‘Cloak & Dagger’ Season Premiere: “First Light” and “Suicide Sprints”

When it was first announced that Marvel was going to bring one of their lesser-known properties Cloak and Dagger to the small screen, I had a little hesitance.  As stated, they aren’t popular like the X-Men, The Avengers, or Spider-man, so would they be able to gain a strong audience?  However, this is the same company that made Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man household names, so it’s possible for them to be a hit.  Also, instead of having the show on Netflix of ABC, the show would premiere on Freeform (formerly known as ABC Family), so thoughts of a show being Disney-fied for a family-friendly audience also raised concerns.

Then there’s the actual characters of Cloak and Dagger.  Tyrone (Cloak), is a street-wise young black man, whose first encounter with Tandy (Dagger) is when he tried to rob her, a rich white teen in the comics, doesn’t bode well for our current political and racial climate.  Cloak and Dagger also gain their powers via taking experimental drugs, which as a side effect, gave them superpowers.  As the two super-powered teens fall in love, they run away together (we already have Marvel’s Runaways on Hulu), and end up spending most of their time on the street.  Their main enemy was not super-villains (although that changed over the years), but instead drugs themselves.  The comic book was created during the 1980s at the height of the “War on Drugs” and the “Just Say No Campaign,” so once again, this was going to be a tough adaptation.

However, they nailed it!

The first episode begins with introducing you to our titular characters when they are young.  Young Tandy is taking ballet lessons while Tyrone while looking up to his big brother, steals a car radio for him after he hears his brother talking with friends and getting skittish about breaking the law.  This already shows you that these two have led very different lives.  One, a young white girl of privilege, the other, a young black kid who has to be street smart to survive.  However, one night, the two will become connected forever.

Tandy’s father picks her up from ballet practice late as he’s a workaholic for the Roxxon Energy Corporation (great Marvel Easter Egg that that been in the MCU before on the large and small screen), so while he is driving her, he is also trying to put out a corporate fire concerning a rig that might explode.  Tyrone gives his brother the stereo, who then wants to return it ASAP, only the two then are approached by a police officer, and they flee on foot.  Tyrone and his brother make it to the dock near the rig while Tandy and her father drive near the same dock.  Tyron’s brother is shot by the police in an all too real moment type of scenario we see on the news nowadays and falls into the water with Tyrone jumping it to try and save his brother while Tandy’s father’s frantic driving has caused their car to crash into the river as well.  With their family members dead, the two are now in the water about to drown when there is a large burst of energy from the rig that envelops the two of them. Tandy sees immense darkness and Tyrone sees an immense brightness.  Tyrone reaches out for her and pulls her out of the car.  The two wake up on the beach where Tandy takes Tyrone’s hoodie and he takes her ballet slipper.

Years later, they are now in their late teens.  However, their lives have gone in a different direction.  Tyrone is a student at a Catholic school who seems to be doing well grade-wise and is the start of the basketball team.  Tandy however, is seemingly a dropout, who uses her feminine wiles to hustle rich kids out of their money.  While things might be better on the outside for Tyrone, he still has a lot of pent-up anger to deal with, as he gets into a fight at his basketball game.  The deaths of the family members have affected them in different ways.  While Tyrone’s family has found a way to pull themselves together (thanks to his mom), Tandy is estranged from her mother and spends nights in an abandoned church and doing drugs.  Their roles are reversed from the comics.  Instead of Tandy being the rich teen of privilege, it’s Tyrone who has his head on straight, while Tandy is the “hoodlum.”

Side note: Freeform apparently isn’t a family-friendly network as I probably thought.  In the first two episodes alone, we have: doing drugs, car sex, stabbing, shooting, and people getting jumped.  This, like Runaways, shows that teen angst can be just as serious and gripping as any TV-MA adult drama you could see on the premium channels.

While Tandy and her boyfriend thought they could get a good score by hustling a rich kid at the club, they didn’t score much and Tandy needs to do some more hustling.  She hears about a party in the woods.  Tyrone also gets invited to the party by one of his classmates (who absolutely likes him).  He arrives at the party and runs into Tandy where she “accidentally” spills her drink on him.  While she and he engage in brief flirting, it was all a con as Tandy has jacked him for his wallet.  Tyrone then gives chase through a graveyard and just as he’s about to grab her, both of their powers (her powers of light and his powers of dark) activate throwing each of them in opposite directions.  She realizes that he is the same guy who rescued her out of the water when they were kids.  Scared, she quickly runs off.

Later, Tyrone goes home to bed and wraps a blanket around himself.  However when he wakes up, he’s not in his bed, but on the roof of the Roxxon Energy Corporation, so he has the ability to teleport.  As Tyrone is walking home wearing nothing but his boxers and a blanket, he has the chance to reflect on when his brother was shot.  A flashback shows that the police covered the whole thing but and blamed his brother’s death on him supposedly doing drugs.  They denied that there was a cop with a scar on his face (as Tyrone reported).  They even say that no cop shot their gun at all.  Right on cue, Tyrone runs into the cop with the scar on his face all these years later.  When he gets home, his mother already knows that he wasn’t at school, leading them to have a heart to heart.  He tells his mother that she needs to lighten up as she thinks she’s going to lose him if he slips up a little.  She then says what almost all black moms fear, even if he does everything the right way, she could still lose him.  Tyron teleports while sleeping again, this time he wakes up in the trunk of the corrupt cop who killed his brother’s car.  This makes it the perfect chance for him to enact some revenge.

Even though Tandy robbed the rich guy out of ballet tickets and her boyfriend told her not to use them as they were now hot, she goes to the ballet anyway.  The Rich guy counted on that and had a group of his friends gang up on her where the rich guy then tries to sexually assault her.  That’s when one of her powers activates, and she stabs him with a “dagger” of some sort of light energy.  Tandy runs to her boyfriend afterward as now she could be a possible murderer.  They go to a local dry cleaner, which is a front for fake IDs in the hopes that she will get out of town so that that rich guy doesn’t identify her.  However, it’s going to cost her money that she doesn’t have.  She’ll need to hustle some more, and hustle quickly!

Tandy and her boyfriend borrow a dress and a tuxedo from the dry cleaners and end up crashing a wedding.  As expected, a lot of money exchanges hands as gifts during a wedding, and if you are able to obtain the gifts, you can really make off with a bunch of money.  Tandy is slow dancing with her boyfriend and when she touches him, she sees a flash showing what he and her boyfriend could look like in a hopeful future.  In addition to making daggers, she can see the brightness, the hopes of people.  This actually scares her as a result.  She’s too used to disappointment in her life since her father died.  While they manage to con the wedding party, even after Tandy befriends the bride.  They even escape with the “Just Married” car.  However, Tandy decides that she and her boyfriend should go their own way, due to her fear of that happiness, and she leaves him.

Tyrone ends up missing his team’s practice, which causes his team to be punished by the coach for his tardiness.  This doesn’t bode well for Tyrone because later on, his team decides to give him a beating.  This happens after he has to avoid gunfire after confronting the cop who killed his brother.  He even tried to use his teleporting ability during the beat down, which doesn’t work and he takes a lumping.  Locked in a cage in the locker room, Tyrone is angry and after breaking out of the cage, he wants to take his anger out on the cop.  He calms down a bit and comes home where he asks his mother how she keeps things together in her own anger.  She tells him about how she needed to focus her energy after his brother’s death.  Tyrone hugs his mom, and another one of his powers gets activated.  Unlike Tandy, who sees hope, Tyrone sees dread.  In this case, he sees his mother’s dread, her fear of losing her sons as she already lost one.

Tyrone then busts into the cops house and points a gun at him.  Just as he’s about to pull the trigger, he teleports away in his rage.  Meanwhile, a detective has been following Tandy and her boyfriend’s capers and manages to arrest her boyfriend.  He leaves a voicemail pleading for her help, which she ignores.  However, Tyrone then teleports onto the highway (thinking he’s at the cops house) and pulls the trigger, shooting at her car, forcing her to crash.

Next week, Tyrone and Tandy explore their new powers (and new connection).  This being New Orleans, they are gonna dabble in some voodoo.