Last night we were blessed with the first two episodes of the soon to be hit show Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger. It was smart, topical, and overall was looking to be the best live-action Marvel project to hit the small screen. Within the two-hour series premiere, the show covers topics of cops vs black Americans, distracted driving, rape, and bullying (I mean, it is a show about teenagers after all).

The series stars Olivia Holt as Tandy Bowen aka Dagger, and Aubrey Joseph as Tyrone Johnson aka Cloak. They both got their powers as kids one stormy night after experiencing the greatest tragedy of their lives. Tyrone and his older brother Billy was trying to return a book that Tyrone stole from a car, then (ironically) they get booked themselves by the cops. Tyrone and Billy start to run, while the cops chase them.

Meanwhile, Tandy is en route to her home in the backseat of her father’s car, while her father is driving and talking angrily on his phone…during the storm….on a bridge. The bridge then explodes (for what is later revealed as something that Tandy’s father was behind) and every vehicle just plummets into the water. Moments before the explosion, the cops have Billy and Tyrone cornered on a dock. Tyrone manages to hide, because he’s small and is wearing a black hoodie, but Billy freezes and puts his hands up while Connors (the cop) points his gun at him. After the explosion goes off from across the lake, Connors gets scared and shoots Billy three times. Billy falls into the lake, and Tyrone jumps in afterwards. Tyrone holds the lifeless Billy, until he drifts away.

Then we see Tandy, still alive, calling out to her dad for help, but he is dead. Tyrone looks behind him and sees bright, white light underneath him. He swims down toward it. Tandy looks up and sees a dark, cloaked figure coming down towards her. She reaches out and touches the car window, while Tyrone does the same from the other side. Cloak and Dagger are initiated.

8 years later, Tyrone’s life is complicated. His parents are over protective and tough on him, his basketball teammates bully him for causing a scene and getting into fights every game because of his aggressive behaviour, which  is caused by the fact he has to live with the guilt that his brother got shot because of him. His life sucks, but it could be sort of worse, like Tandy’s life.

After her dad died, the company he worked for confiscated  all of his stuff, her and her mom got kicked out of the house and has to live in a small apartment and due to the events that transpired her mom is an alcoholic who can’t hold a job. Oh, and she robs rich people with her boyfriend. Tyrone gets invited to a party in the middle of a forest because high school. Little does he know Tandy will be there, and will pretend to act drunk and spill a drink on his fresh jacket while taking his wallet in the process. Tyrone notices, and chases Tandy to a grave yard. They touch hands and a small explosion of light separates them a few feet back. Tandy’s hand begins to emit a bright, white light, while Tyrone’s hands emit a dark, cloak-like energy. Cloak and Dagger are now unlocked! Dagger, however, shines her light in Cloak’s face and runs away.

Cloak’s powers are he can teleport from one place to another using his aura-based cloak, that can also take away light. He also has access to the Darkhold dimension, that has been previously explored in Marvel’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. This power is explored when he runs away from Connors, who he has tracked down, and picked a fight with, and is now shooting at him, intentionally.

Cloak transports back into his bedroom. Cloak gets a chance at round 2 when he finally has the urge and ability to shoot at Connors, but then unintentionally transports to Dagger’s location and shoots the car she is driving in. Cloak also displays psychic abilities as he is able to see what his mother fears the most when she kisses him on the forehead.

Dagger is able to shine beams of light through her hands, and create ‘light daggers’. This power is explored when she is tracked down by a rich kid she robs, and is moments away from being raped by him, as he was hoping to get lucky the night he was robbed by him (what happened was she actually slipped soemthing in his drink at the club and he passed out). Tandy stabs the guy with her light dagger, then runs away. Dagger can also see visions of the past and future. She sees her past as a child ballet dancer and her mom and dad being proud of her, when arguing with her mother in real time one afternoon. She also catches a glimpse of her wedding day when slow dancing with her boyfriend at a gala where they were pulling off a heist.

This show is one for it’s time. It takes place in a pre-Thanos finger snap world, although none of the MCU is referenced, which is actually a good thing. Cloak and Dagger can hold it’s own and doesn’t need to be advertised as part of the MCU. It’s very realistic and three-dimensional. It has explored something, and is on path to continue to do so throughout the show’s run, that Spider-Man Homecoming was trying to do, but couldn’t as it was a family friendly movie. Homecoming explored what it was like for a teen with superpowers to be a part of of the MCU with other heroes and villains, while being in high school. Cloak and Dagger on the other hand gives you a look into the live of two teens who are traumatized from the death experiences of their past, while dealing with school, family issues, real world issues and their new found super powers. It is important to note, that the show doesn’t directly reference the #BlackLivesMatter movement or #MeToo, but it does cover  the topics well, and deals with it through the actions and motives of the characters, and what a person in real life might feel/want to do.

After stabbing the guy who tried to rape her, Dagger want nothing to do with her current life, and plans to run away and start fresh with a new ID. When Cloak’s mom kisses him on the head, he sees her terrible nightmare of Tyrone and Billy, both her kids the same age, in a super market. Billy runs away and you hear a gun fire. Tyrone runs in the same direction Billy ran in, and you hear another gun fire. Their mom runs after both of them, and Cloak follows her. He turns the corner and sees that his mom disappears but he is looking at two graves with his name and his brother’s name, while he hears his mom screaming in the background.

One thing that we didn’t get in the first two episodes, that I am super amped to see in future episodes is Cloak and Dagger actually working together. Their powers are very unique and organic. It didn’t come from a super suit, a radioactive spider, super soldier serum, gamma radiation, or any of those ‘science gone wrong’ situations. It was unlocked as a way of protecting them in the time they needed it the most. Some things to also look forward to references and easter eggs that ground them to the MCU, maybe a reference to Loki’s attack on New York, or the Accords, and an epic Stan Lee cameo.

Marvels’ Cloak and Dagger is sure to be a huge success for Marvel’s television division, that is much needed after the major flop known as Inhumans. Just from watching the first two episodes, I believe the show has the potential to be as successful, if not even more successful than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and it could really expand its appeal to audiences as the films have a more light-hearted tone for family viewing, while shows like these are for late at night binge-watching due to its darker tone and links to real world topics that an older, mature audience could tolerate.

 

Vishal Lilman
vmlilman@yahoo.ca

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