueled injustices and empowered people to fight against those same wrongs. We live in time where it seems there are plenty of things worth our anger. So a show that makes us wrestle with what we do with that anger, all why being extremely bingeable, entertaining, and well acted, seems worth our consideration.