Cloak and Dagger: Level Up


Guys, your problems are behind you. No, literally! 


Cloak and Dagger get to the end of their second season in “Level Up.” They’ve used video games as an analogy before, and it makes sense for the end of a difficult struggle for two up and coming heroes. It’s the final showdown between our heroes and Andre, the horn player trying to become a god who is essentially a version of the Marvel comics demon aptly named D’Spayre. This is a season finale, so there will probably be some spoilers below.

Andre’s music is spreading out over the city, and having an effect that parallels a major event in the Avengers movies. We see a robbery in progress, and it comes to a very unexpected conclusion as Andre claims some victims. I have no idea how people are selected over others. Tandy and Tyrone start the episode standing at the site of what should be a victory but it doesn’t feel that way. Tyrone is pretty sure that Andre accomplished whatever he was doing before they managed to catch up with him. They agree that they need more answers, and Tandy has an idea who might have them.


On a quest for her own answers, the new Brigid/Mayhem fusion pays a call on Mina Hess, the scientist that was a big part of season one and showed up a few times in this one. There’s a lot of talk about test results, what Mina has mapped versus what she hasn’t, changes since it was just Mayhem, and then Andre claims another victim.


Tyrone and Tandy end up at Evita’s. They have a discussion just before they go in about Evita and Tyrone’s current status. Unfortunately, they do this where Evita can hear it, and she’s not amused. Points to Evita; no matter how things wound up with her and Tyrone, she’s going to help the heroes defeat Andre and save the city, or give it her best shot. They all go back to the church where so much of the action happens. Evita has a unique method for making Tyrone’s power do what it needs to for Tyrone and Tandy to get where they need to be. After Tyrone explains why he has the emotional fuel he needs to get this particular power working, Evita explains the menacing plot device that will be important a bit later on. To be fair, it works for the scene, for what’s going on, and makes sense with the internal logic of what we’ve seen so far.


Tandy and Tyrone find themselves in familiar territory, but a lot has changed. The changes leave Tandy at a loss for what to do next. Tyrone does his best to talk her out of giving up, which is sort of a recurring theme throughout the episode. One of Tandy’s bitter comments gives Tyrone an idea, and he walks her through how some of his power works. With them trying together, they get where they need to be. This also is the closest Tandy comes to being called by her comic book codename.


Evita is struggling in her role as anchor and plot device, and something moves disturbingly behind her. Tandy and Tyrone end up someplace we’ve seen several times, but it’s not looking that good. Brigid comes by to see Tyrone, but finds Evita instead. Evita gives an amazingly good line as a description of what Tyrone and Tandy are up to, and the two of them agree to do what they can to help the heroes. Speaking of, the pair talk about, but we never see, the mirrors Tandy confronted a while back, and they end up finally finding Andre, who has created the perfect setting to go with his interests and fixation. The heroes do their best, but Andre is ready for them and sends them to confront some nasty scenarios.


Tandy ends up dealing with the figure that has been responsible for so much of the trauma in her life: her father. Andy Dylan, who plays Nathan Bowen, does a remarkably good job of making a middle-aged dad amazingly creepy. Tyrone, on the other hand, is confronted by the idealized version of himself, complete with school uniform. The battle with these tormentors takes up a lot of the rest of the episode, and it’s done well. These manifestations do a combination of psychological warfare and physical force against Tandy and Tyrone, and it gets ugly. They’re clearly not just hallucinations or internal demons, since one of them knows something their victim doesn’t.


Another recurring theme of the episode is Tandy and Tyrone working together and/or talking each other up. As their respective demons tear down our heroes and each other, Tyrone and Tandy defend their partners. It actually gets to the point of being a bit odd a few times. I’m all for standing up for your friends, but it gets carried a bit far here.


Back in the real world, Evita keeps the bit-more-than proverbial candle burning for Tyrone and Tandy. When strange shapes start showing up to go after her, Mayhem steps in and gets a really good workout. The shapes seem to adapt, because as she fights, they go from vague shadows to looking like cops in full riot gear. One even pulls his helmet off and is some kind of lookalike for her late boyfriend Fuchs. That man is not resting easy in the afterlife.


Keeping with the video game theme of some episodes and this one’s title, Tyrone and Tandy beat their foes a few times, get back to a safe spot, and then have to fight more. They do a clever move at one point and switch foes. Tandy’s father’s confusion is entertaining to watch as he tries to figure out who or what Tyrone is, although that argues against the extra knowledge the dopplegangers displayed before. Eventually, the heroes manage to win, of course. Tyrone goes back to a look close to his comic book self, and Tandy shows a new version of her power, and borrows another hero’s trademark calling card. They win by coming to realizations about themselves, and beating their despair, which is Andre’s chief weapon (and the reason for his comic book counterpart’s name).


Facing Andre again, the heroes do battle with their nemesis. Tandy does manage a nice trick shot that separates him from his power’s focus. As the battle goes on, Tandy and Tyrone get more help as Andre loses his grip on some of his victims. While the fight with Andre goes back and forth, Brigid gets some unexpected and creative help in her battle with the horde of monsters.


Tyrone and Tandy turn the tables as the scene shifts and use one of Andre’s foci against him. I have to admit, I very much enjoyed seeing that smug pain in the ass get taken down all the pegs. Tandy does something to leave him to his fate before they get back to the real world. Evita has done what she needed to, and is clearly not going to listen to anything Tyrone has to say as she packs up and leaves. Tandy and Mayhem talk a bit, and Tandy asks for a favor.


We get very definitive proof of what happened with Connors, and we see that he was so far gone even his fellow cops don’t grieve for him. It’s a really cold scene. Adina’s project has clearly worked, as she watches the results on the news. Father Delgado seems to have turned a corner, and is moving on to whatever is next for him.


The end could work as both a season and series finale, since there still isn’t any word on a third season. Tandy and Tyrone meet up, and debate what to call the new Brigid/Mayhem combo. They’ve gotten something from whatever they decide to call her, and are off on another adventure. There’s also a hint that their relationship may change.


What I liked: Andre got what he deserved. Tandy and Tyrone faced their inner demons and won. I liked the new manifestation of Tandy’s power. Mayhem got a great fight scene, and I’m glad Fuchs’ hold on her seems to be broken. I don’t want the series to be over, but this works as an ending, and a lot less of a cliffhanger than we ended Luke Cage on. It speaks well of Evita that she’s acting for the greater good in spite of recent events with Tyrone.


What I didn’t: It’s really not clear if Tyrone even knows about Chantelle’s death, and that’s a point I would have liked to get cleared up. If they do end up continuing, I’m not sure how well they’ll do in a new place with no support system. It’s going to be a problem if they get in trouble and Tyrone automatically ‘ports back to the church, which won’t exactly be nearby.


I’ll give this episode, and the season, a 4 out of 5. This might be my favorite hero show running right now. I’d argue it’s at least as good as some of the Netflix ones. If this is the end, I’ll miss it.