Luke Cage's Surprising Season 2 Finale, Explained


Bushmaster in Luke Cage Season 2

A relentless, brutal but, ultimately, sympathetic antagonist, John "Bushmaster" McIver (Mustafa Shakir) is single-minded in his mission to avenge the seemingly endless list of wrongs committed against his family by the Stokes, from the theft of his birthright -- half the profits from Bushmaster rum and Harlem's paradise -- to the murder of his uncle Anansi. No sacrifice is too great to kill Mariah Dillard, not even his own life.

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Yet, he falls short of his goal, even after taking a concentrated "super-shot" of nightshade that doubles his strength, at the potential cost of his body and mind. He's defeated in the final moments of the penultimate episode in a savage fight with Luke Cage, who refuses to kill him, providing an opportunity for Bushmaster to escape. Weak and possibly dying, he's treated by Tilda Johnson and hidden from Misty Knight in the back of her store. Even then, his thoughts are about Mariah. "She must burn," he tells Tilda, but it's clear he won't be the one to do it. That torch has been passed to Tilda, who pledges to give him some peace.

The last we see of Bushmaster, he's leaving New York City at night with his aunt to meet up with a ship in Delaware, which will carry Anansi's body back to Jamaica. Tilda gives them instructions to find a species of nightshade that grows in Nine Mile, Jamaica, to help treat Bushmaster, but the prognosis doesn't look promising. "Johnny finally got to the top of the hill," says the ever-faithful Sheldon (Kevin Mambo), echoing Bushmaster's often-repeated words. "Now, he can't even enjoy the view. It always seems like it's worth it, but it's not."

Misty Knight

Simone Missick in Luke Cage Season 2

After struggling early in the season with the loss of her arm, her place within the New York Police Department, and the lingering specter of her late, crooked partner Rafael Scarfe, Misty Knight (Simone Missick) seemingly gets everything she's wanted in the final two episodes: the apprehension, and subsequent death, of Mariah Dillard, the arrest of Shades Alvarez, justice for Candace Miller, and an uneasy peace in Harlem. But at what cost?

Now a rising star within the NYPD, tipped for promotion to commander of her precinct, Misty ends the season potentially at odds with Luke Cage once more. From his new perch at Harlem's Paradise, he views himself as a sheriff, enforcing the neighborhood's unwritten rules while Misty takes care of the written ones. But what about the law, she wonders. "Don't think I will hesitate to take you down if you start actin' a-fool," she warns, a faint smile across her face. If there were any doubts about where their relationship stands, Misty finds herself on the outside looking in as the door to Luke's new office closes so he can discuss business with his new aide, Sugar.

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