As the second of Marvel’s teen-oriented TV offerings, Cloak and Dagger may not have been on a lot of people’s radars (certainly not as much as Hulu’s The Runaways) but Season 1 of the Freeform series turned out to be solid superhero origin story. The show took its time establishing the setting in New Orleans and firmly establishing who the main characters really are.
Cloak and Dagger Season 2 returns very soon on Freeform, and after the groundbreaking, extraordinary first season, we’re excited to look forward to the future of the series and what “mayhem” lies ahead for Tandy and Tyrone.
The Divine Pairing
Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) and Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt), initially seem as asynchronous as night and day. They are literal narrative soulmates; linked by the events of one catastrophic night, complementary mysterious powers, and a full-blown prophecy. The show repeatedly hammers this home when Tyrone and Tandy wear contrasting dark and light outfits. The way each episode juxtaposes and splices their individual plots highlights this as well.
Tandy can manipulate people’s greatest hopes and create light energy. This complements Tyrone’s shadowy teleportation and the ability to manipulate people’s worst fears. Initially, like magnets pointing towards the same pole, they can’t even touch each other when their powers manifest. Tandy helps Tyrone overcome his fears and insecurities. Tyrone provides Tandy support and the hope that she can overcome current circumstances and have the life she deserves.
The show isn’t afraid to highlight real social issues, either. Having a black, male lead is one thing, but the way Tyrone’s story is grounded in the reality of so many young, black men in America is bold. How it explores racial injustice, police brutality, and corruption is gut-wrenching. It also touches on greedy corporate entities cutting corners. The overarching Roxxon plot incorporates worker endangerment and environmental destruction. Equally as compelling is how Tyrone and Tandy experience and deal with their grief over the loss of loved ones. In sadness, there is anger. Tandy’s brand of justice is taking money from reprehensible rich folk, while anger and thoughts of revenge quietly consume Tyrone.
A Hero’s Journey
One of the criticisms of Cloak and Dagger Season 1 was that the pace was slow, which is valid. It takes a while for Tyrone and Tandy to establish their partnership and get the action going, and honestly, the show ultimately benefits by unfolding that way. Rather than focusing on flashy action sequences or villains of the week, we got to know these characters intimately. We see them at their highest and their very lowest. All their emotions, their motives, their fears, and their desires are on full display.
A very poignant narration on “The Hero’s Journey” frames the entirety of Season 1 Episode 9. It’s easily one of the best episodes of the season. All those baby steps towards our big hero origin are seemingly undone in one fell swoop. With one episode to spare, it was worrying. But as the narration correctly points out: “Our heroes never actually regress. They can’t be who they used to be. That person is gone.”. It’s here that we see there are really three potential heroes in the story: Tyrone, Tandy, and Detective Brigid O’Reilly.
O’Reilly also loses someone close to her. Add her increasing frustration with a justice system that isn’t so just, and we can see where vengeance takes hold. The narration explains, once our heroes are at their breaking point, “We either witness the death of our hero, or we realize we have been front row to the origin of something else. The birth of a villain.”
There Will Be Mayhem
Detective O’Reilly has now become Mayhem (thanks to a blast from the energy source that Roxxon was trying to tap into). She was almost dead when the energy struck her. When she emerged from the water in the Season 1 finale, it was clear she wasn’t the same. Mayhem wasn’t strictly a villain in the comics so how the show frames her actions should be interesting. In the Season 2 trailer, seen below, she takes charge and makes the kind of noise the limitations and corruption of the justice system wouldn’t allow.
Tyrone and Tandy’s partnership will be tested. A sex-trafficking ring takes centre stage in Season 2 (another dangerous issue in America today). Mayhem is going to do some frightening things that Tandy… might be okay with? While she and Tyrone have established this new partnership, their moral codes are still somewhat misaligned. Certain things that Tandy is okay with do not fly with Tyrone. Can their partnership work long-term, or will Tandy join Mayhem and cement her anti-hero status?
Another point to remember is that in the prophecy of the Divine Pairing, one of them always dies. Tyrone and Tandy emerged from the Roxxon catastrophe alive. It’s safe to say then that that’s still a concern going forward (because one of them does die in the comics).
What are your favorite moments from Cloak and Dagger Season 1? What are you looking forward to the most in Season 2? Are you Team Mayhem? Share your thoughts in the comments below!