Cloak and Dagger: Two Player


All the world is but a… video game?

Cloak and Dagger are almost through with their second season (and no word as yet on a third as of this writing). The show is getting a bit more stylistic as it goes, with some big analogies to what the characters are going through. Usually, that kind of thing bothers me, but I have to admit, they’re pulling it off really well (and not getting anywhere near as surreally hard to follow as Fox’s Legion). In addition to the recurring record shop, we get a new representation of their challenges in “Two Player.”

The episode opens in an arcade, where a familiar figure from voodoo lore is playing an unexpected game, and then discovers an action figure of one of our heroes. On the floor of the church, Tandy tries to do something for Tyrone, who looks really bad off. Brigid works the crime scene at the motel, where she deals with a lot of both bad attitudes and cynicism from her fellow cops. Lia and Andre make their getaway by committing a few more crimes.


Tandy makes a frantic call to Evita (I’m a little surprised she has her number), and Evita hurries through the shop, gathering ingredients, and calling out for Auntie Chantelle. From what we saw last episode, and a glimpse in this scene, we know she won’t be answering. Brigid gets to the church after hearing some familiar descriptions from the girls that were rescued. Tandy still looks horrible from her own ordeal, but Tyrone is looking much worse at the moment.


Father Delgado is doing some gardening when Adina finds him. I’m not quite sure how she managed to track him down, but she is very focused and makes some demands, not really caring about his excuses for not helping. Evita frantically works on Tyrone, while Brigid keeps trying Chantelle on the phone. Tandy tells the others about Tyrone being a sort of portal to another place, and wonders if he’s stuck. After Tandy mentions the name, she and Evita compare notes on Papa Legba. Evita makes a fairly large veve and tells them about required offerings. Evita tries a ritual that doesn’t seem to generate any results, and then Tandy and Brigid try some more direct action.


Tandy and Brigid come to a familiar landmark in the darkness, and the offerings are made. Tandy uses the viewer again, and ends up someplace different than the mall or record store. Brigid has a different guide setting her on a different path. Tandy talks to a man in a hat, while Brigid speaks with a lost loved one, and each starts their quest. Tandy has some clever banter with her guide, who makes her a deal. With a snap of the guide’s fingers, Tandy finds Tyrone, but this “game with death” is both very different and a bit more literal.


Adina pushes Delgado to help her, and he continues to try and get out of it. Andre is looking really bad, but refuses Lia’s offers of help. He finally tells her what he needs, which she really doesn’t like, and it sends him back to the mystical record shop (that’s a phrase that really doesn’t work without context). Brigid sees him, but gets dragged away by an unexpected person before she can get herself in more trouble. Evita keeps trying different prayers and rituals. Desperate, she turns to divination, and doesn’t like what she sees.


Tandy tries to get Tyrone to leave with her, but he’s very wrapped up in his current distraction, which proves to be one of the most brilliant sequences of the season in my opinion. It gives a nod to who Andre is supposed to be, pokes holes in a few tropes from another form of entertainment, and shows some really brilliant work from a certain part of the special effects department. It even does a few passing references to Cloak and Dagger’s comic book selves. Tyrone rhapsodizes about the experience, and I have to admit, he makes some great points.


Brigid spends a lot of time talking to herself and confronting some of her memories. She learns a lot about how things are working in this strange place. She has a lot of decisions to make and a big challenge ahead of her. Evita tries for more answers, and then gets some really surprising ones she doesn’t want to hear. She finds she has some choices to make, and a lot of her plans for her future are looking a lot less likely. Delgado and Adina continue their discussion, and find a way to make some sort of accommodation.


Tyrone and Tandy continue their challenge, and Tandy is getting smugly confident about them handling it. Then the scene changes to something from the recent past and it completely shakes her. Evita works a ritual to try and tip the balance, while Tyrone tries to talk Tandy through her sudden lack of confidence. I completely get where she’s coming from, and then the next opponent is revealed, she does something very out of character, but completely understandable. Brigid finds a very unexpected way to bond with her new partner in crime-fighting, and they make an agreement.


Tandy and Tyrone have an intense talk about him coming back to the real world, with some occasional interjections from the mystical master of ceremonies here. While they talk about how they feel and the bonds between themselves and others, Evita takes part in a ceremony to give them some help. But, as someone used to say on a now-cancelled show, “Magic has a price, dearie.” Finally, in one way or another, our heroes make it back, although one is very changed by the experience. One of them decides it’s time to go do some hunting, and I almost, but not quite, feel bad for the quarry.


That would actually be a decent place to end the show, but there are a few more surprises coming up. What seemed like a clever way to make something work for Adina and Delgado turns into something a lot more serious. What we find out really surprised me, and I didn’t see it coming at all. It was believable, though. It worked for me. Andre makes a discovery that might let him become a lot more dangerous, and takes off to pursue it. As he leaves, we see exactly how much he cares about Lia. Tandy gets home and makes her own shocking discovery. Somehow or other, Tyrone senses this and goes to her, offering support. Mayhem revisits an old haunt and does some redecorating.


What I liked: The representations of complex issues are great here. Both the record shop and the new one for Tyrone and Tandy were really well-done abstractions. Adina’s big revelation near the end wasn’t at all what I expected from her, or from the show, but it made sense and I thought it worked. I liked the resolution of Brigid’s ongoing problem, although that, too, wasn’t what I expected. I can’t say I feel bad for Lia’s fate.


What I didn’t: There were a few things I really wasn’t clear on this episode, from the minor to the somewhat more important. Tandy having Evita’s number was surprising, but I guess maybe Tyrone gave it to her at some point. Adina knowing where to find Delgado was puzzling. I’m really curious about Tyrone finding Tandy at the end. Maybe what they went through bonded them more closely?


I thought this was another really good episode of a series I’m really enjoying a lot. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5.