Marvel's Luke Cage Stars Alfre Woodard and Gabrielle Dennis Dish on Season 2's Bombshell Ending

Actresses who play Harlem villain Mariah Stokes and her estranged daughter Tilda talk about power plays in the Netflix superhero show.

by | June 26, 2018 | Comments

Marvel's Luke Cage SEASON Season 2 EPISODE 10 PHOTO CREDIT Cara Howe/Netflix PICTURED Alfre Woodard
(Photo by Cara Howe/Netflix)

SPOILER WARNING: Don’t read on if you don’t want to know about the events of Luke Cage‘s second season finale!

Ding dong, the witch is dead.

If the first season of Netflix’s Luke Cage saw the transformation of Harlem councilwoman Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) into Harlem villain Mariah Stokes, the second season saw her fully embrace that role — to her own detriment.

Mariah spent the first season trying to avoid her ties to the Stokes crime family, only to claim her No. 1 spot by killing her cousin, Mahershala Ali’s Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, and embracing her criminal heritage (and the example set by her evil aunt, Mama Mabel — who tried to keep her niece out of the family business). In the second season, she leaned into the Stokes family legacy, only to be taken down by her own flesh and blood.

In the final episode of season 2, Mariah was murdered by her own daughter, Tilda (Gabrielle Dennis) — via a poison-laced kiss, no less.

Rotten Tomatoes spoke to Woodard and Dennis about the power dynamic of  the two women, Mariah’s journey this season, and what that final act meant to Tilda.

Marvel's Luke Cage SEASON Season 2 EPISODE 3 PHOTO CREDIT David Lee/Netflix PICTURED Alfre Woodard, Gabrielle Dennis
(Photo by David Lee/Netflix)


Much like her estranged mother, Tilda has wielded her power in quiet — until now.

“Tilda represents the woman who has a silent strength that’s untapped. There’s usually something that happens in our life that forces us to face the music, if you will, forces us to make a decision,” Dennis said. “You get that crossroads in life. Which path am I going to go down? And the decision that she makes and the road she goes down is a very unexpected one, but I think that unexpected decision also happens from the audiences’ perspective because a lot of times we take for granted or don’t pay attention to those that are silent or those that a little more soft-spoken. But those are the ones you have to watch out for.”

But Tilda’s kiss of death in the finale was the direct result of her own embrace of power, and her making a decision to remove what looked like, to her, a bad seed who has caused chaos and hurt and pain for so many people. She’s embracing her own legacy, Dennis said.

“I think there was a struggle to probably make that decision, but once the decision was made, I don’t think there was much more conflict at that point,” she said. “That’s in her DNA. So as much as she’s tried to run away and redefine and recreate this Tilda that people have seen in this little small scope all in her life up until now, she has to embrace who she is. She has to embrace those last names that she was born into and that’s part of her blood. And then once she realizes that, it’s kind of like, OK, well, I was born to do this.

That one act — and that embrace of her power — will likely see Tilda bloom into her villainous alter-ego Nightshade in season 3, Dennis teased.

“Her journey was slowly built up … [and] most people is aren’t going to expect Tilda to be part of anything, really. Then to basically pull the trigger and see how she embraces her dark side, I think, is what that journey’s going to be for season 3 — and then eventually seeing this Nightshade everyone speaks of, how that will come into play for that season,” she said.

Speaking of embraces, star Woodard said that one pivotal aspect of the season saw Mariah come into not only her power, but also her sexuality.

“Once you start flexing power, you are going to be flexing your sexuality,” she explained. “She is as full of testosterone as — not quite Luke, but certainly any other man she can go toe to toe with. I think women of a certain age are going to feel really good about seeing their reality played out in terms of their sexuality, their sensuality.”

To be frank, Woodard said: “The truth is, we all know that we have been hitting that G-spot longer than women who are 20, 30, and 40, but they don’t know it. So I think that’s a triumph is that you see a grown woman [embracing her sexuality]. We don’t even want to think about our mothers as sensual, sexual beings, but you know what? We’ve been at it longer than you have.”

Luke Cage  season two is available to stream on Netflix.

Tag Cloud

political drama 2015 Vudu canceled Pixar Trailer 2017 Disney streaming service award winner Fantasy Tarantino Awards Spike 20th Century Fox Lionsgate richard e. Grant Paramount Network blaxploitation Freeform Pop Star Wars mockumentary free movies OWN green book Schedule Walt Disney Pictures Spring TV Animation LGBT witnail zero dark thirty Comic Book comic Teen First Reviews Film Festival jamie lee curtis medical drama spain Countdown President CW Seed Superheroes Grammys dceu Anna Paquin Cartoon Network Thanksgiving Emmys hispanic 007 Black Mirror Trivia psycho streaming ESPN TCM Christmas Character Guide Nickelodeon FOX television Masterpiece Elton John Winter TV BBC America Disney Disney Plus series TIFF Red Carpet CNN 71st Emmy Awards Photos police drama Emmy Nominations FXX El Rey Lucasfilm sports discovery Warner Bros. movies Syfy Holidays Reality Competition Action Certified Fresh BBC Rocky TNT WGN 2019 Nat Geo VICE finale The Witch adaptation Fall TV sequel unscripted crime Trophy Talk biography war Video Games supernatural Sony Pictures 2018 Writers Guild of America hist Logo Bravo Columbia Pictures docudrama Captain marvel Nominations Rock revenge Arrowverse golden globes Awards Tour Star Trek SundanceTV Musicals YouTube Red BET Pet Sematary slashers HBO Calendar Mary poppins Family Britbox what to watch Spectrum Originals TruTV cancelled television robots Binge Guide Pride Month aliens The CW WarnerMedia latino DC Comics spy thriller cinemax Quiz Crackle Kids & Family psychological thriller Mindy Kaling LGBTQ cops NYCC Fox News cancelled TV series Amazon Prime Video Podcast Mudbound kids nature tv talk Comedy Central toy story Box Office game of thrones Year in Review transformers adventure spanish language USA Network Sneak Peek X-Men Super Bowl talk show sitcom true crime stand-up comedy Acorn TV Drama theme song dragons Comedy Paramount Musical crime drama IFC San Diego Comic-Con politics halloween Universal boxoffice VH1 science fiction Amazon Prime New York Comic Con The Walking Dead YouTube Marvel doctor who Music Winners cancelled TV shows mutant game show TV Land casting MTV composers National Geographic social media Mystery Western crossover diversity The Arrangement Film Epix GoT quibi Ellie Kemper Polls and Games Disney Channel spinoff Superheroe Shondaland YouTube Premium Heroines Horror DC streaming service Hulu Cannes 45 Sundance Now MCU miniseries festivals HBO Max thriller Peacock spider-man Comics on TV dramedy technology TLC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Sci-Fi RT21 First Look History Adult Swim 2016 RT History Chernobyl foreign crime thriller justice league Biopics CMT TCA Esquire Song of Ice and Fire ITV facebook E! Pirates period drama travel American Society of Cinematographers Interview canceled TV shows Food Network Netflix YA binge Stephen King Apple TV+ video comiccon disaster animated singing competition space TV SXSW Infographic Television Academy 21st Century Fox Dark Horse Comics historical drama joker vampires NBC ratings ABC Shudder TV renewals Oscars batman FX Watching Series serial killer romance based on movie Apple elevated horror Summer dc DirecTV IFC Films See It Skip It zombies Creative Arts Emmys AMC TBS Reality cults cooking Mary Tyler Moore A&E Tumblr Ghostbusters harry potter Cosplay ABC Family Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ghosts Sundance natural history renewed TV shows Rom-Com anime CBS All Access south america PBS Premiere Dates cars Opinion anthology Best and Worst zombie PaleyFest DC Universe Extras Starz Brie Larson SDCC Election Amazon 24 frames Mary Poppins Returns GLAAD Set visit MSNBC Women's History Month Lifetime strong female leads APB book USA cancelled DGA Rocketman GIFs teaser E3 Tomatazos Showtime Marathons CBS cats children's TV TCA 2017 Martial Arts Ovation Toys Country Valentine's Day