Things are looking bad for a lot of the main characters on Cloak and Dagger. “Back Breaker” is well named. Tyrone got what he wanted and nothing’s better, Tandy had her dreams smashed, and O’Reilly suffered a major tragedy last time. Now they all have to deal with it.
Tying the episode together, like some of Chantelle’s readings in the past, is Father Delgado talking about the hero’s journey and particularly Regression. While voiceover lectures are a very annoying (in my opinion) part of Legion, I think it works pretty well here. And since it talks about heroes making progress and then having something horrible happen to them, it applies to Tandy, Tyrone, and O’Reilly throughout this episode.
It actually opens with Chantelle moving through the city, making marks as prompted by a ritual from her voundon. The bad signs lead her to Roxxon, but we (and a good part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe) knew that already. In the opening scenes, Tandy has fallen back on old, bad habits and O’Reilly isn’t handling the tragedy of Fuchs’ death well, not that I blame her.
The Johnson family gets told officially about the developments in regards to Billy’s death and Connors’ suspension. Otis and Adina are understandably skeptical, given their history with the NOPD. Tyrone gets enraged when his parents, as far as he can tell, focus on business as usual. Then again, Tyrone and rage are often not that far apart from each other.
Evita goes through some role reversal when her aunt comes home after staying out all night doing the ritual we saw earlier. Chantelle goes on about disaster coming and only the divine pairing being able to save the city. Evita has her own ideas and muses about what all this might mean about Tyrone as she gets her aunt to finally take a rest.
Tandy hasn’t just fallen back on old habits, she picked up a new one, and it’s ugly. It would have been better if she stayed with drugs. It’s a side of Tandy we haven’t seen before, and it’s really nasty. For someone with light powers, the girl has a serious dark side.
While Tyrone’s mother, Adina, has some issues at work, Tyrone has a really bad day at school. Evita tries to talk to him, but he’s pretty numb by this point. Finally, something sets him off and things go poorly for Tyrone and one of his teammates. You know that old bit about something going on your permanent record? This probably will.
The next few scenes alternate between Tandy visiting Mina and her father and Tyrone in the priest’s office. Tandy is struggling to be polite and pretty clearly suffering from jealousy and envy, likely made even worse by Ivan Hess being such a good guy. Tyrone gets into an argument with overtones of philosophy and history with the priest in the wake of Tyrone’s outburst. Tandy gets a surprising offer and does something really cruel in reaction. After more of the regression lecture, O’Reilly drowns her sorrows (and liver) and Tandy reconnects with her partner.
As Tyrone keeps refusing to talk to Father Delgado, Tandy finally shows Liam where she lives, and tells him a very surprising reason behind her making it her home. Delgado finally gets Tyrone talking, and probably wishes he hadn’t. Liam senses something different, but Tandy doesn’t quite share what’s changed. Tyrone and Delgado almost come to blows and that triggers Tyrone’s power, giving him access to Delgado’s fear, which goes along with the secret we saw about him before. Tandy indulges in her new habit, which is especially cruel in this case. As has happened before, Tandy and Tyrone’s powers interact, and Tyrone sees what she’s up to. He doesn’t get exactly what’s going on, but he’s smart enough to see it’s not good. When the vision ends, a shaken Delgado lets Tyrone go.
Under more of the lecture about heroes falling, we see O’Reilly drinking at Fuchs’ wake. He was respected by other cops, which must be bittersweet for her to hear, and then Connor shockingly shows up. The corruption of the New Orleans Police Department is on full display in this scene, and the talk about heroes in trouble is really applicable here. O’Reilly finds out where she stands with her fellow cops, and I suspect she wishes she’d stayed in Harlem.
Things get busy at Tyrone’s school as he watches his fellow students but is very withdrawn himself. Evita finds him and says they need to talk, but Tandy pops up before they get too far. She’s pissed off that Tyrone showed up in her vision, and warns him to stay out of her head. Their partnership isn’t looking like it’s going to keep going at this point. Things degenerate to the point where Tandy threatens Tyrone with her powers, which I’m not sure would work on him, but shows how bad things are between them. Tandy gets a major shock when she tries her new trick on the wrong person.
Tandy goes back home and gets a surprise she deserved. Mina Hess gets her own surprise on the job when part of her father’s visions come true in front of her. O’Reilly hears something over the radio that she knows isn’t good and tries to respond to it.
Tyrone gets home, hangs up his cloak in the hall, and has a talk with his mother. She’s very forthcoming about why she and Otis acted how they did following Billy’s death. It’s a very powerful, emotionally charged discussion. Unfortunately, it’s gets interrupted by an ugly development that’s the end of the episode and a hell of a cliffhanger for Tyrone.
What I liked: Evita and Chantelle are really fascinating me. I like that it’s a very real world show, but it seems to have superpowers and magic both. Tyrone and Adina’s conversation at the end was illuminating and well done. I liked seeing this new nasty version of Tandy get smacked down. She earned it. Delgado is very flawed man trying very hard to be a better one.
What I didn’t: I get where it came from, but I really don’t like this new and twisted version of Tandy. I’m worried about Mina. I’m really, really worried about Tyrone at the end.
I’m really enjoying this series, even if I didn’t like some of the twists in this episode. I’ll give this one a high 3.5 out of 5. The season finale should be interesting, and I’m glad they’ve been renewed for season two.