Marvel’s Cloak And Dagger
This week’s episode gives us the eight-year anniversary of the Roxxon rig’s explosion — which means plenty of flashbacks (as usual), but also a look at the different ways that families come around to grieving. But because the show is set in New Orleans, there’s no mention of death without ghosts attending to it, and we’re left with the question plaguing every good ghost story: Why, specifically, are they hanging around? What are they owed by the living? And what does that have to do with Tandy and Tyrone?
We start the episode with pancakes shared between O’Reilly and Officer Fuchs: They’re cooking together! And living together! When Fuchs asks O’Reilly about Connors, she tells him, with some reluctance, that she’s going to take him down. And hardly a beat passes before he amends her statement:
“No,” he says, “we are. How?”
Which, whoa! Hello! That’s good news! For once, it looks like she’ll have a true accomplice in her new department. And in the spirit of collaboration, we’re taken to a shot of Tandy visiting Ivan Hess in recovery. He still hasn’t left the extended-care facility. But on Tandy’s way into the room, she passes Peter Scarborough — the high-up at Roxxon — just as he’s making his exit. The pair mean-mug each other in the hallway for a beat, but it isn’t long before Tandy leaves him alone.
It’s clear that Ivan’s just finished being interrogated. Tandy asks him if he remembers the night of the explosion, and Ivan tells her that he doesn’t. Ivan says he saw Roxxon cutting corners. Ivan says he had an idea of the disaster awaiting them. But even if he can’t give a direct recollection, Ivan knows that Tandy’s father foresaw the damage: In fact, there’s a safe at the Roxxon building with a memo he’d written. When Ivan tells Tandy that his disclosures can’t come back to him or his daughter, she says, “I understand. You have a lot to lose.” (With the unspoken follow-up being, “I don’t.”)
Afterwards, Tandy visits her mother with some coffee – and Mama Tandy looks great! She’s doing well, looking fresh. Tandy asks her mother if she doesn’t need a little “kick”with her brew, and her mother declines — so it looks like she’s really making an effort. And that’s when she asks Tandy if she’ll be around for her father’s memorial; Tandy has skipped out in the past. But Tandy says that, this year, she’ll make it. Tandy tells her mother about the possibility of a key for that safe at Roxxon, and her mother unearths a “memory box.” They find the key, and some photos, too.
The next stop on her circuit is Tyrone’s home – and her timing is impeccable. Tyrone’s mother is understandably tense about the anniversary of Billy’s death. When Tyrone opens the door to find Tandy, the family doesn’t look reassured by her presence, and when he asks her why she’s shown up, Tandy pauses before she gives him a look.
“Today is today for me, too,” she says.
Eventually, Tyrone’s parents ambush the pair in the foyer. Tandy plays as nice as we’ve seen her. Once she’s asked if Tyrone’s folks are doing anything special for Billy, they immediately deflate, leaving the teens to themselves. But before Tandy leaves their home, she invites Tyrone to the memorial she’s throwing with her mother. Tyrone plays along, telling Tandy that he’ll go, and once she’s out of the house we see why Dagger made her trip in the first place — she’s holding a Roxxon ID from Tyrone’s mother. It’s her key to get into the building, and then the safe.
But across the city, it’s clear that it isn’t just the families that’re on edge: Connors is feeling the heat after his run-ins with Cloak. He doesn’t actually know it’s Tyrone, but he feels it. That’s enough to come up with a sketch at the police department. When O’Reilly takes note, she apologizes for losing Tyrone in the last episode, and once she asks why Connors’s vendetta seems personal, Connors says, “He got away. He has to be dealt with.”
O’Reilly sees where that line of thought is headed, so she texts Tyrone to tip him off. He’s in the middle of a completing Mardi Gras costumes with his father’s friends. And in one of the more illuminating “naming” moments in recent Marvel history, Tyrone asks an old acquaintance of his father’s, “What’s the difference between a cloak and a cape anyways?” and the man says, “A cape is just a dag’gone shirt. But a cloak – it hugs you.”
Their conversation is succinct, and it’s illuminating, and it’s one of the more powerful superhero explanations we’ve seen in a long while. It remains to be seen whether Dagger gets anything as touching. But once Tyrone steps outside to talk to O’Reilly, she asks him to lay low. Tyrone declines, noting that he’s not stopping, and especially “not today.” O’Reilly warns Tyrone that Connors remembers exactly what the anniversary stands for, and Tyrone says, “I’ll make sure he never forgets.”
And what is his master plan? Later, Tyrone shows up to meet Fuchs and O’Reilly, where he informs them that he intends to “haunt” Connors in the guise of Billy. He’s got Billy’s old sweatshirt. He’s got the familial resemblance. It’s the most “New Orleans” plan our dude could’ve possibly conceived. Tyrone asks the pair if they’ve read “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and when Fuchs says, “Yeah, the abridged version,” Tyrone gently reminds him that it was a short story.
But it isn’t long before Tyrone’s plan is put into play: After tailing Connors, he makes a production out of appearing and disappearing and reappearing. That’d be enough to spook anyone, and it isn’t long before Tyrone — eventually, inconceivably — coerces Connors into a confession. And that’s when O’Reilly and Fuchs emerge from the shadows with the entire conversation on record.
“I shot you, okay, kid. I shot you.” Connors tells Tyrone. “I did what I did. I couldn’t undo it. It. It was undone.”
And that’s a wrap: Connors is cuffed. It looks like Tyrone’s heist actually worked out. In the office, the detective says, “I’m from New York, I’ve seen it before.” She asks Fuchs to remind her to tell some stories about Misty one day (and this is how you bring layers of the MCU together; there isn’t one mention of that fucking “event” plaguing the Netflix franchises).
Meanwhile, Tandy’s engaged in a stakeout of her own: After breaking into Roxxon, Dagger finds the memo she’s been looking for. But once she runs into Peter, who — for whatever reason — is wandering around the building, Tandy is hardly as subtle as Tyrone with her victim: She ties up the guy, giving him a full read while he struggles against the tape. Peter offers Tandy money for the memo and any evidence linking Roxxon to the explosion. He asks if she really even knew her father as well as she thinks she does (which is a red flag if there ever was one; as a kid, Tandy could’ve only seen so much). But Tandy declines the money, leaving Peter tied up, and slicing the building’s stability on her way out (but Peter still gets away).
With both of their missions accomplished, Cloak and Dagger reconvene at the beach for the memorial with Tandy’s mother. When Tandy asks about Tyrone’s stakeout, he says, “I got a confession out of him.” When Tyrone asks about Tandy’s, she says, “I scared the shit out of him.” Tandy’s mother is sweet to Tyrone, and he asks if they aren’t going to miss the money Roxxon offered Tandy. But Tandy tells him that it isn’t about the money — the point was clearing her father’s name.
Which is obviously the cue to tarnish it: All of a sudden, the pair are transported to their shared nether-space again. Cloak and Dagger end up standing across from Tandy’s “old front door.” When Tyrone opens it, Tandy asks him if it’s “a fear or a memory.” But they step into what looks like a movie theater for reminiscence — and, in this memory, we watch as Tandy’s father slaps her mother. Tandy is clearly horrified. And that’s when the memory ends. Back in the present, Tandy glances at her mother, and sees her in a whole new way.
The next morning, Tandy calls Peter Scarborough. She tells him that she thought about it, and she’ll take the money. Across town, Tyrone returns home to his parents arguing over Billy’s death. And when O’Reilly steps through her own doors, she finds the since-redeemed Fuchs bloodied, sliced in half, and stuffed inside of the fridge.
It was, all in all, a very New Orleans episode. And it becomes rapidly apparent, very early, why the series doesn’t rely particularly heavily on visual effects. But where this might be a death blow for another hero franchise, it only forces Cloak and Dagger to lean on its writers here — who are very good, because it’s a character drama at heart. But it remains to be seen if Connors is going to jail (probably not), who killed Fuchs (the NOPD?), whether Tyrone will come to terms with himself, and if Tandy is willing to accept the truth about her father.