“Lotus Eaters” laid the foundation for a beautiful friendship between Tyrone and Tandy while straddling the line between what’s real and what’s not. Read on for our Cloak & Dagger review.
Life is tough. Sometimes it’s hard to live in. Sometimes you’d like to escape into some alternate reality where you have everything you want and block out the hardships of the world. Sometimes you want to convince yourself that the daydream is your reality. But it’s not real. That’s exactly what Tandy learned in this week’s Cloak & Dagger.
This was one of the more unconventional episodes of the series thus far, which is saying something given everything that’s gone down in six episodes. But this episode had a sort of alternate reality feel to it while remaining grounded in the real world through Tyrone and Tandy.
Speaking of, this episode almost marked the first true team-up with Tyrone and Tandy, who came together to fight for a common goal. Sure, both had their own reason. Tandy needs to find justice for her father, and Tyrone wants to help Tandy. With each and every passing episode, we’re getting to see this friendship strengthen.
I feel like I’m saying it every week, but “Lotus Eaters” really did feel like a game-changing episode. But this time, from a relationship standpoint. For the first time, we can see where Tyrone and Tandy are headed — a powerful friendship that’s destined to become something more.
In the previous six episodes, Tyrone and Tandy’s storylines have been separate, but there would still be those interactions. But “Lotus Eaters” is the first episode where their central storyline is shared. Together. There’s a nice transition from establishing individual storylines to linking these two characters and making their mission a shared one.
I could see this switching off every week. This week, they pair up for Tandy’s sake. Next week, for Ty’s sake. But this is the beginning of a more united front between the two. They’re getting to know each other, to care for each other. They’re starting to learn that they’re stronger together. That they need each other. They’re becoming true friends.
Since its pilot, Cloak & Dagger has been the kind of show that I’ve been needing in my life. After NBC effed up and cancelled Timeless, a show that this world needs, I’d forgotten what it felt like to love a television show. Cloak & Dagger has reminded me that good television exists. Not only does it exist, but it deserves to be praised.
So consider this my weekly praising of Cloak & Dagger, which has yet to let me down as it continues to explore these complex characters and not rush arcs. Every week is a new adventure and a new question in this mystery. Every week has me lusting after Tyrone and Tandy’s connection and counting the moments before they have their first “moment.”
The fact that there are only three episodes left this season is beyond ridiculous. I feel like this journey had only just begun, but now we’re nearing the end of the first season.
Freeform, that reminds me. Don’t you dare pull an NBC and cancel this glorious television show that defies stereotypes, places characters over plot, and delivers a weekly thrill of a ride with so much promise and more stories to be told. Be smart, Freeform. Be smart.
Let’s talk a little more about “Lotus Eaters,” including the harshness of reality, Tyrone and Tandy finding each other, and the powerful bond between father and daughter.
“It’s Not Real”
Simply put, life can suck. Life is anything but easy, and it’s anything but pretty. But it’s life, and we exist to navigate through the ups and downs that life throws our way. But that doesn’t mean that we’re content with reality. That we wouldn’t like some kind of escape. Or to believe that we can have the thing we want most in the world that’s been taken from us.
In “Lotus Eaters,” Tyrone and Tandy explored the mind of Ivan Hess, the only survivor of the oil rig explosion eight years ago that forever changed their lives. He’s been in an endless loop that starts when things go wrong on the rig and ends with it exploding. Then it happens again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
But Ivan doesn’t know any better. He doesn’t even know who he is. He just continues to exist in this false reality, which he believes is real, until it blows up in his face and he lives it all over again. Ivan has no idea that he has a daughter, Mina, out there. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be a prisoner in his mind. So it’s up to Tandy and Ty to convince him that reality awaits. If only he’ll wake up.
But things take an interesting turn once Tandy learns that the man on the phone that always rings is her father. Each time things repeat, she picks up the phone and talks to her dad. About nothing. About something. Just talking. And you start to see how Tandy can believe that this place might be better than reality. Because at least she has her dad.
When Tandy and Ty agree to leave Ivan’s mind, Tandy chooses to stay behind. Tyrone won’t leave her — because he can’t and he’s starting to care about her — so he goes back into Hess’ mind only to find that Tandy has adapted similarly to this place like Ivan. Ty tries to snap her out of it, and once it’s clear that she’s aware that this isn’t necessarily reality, she’s still content to remain here.
Tandy wants so badly to live in a world where she can talk to her father — even if it’s not “reality.” Because in reality, she’s nothing. She has nothing. “What I remember, it was horrible,” Tandy tells Ty of her reality. Nobody called her. Nobody cared.
Tandy has dealt with a lot of pain and hardship in her life. She’s put on a brave face, but the fact of the matter is that she’s deeply broken and alone. The last time she remembers being happy was when her father was alive. So when she’s talking to him on the phone, she feels that happiness creep back in. She’ll do anything to keep it. To not have to go back to the darkness inside where she suffers alone. Even if that means living in a catatonic man’s mind that constantly loops.
But it’s not real. And it takes Tyrone’s logic to pull her from this emotional sand trap. Once she’s grounded, she takes a moment to step back and reflect. That wasn’t her dad on the phone. That wasn’t real. All she has are the memories of her father. Now those are real. And while there’s practically nothing she wouldn’t do if it meant getting her father back, she recognizes that she can’t live in some fake reality with the illusion of happiness. Life’s tough.
But so is Tandy.
Someone That Understands
Cloak & Dagger has done a great job of establishing Tyrone and Tandy as individuals before it inevitably brought them together on this journey. Because, when it’s all said and done, this is their journey. Together. But before we delved into that, we had to get to know Tyrone and Tandy as individuals. Because not only does it help us understand who they are. It helps us understand why they need each other.
Tyrone and Tandy are linked by tragedy. Both have experienced the loss of a loved one in a way that has affected them immensely over these past eight years. They’ve lost sight of who they really are lost in their grief with no one that understands. Until now. Because in each other, they’ve found someone that understands.
“Lotus Eaters” was the episode that really established Tyrone and Tandy’s friendship in such a beautiful way. While past episodes have shown them on their own journeys, this episode was the first time when their stories were shared together. Technically, “Lotus Eaters” was Tandy’s arc, but we’ve come to the point where there is genuine care between Tandy and Tyrone that he felt the need to stay there with her and find a way to save her from the madness.
Tyrone fought for Tandy in this episode. When she couldn’t because she was so lost in her grief that she sought a false reality for comfort. But with nobody to save her, nobody that cared for her, it was Tyrone that continued to fight for her. Tandy, who has no friends, found a friend in Ty.
After the events of the day where Tyrone watched Tandy struggle with wanting to just hear her father’s voice, he was reminded of a tape recorder he kept in a box with his important mementos. But he can’t bring himself to play it. So he calls Tandy because he “needs someone to talk to.” Why Tandy?
“I just needed someone who would understand.”
And that’s what it comes down to. Tyrone and Tandy are two individuals that feel so consumed by their grief and emotion and there’s no one that can relate to them. So, in a way, they need each other. They’re what each other was waiting for. Whatever this is, they’re going to get through it together.
And you saw their beautiful friendship take an important step forward in this episode. The encouragement, the scuffling, the cute banter, and the way that, when each of them needed it, they were there for each other. It was in the little things. The smile. The support. The phone call.
Nobody called Tandy. Nobody ever cared. But when Tyrone calls Tandy that same night, he’s showing that he’s someone that does care. And it’s beautiful. Tandy has that assurance that there’s one person in this world that cares about her, a friend. And Tyrone knows that he can come to her for support.
That final scene between the two was the changing point in their relationship. Because they’re not just acquaintances trying to figure out the mystical connection. They’re two people that care about each other. They’re two people that want to help each other when things are too tough or painful. When the other hurts, they hurt. And that, my friends, is a game changer if I’ve ever seen one.
Bond Between Father & Daughter
There’s nothing like the bond between father and daughter. And as someone that has such a close relationship with her father, this episode was especially emotional on that front as Tandy had to deal with her father’s death in a more direct sense and tried to help reunite one daughter with her father, Ivan Hess.
Cloak & Dagger has done a great job establishing familial relationships when it comes to its central characters. For Tyrone, that great relationship was between him and his brother, Billy. For Tandy, that great relationship was between her and her father. After last week’s episode, where the show put Tandy and Mina together — two mirror opposites that were reflections of what the other could’ve been — it opened up this new layer for Tandy’s character.
The loss of her father is what has defined Tandy in her life. It’s why she’s lost everything. It’s why she’s been so closed off. It’s why she’s turned to theft. It’s why she’s done drugs. It’s why she’s so alone in her grief that she can never seem to find a way to escape the darkness that lives inside of her.
And “Lotus Eaters” presented an interesting storyline regarding fathers and daughters. Nathan Bowen and Ivan Hess were linked in their partnership at Roxxon. And Tandy and Mina are now linked by their fathers, and I hope we continue to see more of their relationship unfold and an eventual partnership in taking down Roxxon.
But in this episode, Tandy was forced to confront her grief about her father’s death, and we saw how dangerous and powerful that grief was. She was content in living inside Ivan’s head because she had the opportunity to talk to her father, to hear his voice. And watching that first moment where Tandy cried out, “Daddy?” and hearing that “Hi, Pumpkin” — I was a goner.
Tandy misses their talks, long call rides, his bad jokes. She just wants to talk, to hear his voice. She’s been denied that for eight years. And just hearing his voice and talking to him brings a rare, genuine smile to her face.
Obviously, Tandy isn’t able to save her father, because he’s dead. But that doesn’t mean she can’t save another father — and give another daughter, Mina, the chance to reunite with her father. So she channels that emotion into reuniting Ivan with Mina.
Ivan doesn’t remember anything other than the false reality that he lives inside his head. He doesn’t remember a daughter. He doesn’t remember Mina.
“A girl needs her father,” Tandy tells Ivan. “To be there more than she’d admit and longer than she’d ever admit she needed him…A father has to do the right thing.”
The fact that Ivan is alive and well and is missing out on being with his daughter, it’s killing Tandy. He has the choice to go back and be a father to his daughter. Tandy’s father doesn’t have a choice. But Mina’s father does. He can make it right. He can leave and go to Mina. Then Tandy mentions the cookie. The cookie that he always has with him. And when he unlocks the missing ingredient, it’s as if the pieces fall into place.
And he’s able to “wake up” from the eternal loop in his mind and reunite with his daughter. As Tandy watches Mina and Ivan reunite, a smile springs to her face. Because she’s happy. But then it fades, because she wishes she were in that situation with the potential to be reunited with her father. But there’s still a sense of satisfaction in Ivan being able to be there for his daughter. Not to mention, he’s going to be key in getting justice for her father.
Cloak & Dagger airs Thursdays at 8/7c on Freeform.