Luke Cage SN1 EP09-‘DWYCK’

Luke’s past turns out to be the key to his survival as we learnt more about what makes Misty tick.

misty-knight-in-luke-cage

With only four episodes left to go Luke Cage is in a kind of transitional period. Things aren’t quite reaching a climax yet, but we’re getting significant developments for each character that are setting them up for the final stretch. Individually, these plot threads are interesting, as it makes us see characters in a new light. However, combined they make up a less than exciting episode. Not a bad one, but not a great one either. I found this to be the first episode of the show where my attention waned, so things need to pick up moving into the final stretch.

As I said, individually all the elements at play here worked really well. Misty’s interrogation was a particular highlight as it warmed me to the character a bit. Misty has rarely been easy to like throughout the season. We’re conditioned to like her as she’s clearly one of the good guys, but every action the character made in regards to Luke went against that. It’s fine pushing the whole dedicated cop character, but we need context as to why we should view her actions as a good thing. We were finally given this during the episode. In a shining moment that unfortunately reflects the real world, both in past and present, Misty recounts the story that drove her to ‘stalking justice’. Leaving her friend for a moment just to get a drink of Lemonade, saw her friend taken and beaten to death. It was an extremely important moment for the show. It’s in a unique position featuring a primarily black cast, and it should be commended for not shying away from the horrors faced by that community. Yes, this is a Marvel show designed to entertain, but it also has the power to make a statement and to educate in a way that most other shows just aren’t.

It was through this powerful moment that Misty’s character improved. For so long we’ve seen her adamant to take Luke down regardless of whether he’s guilty or not, but the reason why was unclear. Now we know it was to maintain control to make up for days when she had none, the character becomes wholly more sympathetic, as well as a lot stronger. Her vendetta against Luke may not be over, and I daresay I won’t be a fan of what course she takes to pursue that, but for now I see a strong woman determined to do right by the law in honour of those it had let down. I didn’t think it possible, but the writers, in one outstanding moment, made me care for Misty Knight. Not just care. Actively root for.

Mariah also went through a significant transformation this episode. She may have fallen from grace in the political world, but she has risen through the ranks of the criminal world to emerge in one of the top spots. What’s so fascinating about her is that she’s so far from being your typical villain. Her murder of Cottonmouth feels like a one and done kind of deal, whilst she makes it very clear throughout the episode that she doesn’t want to take Cottonmouth’s place. I thought her inner beast had been unleashed as she bludgeoned Cottonmouth to death, but she’s still holding back. Even her advice to Diamondback was done out of fear of being killed, though the excitement and readiness of what she said makes it seem like she sees herself as a part of that world. However, it’s her hesitation that makes her so fascinating. There’s always been a level of ingenuity to Marvel’s Netflix villains, but Mariah is so much more complex. The way she toes the line makes her unpredictable, and that is very exciting indeed.

It’s crazy to think how much of Luke’s past we don’t actually know about yet, but in this episode we came one step closer to learning the truth with the reappearance of Doctor Burnstein. I commented before that I didn’t think the show was done with him, he seemed like an all too important character to appear so briefly. Plus, he is played by an established actor, so it was unlikely he’d agree to a bit part. Whenever Luke ended up getting hurt, it was unlikely that it’d be easy to fix him, so I’m glad to see them mixing his recovery with giving us more details on his past. There seems to be a lot more to Luke’s accident than has been let on. Reva apparently didn’t tell him everything, so hopefully that means we’ll see another appearance by her very soon.

Of course in an episode that saw a man dipped in boiling acid there are bound to be moments I missed, so other notable highlights include:

  • Shades rose up, then promptly fell back down again. Only saved by Zip of all people. Looks like he has higher ambitions than Diamondback will allow him to. I sense confrontation. I also sense that Shades will lose. Hard.

  • Speaking of Diamondback, he has skills. I imagine throwing a knife directly into a man’s eye is not an easy job. Shades said he was no Houdini but I disagree. He’s the truly formidable villain this show has needed.

  • Why do I feel like Luke telling Claire to kill Doctor Burnstein if she has to will turn out to come true? You can’t corrupt Claire!

  • Shades mentions the video of Luke throwing a cop went viral. Criminals in 2016: Using viral marketing to get ahead in business.

  • So Misty strangled a witness and still got her badge back. I know I like her now and all, but damn if that’s not corrupt!

Overall this turned out to be one of the weaker episodes of Luke Cage. Everything worked really well separately, so you’d think bringing it all together would make for an excellent episode, but unfortunately not. There wasn’t much here to get excited about. We’ve already seen Luke in pain for one episode, so it felt like a lot of that could have been cut out of this one. Likewise, whilst there were some truly shining moments, Misty’s interrogation dragged on too long. There are four episodes left now, but at the moment, there isn’t much reason to be excited about what’s coming up. We know a confrontation between Luke and just about everyone is headed our way, but in the meantime, what’s gonna happen?

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