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REVIEW: Luke Cage 1×09 “DWYCK”

And thus, Stryker is solidified as the season’s real villain.

Episode 8 made it seem pretty likely that this would be the case, but Stryker’s actions in, “DWYCK,” made Cottonmouth and Dillard seem pretty cookie-cutter in comparison. The season certainly took it’s sweet time reaching this point, as many of Netflix’s Marvel shows do, but hopefully the ramifications of this episode will make the future payoff a bit more gratifying.

Spoilers ahead!

We pick up where episode 8 left off, with Luke in a garbage truck and Misty on the wrong end of an interrogation table. While Luke has to deal with yet another bullet wound kudos to his, “brother,” Detective Knight is being questioned by a police psychologist thanks to her confrontation with Claire.

As one of the more consistently interesting characters in this show, Misty’s interrogation only further heightened her complexity. She has seen and dealt with things that most people couldn’t handle and, though it seems she may have reached her breaking point, Misty will no doubt come out of this on top. Her main issue, as is revealed through her chat with the psych, is her need to be in control in a world that constantly tries to strip it from her. The realization that she trusted Scarfe and Cage, and misjudged them to the point where she’s now sitting in an interrogation room, is one that seems to snap things into place for Misty. And, while this isn’t necessarily the right course of action for rule-abiding police officers, I doubt Misty will rest until this entire Diamondback debacle is handled.

Speaking of Diamondback, elsewhere, Stryker is wasting no time making it clear that he’s the new King of Harlem. He waltzes into Cottonmouth’s former club and puts Shades in his place faster than you can say Sweet Christmas. ICYMI Stryker is Diamondback and, in addition to all of the strings he was pulling against Luke in prison, he is just as much the puppet master of Harlem. As is further confirmed at the close of the episode when he takes out all of the gathered criminals with a few bullets and some impressive knife skills.

We all knew a Dillard/Diamondback alliance would happen and, thanks to a mutual hatred of Luke Cage, it looks like the team-up will be happening now. Mariah is intelligent enough to talk her way out of being killed and into becoming an ally to the new King. At this point, Diamondback seems to have the upper hand, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mariah’s currently (to paraphrase good ol’ Bill Shakespeare) acting like the delicate flower while being the serpent under it.

Back to the titular character, Luke and Claire take a mini roadtrip to the former Seagate Doctor responsible for putting the, “bulletproof,” in, “bulletproof man.” The natural assumption is that, since it was his experiment, Doc will be able to help Luke now that things have gone a bit awry. Unfortunately for Luke, the methods aren’t exactly pleasant and the episode with him being boiled in  a vat of acid.

The main gripe that I continue to have with Luke Cage is the fact that it seems to be a season comprised of 75% filler and 25% progress. I can’t tell if it’s because of the binge nature of Netflix, but each episode I wonder how a full hour of television could have so little within it. Even the character development seems to occur in fits and starts and I can only hope that the third act of the series will finally pick up the pace and give viewers some sort of climax.

Having said that, each episode always has a standout scene that puts many other series to shame.

I think it goes without saying that the most impactful scene of, “DWYCK,” was the showdown between Luke and his arresting officers. First approached for being a black man in a hoodie, Luke almost immediately has a gun drawn on him and, when one of the trigger-happy officers open-fires, Luke willingly takes the bullets to protect the other officer who’s in the way. It’s another clear reference to some of the horrific incidences between the police and black men in society, and certainly struck a chord with me while watching.

Episode Grade: C+

Episode Highs:

  • Simone Missick was positively stellar in this episode, expertly showing viewers how much recent events have impacted Misty. She’s clearly at a breaking point and, as someone who only wants to do good, it seems as though it’s becoming a struggle to follow her gut rather than the commands of her superiors. “I see everything and I forget nothing.”

Episode Lows:

  • SURPRISE, the pacing is killing me. So much of Luke Cage is SO GOOD but it often gets lost in a bunch of slow exposition.

Additional Comments:

  • I was trying to figure out whether or not an episodic release of Luke Cage would help or hurt the show. In my borderline comatose, binge, fugue-state, I feel like getting the show in installments would make each episode feel a bit more pivotal. On the other hand, if the filler episodes are slow in the middle of a binge, would they be unbearable in a week-to-week format?

What did you think of the ninth episode of Luke Cage? Sound off on Twitter or in the comments below!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen