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Theo Rossi as Shades. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

**This review contains spoilers for “The Creator” and events that occurred in Marvel Netflix shows prior**

“I’m not looking forward to killing you.”

It looks like Danny’s chi lessons didn’t stick. After finding out about the massacre at Gwen’s, Luke was ready to see Mariah’s head on a spike. While he cooled off throughout the episode, it goes to show clearly that his anger is still a problem. The similarities between both Luke and Bushmaster came up several times, as both deal with heavy anger driving their moves. Ingrid even warned Luke that his way of internalizing his anger is far more dangerous than how Bushmaster handles his own. The moment between Luke and Bushmaster towards the end of the episode was a great calm before the storm moment. One final peaceful confrontation before everything is settled.

Sitting last episode out, Bushmaster’s character got some great screen time as his past was fleshed out further. We’ve heard all about the conflict between the Stokes and McIver families all season, but actually seeing the players involved back in the day was a whole other thing. Witnessing Mama Mable’s murder of Johnny’s mother, and then a separate cold-blooded assassination attempt on his life two years later by someone else, really went a great distance to show how personal and important this war is between Bushmaster and the Stokes. We even got more information on why Johnny came into Nightshade, and what exactly it does. It reveals—or rather, strengthens–something already inside. Johnny was already special, having survived vaccinations that killed many before him. The Nightshade just brings more of that power out, even if it does so by slowly killing him.

It wasn’t just the backstory that I really enjoyed about Bushmaster this time around. Sheldon and Bushmaster’s reaction to the Rum Punch massacre really humanized the both of them–especially as Bushmaster saw the aftermath and owned the fact that the attack was aimed at him, that he was responsible. Him letting Tilda go was also a great touch, recognizing that she saw the harm that the Stokes family had done, and how she wanted no part of it. Bushmaster didn’t want to continue what had happened in the past.

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Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

As for Mariah, she has gone almost fully crazy. She saw Mama Mable and Peter Stokes in her own office as she pondered her plans for Harlem, such as entering the drug business for the first time in her family history. It really made for a great scene, as Mariah’s inner demons tried to snap her. This new Mariah is fantastic and truly intriguing to watch. She has a much stronger presence now that she has made this ugly turn, and she is truly frightening and unstable. The slow burn of her character progressing to this point is really paying off.

Even considering everything above, I think my favorite part of the episode goes to Shades. He clearly saw things going sideways, and the way he had done things in the past wasn’t what Mariah was going to do going forward. Recent events have shaken Shades so much that he couldn’t even pull the trigger on Ingrid. While Shades doesn’t want out of the life, he doesn’t want to be a part of Mariah’s newly found chaos. This led to an incredible scene as Shades confronted Mariah head on. Both actors were excellent as they emotionally lashed at each other—leading straight to Shades nearly choking Mariah to death. As a final blow to her ego, however, he declared her not even worth killing.

Misty spent the episode trying her hardest to do everything the correct way and to get Mariah dead-to-rights, with no loopholes to escape from. This led her to focus on the antique revolver that we’ve seen all too often. What she thought was the smoking gun (the bullet that murdered Peter Stokes) ended up being tainted by Scarfe’s mere involvement with the case. Good thing for Misty then, that Shades had made a break from Mariah—and came straight to her. I know Shades fully intends to bring Mariah down at this point, but I wonder how he plans to keep his head above water in the meantime.

“The Creator” delivered another fantastic episode as everyone across the board gave excellent performances. Bushmaster has seen the consequences of his war; Shades has broken off from Mariah; and Luke has given his final warning. Season 2’s momentum has been excellent, and hopefully the show can keep this going with it’s final two episodes.

What did you guys think about the episode? Make sure to leave your thoughts down below! Please be courteous by not talking about any details or spoilers from future episodes.  Also make sure to check out our Luke Cage season 2 HUB to keep up to date on all of our reviews for the new season!


Bonus Notes:

  • Nice little Karen Paige mention there. Also, way to go Karen. You put someone’s life at risk.
  • I’m enjoying the fact that they aren’t forgetting about Scarfe and how his dirtiness taints every case he ever touched.
  • Danny just inexplicably leaves the conflict. *sigh*


You can catch Luke Cage Season 2 available now on Netflix.