TV Recap: Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger – Who You Is?

Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger
“Call/Response” (Episode 104)
June 21, 2018

Can I tell you how much  I am loving Cloak & Dagger? A lot. I am loving it a lot. That was anti-climatic, I know.  The writing is so strong and the acting by these two young leads sells the viewer completely on the 8,000 emotions going on in any given scene.

More than that, they are taking their time with pacing and let the show unfold organically BUT, they are using fantastic narrative devices to do it.  Last week’s episode from two POVs and tonight’s “call” and “response” approach … it keeps you on your toes, it makes you pay attention. C&D is saying, “Hey, I am important and you need to put down your 3 other things you’re doing and watch me – or else you’re going to miss something good..” There is NOTHING rote or predictable about this show and man, can you ask for anything more?

Before you read on for this week’s recap & review, make sure you know where we are from last week.  Ready? Good.  Our deep dive recap and review … after the jump (Spoilers Warning)!!

(Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani)  AUBREY JOSEPH, OLIVIA HOLT

“You think,” is how the episode opens with Tandy answering Tyrone episode ending query from last week.  She’s not convinced that this isn’t all some real bullshit but thinks that she and Ty at least need to try and hash it all out, “find an end to this shitshow.”   Light some candles, sit back and relax, its Cloak & Dagger time!!  ** A note on the show’s story telling tonight: We are going to be starting at Tandy and Tyrone talking in the church and then jumping forward to some time, soon after their meeting. The returning to their talk, then jumping forward again.  And in that way, we will have the “Call” and “Response” referenced in the episode title. **

Title Card

The T&T Church Meeting.  We come back to Tyrone sharing his fantasy visions from last week and finds commiseration when Tandy assures him he might not be as crazy as he thinks.  He tells Tandy that she kept running as the Roxxon folks tortured her father (“sounds about right,” Tandy agrees) until the last time – the last time, Ty assures her, she stayed and fight; “you saved him.”

Sometime after the T&T Church Meeting, Cut 1.  Tyrone is all surly with his parents as he grabs some breakfast to go and bounces for school.

Over at the Bowen House, Tandy shows up looking for information on the Roxxon case, the one she’s always mocked her mother for.  Mama B begins to explain her motivations but its not long before  Tandy shits on her parade – Mama Bowen is putting her faith in Lawyer Greg to help them navigate the complexities of the Roxxon Case and Tandy  is POSITIVE that that will not work out the way Mama B expects.

In a dark room at St. Sebastian’s, Tyrone shows off some photos he took to Evita and then presses his relationship forward by initiating an aggressive make out session. Evita is all about it but wonders about this “new Tyrone” she’s seeing.

The T&T Church Meeting.  “There’s something about fear that pushes me. Has my whole life,” Ty reveals and he tells Tandy that’s what he saw in his visions of her and her father.  He tells her he’s had this “connection” with some others — including the cop that killed his brother, Tandy finishes for him — she has the same power …

Sometime after the T&T Church Meeting, Cut 2Bowen House. Lawyer Greg (Gary Weeks) tries to make some inroads with Tandy; he doesn’t placate her or take her bait. He straight up tells Tandy that she isn’t perfect and neither is he. But Mama Bowen? She’s important to Lawyer Greg so, maybe give me a chance?  Also, he drops a nugget that he began his career as a Public Defender which I am sure will not become important later on at all.

The T&T Church Meeting.  You can see their Fears too, Ty asks (with almost hope in his voice that he’s not alone)? No, ironically, Tandy says, she can see their Hopes.

Sometime after the T&T Church Meeting, Cut 3.   Tandy intentionally goes in for a skin touch and take a peek inside Lawyer Greg’s Hopes which … much to her surprise involve him and Mama B and Tandy living a happy life together — a happy life where Lawyer Greg is cooking and they are renovating the Bowen House.  Coming back to reality, Tandy seems somewhat changed about Lawyer Greg. 

When we come back from commercials, we see Tandy standing outside the offices of Greg Pressfield, Esq., Attorney at Law; she’s making some internal decision with herself …

The T&T Church Meeting.  “Character is what you do when no one else is watching,” Tandy tells Ty (and us); “give me your wallet.”  Tyrone feels like he has seen this play before and hesitates for a moment before tossing it over.  Tandy goes threw and explains in her best “thief voice” that stealing wallets isn’t about making instant money – its about getting to know the person you want to mark. THAT is what Tyrone needs to do to get his cop, to get his justice — he needs to learn who the man is, Tandy tells him.

I can’t walk into a Station House, Tyrone tells her. On top of having watched a cop kill his brother, he’s a young black man in the South – the cops are going to see thug first and only.  “Don’t be a thug, be a victim,” Tandy tells him.  She elaborates – Tyrone needs to build a narrative that will make the cops feel safe, feel like he’s not a threat.

Sometime after the T&T Church Meeting, Cut 4.   Taking Tandy’s advice, Tyrone crafts a narrative for himself that involves the stealing and destruction of his own bicycle.

Over at the offices of Lawyer Greg, Tandy finally gets the nerve to enter — she got questions about Roxxon.  And, if Lawyer Greg isn’t pulling a con here, she’s willing to help, she wants to help. So what do we know?  Not much but also a lot as it turns out.  Post oil rig explosion, Roxxon has continued pouring money and resources into the sunken scrap metal – a lot of dough for a failed project, the legal duo ponder.  Also, specific people at Roxxon have been funneling personal toys through Roxxon’s corporate coffers and leaving a paper trail as they go.  Lots of smoke … fire can’t be far away.  Tandy is ready to get to work …

NOPD.  Victim Tyrone enters the police station to talk about his stolen bike and even gets an officer assigned.  As Tyrone sits at the desk of Officer Hannigan, being behind the line is too much for him and he bounces at of the police station hard.  Officer Hannigan has a confused when he returns with his missing bike form and there is no Tyrone.

Johnson House. Tyrone enters the kitchen and apologizes to his dad for being a sullen douchebag earlier.  The brief detente is ruined when Ty lies to his dad about missing bolt cutters and Dad Johnson finds them literally in his book bag. Not a well told lie, Ty.  Dad Johnson says “this” is how it started with Billy but Tyrone isn’t about that — I didn’t steal or break into anything and frankly, its none of your business Tyrone replies. Um, that is NOT the way to deal with this situation Tyrone.  Yeesh.  Dad Johnson grabs his jacket and commands Ty to follow him.

The T&T Church Meeting.   Tyrone is explaining that he doesn’t understand how his power works — it keeps putting him in random spots but together, T&T realize its not so random.  The power always brings him to either the cop or to Tandy.  Tandy thinks the power is guiding Tyrone, showing him what he needs to see. Ty thinks its more – he thinks the power is protecting him, looking out for him.

What about you and the *Ty motions for a light dagger in his hand*, Ty asks?  Tandy says she doesn’t really understand her power either. It materializes when the shit hits the fan. I get “hot and bothered and weaponized.” Tyrone assures her that if he had a “knife of light, Detective Connors would be dead and buried.” Tandy counters that if she could travel anywhere, she’d travel anywhere but here (the church).  So, they seem to agree there is a reason they got what they got (or, said another way, didn’t get what they didn’t get).

Tandy has an epiphany — this all started when they touched in the grave yard – what happens if they  touch again.

“Let’s test our limits,” Tandy says.

Sometime after the T&T Church Meeting, Cut 5Dad Johnson is driving his wayward son somewhere and tells him that when they get where there going, Ty is NOT to speak to anyone unless they speak to him first. Understand?

I … I don’t know how to really recap what happens next. Dad Johnson, in suit and tie, stands on the lawn of some dilapidated social club and begins to sing song about how he is Spy Boy Otis, sharpening his knife, and how the Red Hawks are about to meet.  The Big Chief referenced in his chant responds:

“I’m Big Chief Roland Duplantier of the Wild Red Hawks of the 9th Ward. Baddest in all of New Orleans! Who you is?”

Spy Boy Otis and Big Chief back and forth some with a healthy dose of Uncle Tom shaming thrown in.  But, Otis never flinches.  And this, in the end, proves his worth to Big Chief.  The Red Hawks rejoice.

** For his part, Tyrone has the best, “what the fuck is happening” face ever exhibited by  a teenager on TV in response to weird shit their parents do.  Its truly wonderful silent acting by Aubrey Joseph. **

Lawyer Greg’s Office.  Tandy, never shy, comes right and asks about Lawyer Greg’s marriage and how it all “works” with him and Janey the wife and Mama Bowen.  Greg, again no BS, tells her that he though he could rescue “needy” Janey but he couldn’t. The marriage is all over but for the paperwork and him and Tandy’s Mom? Well, they have a connection – its important to have someone to talk to and laugh with, he says.

The T&T Church Meeting.  Tandy is laying out her experiment — when these two touch, shit goes boom, so how close can they actually get without “triggering our crazy”?  They close their eyes and each begins to reach for the other.  Their powers are instantly activated and as they make simultaneous contact, they are both flung to the far reaches of the church.  “That was … nice. At first,” Tyrone says, but he means some thing much more than “Nice.”  Evita better watch out …

Sometime after the T&T Church Meeting, Cut 6As the Bowens sit for dinner, Needy Janey ruins everything by calling. So Needy.  Lawyer Greg gets off the phone quick but when he returns to the table, Mama B feigns illness and heads to bed. She’s not so cool about the whole married thing as it turns out (or maybe, she just embarrassed with her daughter there?).  Alone, Tandy says they should take the leftovers to the Office. 

The Red Hawks.  Seeing his brother’s picture on the wall, Big Chief comes over to tell him that Bill was getting trained up to be the next Spy Boy.  What a Spy Boy is, exactly?  A Spy Boy runs out into the unknown, unprotected, searching out danger so he can let the others know trouble is coming.  In the main room, Otis teaches his son the way of Red Hawks bead work and how its a symbol of always becoming a new person, year after year.  More importantly, finishing the new suit every year exhibits the requisite character traits of “patience, diligence and of grace.”   THAT man has control of his actions – and if you can’t control yourself, you can’t control anything else in this world.  In the room of failures, Ty finds a cloak of sorts – the swelling music tells us he has an instant connection to it. Commercials.

The T&T Church Meeting. Tandy tells Ty that the first time the knife came out, it was some kind of release for her.  “So, who’d you tell?” Tandy asks.  Gotta have a girlfriend with those eyes.  Tyrone stumbles over what Evita exactly is  but long story short, he hasn’t told her or anyone else.  For her part, Tandy didn’t tell her “partner” either.  She would’ve told her dad but that’s about it.  Tyrone says his parents don’t really trust him, not since the night Billy died so he’s got no one on his end to tell.

Sometime after the T&T Church Meeting, Cut 7Tyrone has pulled the cloak out to the beading room and Otis flips the fuck out — this was the garment that belonged to Billy!?!?  Ty says he’s finish it for Billy; he’ll make it perfect and he’ll march for him.  This seems to satisfy Otis.

Bowen House.  Alone, Tandy tries to sell a drunken Mama Bowen on Greg but too late — she just broke up with Greg.  Tandy leaves.

Red Hawks.  Otis and Ty begin to work on Billy’s cloak.

The T&T Church Meeting. Tandy tells Tyrone he seems “Wiley and Strong,” maybe that’s what’s wrong with him — he’s too honest.

“But it hangs off your shoulders nicely,” Tandy tells Tyrone of his honesty.

It’s his turn for compliments and Ty tells Tandy that she lives in the church on purpose — that she believes in Hope.  He tells her that “you and hope” … it’s not ironic.  What are we going to do, she asks?

“The Universe keeps pushing us together,” Tyrone says.
“The Universe keeps pulling us apart,” Tandy counters.

Sometime after the T&T Church Meeting, Cut 8.   Outside Lawyer Greg’s office, Tandy watches as Greg is straight up executed and then continues to watch as the executioner sets his office (and all of the Roxxon files) on fire.

The T&T Church Meeting.  Tandy pushes liquor on Tyrone and he refuses — not an altar boy but he is in church choir.  He says his priest calls what they’re feeling, “Survivor’s guilt.”  And he freely admits to feeling guilty.  Tandy posits that the guilt manifested itself in her visions of him as those unexplained checks – that they were some kind of metaphor.  She nails Ty perfectly when she says he is atoning for something, that he doesn’t feel like he deserves anything good.  Tyrone agrees with her assessment and says he feels like he to make up for two lives.   Tandy says she goes the other way …

“I wish I was the one who died.”

Sometime after the T&T Church Meeting, Cut 9.   At the Bowen house, a teary eyed Tandy overhears her mother leaving a sixth voicemail for Lawyer Greg, apologizing for her breaking up  … a message Tandy knows will never be received and responded to.

At the Johnson House the next morning, Mama J comes down to find Ty having cooked breakfast for the family and him and Otis sharing a laugh. Mama J seems very confused at this 180 her child has pulled overnight.  Teenagers, amiright?  They are the worst!

(Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani)  OLIVIA HOLT, AUBREY JOSEPH

The T&T Church Meeting.  Real talk time.  Tyrone has picked up Tandy’s suicide thought thread and tells her it can never be that bad.  But, it is, Tandy says.  She thinks about it a lot.  The Roofie Giving Communion Tandy that Ty saw in his vision – Tandy says that is exactly her – that that’s how she gets by.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” is Tyrone’s response.  Your life isn’t that bad, Ty judges.  The fuck you say, is Tandy’s essential reply – tell me more about my feelings with your two living parents and your fancy house and school; it must be so hard, she snipes back at him.  Tyrone isn’t convinced because he’s got a whole other burden he carries. “Let me check your privilege,” he slaps back at Tandy.  Privilege?  Tandy doesn’t even understand what that means – she was just told by a cop she can’t press charges against a man that tried to rape her and so yeah, she steals things to get by.

And THAT, is Ty’s point right now. Tandy can walk into a store and NEVER be suspected.

“Look, this whole country’s trying to kill me every day.”

So, Ty begs her pardon if he doesn’t have time to sit around and contemplate suicide. Then Ty tells her to kill herself if she wants to die so bad.  Tandy handles this better than you’d expect and quietly replies that she’s seen Ty’s hopes. And his hopes? They included a lengthy session of “suicide by cop” so who has a “death wish, choir boy.”

And at this, their fellowship breaks. Tyrone leaves to work himself into a lather while Tandy spirals as only she can, with drugs – as many as she can put up her nose.

Sometime after the T&T Church Meeting, Cut 10.  Tandy, tied in chains, throws herself off of a pier. She sinks fast but before long, rises to the surface, light dagger in hand. She’s freed herself and maybe, MAYBE, had a rebirth of sorts.

At the police station, Tyrone enters and this time, asks to speak with Detective O’Reilly.  Did we see Tandy mention O’Reilly’s name to Tyrone?  How would he know otherwise?

At Lawyer Greg’s burnt out office, a Resolved Tandy uses a light dagger to cut herself into Greg’s vault.  She picks out a specific file (these files were not harmed in the fire) and leaves.

And Scene.

Thoughts.  Cloak & Dagger is doing something most shows fail to do and in particular, superhero shows are horrible at doing. C&D is being relevant.  Tonight’s episode was really all about the “call” portion — the conversation between Tandy and Tyrone in the Church. After the journey of last week, where each of T&T got to live inside the head of the other for a brief moment, tonight was the pay off – the two protagonists are finally in the same room together and realize they need to talk, whether or not they particularly feel a desire to do so.  And boy, do they hash shit out.

For two people with so few avenues to speak their feelings and vent their frustrations, neither of them really seem to appreciate how refreshingly honest they are being with each other.  These are complete strangers and yet, tonight, they laid bare their souls to each other. Why? Tandy especially is a guarded person and yet, she openly and honestly tells Tyrone about her persistent thoughts of suicide.  Tyrone, he of the parents and the Evita, chooses Tandy to crystallize his thought process on his survivor’s guilt and the weight of trying to fulfill not only the promise of his life but of his dead brother’s life too.

They do this because on a deep, emotional, subconscious level, these two realize they  are inexplicably linked. Like attracts like and just as we saw last week, they are drawn together – like their hands approaching the Virgin Mary Stained Glass.  They are each a half of a whole and only with the other, can the one be complete. They are the hope and the fear, the weapon and the defense, the light and the dark … and only together can they face the shitshow that is coming down on both of them.

Suicide and Privilege.  This was as emotionally honest and raw a scene as I think you can expect to find on TV and well surpasses how much shows handles the topics of race and depression.  Ty brings up Survivor’s Guilt earlier in the episode and freely admits to suffering from it. Tandy – Tandy is living with it to but it’s become toxic for her, she’s suicidal from her feeling that she should have died so that he father could have lived.  Ty may be carrying a stone of guilt with him but Tandy is carrying a goddamn mountain and its pressing the life out of her.

On race, this is an interesting discussion as the show handled it.  While Tandy was certainly privileged when she was younger, her current state is one of abject poverty while Tyrone is living quite comfortably and living a life of status (I can’t imagine St. Sebastian’s Preparatory is cheap). BUT, that is only one aspect of privilege and Tyrone struggles to make Tandy see that point.  Her economic status doesn’t matter when she walks in a store – she is not the subject of immediate scrutiny in Macy’s because she’s poor and basically homeless – Tyrone is, no matter the limit on the credit card in his wallet.  There is a base line level of always being under suspicion that Tyrone lives with everyday, simply by virtue of skin color and Tandy can’t see this issue because she may not see skin color but the rest of the world does … at least as perceived by Tyrone.  His line that the country is trying to kill him every day was singular powerful piece of writing and I think does a tremendous job of conveying all of his experiences in a single line.

But, in the end, the duo were maybe too honest with each other … maybe too real, too fast.  They each spiral out initially but, as we saw the episode play out in the “Post Church Meeting Scenes,” perhaps that was all for the good. They each took the other’s respective advice and applied it to their life situation at hand – Tandy giving Greg a chance and in turn, learning about the merits of her Mother’s Roxxon case; Tyrone constructing a narrative that allows him to walk among the NOPD AND also, related, allowing him to go on this Red Hawks journey with his father.

In the end, Tyrone and Tandy NEED each other. In several ways.  They need each others shared powers but I think, as the only two that really understand their new life experience, they need each other for moral, emotional and psychological support and camaraderie.

Mysteries.  RIP Lawyer Greg, I was finally starting to like you. But, the mystery is, was this a Roxxon Hit? Probably but man, it seems pretty brazen. And how did they not raid his files after they burned the place down?  Sloppy work.

Why is Ty looking for Det. O’Reilly? Is he following the thread of Tandy mentioning she couldn’t press charges against the Douchebag Rich Kid or is this in pursuit of Justice against Connors?

On the Roxxon Case, I am feeling confident that they are keeping the oil rig site in operation because of the central mystery in our show BUT WHAT is the whole executives misappropriating funds thing about?

Last, Evita. I don’t trust her or her Voodoo Auntie — I think they’re working against Tyrone in some way we haven’t seen yet.  This may also be due to the fact the I ship Tandy & Tyrone and I want Evita out of the way and also, Auntie made the creepy Tyrone Statue last week.

Last, last, what the fuck is going to happen with the Red Hawks storyline we’ve been introduced to?!?!

SO many questions and I am loving how the show is showing us and not telling us answers. I want my shows to make me watch and pay attention. Don’t spoon feed me answers, give me the clues and let me work it out for myself and speculate wildly!!

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