TV Review: Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger Season 1 (2018)

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Summary: Two teenagers from very different backgrounds find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers while falling in love (I mean that’s up in the air lol).
I saw a promo for this show on Facebook or something. I’ve heard of Cloak and Dagger before, but I knew nothing about them because they’re kind of secondary or even tertiary characters in the Marvel universe. So, with all the popular ones, I just never really knew about them. But the promo was cool, and I was like “hey it’s that girl from that Disney show”, that my younger brother loved to watch and would get excited when I would sit and watch it with him Kickin’ It or something like that. Some time went by because the promo was like a year in advance. Soooo then my friend and I watched Marvel’s Runaways on Hulu which I also loved, and then I decided to read the Runaways comics and they had a run in with Cloak and Dagger and I was like “Oh wow!” So, then I remembered the show. Then I started seeing way more promos, especially on Instagram and I was getting hype, the promos all looked so good! Then the show premiered, and I was hooked from the first five minutes.
I’ve been trying to do this review for so long but for some reason, I kept putting it off. Season two has started and now I really needed to get this out! Plus, I just rewatched season 1 so I am reinvigorated!
There will be spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
Pros:
Cast and Character.
  • Olivia Holt as Tandy Bowen / Dagger. She is a teenager and street thief. Tandy is connected to Ty through a shared childhood tragedy and she can emit light daggers. She also can see people’s hopes and later learns to steal them to give her some kind of high. Tandy is interesting because her character is very cynical and almost world-weary due to the way the death of her father tore her family apart. She lives in an abandoned church and makes her way by stealing from rich kids. She worked alongside Liam who clearly was in love with her and they did their thing for a while. I think it’s funny that Tandy is so pessimistic, but her powers allow her to see people’s hopes and the best in them (outside of Scarborough). I love that kind of juxtaposition of her character and personality. I don’t think she’s hard to like, I just think she’s a bit hard to get a grasp on because she’s so guarded. I like Olivia Holt in the role, I think she manages to make Tandy likable, perhaps if it wasn’t her, I wouldn’t like her. At least not this version of her. I like how smart she is and that she thinks quick on her feet and while she and Ty work best together, she does know how to get things done on her own. She has a hard time trusting people and tends to run away from her problems, but she grows through the show by learning how to face her problems head on. Tandy seems to have an addictive personality shown by how quickly she reverts to feeling numb through drugs. She’s like a viper. She curls in on herself but has no problem lunging out to attack you if need be. Olivia Holt is good here. She does do this thing where she’s like breathless in between each line of dialogue, she inhales really hard. Just me who noticed? Otherwise, I do think she’s the better actor out of the two but she’s also more experienced. I like her facial expressions and I can’t wait to see her not be so hopeless in season two.
  • Aubrey Joseph as Tyrone Johnson / Cloak. He is my favorite character in the show. He is connected to Tandy through their shared childhood tragedy. He can teleport, later he develops the ability to engulf others in darkness and transport them to the Dark force dimension. That happens in the last episode and it’s AWESOME! I totally freaked out because I’d been waiting for him to use that power. I guess he really had to get over his personal fears of the man who killed his brother and ruined his life before he could tap into that. He is also able to witness people’s fears as he’s lived in a world of fear since his brother’s death. I love that he’s able to see that he’s not the only one who is afraid. When we first meet him, he’s kind of coasting through his life. He’s very quiet, almost like he’s shy but he has a sense of justice. When he realizes that he was right as a child about the man who killed his brother, he makes it his mission to bring that guy down. He really starts to come out of his shell as his mission continues, but also as he hangs around Tandy and spends time with Evita. I like Ty’s growth because his journey is very similar to a lot of black people. Fear because of what they witnessed or of what happened to them. He deals with a lot of anger, anger he probably would never have let out before this moment and I love watching his idea of justice and how he feels even worse once he gets what he wants. I do believe Aubrey Joseph is a newcomer, but I think he does very well in the show. He’s a natural and I think he’s very likable in the role, though I think Ty would be likable regardless. I think his eyes are very expressive, which is good because a lot of Ty’s emotional moments are through his eyes. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for his character!
Supporting Characters. Obviously, we have our supporting “main characters” like their parents who I’ll kind of mention but not going into super detail about. I just need to mention them, as well as Evita who isn’t a regular but reoccurring.
  • Gloria Reuben as Adina Johnson. Tyrone’s mother and Roxxon employee who invests heavily in making sure her son has a good life. Ty’s mother spends a lot of the time emotional as she is constantly thinking of the men in her life, especially Tyrone. She’s already lost one son and her biggest fear is losing Tyrone as well. I’ve only seen her in Mr. Robot, but she is so good with her emotional scenes. Every time she talks to Tyrone, I just feel all her emotions.
  • Miles Mussenden as Otis Johnson. Tyrone’s working-class father who tries to provide for his family and is also an associate of the Wild Red Hawks. He’s like any good father, worried for his black son and wanting him to own up to his problems. He takes Tyrone to his old stomping grounds, so he can see where he came from, while also showing him where Billy might have been going if he wasn’t killed. He’s also the reason why Ty found his cloak. I like his dad, he’s trying to be a good man and he admires his wife for pulling them out of where they were and her strength. He talks about it a lot. It’s nice to see that.
  • Andrea Roth as Melissa Bowen. Tandy’s drug and alcohol-addicted yet optimistic mother. She’s going through a lot, I mean a lot, she still wants to get justice for her husband, but she is still unable to really push past her issues with drugs and alcohol. She meets this man who seems to be a good man, he’s helpful. She does work on getting better later and it’s clear that she wants Tandy to come home but on her own terms. She has some great emotional moments and you really kind of pity her in the first few episodes.
  • D. Evermore as Connors. An intimidating scar-faced detective of the New Orleans Police Department’s vice squad with a secret. Legit, Billy’s death was an accident and I don’t condone him being so jumpy that an explosion caused him to shoot Billy, but the real problem comes when he uses his Uncle’s position and his own in the police force to cover it up. Not to mention, he gets away with this murder, involuntary or not, and then goes on to do things that make him a dirty cop. I mean really? Besides, the way he treats Tyrone later… oooo boy. I wonder if we’ll see more of him later.
  • Carl Lundstedt as Liam Walsh. Tandy’s partner in crime and ex-boyfriend. I like Liam and I don’t think he’ll return, at least not as a regular. This boy looooooves Tandy. No matter what she may think, he loves her. He does anything he can for her. He gets into some trouble and Tandy for a long time doesn’t come through for him. It’s argued that she didn’t care, at least not enough for it outweigh her own issues. But later, she does come through and he basically repays the favor by stealing all the money she acquired. It was kind of funny. You feel bad for him because you know he’s in love with her and it’s hard to say if she feels the same. He was a very likable character though.
  • Emma Lahana as Brigid O’Reilly. A detective from Harlem with hardened New York sensibilities who believes no one is above the law, including other cops. She works hard to figure out what happened with Tandy in her encounter with the rich kid, but when that’s pushed under the rug, she meets Tyrone and makes it her mission to help him receive justice for his brother. She’s cool and I like how she manages to understand both Tyrone and Tandy and doesn’t judge them for what they want to do. Besides, she’s from New York, she knows Misty Knight and I’m sure she knows all about The Avengers and is hardly phased by anything she sees. I like her. I’m interested to see how things go with her in season 2.
  • Noëlle Renée Bercy as Evita Fusilier. A friend and love interest of Tyrone’s. Bercy, who is from New Orleans, was familiar with the voodoo culture of the city, and was able to speak to people regarding it for her part. I quite like Evita. It was a little weird at first because she did seem to pop out of nowhere at certain times and she came off a little pushy at first. However, when she and Tyrone started to really get close, I was like “Aww, I like this” and I do. I just hope that they don’t do something to her and their relationship to make Tyrone and Tandy get together. I just hope that Evita doesn’t die or become a crazy person… or something stupid. I like how she cares about Ty and she understands him and introduces him to things that help him understand himself on a deeper level. I also like that she’s smart and has her own thing going on. I like her! Don’t do anything crazy to her now!
Character Chemistry. Tandy and Ty have their first meeting in the first episode, but they don’t really come together again until episode four. The end of a powerful episode three ended with Tyrone going to Tandy’s church and then we get to finally see them talk and interact with each other. I don’t think I have ever seen such great on-screen chemistry in a long time. You have shows that want to force people together that don’t have any chemistry (looking at you Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars. Sorry not sorry.) and then you have shows where the characters have no romantic link (at least not yet) and have chemistry that pops off the charts. In the comics, Tandy and Tyrone have many relationships depending on the writer. Mostly it’s one where they depend on each other regardless if it’s a brother/sister or romantic one. Personally, I prefer the romantic relationship because it makes it less weird lol, but I love the idea of making them become really trusting friends. Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph just light up together on-screen. It’s amazing. It really shows in later episodes when they’re really spending time together. I also think Aubrey Joseph and Noelle Renee Bercy (Evita) also have great chemistry, which makes sense as they are dating, and I like them together actually. It was a little cringe at first lol, but it grew on me and they’re sweet. Olivia Holt and Carl Lundstedt also have good chemistry in their scenes.
Slow Burn. I love things that are slow burn because it takes its time to get to such big moments, which makes the payoff more satisfying. Yeah, it can be slow sometimes, but I think it worked in this show’s favor because we learned a lot about both Tyrone and Tandy that I feel like I know them intimately. Almost. I love how it took so long for the two of them really have the chance to have a real conversation because life doesn’t work that way. People don’t meet, have a magical reaction to each other and then put their lives on hold to find and talk to each other. Life moves on. I liked that the show wanted to make sure we as the audience knew and understood Tandy and Ty on their own before pushing them together. Evita and her auntie are integral to the voodoo and spiritual part of the show as Ty and Tandy are part of something bigger.
Storytelling Aspect. I loved the way the show told their story. In all the promos, they always had them doing things in their life at the same time through a split screen. They do things like that a lot in the show without the split screen. We see them in their separate lives and sometimes the lighting is different, sometimes the music is different depending on who we were spending time with. I loved those little details.
Strong story. Of course, with it being an origin story, we must have a lot of set up for things and while the “villains/Roxxon/Connors” operate in the shadows most of the time, the main villain, I thought was Tandy and Tyrone themselves and being slaves to their feelings of revenge for what happened to his brother and her father. It was a season about facing your own demons more than a physical villain. I like it when shows or even books/films do that. It makes the journey more personal. This goes hand in hand with episode 9 “Back Breaker” where Father Delgado gives a nice monologue about heroes and their journey. It was to be a backdrop for what was going on with Tyrone, Tandy and O’Reilly as they all fall from “hero” status to a darker place. Such a great episode. It’s moments like that that really stand out. Also, in episode 3 “Stained Glass” which is my favorite episode of the season, we see Tandy in a spiritual vision watch Ty, get his revenge but he never is victorious, something always happened. We see Ty watch Tandy run away from her fears and get stuck each time. They help each other in these visions and it was so powerful. I watched that episode three times in a row because Freeform played in three times in a row that night lol. But while they had their bigger reasons, the smaller ones, I thought, were much more powerful.
Steeped in New Orleans History. Being honest, I don’t know a lot about New Orleans history and the show wasn’t a crash course in it either, but I think it was cool how they used the history and connection of voodoo. It’s not the way it’s normally shows like this evil kind of thing, but something that’s important to the spirituality of black people. Evita and her auntie are integral to the voodoo and spiritual part of the show as Ty and Tandy are part of something bigger. Not to mention, how Ty found out about the cloak, and the group his father used to be part of which is how he found the cloak in the first place. I hope we continue to see more about New Orleans and that they continue to make it be its own character, the same way some of the Marvel movies make New York its own character. That’s important.
The Cloak and The Daggers. 
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So, in this promo picture, we get to see Tandy’s daggers and something Ty is using as a cloak. It looks like a sheet which is what he has when we first see him use his powers, but it could also be the hoodie. Now in the comics, his cloak has a very specific look to it. I’ve seen it in a few different ways but the most common way I’ve seen it is this picture below.
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Very kind of textured looking, with the black lines on a long purple cloak and a very distinct hood. It is exciting is when he gets the cloak. I wondered how they were going to incorporate that very particular look without it looking cheesy and too comic booky, but I thought they managed to do a really good job. Ty’s cloak in the show looked awesome and I loved how they managed to bring it into the show by having it be tied to a New Orleans’ tradition and belong to his older brother the same way the hoodie he wore as a kid also belonged to his older brother.
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Also, the way it moved whenever he used it was amazing. Good job show! *round of applause* However, before he gets the cloak, he would accidentally teleport using other things that were black and flowy. The first time he teleported it was with the sheet from his bed, there was also a black curtain, some black tarp… and it was cool each time. I loved that they had smoke be the way of which he would appear and disappear. I’m glad it wasn’t just the cloak that made him teleport but a way for him to control it or to use to make it easier to concentrate. He does end up losing the cloak in the finale, so I hope he makes another one because that thing is iconic and awesome.
As for Tandy, she doesn’t have a costume, at least not yet, I’m curious to see what they’ll use for her white jumpsuit down the line. It might be interesting if she takes ballet up again (according to the promo for season two she does! Look at me predicting stuff before it happens lol) and makes her suit from a leotard or something. I don’t want them to make it like the classic Dagger suit with the major cutouts because she’s 16 lol, make it more like the animated version.
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It would just make more sense and be more realistic. I’m sure they’ll find some way to make her first suit be something that makes sense. Anyways, about her daggers, they seemed to appear whenever she needed help, like when that rich boy tried to attack her, and she stabbed him unknowingly of course. Later, she can control it better after she saves herself after she tried to drown herself. After that she was able to summon them more often. It wasn’t until they got stuck in the mind of Ivan Hess and she stayed behind that she got good at throwing them (Ty was also pretty good at teleporting at this point). I loved how they looked like pure light and energy and that they fit perfectly in her hand and of course were super sharp. It’s interesting that her power is active while Ty’s is passive (until we see the one he develops later which I spazzed out when he got to use it). Her daggers looked real and not just fake things she was supposed to use.
Powerful Dialogue. I really noticed this the second time watching it. I noticed it before and thought it was great but rewatching, I often would go “That’s so good”. In Tyrone and Tandy’s first conversation, they talk about their powers, their lives and it turns into a conversation about privilege. After she mentions she’s thought about killing herself, he says “it can’t be that bad”. Now, I know that conversations about suicide should not be taken lightly in any situation, but I don’t think this conversation, with Tyrone said, was meant seriously. At least not in the way I saw people on Tumblr talking about it. But anyway, she asks him where he lives, what his family is like because she’s alluding to the fact that he has it good because he lives in a nice house, goes to a prep school and has both of his parents in his life. He needs to “check his privilege” before he starts judging her. He then retorts what it’s like to be a black boy in America. Even though he lives in a nice place now, he spent most of his childhood in the hood. He can’t walk down the street and not worry that someone thinks he’s a threat, or he can’t just walk around with his hood over his head (even in the promos, he walked with his hood up, and when he came past police, he lowered it). Tandy then retorts that she’s had to steal everything she has, and he says, “because you can!” It was such a great moment. I totally get Tandy. I’m not saying that she hasn’t had it hard, she has. However, she can get away with the things she’s gotten away with because of her skin color. I mean, that girl is smart and she’s able to get around some obstacles that if she was a person of color, she probably wouldn’t have been able to. She can do things that Ty couldn’t get away with doing. Just by walking into a store, Ty would be considered a threat and probably watched throughout the store. It shows a lot of their pain and their roles in society no matter where they are in the social classes. I thought it was a great piece of dialogue. Also, the scene with Tyrone and Duane in episode 6 “Funhouse Mirrors” where they talk about justice. Then a great scene between Tyrone and his mom in “Ghost Stories”, episode 8 about her fear when it comes to her son. Ugh, I teared up. Also, in “Lotus Eaters”, Tyrone has some great lines when he’s trying to get through to Tandy… listen, the dialogue is good. Sometimes it can be cheesy, but I think most times it’s good when they’re talking about real life stuff.
Future Possibilities. There are a lot of directions this show could go in and I’m excited to see what they’re going to do. Cloak and Dagger have a lot of stories to pull from, and one of them I hope is a crossover with The Runaways. I feel like Ty and Alex would be friends in this moment in their lives (they both need some friends honestly). I know they can’t really crossover with Spider-Man/Peter Parker since he’s in the big leagues in the movies, but it’d be cool to maybe spin it and throw in Miles Morales. That would diversify the show even more and put into place that he exists but make him younger since he started out with his powers at like 12 (maybe not 12) but you get the idea. There’s also the whole thing with the X-men (which since the Disney/Fox merger, not sure what that means for that show The Gifted) where they (and by they, I mean Tandy) wondered if they were mutants, there are ways around that lol and then the whole thing with Mr. Negative…. I just hope we don’t get watered down plots since the first season was so strong in the storytelling aspect. So many options! OH, before I forget, Tandy and Ty technically meet because they ran away from home and got involved with Roxxon who experimented on them with drugs… they become very against drugs because of that… curious to see what happens in the future with them and Roxxon. I don’t think that fight is over.
Cons:
Shaky Camera. A big pet peeve I have while watching movies and TV shows is the shaky camera. It’s annoying when something emotional is happening on-screen and the camera isn’t still, or if there’s action and the camera is shaking like someone is running behind the actor with a camera attached to their chest. It should be steady. In some instances, it can work to show the intensity of a moment but when it’s ALL THE TIME that’s a problem. It was literally all the time in the show to the point where I would always notice it and while the show itself is basically a masterpiece, the technicality of it was annoying. The only time there should have been shaky cam (preferably never) could have been in the finale and in episode three. That’s it. NO SHAKY CAM NEXT SEASON PLEASE! It’s not cute.
Teenagers So Dramatic. Overall, I like both Tandy and Tyrone but they’re teenagers so there are moments where I’m like “y’all need to sit down somewhere”. Sometimes Tyrone gets smart with his parents and I’m just surprised at their reactions because if it was me, I’d be ready to hit him upside his head like ‘who are you talking too?’ While I rewatched, being that he lives with his parents, Tyrone answers to them, (whereas Tandy only answers to herself), he reacts in the way a teenager would. He keeps secrets, he lies (like with the bolt cutters), he has his outbursts. He told his mom “enough!” he got smart with his dad, I was like boooyyy. I kind of give him a pass because he’s a teenager but I wish the parents stood firm more. They did later as things got more intense, but I hope moving forward, if he shows back up, they’re more involved and they don’t allow him to just do his own thing. I mean, he just be out and about and I’m like “I know he can teleport, but do they know he’s not home??” lol. I hope we get to see more of them because Gloria Reuben is so good as his mom.
Slow Pacing. So, I mentioned the slow burn aspect which I liked, but I do think the show has an issue with pacing. Sometimes, it lingers on things for too long when it needs to keep it moving. It’s like transitions have a hard time transitioning. I think all of Marvel’s shows has this problem (especially Daredevil, my goodness lol). I think this is most prevalent in the first few episodes, while I loved episode 3, it was almost jarring whenever we switched back and forth between the two. As Tyrone and Tandy only met that one time at the party and jump started their powers, they didn’t really meet again so the show would bounce back and forth between their stories. I liked it because we could see their lives apart, but it also made progress feel slow.
Overall, I adore this show. This is my favorite Marvel show. It just feels so raw and genuine and it’s not trying to get you to the superhero stuff so quickly but for you to feel these characters and understand them. I think that’s what’s important when you’re making an origin story. I love Tyrone and Tandy as people, they’re so layered and interesting and Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph do such a great job at maintaining who their characters are throughout the show, while showing us their fall from grace at some points in the show. They also have fantastic chemistry with each other. The show rides on them working. The supporting characters and cast are also all very good in their roles, no matter how small. The dialogue has been handled very well, with some moments and monologues standing out more than others. There are political messages there but they’re not overwhelming. The slow burn of the show, while the pacing isn’t great, allows for the characters to grow. The use of their powers is handled extremely well, I think they have translated Cloak and Dagger’s abilities that they look realistic. I mostly dislike the shaky camera. It’s like in a constant state of shock which I hope it stops that in season two. Of course, they’re teenagers but sometimes it’s like “y’all are children, parents tell your kids to shut up!” lol plus, I hope the parents are more involved. I also hope the pacing of the show improves in season two. Listen, I think this show is great. I can’t wait to see what they continue to do with these characters. I truly hope we see a lot of power and character growth and that we start tapping into some comic reserves of story lines and villains. I like the contained feel and I hope it doesn’t lose that because that’s what makes it so great. It’s intimate and it works.
Rating: 4.8 out 5 stars. 
Have you watched Cloak and Dagger Season 1? If not, what’s wrong with you!? Give it a try, especially if you’ve watched Marvel’s Runaways. Let me know your thoughts below if you have watched it, I would love to hear other people’s thoughts.
Thanks for reading!
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