Sunday, June 16, 2024

Cloak and Dagger Commemorates an Anniversary with Action

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After last week delivered the strongest episode yet, Cloak and Dagger continued in a very promising direction this week. I worried that the power-leveling of Ivan Heiss’s dream would vanish in the real world. Turns out those fears were unfounded, and I couldn’t be happier. Tandy and Tyrone used their vastly improving mastery of their powers to finally go after those responsible for the deaths of their loved ones. It made for a strong episode that delivered resolution of sorts to some plotlines while opening up new questions in their aftermath.

8 Years Later

As you’d expect of a show so steeped in the memory of the day the rig exploded, “Ghost Stories” really delved in to the fraught emotions everyone felt on its anniversary. From Tandy and Tyrone to their parents to the bad guys themselves, everyone was palpably aware of the Day. It served as the main motivation for our two heroes to act. It hung heavy on the minds of Connors. Cloak and Dagger hit a solid balance between the need to focus on the overhanging grief and moving the story forward because of it.

I especially liked the seeing the differences in how Tandy and her mother remembered the day compared to Tyrone and his parents.

It makes sense to me why the Johnsons would try so hard to distract themselves and ignore the day. Obviously ignoring a tragedy in order to avoid bad feelings over it is common for every race and gender, but I feel like it especially fit the tone Cloak and Dagger has set with this family and their past. Death, unfortunately, happens too often to black communities in America. This show has established this much with the Johnsons. Tyrone’s complete lack of faith in the police was born from not just his brother’s death, but his other experiences.

For Tandy, that night was something unprecedented. An injustice she did not expect and that does not happen to people like her and her mother. While Tandy apparently blows her mother’s ceremony off sometimes, you can still see how Nathan Bowen’s death stands out as an injustice they cannot let go. Meanwhile the Johnsons try to forget what happened to Billy because his death is a common story.

Except Tyrone does not want to forget and this time around refuses to. So he and Tandy decide to take action against those responsible.

I hoped last week that Ivan’s dream would be a plausible way to quickly upscale Tandy and Tyrone’s powers. What do you know, that’s exactly what happened. Seeing them display such mastery over their powers was a real joy. We’ve known from the beginning that Cloak and Dagger would not really kick into gear until Tandy and Tyrone began mastering their powers and teaming up. While we’re not quite at the point of teaming up, it can’t be long now.

And really they needed to have this jump in ability for this week’s plot to work at all. This was especially true on Tyrone’s side. I love the idea of using Connors’s guilt against him for multiple reasons, but namely because it fed into the way “Ghost Stories” used the 8-year anniversary of the rig explosion. However, I wondered about the execution. Could Tyrone control his powers well enough to make this really work?

Maybe some people will have trouble buying Tyrone’s power level here. I liked it. They tied his powers to his brother’s cloak, which was a great decision fitting the tone and themes of the episode. It was shot and edited to effectively sell the horror atmosphere Cloak and Dagger strived for. I even loved the effects, which have been hit or miss throughout these 8 episodes. Every shot of the darkness smoking off of Tyrone looked great.

And so, 8 episodes and 8 years after the rig explosion, Tandy and Tyrone got a measure of justice. Tandy finds evidence clearing her father that can also hurt Roxxon. Tyrone gets a confession from Connors that will presumably put Connors behind bars. It’s a victory, right?

Eh, not quite. It’s not the finale after all. Here’s hoping that now that the individual focuses of Tandy and Tyrone have been dealt with, they will combine to take on the greater forces involved.

Roxxon, Roxxoff

To say this episode ended in a bittersweet manner is an understatement. Connors may be in prison for now, but there’s a larger corruption involved in the police force that may see him released soon. Tandy took Roxxon’s money in exchange for the evidence clearing her father. O’Reilly’s boyfriend ended up dead in a surprising and literal fridging of a man in service of a woman’s character. It didn’t take long for the victories of “Ghost Stories” to turn sour.

So now we’re left with Roxxon standing alone. Even if Connors and/or Scarborough return, they will be gears in a larger machine Tandy and Tyrone need to take down.

How soon will we get there? Hopefully soon, and when I use the word hope, I mean it more than I did two episodes ago. It feels like Cloak and Dagger has shifted noticeably in pace and plot. Earlier episodes would have used a moment like this anniversary to grind things to a halt. Here it was used to move things forward. I expect things to continue. How, exactly, will they? Probably personally at first considering what was revealed here.

Chief among these reveals was Tandy’s father beating her mother and that knowledge influencing her to take Roxxon’s money. Common Fandomental readers know how we love a good tearing down of idealized parents in our fiction. To date, Nathan Bowen has been the definition of idealized parenthood. The kind, good father who Tandy and her mother fought desperately to restore the reputation of. He did nothing wrong and was the innocent scapegoat for Roxxon to pin the rig explosion on.

Knowing he beat his wife doesn’t suddenly make him guilty or anything. However, hopefully it’s the start of a process making a real human being of him, and also a process leading Tandy towards new goals. After all, I doubt Scarborough would talk trash about Nathan Bowen just because he abused his wife. What else will we discover? Was he well aware of what they dug for and the negative effects it would have if the workers were exposed to it?

As for O’Reilly’s boyfriend, well, I find it hard to care about him. I still feel like O’Reilly is barely a character, and her boyfriend sure as hell wasn’t. However, his death raises plenty of questions about the New Orleans Police Department. Questions forgotten after the initial two episodes. Just how much of the police department was in on whatever Connors was? What is Roxxon’s involvement? Who did Connors get word to so they could take care of O’Reilly’s boyfriend?

Cloak and Dagger appears ready to move on to Roxxon themselves as the larger main villain, and I’m eager to see where the show goes with them. I guess we have a pretty good idea. It’s likely the ultimate conflict will involve another disaster involving whatever Roxxon’s rig dug for. Still, Cloak and Dagger has used single characters as the face of the bad guys so far, and I expect the same to happen now.

So long as the show keeps in this positive trend, I’ll be happy.

Other Thoughts:

  • O’Reilly mentioned Misty Knight. I like these little acknowledgements of the shared Marvel TV universe, however crowded said universe is.
  • I love how Tandy hung up without giving details about where Scarborough could deliver the money and pick up the evidence. I have fun imagining her calling back.
  • D’aww, Tandy’s first theft was a phone.
  • I hope we get to see more of the Mardi Gras Indians. I find the group really interesting.
  • Cloak and Dagger really needs to chill with the music sequences. That was what, three of them in a 15-minute span? Seriously, there’s nothing wrong with silence.

Images Courtesy of Freeform

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