PREVIOUSLY: Luke Cage episode 8 recap
“DWYCK” might have been my favorite episode of the show so far, which surprises me since it was also the show’s longest so far. With Luke injured, the show had an opportunity to really explore Misty Knight, giving Simone Missick a chance to shine, and Mariah, who just can’t seem to escape the criminal world no matter how much she tries.
In the wake of her blow-up with Claire Temple, Misty Knight has temporarily lost her badge, and the only way for her to get it back is to sit down for a very long chat with the force’s psychologist in an interrogation room. Obviously, Misty is reluctant to open up at first, but slowly but surely she starts to let her guard down. In the end, she figures out that she flipped out on Claire because she hated not being in control, which is something that’s very important to her. However, she’s been without it recently and her encounter with Diamondback pushed her over the edge. Unfortunately, there’s a CCTV photo of it, so she keeps reliving that moment because her mind palace ability, and Missick’s meticulous control of her face, insures we understand how traumatic and upsetting that is for her.
Then, there’s Mariah, whose story in the episode also gives Woodard an opportunity to play a wide range of emotions. At the beginning of the episode, she’s in the morgue talking to Cornell’s corpse. The heartbreaking scene is shot in close-up on Woodard’s face as she recounts how Cornell came to live with her and Mama Mabel and how she tried and failed to protect him.
Following her visit to the morgue, Mariah decides she’s going to sell off Cornell’s criminal resources and legitimize the family because she doesn’t want to be like Mabel. So, she asks Domingo to arrange a meeting with the city’s other important crime bosses. The volatile Diamondback interrupts the meeting and proceeds to kill everyone there except for Domingo and Mariah, who, using her experience as a politician, quickly comes up with something to save her life. She tells Diamondback he should also legitimize his weapons-selling business by providing weapons like the Judas to the police force to help them handle “super freaks” like Luke Cage. Diamondback likes the idea and forces Mariah to help him implement the plan even though she wants nothing to do with it. Each time she gets out, they just pull her right back in.
I found this episode particularly powerful because we spent over half of it with black female characters, which isn’t a perspective you often see on TV and especially not on superhero shows. Watching exceptionally talented actresses like Woodard and Missick chew on these meaty and complicated characters is honestly a treat. It’s episodes like this that make it easy to let Luke Cage‘s general unevenness slide.
NEXT: Luke Cage makes a political statement