REVIEW: Cloak and Dagger- “It’s a Start”

Cloak and Dagger premiered on Freeform network last Thursday—a teen drama that produced mixed feelings when announced. Freeform is known for mostly teen dramas. Did anyone really want to watch a Marvel show that airs on a channel targeting teenagers? Some of us are committed to watching all the MCU, so we brave those waters . Take it or leave it, the series premiere of Cloak and Dagger was something to talk about. Also, in case you wonder where this falls in the MCU timeline…

Roxxon Energy Corporation figures heavily into the MCU. It’s appeared as Easter eggs in four of the MCU films and 5 of the television shows. The appearances in Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tie closest to Cloak and Dagger (#HailHydra). It’s all about the dark matter. Season two of Agent Carter revolved around dark matter experiments by Isodyne Corporation, a company later absorbed into Roxxon. In the 1st pod of season four of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Robbie Reyes’s uncle performed experiments with dark matter under a Roxxon contract. Now, in Cloak and Dagger, a Roxxon oil rig explodes in 2007, an oil rig where Tandy’s dad working in Research and Development. In the fiery explosion, an energy dispersal gave Tandy and Tyrone their powers. Could this energy dispersal–something very familiar in appearance–mean that, once again, Roxxon is playing around with dark matter? I hope so. I’m a big fan of #ItsAllConnected, and as Inhumans and Agent Carter proved, the promise of a connection is all the hook I need to keep watching Cloak and Dagger.

Cloak

The opening of Cloak and Dagger was amazing. The scenes cut between young Tandy and young Tyrone in what we find out later to be 2007. It’s a slow pace, but suitable for the build-up of them getting powers. The music enhances the scenes without distracting from them, and when we get to that moment of light and dark–when the kids meet in the water–the music blends with the visuals, telling us, “This is important. This is vital.” The segment before the title screen hit all the right notes.

Unfortunately, Cloak and Dagger went downhill from there. The pacing was very slow. The scene in which Tyrone chased Tandy dragged on for twice as long as necessary. He’s a basketball player. He should have caught her sooner. They spend a lot of unnecessary time in every scene. For the ADHD mind, it makes for a difficult watch. How many times in one (or two) episode(s) do they have to remind us that Tandy is a drug addict like her mother?

Reverend (to Tyrone): Old Testament verbs aside, you sound like you know what you’re talking about. Except it’s not anger in the bottle. Know what it is? It’s poison… coursing through your veins every day. And when that bottle gets shook up, the poison comes out in unexpected ways.

Cloak

Tyrone, on paper, is a very interesting character. As a kid, he saw his brother killed by a cop—a murder which was covered up. He belongs to the upper middle class, goes to a private school, and plays on the basketball team. His parents push him hard to succeed. Still, he’s an outsider on the team and in school, weighted down by what happened the night his brother was murdered. In practice, the character feels muted, muffled like his voice. The actor seems to deliver his lines with the emotional range of Grumpy Cat’s face. For Pete’s sake, open your mouth when you speak!

Cloak

Tandy’s Mom: Here we go. Things must be getting tough because Tandy’s gonna run away.

Tandy: I run away from everything. I mean whenever anything goes wrong… or hell, goes right, I—I hightail it outta town. Sometimes, literally.

Tandy feels a bit more dynamic. She lives in an abandoned church and has a boyfriend who loves her. Her addict mom lives in a hovel. She’s also a con artist, and I love a good con. Her face, voice, and body language display whatever emotion she’s supposed to be feeling at the time. The writing for her, however, makes it feel like we’re stupid. It’s not just her addiction. I get it. She runs away from her problems, but you don’t need to beat us over the head with it.

Tyrone: It’s like you’re afraid if I don’t do everything just right, perfectly, you’re gonna lose me.

Adina: Oh baby, I wish it were that easy. I’m afraid that even if you do everything perfectly, I’m gonna lose you.

One secondary character stands out as probably the best acted and written character on Cloak and Dagger is Adina Johnson. I give most of that credit to Gloria Ruebens who portrays her. Adina is probably the only character so far that I’ve found relatable, the only character that’s made me care. She lost one child and is doing her best to raise the other in a world where everything is stacked against him. Because of this, she’s overly critical and overprotective, but it makes sense.

Cloak

There were a couple on good notes to Cloak and Dagger. The characters seemed just as confused about what was happening to them as I was. I’m excited about the Roxxon connection. I feel it’s going to be huge. The show is good enough to keep me watching, but since I did watch all of Inhumans, that isn’t saying much. The shifts between Tandy and Tyrone feel natural and draw attention to how parallel but different they are. All in all, I would call Cloak and Dagger average.

MY VERDICT: 3 out of 5 stars.

In addition to being a die-hard Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fan, running #AgentsOfSpoilers a weekly re-watch of classic episodes, Carolyn loves the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Earth-199999).  When not engrossed in the MCU, Carolyn can be found binging old school wrestling and living on Twitter.  She subscribes to the philosophy “Music is life”.

In addition to being a die-hard Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fan, running #AgentsOfSpoilers a weekly re-watch of classic episodes, Carolyn loves the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Earth-199999).  When not engrossed in the MCU, Carolyn can be found binging old school wrestling and living on Twitter.  She subscribes to the philosophy “Music is life”.

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