Cloak and Dagger Finally Spend Almost a Whole Episode Together | Tech News
Cloak and Dagger is not afraid to be slow. This is a show that (for the most part) takes its time. This entire episode is framed by one conversation in a church. And when it really lets a moment breathe like that, it’s a better show for it. The beginning throws us right into the middle of things with Tandy and Tyrone trying to figure out exactly what the hell’s going on. Tyrone gives us a concise recap of his half of last week’s episode. He tells Tandy exactly what he saw, including the fact that she stopped running and saved her dad. As if to taunt us, the show only gives us the shortest scenes with them together at the beginning. Our two heroes do work really well together, and I wish the show would just get to the team-up part of this already.
Instead, we get an awkward, abrupt cut to the next morning. Tyrone is being cagey with his parents about what’s going on, and it turns out he wants to get to school early and make out with his girlfriend in the darkroom. As unique a superhero show as this is, it’s still dipping its toe into teen drama territory. It doesn’t lean quite as hard in that direction as Hulu’s Runaways series, but it’s here. That abrupt cut is there for a reason, though. Just like last week, the show is playing with the order in which it tells its story. It cuts back and forth between their conversation and the events of the next couple days. As Tandy talks about her power to see people’s hopes, the scene cuts to her testing it out on her mom’s boyfriend, Greg. Contrary to what she thought, his hopes involve a happy, stable family life with her and her mom.
This is where Tandy’s story starts to get interesting. In the past three episodes, she appeared to have it all figured out. She could read people. She assumed Greg was just another married con artist, saying whatever it took to get her mom into bed. But she sees what he wants for the future, and it’s a real surprise that he might actually be a decent guy. She starts warming up to him and shows up at his office to help in the Roxxon case. It’s fun to see her play detective/lawyer with Greg. They’re both serious about finding out what Roxxon was up to, and they bring out the good detectives in each other.
That’s why is such a shock when it goes bad. Not because of Greg, but because of what he was working on. Tandy’s mom starts to cool off towards him. She starts thinking that Tandy’s assessment was right, that he is just like all the other married men who’ve toyed with her. She breaks up with him, and Tandy heads to his office to try and patch things up. From across the street, she sees a woman in delivery clothes seemingly replacing his water cooler. As Tandy watches, the woman suddenly shoots Greg in the head, and torches all his Roxxon documents. It’s not hard to figure out who she works for. This one episode did such a good job of making us like Greg, it’s a genuine blow to the heart to watch him die. Especially because that’s a huge setback in Tandy’s search for revenge. It’s the first time Cloak and Dagger has made me gasp. It probably won’t be the last.
Tyrone’s story isn’t quite as dramatic, but it does give us some great character development. We learn about his father’s history and see him figure out how to seek out justice. At first, he takes Tandy’s advice. It doesn’t go very well. In order to make himself look the victim, he makes it look like his bike was stolen, and reports it to the police department. When he gets there, he can’t go through with it. At home, his dad has noticed his bolt cutters missing, and thinks Tyrone is getting involved in criminal activity, just like his brother had before he was murdered. He takes Tyrone on a trip to his old neighborhood. It turns out his dad was a Mardi Gras Indian. A tradition among working class black folks in New Orleans said to date back to the days of slavery. It’s a real thing, and the show treats it with respect, though it doesn’t go out of its way to give everyone a history lesson. Our role as the audience is similar to Tyrone’s. We respectfully observe, not speaking unless spoken to. Tyrone is a newcomer to all of this. He’s learning along with all of us where he came from.
There’s a bit of tension at first. Tyrone’s dad left the neighborhood, and that’s a bit of a sore spot. It doesn’t take long though before old friends embrace, both agreeing it’s been too long since they’ve seen one another. The most notable thing that happens here is Tyrone finds, well, a cloak. His father teaches him about the beadwork. How they sew new garments every year that reflect the person they’ve become. It’s hard, patient work, and most people who start never finish. Like Tyrone’s brother, who was murdered before he could finish his black cloak. Tyrone finds it and resolves to finish what his older brother started. It’s a sweet, meaningful moment between father and son, and the whole experience teaches Tyrone a few things. Like how to attack his problem honestly. The next day, after learning the name of an honest cop from Tandy, he returns to the police station. He asks for Detective O’Reilly.
Both the individual stories were engrossing this week, but the interstitial scenes of them talking in the old church was the real star. Their conversation was natural and fun as the talked around who they were and what they could do. They felt like two awkward teenagers feeling each other out, one (Tandy) putting on a show of being much more mature than she really is. I loved the scene where they test out their powers. They close their eyes and slowly draw closer to one another. The scene is filled with the most non-sexual sexual tension imaginable. Like, it’s a completely PG-rated scene, but it feels… really intimate. Both unsure, waiting for some kind of explosion. And when they get too close, there is one that flings both of them across the room.
The only part that didn’t really work for me is their sudden falling out. We finally get a full episode with these two actors together, and it ends in a fight just like pretty much every other encounter they’ve had so far. And that’s natural at this stage. They’re not partners yet. But it came out of nowhere at the end. Tandy mentions that she sometimes thinks about suicide, and Tyrone lashes out at her. He calls her out for her privilege. He’s coming from an understandable place. Sure, he has money and she doesn’t, but at some point, money doesn’t matter. She’s given the benefit of the doubt because she’s a pretty blonde white girl. As a young black person, he doesn’t get that treatment. His mother’s credit card doesn’t stop police from assuming he’s a threat from the jump. That difference actually comes up much more organically when Tandy suggests Tyrone find an excuse to hang around the police station. And if their falling out had stemmed from that, it might have worked better. As it is, Tyrone yells at Tandy for her depression, and then tells her to just die if that’s what she wants. It’s the one moment that felt completely out of character, and out of tone for this episode. (It did end with the number for the suicide prevention hotline, so good on the show for doing that.)
There was a point to all of that, though. As jarring a shift as the argument was (really, it felt like something was cut or shortened for time), it led somewhere meaningful. As they pushed each other away yet again, they actually took each other’s advice with them. As I already said, Tyrone seeks help from a good detective, and Tandy… well, she really does attempt suicide. But just as she dives into the water, hands tied, we see a bright light. Her powers activated, and she reemerges, having cut through her ropes with the crystal dagger. Realizing she can use this ability to do some good (and probably save more lives than her own), she heads back to Greg’s office. The Roxxon assassin missed the safe where he kept his files, but Tandy noticed it. That was a nice bit of setup and payoff from this episode. She uses her dagger to cut through the safe, and grabs the files. She may not have Greg anymore, but she’ll still take down the evil corporation.
Four episodes in, and Cloak and Dagger is still a unique, unpredictable piece of superhero TV. We’re almost halfway through the season, and it remains resistant to formula in the best way. I love the format changes, and the way it chooses to tell its story, and the actors all sell it so well. It’s not a perfect show. The dialog can get a little cringey at times, and some developments feel rushed, especially this week. But despite that, they all work. The show ties everything together and leaves just enough loose ends to keep us on the hook for next week. I don’t know what kind of show Cloak and Dagger will be next week, but I know I’ll be glued to the couch for it.
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