HARLEM NIGHTS: LUKE CAGE S1E9 – “DWYCK” (REVIEW)
Marvel’s Luke Cage
NetFlix Original Series
Season 1, Episode 9: DWYCK
Air Date: 30 September 2016
Starring: Mike Colter, Frankie Faison, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi, Frank Whaley, and Alfre Woodard
WARNING: SPOILERS – review written for those following the show who have watched episode nine through its completion!
So we’re back on an upswing. DWYCK, which I’m told stands for Do What You Can Kid, brings the suspense. It’s a bit of a white knuckle episode because things are so topsy turvy that there really is no telling how the dice are going to wind up. Snake eyes or craps? No. I don’t play dice and so I am not even sure if that vernacular is correct. But you get my meaning.
Luke awakens in the back of the sanitation truck that we saw him make his mortifying escape in at the end of “Blowin’ Up the Spot”. He soon encounters two police officers and has to do the dirty in order to not be captured. Meanwhile, Misty is mandated to go into therapy with a police psychologist and we get a little bit more insight into what makes her tick. A friend or relative who was abducted, raped, and murdered is what sent her down the path of being a cop. But her eidetic memory, her time playing basketball as a point guard, her lack of awareness in her partner’s corruption. All of these things play into the character that she is and they are all laid out, albeit slowly and with a lot of poking and prodding, on the interrogation room table. It is a slow unravelling that I can see many viewers seeing as boring. But I felt it was essential as one of the few characters at this point in the series who has not been dissected and decomposed into bare parts.
Diamondback shows himself to be the real crazy, and he and Mariah together are two wiggins-inducing Bonnie & Clyde villains. We’ve stepped up the sinister and turned it up to 11. While I felt he was entirely lackluster playing opposite Cage in the previous episode, among mortal men, Diamondback is a straight-up sociopathic giant. That Mariah holds her own against him on-screen with her own brand of murderous insanity is impressive and scary as all hell. I love Shades, but I think he has, unwittingly, brought together two Force 5 tropical storms that are about to unleash a superstorm that Luke may find a formidable challenge. And one that Shades, despite his clear thoughts otherwise, may have no means of controlling. One of the big elements of suspense here is whether Shades is going to survive this combination with a shower of gold or whether he will become a dead victim of his own machinations.
Dr Noah Burnstein resurfaces when he is tracked down by Claire Temple with a dying Luke Cage in tow. While the relationship between Claire and Luke continues to develop, it is not a very engaging element in the story. It’s a bit of an “of course, they would become friends” moment that does not really endear me beyond the surface dynamic that it is. They were at their best kicking around life philosophies and strolling about the streets of Harlem. Rosario adds a nice touch of tough female to the show as always, but she does not really stand out in this episode. Our tenseness in this arc is that we still do not know whether or not to trust Burnstein, and we get more intrigue crumbs dropped via enigmatic soundbites about what Reva was up to with her stealing of the data on the thumb drive.
Still, overall, this episode opened up some new branches for conspiracy theories, and helps solidify the new status quo. With only 4 episodes left, I’m left with a bit of worry that the production crew left themselves with a bit too much to be able to wrangle it all into decent closure by the series’ end. But I’m back on the edge of my seat with less vapid villains, a sense of a lack of control from everyone who thinks they are holding the remote in this particular dance, and Misty Knight returned to fully authorized justice-stalking status. Now I am ready for Luke to just be healed. We’ve had him limping around injured for two episodes and that’s about enough satisfaction for me to have seen him rendered vulnerable. I’m ready to have my Power Man back at the helm in this story.