CLOAK & DAGGER Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Call / Response

With how last week's episode concluded I had hoped, possibly naively, that Episode 4 would be a bottle episode. Just Tyrone and Tandy talking in that church all night about everything. Testing out their powers, comparing back stories. Even as someone who usually yearns for more action in my comic book superhero shows, I relished the idea of essentially a one-room, three act character study. Then within three minutes we were onto the next day with Tandy visiting her mother and I remembered I'm not the target demographic for this show, which is fine, and maybe they'd prefer a more traditionally structured episode, equally fine. Thankfully, we actually ended up with the best of both, with the episode cutting back and forth between Ty and Tandy's confab from the night before and the events of the day that followed. By way of example as to how this was so effective, Tyrone started the day in a bad mood to say the least and only by the end of the episode did we see why, seeing that he and Tandy parted the night before on less than good terms. 

In terms of each character's individual story though, we saw decent progression both in character, their slow march towards becoming the heroes we tuned in to see and the ultimate overarching plot of the season. Tandy learned that her mother's boyfriend Greg wasn't the scumbag she had originally painted him to be, instead seeing in a cute little scene that his inner most hopes involved making Tandy and her mother his own family, whilst pursuing a dream of cooking it no less. Spending time with him at his law office, Tandy was able to start going through the paper trail he'd put together on the Roxxon corporation, finally taking the fight to the people who had wronged her family. Unfortunately for Tandy, her self destructive nature seems to be a learnt behaviour from her mother, who pushed Greg away as soon as things started going sour due to the ever looming presence of his estranged wife continuously blowing up his phone. Tandy tried to get her mother to see her error, but in doing so perhaps saw more into her own tendency to push people away whenever things get difficult. But just when CLOAK & DAGGER looked to be going down the route of pure family drama, Tandy on her way to visit Greg at his office perhaps to convince him to make another go of it with her mom, witnessed his murder at the hands of someone dressed as a water cooler delivery woman. They then proceeded to pour accelerant all over the office from their “water cooler” and set the place on fire, destroying all evidence he may have had. Without a word being said Tandy, and we watching, all knew Greg had been onto something and some powerful people had taken steps to cover it up. Heading home and hearing her mom leave a sixth voicemail message with Greg asking him to take her back was heartbreaking, not least of all to Tandy, who decided this was the end of all hope and took herself to the waterfront to commit suicide. Locking a chain around her legs and tying her hands together she threw herself into the water only for her power to kick in, all at once given her a way to escape her self-imposed fate and visually representing her spirit to not give up and keep fighting. And just as I found myself asking if her light dagger was enough to cut through her chains, we saw her sneak into the crime scene that was Greg's office and cut open his big old safe where he kept the real sensitive documents, the last evidence against Roxxon. I know I'll still squeal with delight when we first see her fling one of those things at some scumbag, but for now her namesake power providing a path to truth and salvation, was more than enough. 

Tyrone's day went a little differently, with him taking a little detour with his father into their family's personal history as a way to try put Ty back on a less self-destructive path. In a plan that involved faking he had his bike stolen so he could get into the police station to file a report, but really so he could gather information on the cop that killed his brother, Ty's dad caught him with a pair of bolt cutters. In fearing he was turning to a life of crime, he decided to try scare him straight by introducing him to the Wild Red Hawks, his old Mardi Gras tribe. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it, moving CLOAK & DAGGER out of New York like their comic book counterparts and to New Orleans was an inspired decision. Seeing this show delve into other African American sub- cultures, like that of a Mardi Gras troupe, keeps things fresh and left me really want to read up on this subject more. Ty found out his brother had been part of the group, preparing a cloak, oh yes, so he could play the role of the ceremonial “shadow boy,” one who's meant to scout ahead for trouble during their march. With his father's permission Ty was allowed to finish it, thus furthering the imagery of him wearing his brother's hoodie, it acting as a sort of shadow hanging over him whilst simultaneously acting as his armour. 

Our two main protagonists are yet to be on the same exact page yet, each with their own goals, each unwillingly to fully admit the other has legitimate problems and I feel it may be another few episodes before they come back together. But in all CLOAK & DAGGER has been one of Marvel TV's most auspicious beginnings to a pair of heroes and a story so entwined with Americana, both in terms of class and race with a touch of Americanised mysticism that when comparing it with the nearest show that delved into this things, last year's IRON FIST, I'm left wondering how they got it so wrong when CLOAK & DAGGER gets it so right.

Written by Nick Whitney, CLOAK & DAGGER Beat Writer

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