Episode 7: “On and On”
- ”This Is Us”: Comanche says he doesn’t trust Sugar (Sean Ringgold) because he’s emo and “probably cries watching ‘This Is Us,’” to which Shades (jokingly?) claims that he also cries while watching the NBC tearjerker drama. There is a slight Marvel connection here since Sterling K. Brown stars on the show and appeared as Erik Kilmonger’s dad in “Black Panther.”
- Seeing red: Finally, Misty wears red, which is her original comic book costume’s signature color, just like yellow is Luke’s.
- Hero for Hire: After Luke pulls Mariah out of the fire, she says that she wants to hire him.
Episode 8: “If It Ain’t Rough, It Ain’t Right”
- Coffee callback: Back in Season 1 when Misty and Luke had “coffee,” he spoke two names in his sleep: Shades and Comanche. Misty recalls this now while investigating the other dead body found with Ridenhour.
- Marcus Garvey: Again with the new decorations! After Bushmaster takes over Harlem’s Paradise, he replaces Mariah’s Basquiat with an oversized framed photo of Marcus Garvey, a leader for Black nationalism in the United States and Jamaica.
- Tilda Johnson: The comic book character isn’t related to Mariah at all, but to make it work for the show, it’s explained that Tilda was given away to be raised by their cousins, the Johnsons.
Episode 9: “For Pete’s Sake”
- Rand Enterprises: They finally connect with Danny in order to hide Mariah, Tilda, and the Rev from Bushmaster’s goons.
- Hammer weapons: It turns out all of those guns that Mariah sold were Hammer Tech, which is owned and operated by Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) from “Iron Man 2.” Those weapons were able to fire the Judas bullets that previously used to be able to harm Luke before he got his second bath.
- Beverage machines: This might be a stretch, but in the comics, Luke Cage often had problems with the coffee-dispensing machine in the Gem Theater. In the series, he has similar problems with the machine at Rand when he tries to get cocoa for himself and his dad. (They couldn’t get coffee since that’s been coded to mean something very different on the show.) His dad is able to finesse the cups to come out, and Luke says, “I guess I’m a little out of practice.”
Episode 10: “The Main Ingredient”
- ”Game of Thrones”: One of the Harlemites giving Luke a hard time for not doing enough to take care of Bushmaster is apparently a fan of the Khaleesi and claims a better use of Luke’s powers would be to intimidate everyone in order to rule. How? Force them to “bend the knee” or it’s “dracarys” for them.
- Danny Rand: Finally, Finn Jones is here, and the chemistry that was hinted at in “Defenders” is in full force.
- Power Man and Iron Fist: D.W. is sporting a blue t-shirt with the words “Power Man” emblazoned on it. There’s also a yellow Power Man sweatshirt. And D.W. realizes that “Power Man and Iron Fist” has a nice ring to it, which acknowledges the duo’s friendship and partnership from the comic books. On the show, their relationship seems to be progressing pretty well, and they’ve even developed a few collaborative fighting moves like “Patty Cake,” in which Danny punches Luke’s palm, causing a sonic shockwave that takes out all the bad guys around them.
- Sweet Christmas: While Luke Cage’s original comic book phrase has been heard throughout the series, D.W. is selling a green sweatshirt with the words “Sweet Xmas” on it printed in yellow. Later, Danny Rand is seen wearing a hoodie with that print, and those are Iron Fist colors. On a show where the heroes rarely wear uniforms — Daredevil is the only one so far who’s constructed anything remotely superheroic — this is as close as it’s probably going to get.
- Dr. Dre: At Mother’s Touch while discussing the various medicinal properties of herbs and how they affect the body — which Danny connects with some of the practices of K’un-Lun because of course he’s an expert — it’s revealed that he has a soft spot for Dre’s “2001” album since that was the last one he listened to before that fateful plane trip where his parents were killed.
- Turk Barrett (Rob Morgan): He’s back! And legit this time, running a head shop.
- Dragons!: Danny Rand here is far more entertaining than he was when we were introduced to him in “Iron Fist,” mainly because it seems like the writing has a bit of self-awareness of how silly most of the stuff sounds coming out of his mouth. That said, there are plenty of winks to that ridiculousness, including his many mentions of fighting a dragon, Shou-Lao, who is the source of his power.
- Connie Lin (Jade Wu): Luke’s former landlady/restaurateur is back after her first place was blown up by a missile. Her new spot, Genghis Connie’s Too, fortunately sticks by the original pun.
Episode 11: “The Creator”
- Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll): The “Daredevil” character is mentioned in her capacity as a reporter for the New York Bulletin. She had the scoop that there was a survivor from the massacre at Gwen’s.
- Solo reign: Throughout the season, we’ve seen Mariah occasionally stand in front of the Basquiat painting alone, without Shades. And if the massacre itself wasn’t enough to indicate that she’s all for herself now, the fact that she had the Biggie painting reinstated — only one monarch! — makes it clear she’s moved past her partnership with Shades. Incidentally, the Basquiat was placed in the lair/safe room.
Episode 12: “Can’t Front On Me”
- Rosalie Carbone (Annabella Sciera): From the comic books, she’s the head of New York’s premier Italian crime family and got mixed up with The Punisher.
- Billy Batts: In Shades’ confession to the police, he details how in prison at Seagate, he and Comanche had beaten Luke “Billy Batts-style,” referring to real-life Gambino crime family member William Bentvena,who was murdered brutally by three mobsters. This killing was dramatized in “Goodfellas.”
- Stan Lee: The legend can be seen on a poster for a personal injury lawyer named Forbush. In the comics, Forbush Man is the alter ego of Irving Forbush, a fictional employee of Marble Comics.
Episode 13: “They Reminisce Over You”
- District Attorney Blake Tower (Stephen Rider): The attorney first showed up in “Daredevil” and gave Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) information to track down criminals. He also appeared in the first season of “Luke Cage.” Here’s he represents the city versus Mariah Dillard.
- Cameo: Dr. Jelani Cobb: This real-life writer, author, and educator appears on TV to speak to reporter Thembi Wallace (Tijuana Ricks) about the rise in crime following Mariah’s trial.
- Coffee talk: Rosalie Carbone hits on Luke this time, but he claims he doesn’t like “espresso.”
- The Cestello Annunciation: This Botticelli painting is featured prominently in Carbone’s lair.
- Beso de la araña: This recipe that Tilda mixes up translates to “kiss of the spider” and involves four different poisonous plants. The recipe lists hemorrhaging as one of the effects. It’s the old poisonous lipstick trick (but how did Tilda wear it safely?).
- Muhammad Ali: Luke chooses to change out a framed photo of the famed boxer for Biggie. Ali was a noted activist and philanthropist, but he also sought the spotlight during a time when most fighters let their managers speak for them.
- “The Godfather”: When Misty gets shut out of the second-story offices of the Harlem’s Paradise, it echoes what happens to Kay Corleone in “The Godfather.”
- Retro comic-book ensembles: Misty looks regal with her updo and red ensemble that is reminiscent of her look in the comic books, but this is the first time that Tilda is wearing the signature headband and afro puffs that she’s known for in the comics. Nothing but the best for a party at Harlem’s Paradise.
”Luke Cage” Season 2 is currently available to stream on Netflix.