Luke Cage (S01E09) "DWYCK"

DWYCK was all over the place in terms of quality.  The episode took some cool chances by incorporating the tensions of the real world, but many story lines and characters spun in place.
Luke’s garbage truck trip was surprising short, but it set up the most compelling scene in the series so far.  A wounded Luke, dressed in a hoodie, was harassed by by the police for simply walking down the street.  It was an obvious mirror of Trayvon Martin as well as the number of young Black men who have suffered abuse at the hands of the police.
Art always reflected the time in which it was created, and this series took place in Harlem, a largely black community.  This sort of random search by the police probably happened to a lot of black men and women.  At the same time, the scene didn’t completely vilify the police.  And it should be noted that one of the cops was black.  The scene simply showed the tensions that exist in a brilliant way.
Luke Cage should be applauded for having the guts to tackles such issues on a comic book show.  It has done it before, but this was the most overt reflection yet.
The rest of the episode was solid, but a bit mixed.  After escaping the police, Luke and Claire find Dr. Burstein (Michael Kostroff) in Georgia.  Burstein was a bit of a disappointment, serving only as exposition about Luke’s powers and his past.  But we did get real revelations concerned Reva.
Finding out that Reva knew about everything at Seagate was heartbreaking for Luke, but it wasn’t too surprising.  I never bought into their relationship and it seems like there was a good reason.  It was never real.  It was great to see Luke acknowledge that he was in love with the idea or Reva, rather than the actual woman.
And we got our umpteenth declaration of confidence from Luke.  I’m getting a bit frustrated with this because he has done this before, only to fall into doubt by the next episode.  But we did get some good:  More scenes with Luke and Claire, who’s chemistry continued to grow.
Misty received some backstory as she dealt with the repercussions from her confrontation with Claire.  While Simone Missick did outstanding work, especially when she finally broke down, the scene itself felt like a bit of a waste.  The show was seemingly telling us, “Hey!  This is why she’s like this!” to avoid any audience resentment.  And then she was put back into the field.
Diamondback was his usual crazy self, killing off the other gang leaders when Mariah called them together.  His “you buy or you die” policy was straightforward, but now I’m a bit worried for the character.  Yes, he was fun to watch, but was he just a different version of Cottonmouth.  The declaration wasn’t that different from Cottonmouth’s desire for the gangs to “fall in line.”
Diamondback cutting down Shades was surprising.  The whole time, it seemed like he was simply doing Diamondback’s bidding.  I have started to really like his character and seeing him relegated to flunky was understandable, but ultimately disappointing.  It was unclear if Shades had set up Mariah’s meeting or if Diamondback did so.
Mariah’s plan to arm the police with the Judas bullets, in addition to her frame up of Luke, was intriguing.  Her plan got a lot a more dangerous as the frame up gained steam due to the dashboard cam footage from Luke’s encounter with the police going viral in Harlem.  What was surprising was her fear regarding a partnership with Diamondback.  I thought she would step up as the real villain, but Mariah’s apprehension caused her to stall a bit.
The episode ended with a silly cliffhanger:  Will Luke survive the attempt to heal him?
Well of course he will…this is Luke Cage after all.  The ending just reinforced how inconsistent the episode was.
Score: 7 out of 10