Luke Cage Season 2 Episode 11 Review: The Creator

Luke Cage season 2 delves into Bushmaster's childhood in episode 11, The Creator. Spoilers ahead in our review...

This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

This review contains spoilers.

Luke Cage Season 2, Episode 11

Well, we all knew the flashback episode was coming, and here it is. Getting to see the details of Bushmaster’s childhood was, for me, a real high point. You can totally understand how a childhood of being humiliated and brutalised by the Stokes family might have turned him into the violent but righteous man he is today, and since he’s a far better villain than Diamondback was I’m glad to see him going the distance.

Although, having said that, I’m slightly concerned by the developing narrative in these shows of ‘This guy was a normal, even overly sensitive kid until one brutal event set him on a dark path’. Kingpin, Kilgrave, Cottonmouth, now Bushmaster… I can’t tell if this is Netflix’s algorithmic storytelling in action, or whether Marvel Studios only has the one trick in their inventory.

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I did enjoy getting out of New York and seeing a little of the Jamaica setting, though. It’s almost a shame they didn’t contrive to send Luke there somehow. Showing Bushmaster getting his powers was quite fun too, and the “vaccination program” that killed lot of kids makes me wonder if IGH had a hand in Bushmaster’s origin, and whether they’re going to follow up on that somehow.

The sequence that didn’t work, for me, was Luke protecting Ingrid. I expected this episode to end with Luke convincing Ingrid of her duty to help stop Mariah, but actually his switch from ‘Mariah has to pay’ to ‘protecting Ingrid’s feelings is more important’ didn’t quite work for me. And the sequence where Shades sneaks up on her in secret was so disjointed that I felt like I’d missed a bit. Then Ingrid completely failed to mention ‘hey, a guy in sunglasses just held me at gunpoint then freaked out.’ It felt like a reshoot addition, or part of a longer deleted sequence.

By contrast, Bushmaster and Luke forming a truce at the morgue as Ingrid has her last moment with Anansi was actually quite powerful. Only slightly undercut by Bushmaster telling Luke “we’re the same” in case you missed one of the fifty other times someone in this season has made that claim.

Shades and Mariah’s inevitable fallout also came in this episode. I love that he turned himself in (although uh-oh, snitches have to die, right?) to get at Mariah, although I wonder what his plan is. How much immunity can he be given, after he was part of the massacre at Gwen’s?

Despite amping up the tension, this episode was probably the weakest of the lot so far, with a technically disjointed narrative, character motivations that flip all over the place, and not least some extremely dodgy shots. Did anyone not laugh when they cut from the footage of the actual parade to six people strolling past an alleyway? Or when Ingrid took a plaster off her head to reveal no injury at all? I know Marvel Studios doesn’t have a massive budget but come on.

Anyway, despite the problems here these last few episodes have, if anything, been better than the first half of the season as the show finally gets allows the tension it has built up to be released. Netflix shows have a tendency to lose it in their final act, but I’m cautiously optimistic about this one.

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