When you’re asked to fill in for a review, you always hope you get this kind of an episode to sink your teeth into. Because this was a hell of a penultimate episode in what has been a hell of a freshman season for Cloak and Dagger, which has already been renewed for Season 2.
I’m not sure what I expected when I first started watching this show, but what I found, from the beginning, was heart. Characters that made me feel. A story that I could relate to. And, mostly importantly, I found a journey, one that wasn’t linear, but one that felt real.
That’s what we want. That’s why we watch TV for. For this journey, that in this episode, is so clearly explained by a very peculiar voice-over. And, of course, we watch for that moment, at the end of the episode, we watch for what’s coming in the Season finale. And we watch for more.
We watch for Tandy and Tyrone, and for what they represent. We watch for heroes and what they give us. We watch for that hope.
So, let us go into the hopes and dreams, the realities and the Mayhem of “Back Breaker”:
WHAT MAKES A HERO
On another show, on another moment, I would have said the classroom voice-over was a bit too much. Here, however, it just works, not just because this is, presumably, a teenager type show, but because despite everything, it doesn’t feel out of place. And perhaps, also, because even we, the viewers, need a reminder that this journey, the one we’ve been traveling with Tandy and Tyrone, it’s not a straight line.
Heroes journeys, after all, follow an arc. And we’ve hit the point of regression. Boy, have we hit that. Hard. But, as the episode is quick to remind us, that’s normal. It happens every time, in every journey.
But it’s not real. Heroes, no matter how much they might want to, can’t just go back to who they were before. You can’t un-live your tragedies and you can’t unlearn the lessons those tragedies taught to. That’s not the way life works.
No, you have to push forward. You have to keep walking. And yes, stumble, at times, because no one’s perfect. Hero or not, we all struggle, we all fall down and we all make mistakes. But life is about learning from those mistakes, it’s about getting better, it’s about pushing forward.
If a hero is going to be an actual hero, after all, he has to be born again from nothing. He has to hit rock bottom to finally accept not just what it means to be who he is, but why it’s his destiny.
That’s where we are with Tandy and Tyrone. This is the calm before the storm, or better yet, the shitstorm before the storm that hopefully, leads to the place we all want these to go to go – together.
Tandy spends this episode behaving like the addict she was, just that right now she’s moved her addiction from actual drugs to the feeling she gets as she not just sees people’s hopes, but steals it from them. At the realization of what Tandy is doing, Tyrone reacts just like anyone in their right mind would – with disgust, not that Tyrone is doing anything right this episode either, but we’ll get to him in a minute.
For Tandy, everything she’s done so far, everything she’s worked on, leads to absolutely nothing. Everyone else gets what they want, or at least, everyone else comes closer, and she’s stuck in the same place, one without a happy ending.
Because, even if she does get justice for her father, she can never get her father back. That’s a hole she can never fill. What she wants is, essentially, never going to happen. And that’s a though pill to swallow when you see everyone else sorta getting closer to the elusive happy ending.
The show has played with the concept of privilege before, confronting both Tandy and Tyrone with the amount of privilege they each have – Tandy, despite her rough life, is a white woman that no one thinks twice about or discriminates for who she is. But that doesn’t mean she’s had an easy life, and sometimes, in her reactions, it’s easy to see that she is, in many ways, more screwed up than Tyrone.
It almost feels like, even though the world should not be against her, it kinda is, in a way. There’s privilege in being a white women, but being poor is not easy or without its own set of problems, and Tandy has never been good at dealing with her issues in any constructive way, so she just defaults to what she knows: addiction.
And yet, despite all her talk of not wanting a partner, and all her posturing about how Ty’s words mean nothing to her, she listens to him when he tells her to go talk to her mother. The bond she shares with Tyrone is not romantic, but it is incredibly emotional and they both mean way more to each other than they’re capable of expressing.
So what’s this journey about? What’s it been for? Has it been just about them finding themselves, figuring out their own issues? Yes, in many ways it has. But it also has been about them coming together, about them learning that they don’t have to get through life alone.
The show is called Cloak & Dagger, after all. And hey, the season finale is coming.
For all that Tyrone won’t admit it, he is, in a way, fighting a war that’s over. Even though it’s not over, even though his mother is right. Because the thing is, the war might not be ever, but even if it ever is, while the battle still rages inside of Tyrone, there can never be real closure. There can never be healing. He has to choose to end the war inside of him.
And he has to choose to let people in. Whether that is Tandy – which, consider that cliffhanger, seems likely – or someone else, the fact remains that Ty needs to understand that his life doesn’t begin and end with his brother’s death. Because, if it does, then what is he …who is he, once he finally manages to put the man who killed his brother behind bars?
Who is he once he gets his revenge?
The answer is no one. Not if he doesn’t learn that he doesn’t have to do everything by himself, that there are people who love him and people who can help him channel that anger that is inside of him. Not if he doesn’t learn to open up.
Because yes, his problem is anger, but his anger stems from fear, from wanting something that he was never going to get, and that’s basically what Tandy wants: his family back the way it was.
Now it’s time for him – for both of them – to learn that what they have to do is move forward, and make a new kind of family. And, of course, to figure out that they can be each other’s family, in a way.
Partners, as I said. That’s the first step.
Is Brigid really on the path to Mayhem, and who is Mayhem going to be like in this universe? She was never a straight up villain in the comics, but the voiceover seemed to indicate she might be following a different, much darker path. Either way, wherever she’s going, I hope she remains on Tandy and Tyrone’s side. They really need someone to count on, especially now.
Because oh, boy, that cliffhanger.
Other things to note:
- If I were Tyrone, I’m not sure I would have gotten into that car.
- Only Tandy can pull of that thing she’s wearing.
- The anger montage, as I’m gonna call it, was perfectly done, and the music was amazing too.
- Evita is and forever will be my favorite name in this entire show. Fight me.
- Throughout the WHOLE scene with Mina and her father at their home all I could think of was OMG THAT’S CHO, because once a The Mentalist fan, always a The Mentalist
- Also, please tell me we’re keeping Ally Maki. I love her.
Cloak and Dagger airs Thursdays at 8/7c on Freeform.