There are no words to sum up my love for Cloak & Dagger. It’s the kind of television that’s great television. And that much was relevant from the first 10 minutes of the premiere. There’s something so refreshing about a show that blends comic book mythology with the world we live in today bringing light to important topics and reversing stereotypes as to not fall into a trap most shows can fall into.
Cloak & Dagger proved why it’s one of the best new shows this year with its two-part premiere, which introduced audiences to star-crossed soulmates Tyrone and Tandy. If you thought this show would hit the breaks after a fast start out of the gate, you were sorely mistaken. This journey is only going to push harder on the gas pedal.
“Stained Glass,” which again showcased the vibrant chemistry between leads Aubrey Joseph and Olivia Holt, set Tyrone and Tandy on a path of spiritual healing and understanding. Tandy’s concussion and Tyrone’s voodoo bath each opened their minds to the spiritual realm and allowed them to come to a sense of understanding in the strangest of ways. And while you’d think it’d have to do directly with them individually, Tyrone and Tandy were treated to glimpses into the other’s past and the struggle they face in finding closure and understanding while also raising more questions about their bond.
This was the episode that gave Tyrone and Tandy a unique perspective of each other that will help them understand each other better. This journey is about Cloak (Tyrone) and Dagger (Tandy) and how they’re united as one. But before they get there, they have to come to that understanding of themselves. They’ll also have to understand each other. But in trying to find that understanding with each other, as next week’s episode teases, they’ll wind up finding understanding of themselves.
This episode opened the door, giving them glimpses of the tragic moment that forever altered their respective lives, as well as revealing their ineffective response to that tragedy. Better yet, they each received advice: “You can’t keep doing the same thing. The end will always be the same” – when it comes to Tyrone getting vengeance for his brother’s death. “Stop running” – when it comes to Tandy running away from her past and the pain and hardship.
Eventually, this spiritual journey brings them together through a stained glass window. A nice visual for seeing into each other’s soul, so to speak. How’s the expression go? “The eyes are the window to your soul.” The window allows you to see through. But in this case, it also brought them together in a physical place. This spiritual experience helped them better understand each other. They’re meant to be as one which means they need to know what drives them.
“You have to try something else.”
Those are the words spoken by Tandy to Tyrone; those are the words spoke by Tyrone to Tandy. Tyrone can’t keep trying to get justice through violence, not when he already knows the unhappy ending. Tandy can’t keep trying to run from her past and the pain, not when she knows where that pain might eventually lead. So in the end, Tandy stays vowing to own up to what’s happening around her. And Tyrone? Well, we’ll see how he changes his approach to bringing down Connors.
I continue to be amazed by how Cloak & Dagger is balancing the comic book canon with real-life social issues, as well as managing to perfectly balance Tyrone and Tandy as individuals and as a pair. It’s a fine balance that this show respects and continues to handle in the right way. It’ll serve for a more satisfying payoff when we get to the moment we know is coming. Whatever moment that might be.
In the final moments of “Stained Glass,” Tandy returns to her “home” in the abandoned church only to find Tyrone waiting there for her. He recognized the stained glass from his spirtual quest. It drew him. It drew Tandy.
“I think we need to talk,” Tyrone says.
Oh, yes, you do.
Let’s break down this episode, starting with Tandy and Tyrone’s spiritual journeys to better help understand each other:
The End Will Always Be The Same
First off: What’s worse than watching your soulmate die again and again and again? Even if you don’t know they’re your soulmate yet. Having to watch it, and having the memory of it, that’s some tough shit.
Anyway, Tandy’s spiritual journey followed Tyrone through his past — as she glimpsed him with his brother before things went wrong, when he was just a boy playing basketball with his brother — and to the struggle he faces in recognizing the difference between justice and revenge.
In each of these spiritual journeys, Tandy and Tyrone watch an event happen three times. And, as the ol’ adage says, third time’s the charm. Let’s start with Tandy watching Tyrone’s struggle.
The first time? Tandy watched as Tyrone walked to a table and picked up a gun, his parents smiling, as he aimed the gun at Detective Connors, the man that killed his brother, and pulled the trigger. As Tandy screamed, Tyrone was surrounded by police and eventually killed.
The second time? Tandy watched as Tyrone walked to that same table and grabbed a noose. Tandy pleaded with him not to — “Don’t, it won’t work” — but he did anyway and the police surrounded him once again. Tyrone tried to escape them but ultimately found himself caught in the noose he’d planned on using. Hanging himself, so to speak. Tandy stood traumatized. Remember what I said about watching your soulmate die over and over? God, the pain. And they’re not even in love yet. Lord.
The third time? Tandy watched as Tyrone went back to the table to reach for another weapon, another way to kill Connors as a means to get justice for Billy’s death. Tandy finally steps in: “NO.”
“You can’t keep doing the same thing,” she says. “The end will always be the same. Tyrone, you have to try something else.”
Tandy places her dagger on the table and Tyrone reaches for it, and when he raises it, it appears as handcuffs. He’s confronted with Connors again, holding the handcuffs. But no police come running. This is the right way.
Tyrone’s struggle lies in controlling the anger that has enveloped him since his brother’s death. He’s suppressed it for so long that it’s grown massive and uncontrollable at times. It’s grown in force with the presence of Detective Connors, the man that killed Billy.
All Tyrone wants to do is get justice for his brother. The pain is overwhelming. He’s so angry his brother was taken from him for no damn reason at all. He wants justice. Only when the anger takes hold of the wheel, that sense of justice is clouded. Revenge masks itself as justice.
Tyrone has been going about it the wrong way. As Tandy saw, this will always end the same if Tyrone keeps this up. If Tyrone results to violence for justice, it ends with him dead or in jail. But if Tyrone results to justice as justice, that’s the ending with more light at the end of the tunnel.
We’ll see how Tyrone continues to struggle with that anger and doing the right thing to honor his brother. His brother was a good man. He’d want Tyrone to have a good life. To not lose himself in his anger or find himself locked up. Tyrone wants to honor his brother? He’s going to have to find justice, not revenge.
You Have to Stop Running
Tandy is always running. She’s tried to outrun her past. She runs when things get tough. She’s afraid of the pain that’s to follow. Tyrone got a glimpse of Tandy’s past and her struggle in his spiritual journey. Starting with her as a young girl — before her dad died and her entire outlook changed — as a ballet dancer. An innocent girl that would face any challenge. A girl that didn’t run away, but waited. Just as she waited for her father.
In Tyrone’s spiritual quest, he watched as Tandy just stood still watching her father die again and again and again. Instead of fighting back or doing something about it, she just stood like a statue watching until ultimately it became too much. And when it became too much, she ran.
The first time? She watched as her father sat, tied to his chair, amongst a board at Roxxon Corp. They all voted thumbs down, which resulted in them waterboarding him to death. Tandy stood unmoving, watching through tear-coated eyes until she could finally force her legs to move. “What are you just going to stand there?” Tyrone asks. And she ran. And Tyrone ran after her.
The second time? Tandy watched as her mother argued with the board, her father still tied up, and then she took off running. Her mother a reminder of a lot of heartache that has plagued her life since her father’s death. She was running to escape the pain and the reminder of what could have been. Tyrone ran after her, watching as Tandy fell into some kind of quicksand fighting to get across. “What do you think is on the other side?” He asks her. But Tandy keeps fighting to get away.
The third time? Tandy watches as her younger self fights to get to her father and is dragged away. Again, the Roxxon board waterboards him Tandy just standing there watching. “Can’t you see what’s right in fornt of your face?” Tyrone asks, as he tries to break through. Tandy goes to run again before Tyrone jumps in front her yelling, “STOP.”
“Please,” he begs. “Please, stop running. You have to try something else.”
Which led us to the point of this spiritual point: Tyrone needs to understand that Tandy runs when things get tough. It’s part of her journey. Everything that’s happened in her past has led her to run at the sign of hardship. She thinks she can outrun the pain that awaits her, if it catches up to her. She never stays and faces things. Her mother even called her out on that in the premiere.
This goes back to the understanding. Both Tandy and Tyrone are in search of clarity within themselves. But in their spiritual journeys glimpsing their soulmate’s struggle, their going to find that understanding together.
While Tandy didn’t witness herself running at the sign of trouble, you have to believe there’s a part of her that recognized it in some way. Like maybe she felt it. Because instead of running away, like she planned on, Tandy decides to stay and face things head-on. She goes to O’Reilly and wants to come forward about the sexual assault. While that proved to be something the corrupt police eliminated, Tandy did decide to stay in the wake of trouble instead of running. I’d count that as progress.
Good Police & Bad Police
Cloak & Dagger isn’t afraid to tackle the social injustices that plague our world. Police corruption was one of those injustices that took center stage in the premiere and will no doubt carry through the rest of this season as Tyrone tries to get justice for his brother Billy’s death.
We’re told that the police are the good guys. And while some might be afraid to see it, there is a problem when it comes to police and racism. How a white man can be shooting up a place and they try to take him into custody. How a black man can be standing and an explosion goes off and a cop fires bullets into his body. It’s sick. It’s wrong. But it’s reality.
But the thing about police corruption is that, while it’s completely real and completely an issue that needs to resolved, it doesn’t run all the way through. It’s not all police. But the fact that the police, an agency that’s supposed to keep us safe and protect the law, has members that don’t abide by the rules shines a light on the wrong. That’s the thing with Cloak & Dagger. Detective Connors is an example of corrupt police. He shot and killed Tyrone’s brother, without just cause, and got away with it.
Enter Detective O’Reilly, who is the counterpart of Connors in every way. While she’s investigating what happened with Rick getting stabbed (by Tandy), she immediately picks up on obvious signs of sexual assault. Her first instinct isn’t to blame the girl gone missing. Her first instinct is to protect the victim after noticing those signs of assault. So when she goes after Tandy, it’s to help her not arrest her. Now, if she got wind of Tandy’s lifestyle then that’s a different story.
But I really appreciate how Cloak & Dagger isn’t just highlighting the corrupt police. They’re highlighting the ones that do good. That will fight for the innocent. That came to a head when Connors approached O’Reilly with a license and a reasoning that Tandy’s case had been ruled an accidental mugging. Even though the evidence points to sexual assault, says O’Reilly. More proof that there’s corruption in law enforcement. But also proof that there are people like O’Reilly that truly want to protect the innocent. And punish the guilty. The right way.
Cloak & Dagger airs Thursdays at 8/7c on Freeform.