Cloak & Dagger S01E01 “First Light” REVIEW

Cloak & Dagger S01E01 “First Light” REVIEW

0 comments 📅08 June 2018, 12:04

Releasing Fridays on Amazon Prime in the UK
Gina Prince-Bythewood
Joe Pokaski

Essential Plot Points:

  • We see Tandy at ballet class. She’s not doing great but she’s trying. After the lesson she calls her father at his office.
  • Nearby, Ty is persuaded to help some older kids ‘steal back’ a car stereo. His older brother, Billy, is frightened to do it himself.
  • Tandy dances happily in the rain waiting for her dad to pick her up.
  • Ty boosts the stereo so Billy doesn’t have to.
  • Tandy and her dad drive home as Ty, wearing Billy’s hoodie, hands the stereo over. Billy tells him they have to take it back and…
  • The police arrive. The two boys panic and run off.
  • In the car, Tandy’s dad is on the phone yelling about how vital it is that the rig in the lake nearby isn’t shut down. If it is, the rig will collapse, explode and send a shock wave across the city. He’s panicking, driving erratically and she’s getting scared.
  • And then, the rig collapses. Distracted, he swerves and crashes off the bridge.
  • Nearby, Ty and Billy are cornered by the police. The rig explodes, the cop panics and shoots Billy twice in the chest. He goes into the water and Ty follows him in.
  • In the car, Tandy’s dad is unconscious. She’s trapped in the flooding car, trying to break out even as Ty struggles to reach his brother. The shock wave from the rig hits them both and knocks them out. Ty comes to a second later and sees a light shining in the car. He reaches out, and tendrils of shadow go with him. Tandy reaches up, Ty’s hand passes through the solid car roof and…
  • Years later, Tandy is at a swanky party as Ty is getting chewed out by his basketball coach.
  • Ty gets put down by the opposing team. Tandy gets picked up and taken to a private house party.
  • At the ‘party’ things turn nasty. Until she admits her job is to get rich kids to take her home, drug them and take their stuff. We cut between the burglary and Ty getting slammed around yet again. He snaps, punches a kid out as Tandy empties the house of passports, tickets to the ballet, bills, anything of value.
  • Disgraced, Ty goes home. So does Tandy.
  • In a flashback, Tandy watches Roxxon security ransack her parents’ home after the accident.
  • Meanwhile, Ty shows up at a block party and…gets his drink spilled. By Tandy. They chat and Tandy leaves. With, it turns out, Tyrone’s wallet.
  • There’s a chase, he catches her and…light comes from her hands at the same time as darkness emerges from his.

  • Tandy puts it together. He’s the kid outside the car, the one she saw on the night her dad died. Ty asks who she is, there’s a flash of light, shes creams and vanishes.
  • The next morning, Ty wakes up on the roof of a building, naked aside from a tarpaulin and with no memory of how he got there…
  • In a flashback, we see Ty’s parents told that Billy drowned in the storm. Ty is furious that his brother’s murder is being covered up. To make matters worse, the Police have video of Ty stealing the stereo and Ty’s description of the murderous cop doesn’t match anyone on the Force…
  • In the present, Ty heads downstairs and sees the exact same cop heading to work…
  • Tandy goes home and is interrupted by her mom. She’s drunk, has just quit another job and is unaware of what Tandy does.
  • And then, her mom touches her and Tandy sees a vision of her parents, talking about how they happy were, watching her dance as a little girl.
  • Meanwhile, Ty discovers that trying to flag down a taxi naked aside from a black cloak is surprisingly difficult,

  • Back at home, eventually, Ty gets chewed out by his mom for skipping school. He cooks off, explaining he misses Billy too and doesn’t need her guilt as well. The two find some common ground and she leaves him be.
  • At the ballet, thanks to the stolen tickets, Tandy watches from the lighting rig.
  • Ty wakes up. In the boot of a car…
  • After the performance, Tandy is cornered by the last person she stole from and his two friends…
  • In a flashback, we’re back on the beach after the storm. The two kids, holding hands, safe and dry. Tandy wakes up first and takes Ty’s hoodie to keep warm.
  • In the present, Tandy is assaulted as Ty tries to get out of the trunk. The car stops and Ty looks in horror at a block of cocaine. The boot opens, he throws the coke in the cops’ face and sprints off.
  • In the alley, Tandy is in big trouble. Out of nowhere, a shining white crystal appears in her hand. and halfway into her would-be attacker’s stomach…

  • Ty is cornered by the cop he saw earlier and flashes back to the moment his brother died. The cop is stunned as Ty drains the light from the room and he runs off. Ty is cornered again, dives behind cover, a shot ring out and.
  • And Ty wakes up back in his room. Alive, well, and with a bullet lodged in the pillow behind him. It’s official. He’s got superpowers.
  • In the past, Ty wakes up on the beach, sees Tandy has gone and finds one of her ballet shoes lodged in a nearby tree.
  • In the present. Tandy tries to summon the dagger again and refuses to take more drugs. She’s kept Ty’s hoodie all these years and as the episode closes, we see he’s kept the shoe too.


Marvel’s latest TV show moves and sounds a lot like Runaways. There’s the same sense of creeping unease, the same weird desire to cram song montages into every second scene and the same focus on teenage horrors as well as superpowers.

However, what’s different here is also what works really well, namely how much tighter the show is. This is very much Ty and Tandy’s story, and the episode is at its best when it’s exploring what that means. Tandy’s criminal tourism, Ty’s unfocused anger at Eric’s murder. Neither of them is fine by themselves. Together, because of what happened to them in the lake, they’re something approaching whole. It’s not a romance, not yet at least, but the shared trauma they have makes every scene they share crackle with charge.

The rest impresses too. The opening in particular does a great job of flipping our expectations with Tandy. The flashbacks work well, and are used sparingly and, interestingly as part of the plot. Whatever we’re seeing when they happen, it seems, Tandy and Tyler are as well. That’s a fun wrinkle and one we’re looking forward to the show exploring.

This is a measured, considered start for a very different kind of show. It’s not got the instant ‘kick the door in’ appeal of Agents of SHIELD, the Netflix shows or Runaways but Cloak & Dagger does have a ton of heart and a style all it’s own. It’s already good, but stick with it because we think this show is going great places.

The Good:

  • The reversal of appearances on Tandy from ‘annoying It girl’ to ‘Trainee Catwoman’ is really well done.
  • Likewise the fact that Tandy is the screw up and Ty, despite his past, is actually holding his life together really well.
  • The repeated variants of Ty’s Cloak. We’re not sure the duo will ever get, or even need, their costumes from the comics but this is a nice way to tip the hat to them.
  • The flashbacks. Short, to the point, driving the plot forward! Well done, show!
  • The two central performances. While the dialogue’s a bit flat, the heart and conviction of the two leads absolutely carries the episode through.

  • Imagery like this. Marvel haven’t had a show go full on teen Gothic yet and this is absolutely the property to do it with.

  • And the cast to do it with too. This moment, when Ty realizes not only that he’s alive, but he has super-powers, is really well played by Aubrey Joseph. It’s the first time you see him genuinely happy and is, again, a neat contrast to Tandy. Both of them have powers that save their lives but so far Ty’s are defensive while Tandy’s are offensive.

The Bad:

  • The soundtrack is a touch intrusive in places. It is all good though.
  • Tandy’s robber boyfriend is, so far, less a character and more a car with occasional lines.
  • This is a very good pilot script, in that it lays the show out really well. But because it’s working so hard there’s not much spark to the dialogue, hence no Best Dialogue section this week. Still, once the show’s up and running, and the rest of the cast are introduced, that should improve.

The Random:

  • Cloak and Dagger were created by Bill Mantlo, who also c eated Rocket Raccoon. They first appeared in Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man Issue 64 in 1982. They went on to have numerous series of their own, as well as guest star throughout the Marvel universe. Cloak and Dagger’s original origins are somewhat different (Ty’s stutter preventing him from shouting a warning to a friend, Tandy ran away because her supermodel mom couldn’t spend time with her) but their powers and look are very similar. One of their more recent appearances was in an extended plot in Runaways, which has also just made it to the small screen. So who knows, maybe a crossover’s in the works here too.
  • Writer and showrunner Joe Pokaski has previously written for Heroes, Daredevil and others.
  • Director Gina Prince-Bythewood has previously directed the excellent The Secret Life of Bees, Beyond The Lights and Before I Fall among others. She’s also attached to the not currently scheduled Silver & Black, the first non-Venom movie in Sony’s confusingly defined (so far) sort of Spider-Man universe.
  • Olivia Holt, who plays Tandy, has previously appeared in Same Kind of Different as Me, Status Update and other movies and TV shows.
  • Aubrey Joseph, who plays Ty, has previously appeared in The Night Of, Run All Night, Law & Order: SVU and others.
  • Andrea Roth, who plays Tandy’s mom Melissa, has a colossal resume that includes most major TV shows for the last two decades as well as movies like War and The Collector. She’s been seen most recently in 13 Reasons Why and Hawaii Five-O.
  • Gloria Reuben, who plays Ty’s mom, Adina, is best known for her role as Jeanie Boulet on ER. She’s also appeared in Blindspot, is a series regular on Mr Robot and in shows like Falling Skies and The Blacklist.
  • We don’t see much of Miles Mussenden as Ty’s dad Otis this week but he’s a big part of the show. He’s previously appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Stranger Things and Ballers among others.
  • JD Evermore. who plays the accidentally murderous Detective Connors, has previously appeared in Constantine, True Detective, The Walking Dead and others. He’ll next be seen as NASA official Chris Kraft in Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, starring Ryan Gosling.

Read all of our Cloak and Dagger reviews here

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