**Some Spoilers Ahead**
After the overhyped “success” know as Inhumans “graced” the IMAX screens and “blessed” our tv sets (I’m being super sarcastic, it was too much of a hot mess to even stop at calling it a flop), the Disney/Marvel Television division side of the MCU was resting on the underrated Runaways season and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 (FYI for those who didn’t know the show went beyond season 2). Between these shows and the Netflix side of things, there was nothing MARVELlous about the television watching experience that could match that of what the big screen blockbusters don’t fail to give us every time. That was the case, until June rolled around and gave us Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger. If you’ve been keeping with Nerdy Scoop as your summer reading (this is on your teacher’s recommended list btw) you know that we’ve been doing weekly recaps and analysis after EVERY episode, and this show is one of our faves! If you’ve been living under a rock then have no fear, this is a TL;DR of sorts, where we will lookout the series as a whole, it’s place in the MCU, both theatrically and in the Marvel Television division.
Who/what really is Cloak and Dagger. A superhero team that first made their appearance in March 1982 in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #64, and their first television debut in Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man S03:E04. Cloak is a teen from New Orleans who’s alter-ego is Tyrone “Ty” Johnson and he can teleport, look into people’s fears and summon a dark matter using his cloak that is black. Dagger is his female counterpart (also from New Orleans) that can see into peoples hopes and dreams, steal their hopes and dreams, and create light-daggers from her hand that she can use as a weapon. They both got their powers on the night that the biggest tragedy of their lives happened: Ty saw his brother shot by a cop for no reason, and Tandy saw her dad die after an oil-rig explosion collapses the bridge they were driving on and the car sinks. As fate would have it, the two meet up again as teens 8 years late and they work towards a common goal: Revenge for the lives they lost 8 years ago and to save New Orleans.
Created by Joe Pokaski, Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger stars Aubrey Joseph and Olivia Holt as the show’s heroes (respectively) and Emma Lahana reprising her role as Harlem Officer Brigid O’Reilly from Marvel’s Luke Cage. What sets this show apart from EVERYTHING the MCU has brought us is the lack of “superhero-ism”. A part from the brief final showdown in the last episode, and some display of Cloak and Dagger’s powers peppered in throughout 10 episodes, this show (thankfully) doesn’t rely on visuals and graphics, as it does for unique storytelling of a hero, cultural awareness of New Orleans and symbolism through minor things such as clothes being worn (Cloak wears dark clothes, and Dagger wears lighter coloured clothes thought the season), and attitudes. This is a teen drama after all, and teens these days are all about complexity and depth, am I right? From the time the first episode aired, we knew that this show was bold, fresh and new as it tackled and addressed issues that you wouldn’t think exist in a fictional world; racism, rape, domestic violence and teen drug abuse. Because these issues are what plaguing the world, to see American teen heroes deal with these issues and attempt to overcome without much help from their superpowers (it’s mainly used for manipulating people) is both hopeful and empowering, and it finally adds some realism to the MCU and what actual teenagers in schools are facing on a day-to-day basis, not rich guys in tech suits *cough* Spider-Man *cough*.
This show does a FANTASTIC job of tying into the MCU, mainly because we finally have a different reference than the tired, overused, “incident in New York.” We get name drops of both Tony Stark and Danny Rand (Iron Man and Iron Fist, respectively), O’Reilly talking about her friend Misty from Harlem (Luke Cage reference), and even the big bad company ‘Roxxon’ has been mentioned all the way in Phase One with the Marvel One-Shot A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer. Placement wise, this show takes place in a post Hurricane Katrina (2005) New Orleans, after the events of The Avengers and Luke Cage season 2, but before Thanos’ snap and the Sokovia Accords of Civil War since they haven’t been name dropped once during this show, or any of the Marvel/Netlfix-verse of shows.
There are some cons, however, not major, but some stuff I wanted more of. Throughout the season, I really wanted more Cloak and Dagger team-ups and using their powers to fight bad guys. I do understand the choices the writers made in that decision, as they didn’t want to rush the Yin and Yang dynamic of Cloak and Dagger as individuals, their limitations and what sets one apart from the other. Some episodes did seem like filler, until they actually had a payoff later on. The season finale was a bit underwhelming in my opinion in terms of “superhero-ism” as we didn’t get to see a greater use of Cloak and Daggers powers as the little tease we saw within 5 minutes of saving New Orleans. Throughout the season it’s just light daggers, teleportation and going into peoples minds. In the season finale we saw Cloak’s dark energy swallow someone whole for crying out loud! Where did that come from? Why couldn’t he do that before? Of course, this only means season 2 is bound to be more science-fiction and superpower induced (fingers crossed) since the main theme of season was ‘what makes a hero’ and was more of a moral lesson. We also have a super-powered O’Reilly who may(hem) or may(hem) not be the villain of season 2 *wink* *nudge* *wink*, so they’ll definitely need to fight fire with fire.
All in all, it is no overstatement when it is said that Cloak and Dagger is THE show of the summer! It’s a compelling, well-written teen drama as well as a superhero show that (for once) isn’t cheesy and campy, and actually worth keeping up with. The darker tone and themes explored sets it apart from other MCU properties, which is what makes it so binge-worthy, as it doesn’t follow a formula or pattern of what has come before it.