This Cloak & Dagger review contains spoilers.
Cloak and Dagger Season 1, Episode 7
The parallel lives structure of Cloak and Dagger so far means that we don’t get as much Tandy/Tyrone interaction as we might like to. That’s what makes an episode like this one so special. What “Lotus Eaters” lacks in originality when it comes to the time loop plot, it makes up for in terms of raw emotionality. As Ty and Tandy venture further into their processes of coming to terms with both their powers and their ongoing grief, they also begin to understand how much they need one another.
Ostensibly, “Lotus Eaters” does little to move the plot along. In fact, the episode eschews some major ongoing plots in what feels like an unrealistic matter. Ty is given little space to deal with the fact that he just saw his childhood friend murdered. We still haven’t heard anything about Greg, or how Tandy’s mom might be dealing with his absence. All that really “happens” from a plot point of view is the emergence of Ivan Hess from his catatonic state.
And what a character Ivan is! When Tandy and Tyrone venture into Ivan’s head, none of us is sure what to expect, though an Ivan that has lost his sense of identity after having been trapped inside a neverending time loop for the past eight years makes for a great scene partner. Ivan doesn’t know who he is, let alone his daughter or Tandy, but that doesn’t keep Ty and Tandy from trying to help him. At first, Tandy insists that she wants to bring Ivan out of himself for the sake of clearning her father’s name, but the argument that ultimately gets Ivan to listen is in the responsibility Ivan has to his daughter.
Tandy uses the anger and intense grief she feels at the own loss of her father to remind Ivan of Mina. It helps that the raw emotion is right there (not that it isn’t ever just under the surface for Tandy). When Tyrone wants to leave Ivan’s trippy mind palace when it seems like they can’t save him (and who would blame the poor kid), Tandy elects to stay behind, tricking Tyrone into leaving without her. She’d rather stay in this make believe land forever, talking to the version of her father who exists in Ivan’s head through a once-a-loop phone call.
But Tyrone is nothing if not loyal to those who cares about, and, whether Tandy believes it or not, he cares about Tandy. Tyrone goes back in to get his friend, but she doesn’t make it easy. Not only has she cycled through countless cycles during his brief trip back to Ivan’s real-world hospital room, but she has firmly decided that she doesn’t want to leave, going so far as to throw daggers at Ty as he tries to argue for her departure.
Tandy understands on some level that none of this is real, but she still thinks it’s better than the life she has in the real world: homeless, father-less, and friend-less, as she puts it. Tyrone argues that he has her as a friend, but Tandy doesn’t let herself believe that, so Tyrone must make his appeal in another way. He does this not by convincing Tandy of the value of reality, but rather by convincing Tandy of the hollowness of unreality—more specially, the fact that the man on the other end of that phone isn’t her father, not really. He is cobbled together from Ivan’s memories.
When Tandy asks Nathan who is riding in the back of his car, at Tyrone’s prompting, her father cannot answer. And, for Tandy, that’s not enough. Because she may be hurting and she may hate her life, but she has never been one to live in pretense. She lies to others, but she doesn’t usually lie to herself. And, in this moment, this echo of her father is not enough.
Back together again, Tandy and Tyrone help an Ivan who now remembers Mina to prevent the explosion and therefore break from his own mind. He wakes up in his hospital room, not remembering Tandy or Tyrone (which is kind of a bummer), but desperate to see his daughter, who throws herself into his arms at the first possible opportunity. It’s a stirring reunion, though one that seems a little easy given that Ivan just woke up from eight years in a catatonic state and the last time he saw Mina, she was a teenager.
Still, the heart wants what the heart wants and, in the case of Cloak and Dagger, that is a prioritization of sentimentality (which I am here for). Having seen Tandy get to hear her father’s voice again, Tyrone finds an old voice recording of he and Billy when they were young. Before listening to it, he calls Tandy, to share the difficult moment with him. They listen together, Tandy teasing Ty for his terrible rapping skills as a child. In this moment, Tandy helps Tyrone share the weight of his grief, just as he did for her earlier in the episode.
The plot might not get much progression in “Lotus Eaters,” but this is the closest we’ve seen Tandy and Tyrone yet. This episode hammered home just how important these two are to one another, not only for the ways in which they can understand the feelings of gaining powers, but, perhaps more importantly, for the ways in which they can understand each other’s grief.
While I wasn’t a huge fan of the time loop inside Ivan’s head structure, it was cool to get a chance to see Tandy and Tyrone use their powers in masterful ways, not to mention as a team!
Would Tandy and Tyrone have been able to touch in Ivan’s head? I’m kind of surprised they didn’t at least try.
Well, now I’m worried that Roxxon will go after Ivan!