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It's No Secret that 'Cloak and Dagger' is a Worthwhile Marvel TV Entry
June 7, 2018  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

When they give out the awards this year for the weirdest superpowers in the Marvel Comics universe, Cloak and Dagger has to be a serious favorite.

Cloak and Dagger, the latest show to emerge from Marvel’s bottomless pool of troubled ordinary people who develop a superpower and find it doesn’t make them less troubled, premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.

Tandy Bowen a/k/a Dagger (Olivia Holt, top) can throw light daggers from her hands. They glow. They cause pain.

Tyrone Johnson a/k/a Cloak (Aubrey Joseph, top) projects a dark smoke that draws people through the Darkforce dimension. That’s good. It can make you alive when you otherwise would be dead.

You can probably figure out where Dagger got her name. Cloak got his name because he wears a cloak, which to the naked eye doesn’t look much different from your everyday hoodie.

When we pick up the story, Cloak and Dagger are in their late teens. She’s an aimless grifter who scams annoying rich people and seems to snort a significant part of the proceeds.

As the psychologists might say, she does not like herself very much.

Tyrone is among a handful of black students at a nice prep school. His mother Adina (Gloria Reuben) pushes him relentlessly to succeed, a push that goes beyond normal maternal hovering.

Why? Because Tyrone’s older brother was killed years earlier by a rogue cop who got away clean thanks to a departmental cover-up. Adina and her husband Otis (Miles Mussenden) don’t know the full details, just that Tyrone now is their whole family legacy.

Tyrone knows the details of his brother’s death. He saw his brother’s body fall into the river. Because he was there. But he was a kid, and no one believed him. This injustice, and a few other things, give Tyrone a fair -amount of pent-up frustration.

We might also mention that on the night Tyrone’s brother was murdered, at the very same spot, in fact, Tandy’s father died. He had been trying to warn the Roxxon Corp., which Marvel fans will recognize as not good guys, about a dangerous and possibly illegal condition at one of their facilities.

He was driving with Tandy and their car was forced into the river, where Dad died. Tandy would have died, too, except that as the car was filling with water, mysterious black smoke appeared. She pushed herself toward it and the next thing she knew, she was waking up on a beach.

Connecting the dots now, are we?

Years pass before Tandy and Tyrone make the connection, however, so the first few episodes of Cloak and Dagger are both origin story and setup. Accordingly, those episodes have a somewhat deliberate pace.

Holt, well known from several Disney teen series, shows she’s got grownup acting chops. Joseph is a good moody match for her and captures the restless frustration of having to behave a certain way in a world he distrusts. Once they start acting together, the chemistry works.

While Marvel requires all characters to harbor deep neuroses, Tandy isn’t disturbed in the same ways that, say, Jessica Jones is disturbed. But she’s equally relatable, and the exasperated way she deals with the light dagger thing is fascinating to watch.

Another constant of Marvel tales is humor, and for Cloak and Dagger that starts with Tandy’s name, which is the name of her father’s first computer. While that may not register with Freeform’s younger audience, it will bring a wry smile to all us old-timers who remember when Radio Shack got in on the ground floor of the personal computer game.

Now you’re an old-timer if you even remember Radio Shack.

In any case, Cloak and Dagger targets the lower age end of the Marvel demographic, and that may be part of the reason it took seven years for the original concept to become an actual TV show.

However those years were spent, in the end they got it right. Hard-core Marvel fans will doubtless find a thousand discussion points, but civilians will find a couple of characters they can root for and want to watch. Not to mention some really creative superpowers.

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I must say, the ever fascinating list of networks you find is admirable.
Does anyone get all of these, previously unheard of possibilities?
I wonder how they can get marketshare, with such obscurity?
Jun 9, 2018   |  Reply
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