I’ve heard some people complaining about the slow build in Cloak and Dagger. Personally, I’m enjoying it and I think it’s fine storytelling. I think the series has been pretty good and “Ghost Stories” was one of their best episodes, if not the best so far. Surprises, good plans, and a big step towards the comic book look for one of the characters, as well as a name drop for another corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe all contributed to a great episode.
There’s a lot of flashbacks to the younger Tyrone and Tandy, which makes sense as we learn that today is the anniversary of the rig explosion, and the deaths of both Tandy’s father Nathan and Tyrone’s brother Billy. Nathan is pushing Tandy to get better, and shows his ignorance of what she does (Does anyone really say “Play ballet”?) while Billy talks up Tyrone’s future. All this builds to reliving both characters’ deaths.
In the present, O’Reilly and her boyfriend Fuchs are having pancakes with a side of banter. Aside from that and some hints at the relationship getting more serious, O’Reilly talks about her future plans. Fuchs is very supportive, and they seem to be in a really good place with each other.
Tandy goes to see the recovered Ivan Hess, and gets in a glaring match with Peter Scarborough, Roxxon flunkie, who comes out of Ivan’s room as she gets there. After a brief suspenseful build about something, Ivan and Tandy talk about what Roxxon was drilling for and why things went wrong. Ivan warns her that Roxxon can be dangerous and petty, but I think we all know that at this point. He does drop a hint about something useful that the didn’t tell Scarborough. Tandy follows that up with coffee and questions with mom to get moving in the right direction.
They do a great job contrasting the families as the Johnsons and Bowens observe the anniversary of their loved ones’ deaths in very different ways. The Johnsons clean up after breakfast and Otis mentions bringing the Red Hawks around to the house. Adina seems lukewarm at best on this idea, and then things get more complicated when the doorbell rings and Tandy drops by for a visit. She gets introduced to the parents, awkwardness ensues, and she leaves. Tandy rarely does anything for just social reasons, something to bear in mind.
After another flashback to a telling moment in young Tandy’s life, O’Reilly is shown at her computer, clearly a bit frustrated. Connors calls her over and we see that he’s following up on his run-in with Tyrone through good police procedure. O’Reilly tries to sidetrack him but it doesn’t work.
The Red Hawks arrive at Casa Johnson, and there’s a lot of good natured teasing about how well Otis is doing for himself. Big Chief Roland talks with Tyrone about it being a hard day, and we see they brought Billy’s cloak along. Otis is shaken by his, so he misses the next unexpected visitor; Detective O’Reilly bringing a warning to Tyrone. They argue about what to do next, and both make some valid points.
Young Tyrone has a chance meeting with Auntie Chantelle, and then we see both Tyrone and Tandy working on their respective plans to go after their enemies. Both of them are being pretty damn clever. Tyrone takes the big step of bringing O’Reilly and Fuchs into his confidence. It’s a great scene with a visual that makes us comic book geeks happy.
Young Tandy makes her way home, a lot the worse for wear, and lets herself in with the old key under the mat. The kid has had a horrible night and morning and now it gets even worse when she finally gets in. The present Tandy uses her bag of tricks to get inside Roxxon. They cut back and forth between Tandy at Roxxon and Tyrone running a great gaslight number on Connors, with a bit of help from O’Reilly. When Tyrone manages to get Connors rattled enough to break, after throwing shots all over the waterfront, Fuchs is there to help close the deal. It’s a really well-orchestrated plan that I loved. Tandy gets in her own direct confrontation with her foe.
Tandy has Scarborough at her mercy and pushes for answers. Credit where it’s due, the man is at every kind of disadvantage and just smirks at his captor. He loses the smirk as she lays out everything she’s gathered about Roxxon and the doomed oil rig. There’s a hint that Tandy doesn’t know everything she thinks she does about someone important to her. They do a beautiful dissolve from Scarborough to Connors, who is in custody. O’Reilly and Fuchs get some more relationship banter in. O’Reilly also name drops Misty Knight, firmly connecting to the Netflix corner of the Cinematic Marvel Universe.
After all this, Tyrone joins Tandy and her mom for their little memorial for Nathan, complete with more awkward parental introductions. Tandy and Tyrone talk about her choices while mom is off looking for something. When they all join hands, Tandy and Tyrone share a vision like they did with Ivan Hess. It’s a very eye-opening experience and Tandy learns a lot, whether she wants to or not. Off-balance, Tandy shuffles through the streets back to her church, and Tyrone doesn’t quite walk her home but stays nearby, which I thought was sweet of him.
There’s another flashback to young Tandy, getting a lesson from mom. The modern Tandy makes a very difficult phone call, and we see her attending to the aftermath of it. There are a few more flashbacks of the young versions of our heroes having difficult nights. And then, at the very end, O’Reilly gets a major surprise I didn’t see coming. That was a hell of an ending to the show.
What I liked: Almost all of it. Tyrone’s plan was brilliant and he looked great in the cloak. I liked the scene of the Red Hawks at Otis’ place. I can’t say I liked them, but the twists about what Tandy learned and O’Reilly found were really well done. Geek that I am, I was pleased with the link to the Luke Cage series. Young Tyrone meeting Chantelle was an interesting coincidence.
What I didn’t: Connors should have hit a few things with his wild shots and that should have been very noticeable. If Tyrone’s powers took the bullets with him, I’d like to have seen that. I’m feeling worse and worse for poor Tandy.
I’m giving this a high 4.5 out of 5. It was a great episode. I’m not sure where they’ll go from here, but I expect I’ll enjoy finding out.