Cloak & Dagger S01E05 “Princeton Offense” REVIEW

Cloak & Dagger S01E05 “Princeton Offense” REVIEW

0 comments 📅29 June 2018, 16:05

Releasing Fridays on Amazon Prime in the UK
Ry Russo-Young
Niceole R. Levy & Joe Pokaski

Essential Plot Points:

  • Tandy is watching a public information film starring Louden Swift, a veteran turned Roxxon exec. She puts it down, and we see she’s surrounded by Greg’s secret files. They include a detailed schematic of the rig, possibly annotated by her dad. Tandy’s working the case and she’s not going to stop until she finds the truth.
  • Elsewhere O’Reilly is having sex with coffee cop! Yay! She gets a call and comes into the station. Ty has asked for her by name.
    They have a very careful conversation about Connors, and O’Reilly explains that because Connors works vice he’s basically invisible. Ty gets her a couple of solid(ish) leads but she shuts down his offer of help. Ty’s job, right now, is to be a kid.
  • And that job begins with his locker being decorated for the upcoming state finals. And Tandy, who comes bearing good news; she can control her powers now. And she needs a favor; access to the school computer lab.
  • Ty asks how she learned to control her powers and they dance around the fact that she tried to kill herself and it activated her abilities.
  • Ty gets called to a pep rally for the team. Evita is on the cheer-leading squad and they dance awkwardly around one another, not quite sure how to be. Nearby Tandy watches and gets an idea…

  • Back at the precinct, O’Reilly is digging into drug and violent crimes in her region. She finds out that a few years ago, violent and drug crime fell in the district. Around the same time that Connors transferred to Vice. Her colleagues are convinced it’s a good thing. O’Reilly is less sure.
  • At home. Ty and his mom have a really sweet moment about Ty’s team being in the state finals and how proud Billy would have been. Ty reaches to put a picture back on the shelf and…
  • Is in a warehouse, miles away, talking to one of Billy’s old friends. It turns out that he’s now a successful businessman renovating flood damaged houses. The two men chat about Billy, and the importance of looking ahead rather than behind.
  • Back at the church, Tandy is working the case. She backtraces the woman one of the executive she’s investigating is with to an Escort service. Wearing the uniform she stole from the school she auditions.
  • At the school, Ty gives Evita his jacket.
  • Tandy works her first party for the escort service as Ty plays and O’Reilly questions Liam about the local drug scene.
  • At the game, Ty starts to realize the ref may be crooked in their favor. At the party, Tandy spots her target as, on the court, Ty scrabbles for the ball and teleports it to her by accident. He also brushes against the ref and discovers that his father is being threatened to force him to throw the game in favor of Ty’s team.
  • Tandy works the room, walking through the hopes of her targets as she touches them. They’re all determined, ruthless execs who dream of humiliating the same man, their boss.
  • At the game, Ty tries to work out what the hell he should be doing. He puts a towel over his head and…appears at the party.
  • He explains to Tandy that her powers are activating his and he has to get back to the game. Then she sees a photo and freezes. She recognizes the man from every hope she’s walked through in it. He’s Peter Scarborough, the man who tore her house apart after her father’s death. Ty is desperate to get back and she cheerfully admits she had to die to control her powers.
  • And then pushes him off a balcony and back to the game.
  • Tandy befriends her next target at the party as O’Reilly bullies some information out of the Club drug dealer. Later, Tandy goes through the documents from Greg and finds they were all signed by Peter Scarborough. She’s got a name. She’s got a target.
  • The game goes down to the wire and Ty is taking the deciding shot. He starts his run, brushing against every player and seeing their personal horrors as he does. One has an abusive father, another has nightmares of war. All of them recoil from Ty as he lines up, takes his shot and…misses.
  • Barely.
  • And on purpose.
  • Tandy shows up at Scarborough’s house, dressed like a schoolgirl and with a story about her tire being flat. He insists on changing the tire for her. She stands over him, dagger in hand before changing her mind and touching him.
  • His hopes see him wading through the lake harvesting wads of banknotes from dead rig workers. When one of them fights back, he drowns them.
  • Desolate, Ty heads home to find Evita waiting for him. Because Evita is brilliant, she knows what he did. She knows he threw the game to save the others. She knows who he is. And she wants to be with him because of that, not despite it.
  • O’Reilly is doing coke in the office. Connors walks in and instantly bonds with her over it, which is clearly the plan.
  • The following morning. Evita leaves. Ty smiles, wraps his blanket around himself and leans back. And then he appears in the warehouse.
  • Watching Conners and his brother’s old friend argue.
  • Tandy is back working the case and discovers that the woman she met at the party is an environmentalist, and, apparently on Roxxon’s payroll.


This episode helped us figure out the two things that we’re enjoying the most about Cloak & Dagger. The first is the clever way that it plays with the duality and iconography of the characters’ powers. Ty disappearing under the towel, that looks a lot like his cloak is one example. Tandy’s research laid out into what looks a lot like her light daggers is another. These characters are connected to one another, and their abilities in ways that are subtle and dangerous and often beautiful. Ry Russo-Young lights and shoots this episode wonderfully, especially Tandy, lit by the light of the dagger we didn’t see her generate, trying to work out if she should kill Peter Scarborough. See also the spontaneous appearance of the basketball at the party and the way Ty’s abilities are becoming eye-blink instantaneous.

All of which is clever, but meaningless if there isn’t substance to the episode. And there really, really is, Levy & Pokaski give everyone a moment in the light (or is it dark?) this week and drive the plot along nicely as they do. Better still, they also give us a real sense of these characters progressing and changing. Tandy’s new-found focus is especially pleasing to see but it’s Ty who carries the episode. His bravery in throwing the game, knowing full well the horrors the other team have in their lives packs a real emotional punch. This good, hard-working, luckless kid is going to suffer yet again for making the right call. But at least Evita sees him and, maybe sees what he can do too…

And that’s the second thing we enjoy about the show. We care about these characters. Ty’s hard-luck life and refusal to leave his principles. Tandy’s increasingly charming ruthlessness and new-found purpose. For a show that’s had under barely 5 minutes of superpowers in it to date, there’s some meaty heroic themes being explored here and explored well. All in all another great episode of the best Marvel TV show not on Netflix right now.

The Good:

  • The slightly cheesy escalating ‘THE STORY SO FAR!’ music in the ‘Previously’ montage is adorable.
  • Tandy’s document stacks ever so slightly suggesting the shape of either a skull or her light daggers
  • Ty wearing his letterman jacket is another nice touch. He’s trying, desperately, to be a normal kid.
  • The Ty and Evita relationship is incredibly sweet. And perhaps deeper than Ty knows. Evita does keep talking about ‘paying attention to him’ and seemed to know what he did on the court.

  • Everything Ty did on the court. That’s pretty much the platonic ideal of heroism combined with adolescence.
  • Tandy’s scrappy street level detective skills are a joy. We’re really enjoying seeing her grow into this role.
  • Tandy standing over the man responsible for all the pain in her life, dagger in hand, and then not doing it, is a Hell of an image.
  • Scarborough’s terrifying ‘hopes’ and how they make even the horrific, degrading hopes of his staff pale in comparison.

The Bad:

  • The ending is a little flat. That’s it. Seriously.

The Random:

  • Ry Russo-Young has directed for the Netflix series Everything Sucks!, Sweetbitter and the movies The Family Movie and Before I Fall.
  • Joe Pokaski has written for Heroes, Daredevil and Crossing Jordan among others. He was the showrunner, along with Misha Green, on the critically acclaimed Underground.
  • Niceole R. Levy has written for Shades of Blue, The Mysteries of Laura, Ironside and Allegiance.
  • Wayne Pére, who is so good here as the mundanely creepy Peter Scarborough has quite the superhero pedigree. He appears in the upcoming Venom movie as well as the deeply weird Josh Trank Fantastic Four movie. He’s also appeared in The Flash, The New Adventures of Superman and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Best Lines:

  • ‘CAN YOU NOT?!’
  • ‘Shocked you didn’t just steal someone’s laptop from a coffee shop.’
    ‘You were closer than Starbucks.’
  • ‘Maybe I have this thing so I can steal some of it back.’
  • ‘Your hopey touchy thing.’
  • ‘Look at that. Got SO close to passing the Bechdel test.’

Read all of our Cloak and Dagger reviews here

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