CLOAK & DAGGER Season 1 Episode 7 Review: Lotus Eaters

Well I'll be darned if CLOAK & DAGGER isn't going from strength-to-strength with Episode 7, both advancing the overall story, giving us that much needed comic book action and in a brilliantly constructive way, bringing Tandy and Tyrone one step closer to becoming their comic book counterparts. Still reeling from the events of the end of Episode 6, namely the death of Duane, Ty had no time to mourn as Tandy immediately enlisted him in helping Ivan Hess. Off to the hospital they went with a not much more than a nod to how easy Tandy finds all the sneaking around. Both touching Ivan’s hands at the same time, Ty and Tandy entered his consciousness together. Sure enough, Ty was the key to unlocking the door in Ivan’s mind and our heroes found themselves in a mental recreation of the Roxxon rig that exploded eight years ago. Quickly establishing that the rules to this “vision” were different, whether it be because of Ivan's condition or the fact Ty and Tandy were using their powers in unison was never fully explained, but people were able to see and interact with the pair, bringing a new element of danger to their mission to save Ivan. 

Indeed they found Mina's father in short order, discovering that he had been reliving the last minutes before the platform exploded over and over again, being completely cognisant of every time the loop reset. His brain however had dulled, his memory of who he was before the loop ground away due to having experienced the loop tens of thousands of times and that was only up to where Ivan stopped counting. The same thing; sirens, a phone call, the initial explosion, the final explosion. Between the two blasts Ivan would make his way through the platform, taking care to avoid the other workers that had been infected with some form of dark energy, beings he called Terrors, to play an imaginary fantasy baseball game that he’d been playing for the last eight years. 

Almost breezing past the fact that Roxxon had unleashed this sort of dark matter, with its possible connection to Tyrone's (and by extension Tandy's) powers and the whole thing felt like one of the better episodes of Doctor Who, time loops having been employed in one of that shows best episodes in recent years. But whilst that story was used to demonstrate The Doctor’s resolve, this story was cleverly used as a way to fast-track Ty and Tandy to the level of their comic book analogues. Ty himself was able to use his powers more deftly simply by being in “that place.” Tandy’s growth however came at a great personal cost. You see the phone call, the one that Ivan had taken to simply ignoring, was from Tandy’s father. It was the other end of the call that Tandy witnessed all those years earlier from the backseat of her Dad's car on the fateful night the platform exploded. Answering the phone, Tandy found herself listening to her father’s voice, perfectly preserved in Ivan’s looping memory and even if his responses were a little limited, it was enough to completely entrance her. Ty tried to convince Tandy to leave Ivan’s mind, which he successfully did, only to discover Tandy had stayed behind. 

But upon returning to Ivan's mind to pull her out, Ty found a very different Tandy, in demeanour if not in appearance. When one of Ivan’s Terrors wandered in she quickly dispatched it with one of her daggers from across the room, a skill that she hadn’t appeared to have mastered yet. With visual clues like Tandy tossing cards into a hat with total accuracy, as if she had got a lot of Groundhog Day style practice, Ty correctly deduced that time inside Ivan’s little fantasy was compressed, running at many times the speed of the real time. In the 30 or so seconds it took him to leave Ivan’s head and return, Tandy had experienced that loop over 200-times. At least, that’s where she stopped counting. Each time answering the phone, each time getting to exchange a few words with her Dad before being blown up and starting all over again. We’d seen Tandy deal with substance abuse as a way to deal with her family trauma, but now we were witness to a whole other kind of addiction. The complete rejection of reality to preserve even the most fleeting memory of her father. 

Ty confronted her, Tandy even letting loose a few of her daggers at him, before she challenged Ty by deliberately misremembering his brother’s name to elicit an emotional response. Though it initially had the desired effect, cooler heads prevailed and Ty convinced Tandy to ask her “Dad” something that only the real Nathan Bowen would know. Knowing the origin of the call, something Ivan couldn’t possibly have known or fabricated, she asked her Dad where he was making the call from and who he was with. The illusion shattered once “Mr Bowen” wasn’t able to give a real answer, Tandy bidding him a tearful farewell and re-joining Ty in their mission to save Ivan. Our girl overcame her greatest test to date. 

Buoyed by her experience with figuratively regaining her father, if only for while, Tandy launched into an angry tirade at Ivan over how he could forget his daughter, how he could leave her behind. But on his desk Ivan had a cookie, baked for him by Mina on the morning of the accident, it’s origin long forgotten yet still Ivan turned it over in his hands, smelled it and tried to guess the secret ingredient, a riddle left with him by Mina 8 years ago. Turns out the secret ingredient was the secret ingredient to all of this as Ivan’s connection to Mina through the cookie was his way out. Once Tandy revealed the ingredient to him, something she had learned from the real-world Mina, Ivan was finally ready to leave his own personal time-looping hell. With Ty and Tandy’s help, Ivan made his way to the core and with Inception levels of dream sequence symbolism, he shut off the valves preventing the explosion, so he could finally go home to his little girl. Cardamom by the way, the secret ingredient was cardamom, a natural anti-depressant. 

Once back in the real world, Ivan promptly forgot who Ty and Tandy were, being as they must have seemed to him figments from a dream. This helped avoid any awkward question he may have had as to how they got into his head, but at the same time, left Tandy with a living witness to the events that destroyed her father’s reputation. But in the mean time, we were treated to scene's of Ivan and Mina reuniting our heroes reveling in their victory, even if no one could ever know what they had done. The episode ended with a beautiful moment showcasing the chemistry between Aubrey and Olivia, as Ty unearthed an old recorder amongst his things, on which was a recording of him and his brother Billy messing around, beat-boxing and freestyling from all those years ago. Sharing the recording with Tandy over the phone was a beautiful act of intimacy between the two of them without them even being in the same room. Without words Tyrone admitting to Tandy that he knew what she must have felt hearing her Father's voice and Tandy sharing in something Ty likely wouldn’t share with anyone else in the world, not his Mother, Father or even his girlfriend Evita. I'm not ashamed to say, this was the moment I started rooting for the pair, not just as heroes, but maybe even as a couple.

Written by Nick Whitney, CLOAK & DAGGER Beat Writer

Related Posts:
SDCC 2018: Marvel's CLOAK & DAGGER Panel Recap

CLOAK & DAGGER Season 1 Episode 6 Review: Funhouse Mirrors

CLOAK & DAGGER Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Princeton Offense