This Review Contains Spoilers for this episode! Please avoid leaving spoilers for future episodes in the comments section below when discussing this season.
The eleventh episode of Luke Cage Season 2, The Creator has a stylish look and feel to it that makes it cooler aesthetically at least than some of the previous episodes of this season, which is saying something. Style has been a key factor this season, giving Luke Cage a tone that helps separate it from the rest of the Marvel Universe, even when stacked against The Defenders.
The flashback sequences about Bushmaster’s life serve as a nice way to reveal more information about the character. Switching to the island of Jamaica gives us a welcome change in location from Harlem. But the flashback to the split between the Stokes and the McIver family’s falling out, which was the driving force between the two villains and their conflict, doesn’t work as well as it should have, as we already know what happened. We don’t need to be told this all over again, especially because last time Bushmaster described what happened in a quicker fashion. Despite the fact that every episode is more or less the same length, some episodes of the back half of the season, The Main Ingredient aside, just feel longer and slower-paced – and The Creator was no different, leaving me longing for a more streamlined season, which is not the first time this show has left me feeling that.
The good news is that despite the slower pace, there’s still important elements here in this episode. The split between Shades and Mariah was predictable but it feels effective and important, a huge change from the meandering nature of the flashback. Mariah steals every scene that she’s in, even if she’s no longer on the best of terms with her daughter, Tilda, all bonds between them have been cut now.
Luke’s mood seems to be changing based on the plot, and the show is struggling to keep his attitude consistent, as he switches back and forth fairly quickly depending on what the writers need his mood to be in. The similarities between Luke and Bushmaster are becoming clear as more and more people point it out to him, and what’s worse is that he seems to lack an interesting central conflict to drive his character, as what we’ve had is rather boring. It’s something that needs to change before the end of the season.
The Creator might have been one of the weakest episodes of the season, coming down from the season high of The Main Ingredient almost immediately. But that’s not to say it didn’t lack some good, impactful scenes. Its standout scene may be the established truce between Bushmaster and Luke at the morgue with Ingrid and Anansi, that really works, even if we had to be told yet again that Luke and Bushmaster are one and the same. It seems as well as its focus on family dynamics, one of the biggest features of Luke Cage this season has been repetition.