Cloak & Dagger: Call/Response

AUBREY JOSEPH, OLIVIA HOLT

‘Tis better to light a single candle than pay the electric bill…

Last episode of Cloak and Dagger, Stained Glass, ended with Tyrone tracking Tandy down at her church/hideout. Now, “Call/Response” goes back and forth between them talking to each other, trying to figure out what’s happening to them, and developments in both their lives. I was very surprised by both characters, so the show is not only still interesting me but is throwing some curve balls that actually work.

They both establish that they’re equally lost about what’s happening to them. After some mutual teasing and feeling each other out, they start finally sharing things they learned in their respective visions. They have managed to get some insight about each other, and there are more hints about Roxxon, a pervasive evil in just about every version of the Marvel Universe. Their insights aren’t clear immediately, and they’re both a bit lost.

We get to see some of Tyrone’s home life as he acts like a normal teen with headphones on and no interest in talking to his parents. Tandy, for her part, is also at home for once and making an effort to patch things up with her mother and learn more about their Roxxon case. Praise for Tandy’s late father devolves into another argument, this time about Greg the boyfriend/lawyer, and things go downhill fast.

After Tyrone and Evita get a make-out session, Tandy surprises Tyrone with some things she learned about him and his brother’s death. Back at the Bowen residence, Tandy is surprised as Greg proves to be a fairly reasonable, accepting guy who actually talks about future plans. Not, “I’m going to leave my wife for your mom,” but like clearing the yard and planting a garden. Tandy uses her powers to get a look inside his hopes, and gets even more of a surprise.

Back to the church, Tyrone and Tandy banter about her stealing skills and his wallet. She talks about getting to know your target, and Tyrone doesn’t quite get it at first. She has some very useful suggestions about him getting to know Connors, the crooked cop.

While Tyrone tries to follow Tandy’s advice, Tandy goes to see Greg and digs into the Roxxon case with him. He’s found enough to make it clear Roxxon is hiding something. Tandy comes up with an approach to the investigation Greg hadn’t thought of, and he’s impressed. They end up working together and do much better than Tyrone on his end.

After Tyrone’s failed attempt, he goes home and has a confrontation with his father that ends in an unexpected way. This leads back to Tyrone and Tandy talking in the church again. He’s talking about his teleportation power and Tandy offers a few insights about how it seems to be working. They have ideas about why they got the powers they did, and Tandy wants to try an experiment.

Otis, Tyrone’s father, brings his son to a surprising place Tyrone didn’t know anything about. It’s yet another part of New Orleans’ unique culture that you don’t see covered many places. It’s a very tense scene and Otis finally becomes more than “Tyrone’s dad.” Tandy talks some more with Greg, and he’s very honest and casual about his situation.

Back at the church, they try out Tandy’s idea. The effects for both of their powers are really well done. Tandy gets in a few great lines about how in her life it’s hard to get close to people before their powers prove her point. It’s a big reaction that could be a roadblock to them being an effective team down the road, not that I think either is the type to go out and become a superhero per se. Ty’s reaction is a bit unexpected.

Tandy’s family, such as it is, almost has a nice dinner together when it gets interrupted by a phone call that torpedoes everything. Tyrone continues his unexpected tour of Otis’ very unexpected past, and learns a bit from Otis’ one-time mentor. The most surprising part of it to me is it almost sounds like Tyrone was destined to get the powers he has, which doesn’t seem to fit the mold of the rest of the show so far. The scene ends with Tyrone finding something very familiar to fans of the comic book versions of the characters.

Tyrone and Tandy talk about what their powers feel like, which is something most characters gloss over. I mean, if someone gets flight, you might see them clearly having a ball zooming around, but aside from that, you more often see the power than, aside from the first time “Oh my god what’s happening” reaction, how it makes them feel. They talk about their parents, and it’s so clear without being sappy that Tandy misses her father.

Tyrone shows his find to Otis, who freaks out about it. When he finally calms down enough to explain why, it makes a lot of sense, although again that feeling of destiny is coming on strong. Tandy and her mom have a conversation where they’ve done a role reversal for their attitudes about a few things. Tyrone and his father work together on Tyrone’s new project (because a student athlete with a new girlfriend and suddenly developing superpowers needs more to do).

Tyrone and Tandy have a sort of bonding scene, talking about Tyrone’s honesty. Their different takes on that are nicely illustrative of their characters. Tandy goes to drop in on Greg at his office after some news from her mom, but she gets a huge surprise that’s going to change a lot of things. Once again, I didn’t see this coming, and once again it makes perfect sense when you think about it. Tandy and Tyrone talk about metaphors and how the big losses in their lives affected them.

Things take a downward turn for most of the end of the episode. Tandy hears her mother doing something and it sends her into tears for several reasons. The bright spot is Tyrone and his father telling each other stories as mom comes down. Mom is stunned to hear Tyrone made them breakfast. Tyrone and Tandy end up arguing horribly in their church scene and part ways under ugly terms to go work off their emotions as best they can. At the end, Tandy is driven to do something desperate, but her powers come into play again. Hopefully that was the rock bottom part for Tandy and she’s on the way up now. The last thing we see her do makes it seem that way.

What I liked: The series overall is impressing me. I like the different approach to the development of their powers. Otis’ revelations surprised me but were really well done. All the scenes with Greg were surprises in one way or another. I liked most of Tandy and Tyrone talking in the church. Tyrone’s find may be one of the best ways I’ve even seen of working in a comic book costume for a character who just wouldn’t wear one. The discussion about how the powers felt was virtually unique in live action adaptations of superheroes.

What I didn’t: I get they come from different backgrounds, but Ty and Tandy’s big fight near the end of the episode seemed like it came from nowhere. It felt more like something they decided to write to up the tension. They were good scenes, but the time jumps made it a bit hard to work out when the church chat was happening in relation to everything else.

This series is really impressing me. I’ll go 4 out of 5 for this one. It never occurred to me, and you can’t say this for all hero looks, but Cloak and Dagger’s costumes would be perfect for Mardi Gras. Although I’ll lay money whatever Tandy ends up wearing will NOT be the comic book look.

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