Marvel’s Cloak And Dagger
The final episode of Cloak & Dagger’s first season had a lot to accomplish. First, Tandy and Tyrone had to save the entirety of New Orleans from Roxxon’s plague. Tyrone needed to clear his name. Tandy needed to clear her father’s name. O’Reilly needed to get to the bottom of her situation at the police department, Evita and her aunt were chronicling the city’s descent back into darkness, and Mina was tasked with salvaging what she could of her company. So under the best of circumstances, resolving all of these arcs would’ve been difficult. But, as has been the case throughout this season, sometimes the franchise’s ambition, and penchant for weaving narratives, gets ahead of itself — which is exactly what happens here.
But threading the past with the present is how the finale attempts to weave all of its tangents together — each of the episode’s scenes are glued by stories from Evita’s aunt. She attempts to come to terms with how her city can be saved, citing instances, throughout history, of appearances from “the divine pairing.” Evita realizes that this era’s iteration is Cloak and Dagger, and her aunt encourages her to tell them herself. When Evita asks what, specifically, that’ll do, her aunt insists that it’s the only way.
And it isn’t as if through Tandy and Tyrone aren’t busy with their own shit; on one end of town, Tandy’s still staring down Mr. Scarborough’s assassin. Her mother’s being held hostage. But after a brief confrontation, Melissa works her way out from under the gun, stabbing her assailer, and Tandy manages to skirt disaster for the time being. She leaves her mother to check in on Mina and her father.
On Tyrone’s end, he’s still running from the NOPD. He finds his father, who’s preparing for a Mardi Gras parade with his krewe, and the man tells his son to get the hell out of New Orleans. (It’s worth wondering why he isn’t with his wife in this moment of duress, but, y’know, fine). It’s only a moment before the police make their entrance, having scouted out Tyrone, and our guy attempts to slip into a nearby parade. For what it’s worth, he’s gotten very, very good at matriculating in and out of a crowd; but it isn’t long before O’Reilly shows up to drive him off of the scene (although she’s hardly subtle). Except the pair are immediately cordoned by NOPD, with guns drawn. When O’Reilly asks why Tyrone doesn’t just do “his thing,” Tyrone declines because there are “too many people”.
When O’Reilly and Tyrone are brought to the police station, they aren’t booked officially, which can’t be good news. Tyrone is convinced that he can’t disappear without his cloak, so when he and O’Reilly are locked in a storage room (the second time this season for Cloak), they do their best to appeal toward the morals of the cop who’s guarding them. The cop’s a young-ish white guy, and for a moment it looks Tyrone’s speech on duty and responsibility might work, but OF COURSE it doesn’t — when another cop shows up to replace him, the guy they’d been working on leaves the room without any resistance.
That’s when Connors arrives. He doesn’t waste any time explaining the situation. He tells them Tyrone will kill O’Reilly, and Connors will kill Tyrone. That’s the narrative that he’ll sell NOPD. The department will accept the story without much resistance. Mardi Gras will act as a cover. But before Connors leads them toward that fate, the folks who’ve been “ turned” by Roxxon’s energy/fumes arrive at the police station; the crowds from the parade have only exacerbated the danger. And anyone that’s touched by someone who’s “turned” becomes afflicted themselves.
That puts Tyrone and O’Reilly in a match of high-stakes tag at the police station. touch When O’Reilly implores Tyrone to escape, he tells her that everything he said to the cop is on him, too: the city is Tyrone’s responsibility. He has to protect and serve. Tyrone diverts the zombified folks away from the officers, and teleports away into the ether.
Meanwhile, Tandy’s heading to the swamp to save Mina — she finds her warding off the “turned” who’ve made their way to her home. After a brief battle, Tandy saves Mina, and she learns that there are nine valves emitting Roxxon’s toxic energy throughout the city. Shutting them off is the only way to stop the growing number of “turned.” But in order to do that, they’ll need to find Scarborough to find out how to disable them.
So they head to the Roxxon building. Scarborough’s an easy mark, and the women track him to an elevator. He tells Tandy that Roxxon’s lost the ability to turn the valves off remotely. He knows the decision was irresponsible, but he took a chance on energy production in order to keep up with Tony Stark and the rest of the MCU’s tech-innovator-types. And Scarborough is reluctant to share anymore info, but after a right hook from Mina, he tells the women about the core. He shares where it’s located. So Tandy tells Scarborough that they’ll be shutting it down, but not before she uses her newfound powers to place Scarborough in purgatory.
On their way to shut off the valve core, Tandy and Mina run into Scarborough’s assassin, but all three are curtailed by the arrival of more partygoers that’ve “turned.” After a brief chase, Mina ends up turned being “turned” herself, and Tandy does her best to keep from having to strike her down, but Tyrone arrives just in time (he’d teleported!) to taze her.
Depleted and exhausted, the pair return to Tandy’s church. And they’re out of ideas, but that’s when Evita shows up: she breaks the news that Cloak and Dagger are “The Divine Pairing” of lore. Together, they’ll save the city. In the process, one of them will die. Evita leaves them after delivering the news, but not before she and Tyrone kiss. (Tandy says, “If the city doesn’t destroy itself, you should lock that down.”)
But with Evita gone, Tyrone falls into doubt: He doesn’t think he has it in him to save anyone. He’s let so many people down before. So Tandy gassed him up, handing him back his old hoodie in the process, and when Tyrone asks where she’d gotten it from, she says it was the first thing that she ever stole. Tandy tells him that she needed it then. She tells Tyrone he can have it back because he needs it now (although he totally doesn’t). But with their confidence in tow, Cloak and Dagger head out to the valve center. O’Reilly gives them cover fire against the “turned” while they head to the core. But this (somehow) gets her noticed by Connors, who shoots O’Reilly and knocks her into the water below. And, he’s just about to fire on Cloak and Dagger as well, but not before the pair use their powers against him; ultimately, Tyrone ends up swallowing Connors with the darkness emitted from his “cloak” (the series neither elaborates nor attempts to define what that means, exactly).
With time running out, Tyrone tells Tandy that he’ll have to shut the core off on his own: he’s the half of the pairing who’ll die. So he ghosts to make that sacrifice, but it isn’t long before Tandy tails him. Working together, they use their respective powers to discharge Roxxon’s excess energy, and their efforts push it all out of the city leave them sprawled on top of the SuperDome.
And just that quickly, just that anticlimactically, the episode comes to an end. Evita sees their victory on the news. Mr. Scarborough is found in the elevator, lost in Tandy’s induced-purgatory. At Tyrone’s house, his parents and his teacher hang around with NOPD, but Tyrone shows up, briefly, to leave a token for his mother. Tandy shows her own mother the newspaper deeming “Roxxon Responsible.” And now, it looks like Tyrone will go on to live in the church with Tandy. That way they can watch over the city. But in Marvel fashion, we’re given a “bonus” scene after the initial “ending”: O’Reilly emerges from a swamp across town after her “death” by way of Connors, prompting the question of what here abilities are, and how much hold she has over them.
I’d be lying if I said this finale wasn’t vastly disappointing. The stakes established in the last episode were high enough to introduce something truly special. But, as far as television goes, Cloak & Dagger’s conclusion could’ve been worse, and the flashes of innovation that surfaced throughout the season are reason enough to tune in for another season. Hopefully, the next time around, with established characters and established preamble, the franchise can turn its missteps into functioning pieces of a larger whole.