Luke Cage has done a great job of exploring issues that are very relevant in this day and age. Showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker has repeatedly stated that he thinks the world is ready for a “bulletproof black man.” In previous episodes, we’ve seen Luke saving his town from the local gangs, but in “DWYCK,” we see more of the racial tensions between black people and the police. It begins with Misty’s meeting with the police psychiatrist after her violent interrogation with Claire Temple.
We start to dive more into her character and find out why she became a cop in the first place. When she was a teenager, she left her cousin alone and came back to discover that she was kidnapped. It took the police two weeks to find her body all disfigured and mutilated by a gang. The police didn’t even care about her well-being and just thought she was a trashy girl who deserved it. In reality, we’ve heard this story too many times and it continues to be a growing problem.
In Luke’s case, the police confront him just because he was walking funny. Their encounter results in a violent throwdown, and Luke steals their car in the process. Luke Cage may be a superhero show but Coker used this opportunity to also illustrate real racial tensions.
Oh the other side of the spectrum, Mariah strives to continue Cottonmouth’s legacy in the drug trade. After arranging a meeting with the other big drug lords, she tries to assert dominance by announcing that she wants to change the way things work in their circle. She’s on a good roll until Diamondback goes on a murderous rage after learning that he hadn’t been invited to that meeting. It feels like the writers are trying to make their own version of Wilson Fisk in Diamondback, but he’s not clicking very well. So far, his only psychopathic tendencies have been murdering people in cold blood. Unlike Cottonmouth, he hasn’t displayed anything we haven’t seen before.
Speaking of underdeveloped villains, I don’t think the writers know what they want to do with Shades. Until now, he had been Diamondback’s henchman who was tasked with “taking care of” Cottonmouth. Now, it just seems like him and Diamondback hate each other just to cause more tension. Hopefully, they’ll expand on that relationship more.
At the end of the episode, Luke and Claire find out where Seagate’s physician—Doctor Noah Bernstein— is located. Claire is optimistic that he would be able to help get the bullet out of Luke’s skin. Fortunately, he can but at a painful price; Doctor Bernstein has to temporarily get rid of Luke’s powers to break through his skin. To do so, he dips Luke in acid to create an opening to get the schrnapel. The episode ends on a tense cliffhanger with Luke shrieking in pain and his heart going out. Of course, it’s obvious that he survives but what’s a series without a dramatic ending every once in a while?
We’re over halfway through the first season of Luke Cage, and it still seems to be going strong. With the exception of a couple hiccups and Diamondback’s underdevelopment, it’s getting to be on par with Jessica Jones.