CLOAK & DAGGER Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Princeton Offense

My new favourite Marvel show — don't worry, I say that about every new show — plodded on with an episode that sort of progressed the story if not all that much. Instead 'Princeton Offense,' a basketball reference I most certainly had to Google before writing this, showed us once again the type of characters Tyrone and Tandy are. 

With the big championship basketball game coming up, Tyrone was caught between worrying about weird existential stuff to do with his powers, real human drama over trying to find the man who killed his brother and high school stuff like whether to publicly give his varsity jacket to his new girlfriend. That last thing was cute considering the weight he's already carrying on his shoulders but I remember being that young and I think it's universal that you may rather have the world end than face embarrassment in a school environment. In coming up to the big game, Ty was reminded how he got into basketball because of his brother and how important of an achievement this was to his family. Indeed, in a ridiculously sweet moment Ty overheard his career driven mother Adina (the ever-brilliant Gloria Reuben) reassure her work colleagues there was no way she was going to miss Ty's big game. She's honestly one of the best TV Mum's I've ever seen. I'm almost worried it will turn out she works for some shady organisation like, I don't know, the Roxxon Corporation? Whilst reminiscing over an old photo, Ty’s powers transported him to the location of one of his brother’s friends, only to discover he had made a better life for himself as a contractor, working on people’s houses and even running his own business. The idea that there was hope for people from his old neighbourhood, sent Ty into that championship game with renewed vigour. Unfortunately, things weren’t going to go according to plan. 

Tandy, presenting herself as a sort of Instagram escort, got herself into a party attended by many of Roxxon’s top brass the very same night. By subtly or sometimes not so subtly touching them she was able to see their hopes, most of which seemed to focus on overcoming one man in particular, whether it be financially, in status or even sexually. Surprising no one, these corporate jockeys all desired to overcome their boss, so Tandy now had a face to go after. But in using her powers, Ty's kicked in and he was pulled to her location right in the middle of half time of his big game. Following her brush with death last episode, Tandy suggested Ty might need the same sort of stimulus to gain control of his powers, before shoving him over a railing and into a fountain. Thankfully Tandy's plan worked, Ty transporting back to his game in time for the second half. Which was good because on the court he had his own problems. 

In playing the game, Tyrone had of course come into contact with all of the players of the rival team, as well as the referee. In doing so he saw their fears and specifically how they were tied to the outcome of the big game. The ref was in deep with a local bookie/loan shark, the type that took thumbs and all the boys on the other team faced pretty crappy consequences if they lost. Some a beating from their father, others being shipped off for military service. It was then that Ty knew what he had to do, the true show of character. With seconds on the clock Ty had the opportunity to score the winning basket for his team but instead chose to miss, or in the very least didn’t give it his all. To everyone in attendance, it looked liked he’d just missed but Ty’s girlfriend Evita knew what was up, leaving me to wonder just how close attention she’s paying to her man and if she has any clue as to the power he really has. 

Tandy, with a school uniform stolen from Tyrone’s school, found the big Roxxon boss and lured him in with the story of a breakdown just outside his house. In going to kill him, straight up shivving him with one of her daggers no less, she instead chose to look inside his head, seeing images of him looting bodies floating in flood waters, even going so far as to finish off the poor soul he found still alive. With so much imagery in CLOAK & DAGGER stemming from both Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon disasters, it seemed clear this guy’s hopes were to profit from disaster and cover up it up. Thinking twice of simply stabbing him to death right there by the roadside, Tandy let him go for now and instead went back to back to her Roxxon evidence, aware of the fact that her father had indeed been made a scapegoat for Roxxon’s failing all those years ago. In fact, delving a little deeper she realised that her father worked for Roxxon on a project with the father of a young women she met at the party. But whilst Tandy’s family was driven to poverty its reputation tarnished, this other girl who also lost her father all those years ago was taken care of by Roxxon and gladly worked with them. A sort of dark corporate mirror to what Tandy’s life could have been. 

But now, a special shout out to Emma Lahana as Detective O’Reilly. After her frankly bizarre debut where she didn’t speak a word, she’s now feels like a fully rounded out character adding a third protagonist to the show. Promising Tyrone she would look into Connors for his drugs connections, she found herself having to go undercover as it were, deliberately getting caught in the act of taking drugs by the dirty cop. Joking that Vice cops had it hard as they sometimes had to take drugs to maintain their cover right to Connors face was a nice little moment of dramatic irony, but perhaps the questionable inclusion of her penchant for casual sex was meant to hint at a more addictive side to her personality. Maybe in perusing Connors this way, she’s about to get in a little too much over her head. 

But it seems for now the right way to go as when revisiting his brother’s friend, Ty learnt that he and Connors were partners in drug trafficking. Making it all the worse though, he knew Connors had killed his friend and still did business with him. Showing Ty that what at first seemed a little too good to be true may actually be rotten to the core.

Written by Nick Whitney, CLOAK & DAGGER Beat Writer

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

CLOAK & DAGGER Season 1 Episode 3 Review: Stained Glass