“Back Breaker” is the 9th and second last episode for season one of Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger. This episode, although arguably the best episode to date, was ‘throw your pillow at the tv’ frustrating to watch as we see our heroes so vulnerable and hopeless throughout the episode after episode 8 left us seeing their hopes and lives coming together nicely. Some scenes where even difficult to watch, as this episode really tests morals and righteousness by having some of the characters play stubborn, an flat out not knowing when to stop.
The episode starts off with Evita checking in on her aunt, who walks in smashed from day drinking. She takes a swig from her bottle and spits it out on the ceiling , telling Evita, “A disaster is on the horizon.” Evita asks her aunt about the “divine pairing” who then tells her to check up on Tyrone, and see if he has found his other half yet. We then cut to a classroom where Father Delgado (a teacher at Cloak’s school) talks about heroism and what makes a hero. His answer: “If your hero is going to be an actual hero, it has to be born again….from nothing.”
Meanwhile, O’Reilly is seen at the bar drinking shot after shot from a bottle of whiskey, until the whole bottle is empty. Relating back to Father Delgado’s teachings, O’Reilly has yet to be born again as she is right now in her “nothing” stage as she has just seen her boyfriend chopped and stuffed in a fridge, and Connors gets to walk free. Speaking of which, Connors steps into the bar and asks for a scotch. O’Reilly swing at him and gets a hit, but Connors, who isn’t a drunk as O’Reilly right now, beats her up to the ground and begins to kick her while she’s on the ground. Then he spits on her face and tells her, “Do you really think that petty video is going to stop me?”
This is one of the more difficult scenes to watch in this episode, maybe even the most difficult scene to watch in this entire series. We have a traumatized officer O’Reilly, who did nothing but help Cloak get justice for Billy after he came to her for help, and is beaten to the ground all bloody by someone who we as the audience knows is guilty for Billy’s death and Fuchs’ death. And at the end of it, he just gets to drink his scotch with the other officers as if nothing happened. In a way, this is kind of justice for for Dagger, as she was also a victim of domestic violence earlier on in the season, and O’Reilly didn’t help her out much, and just shrugged her shoulders at the entire situation. This is both karma and Dagger’s ‘revenge’ so to speak, based on the path she is going down this entire episode.
The Johnsons are at the police station facing the news of the “alleged” murderer of their son Billy. This news frustrates all of them, as what Mr. and Mrs. Johnson accepted all those years is now a lie, and the only punishment that the cop is facing is suspension from the department. Cloak is distracted in choir and in class, and finally lashes out on a white kid at school for accidentally bumping into him, and he MMA’s the guy into the ground. Father Delgado stops the fight, and puts a textbook on each of Cloak’s hands (which are stretched out) in his office and asks him about the War of 1812, and what it truly means to end a conflict. Cloak doesn’t answer, so Father Delgado steps out of his office and leaves Tyrone to tire out with the textbooks in hand. Father Delgado comes back to Cloak, still playing stubborn, and the conversation just gets out of hand real quick. Cloak drops his hands and tells Father Delgado that he knows nothing about life, and he only hides in a private school to escape life, and that there is no God. Cloak finally swings at the priest, who tries his best to stay defensive and to not whoop the kids butt. It is not long before they touch, and Cloak is able to see the fears of Father Delgado.
To catch up on Dagger’s first and second act this episode, she is the same Dagger we opened the series with. Out and about, scamming rich white kids. But this time instead of stealing valuables. She is stealing something else that she learned within the timespan from episode 8 to episode 9. Dagger is able to go inside someone’s mind to see their hopes and dreams…and crush them. The first instance we see that is when she steals the poolside, sexual fantasies of a rich white kid. Then we see her at breakfast with Mindy and her father. After Mindy’s dad sparks Dagger’s anger by asking her too much questions, Dagger leaves to go to the kitchen to wash her plate. Mindy apologizes on behalf of her father, and even offers Dagger a job at Roxxon. Dagger then touches Mindy and goes into her mind. In the “hopes and dreams world” the bees start dying and Mindy’s flower garden start withering. Back into the real world, Dagger whispers in Mindy’s ear , “Now you know how it feels,” and walks off, leaving Mindy demented.
This is frustrating because Dagger was finally a hero. She redeemed herself from a criminal past and was working toward helping people. Now she is lashing out on the world and back to her mantra of, “taking things from the world because the world took stuff from me.” After her hopes of clearing her father’s name back into the good man she thought he was was destroyed last episode by seeing her father slap her mother, she decides to go down a path where she takes other people’s happiest thoughts.
Dagger is then seen at the police station bailing her boyfriend out. After apologizing for sometime and catching up, reassuring each other of their love, they decide to hang out at the church that Dagger spends most of her time at. She touches him and sees his deepest hope which is to marry Dagger. Dagger tears up at first, but then reaches out to kill this fantasy.
At the same time, Cloak is in Father Delgado’s mind, experiencing his darkest fear. He is drinking in the aftermath of a car accident that he has caused, with child’s toys on the ground, perhaps his former children? Cloak hears couch bells ringing, and decides to go inside the church. He then sees the wedding of Dagger and her boyfriend, while the real Dagger is reaching out to end the fantasy. He says, “Tandy!? What are you doing!?” and then Dagger loses concentration and the entire vision ends.
Back in the office, Cloak tries to apologize to Father Delgado, who then demands that Cloak leaves right this instant. Outside of his office, into the hallways, Cloak meets Evita, who tries to catch up with him. It is then Dagger storms in on-site and tells Cloak to get out of her head and to keep his distance. Evita tries to stand up for Cloak, then Dagger touches her to go inside her head. She sees Evita as an older woman doctoring a patient. Dagger reaches out to take that hope away from her, and Evita says, “Not me,” and pushes her away. In present time, Dagger is left stunned as someone is able to block her “attack” and Evita realizes that Dagger is the second half of the “divine pairing” then she runs away. Cloak and Dagger continue to argue, then they walk away from each other in anger.
Dagger goes back to the church to find the her boyfriend took all of her money and dipped. She then goes home to see her mother held at gunpoint with one of Peter Scarborough’s (CEO of Roxxon) associates. SMH, even in a Marvel tv show you don’t wanna mess with Scarbs. (Yes, that’s a Toronto reference)
We then see Cloak come home to his mom drinking a glass wine and ready to have the long waited “talk.” FINALLY after 8.95 episodes we are getting some insight on Mr. and Mrs. Johnson’s naiveness on the death of Billy. In the most realest and heart-to-heart conversation from this entire season thus far, she explains to Tyrone that her and his father don’t have the ‘luxury’ that Tyrone has to not care about what the cops do, because they lost one son, they don’t want to lose another. She also tells Tyrone, “A white cop was caught on tape confessing that he shot a black teen. Have you been paying attention to the news? In our world, that means NOTHING.” Cloak still counter argues his mother with his infamous, “Even if I do everything perfect, they’re still going to come after me. So why be perfect?” Then NOPD sirens, and helicopters surround the Johnsons house, with “Tyrone Johnson! You are under arrest for the murder of Officer Fuchs” being called on the loud speaker. Mrs. Johnson tells Cloak to run, who goes upstairs and vanishes in his cloak. The episode ends.
As you can see this episode was a reminder to why this show is THE SHOW OF THE SUMMER. This is part one of what appears to be a big finale, as every main character we have met this season was in this episode, and we are left with our heroes being left with “nothing” awaiting to be “born again.” This episode also reminded viewers of the heavy topics domestic violence and Black Lives Matter. The season finale airs tonight on Freeform and ABC Spark, and be sure to check back in tomorrow for a recap/analysis.