This Cloak and Dagger review contains spoilers.
Cloak and Dagger Season 2, Episode 10
Sometimes, it’s easier to see the people you love than it is to see yourself, easier to treat the people you love with kindness than it is to treat yourself with kindness. The Cloak and DaggerSeason 2 finale hammers this point home, allowing Tyrone and Tandy to tell the Darkforce versions of their own nightmares just how resilient their respective best friend is and, in the process, begin to love themselves a little bit better, too.
“I see that you need someone to tell you that she came out the other side a hero,” Ty tells the Darkforce manifestation of Tandy’s abusive father. “My best friend was strong enough to hold himself up in a world hellbent on knocking him down again and again,” Tandy yells at the alternate, cruel Darkforce version of Tyrone.
This season’s most consistent strength—the love, trust, and friendship between Tandy and Tyrone—is wonderfully exemplified by Tandy and Tyrone facing each other’s demons in the finale, and proving how well they know one another in the process. They show up for each other so they can eventually show up for themselves. It’s something we’ve seen before from these two in various manifestations, but I will never get tired of seeing Cloak and Dagger recognize and validate one another’s bravery and fierce senses of justice.
Like the rest of Season 2, much of the action in “Level Up” is confined to the Darkforce dimension, which has been an increasing problem in the season’s storytelling. Though we cut back to Brigid/Mayhem fighting off Andre’s minions while Evita works to keep the candle burning and the portal to the Darkforce dimension open, the stakes of this finale were a bit too intangible to be wholly effective.
Intellectually, we know that New Orleans is at risk, but we have spent so little time consistently in NOLA this season, in tangible, recognizable places like Tyrone’s school or even Tandy’s ballet class, that it’s hard to worry about the city on anything past a superficial level.
The stakes are further devalued by the subtle nature of Andre’s power. The idea of having your depression and hopelessness targeted and turned against you, bringing you to a realm where those things become all that you are is terrifying, and that terror has been better characterized at earlier points in the season, but that’s not what we need in a season finale. Seeing people calmly disappear from the “real” world only to reappear as audience members in Andre’s cushy Darkforce dimension club never came across as horrific as it needed to, nor as climactic.
Melissa Bowen is used as a way to personalize the many people who Andre has already pulled into his thrall, but we’ve spent far too little time this season with Melissa for it to hit home. Last season, we saw Tandy and Melissa regularly arguing—we saw how much Melissa’s alcoholism affected Tandy. For the second part of this season, however, Melissa and Tandy’s relationship has been put on the back burner in favor of other plots.
Melissa seemingly doesn’t even notice when Tandy is kidnapped by sex traffickers earlier in the season. We see how upset Tandy is when she returns home to find her gone in “Two Player,” but it’s framed as an important moment in the Ty/Tandy dynamic more than the Tandy/Melissa one.
In the end, Tandy and Tyrone defeat Andre, using Tandy’s daggers of hope to wake up Andre’s victims and teaming up to stage an Arya-like stabbing in which Tandy bursts out of Tyrone’s cloak to finally take down the season’s Big Bad. It’s thrilling, but this series continue to be much stronger in its quieter moments, like last week’s conversation between Tyrone and Solomon, than it is in its louder ones. (There are exceptions, of course, such as Tandy and Tyrone’s epic motel fight in “Vikingtown.”)
However, while the finale’s climactic battle may have been underwhelming because of its underdefined stakes, the episode’s final montage proves how much heart, power, and potential this story still has. Tyrone’s name is finally cleared, and Connors is seemingly brought to justice of some kind. We check in with Solomon, who hasn’t left the gang life behind, but is continuing to draw moral lines he will not cross for himself within it.
Most notably, the final scene of Cloak and Dagger Season 2 sees Tandy and Tyrone leaving New Orlenas via bus for destination(s) unknown, ready to bring their powers and senses of justice to other places. It’s a big moment for these two, whose lives have been so defined by the city they call home. What will they do when they are not defined by the communities that have raised (and failed) them? What will they discover about themselves and one another? How will their relationship change.
We see Tandy choose waffles in the final scene—which everyone knows is the more romantic choice. (Not to create unnecessary binaries, but, commonly: pancakes are for friends; waffles are for lovers.) I like that this show has made kept Tandy and Tyrone as platonic best friends in the show’s first few seasons, but I am excited to see the show explore their relationship in different, perhaps romantic ways in the future.
We’ve yet to get an official Season 3 confirmation or denial from Marvel and Freeform, but I desperately hope we get to see more from this world and these characters. The Season 2 finale may not have been the most exciting superhero installment of superhero TV, but it proved that Tandy and Tyrone are just getting started.
“You were ready to break down two beautiful people because it was too damn inconvenient to build them up wasn’t it?” I love that Tyrone includes Melissa Bowen in this sentiment.
The end of Tyrone and Evita’s relationship seems pretty final here, as signified by Evita blowing out the candle.
“He’s not aiming for some ideal a bunch of assholes who don’t understand him set for him. Because that line moves. Always.” Tandy has been listening and paying attention when it comes to how the world treats Tyrone.
After the importance of records in this season, I am really going to need Cloak and Dagger to release its Season 2 soundtrack on vinyl. That’s a smart financial decision, right?
“But I get to decide how big a part.” Tandy can’t avoid having her past trauma affect her, but she can work to make it less important in how she
“The expectations I’ve been forcing myself to live up to, they’re not mine and they’re not real.”
While the Zorro callback feels a bit forced, I loved it so much I don’t even care.
“Being angry at the world when you lean into it is OK, so long as it allows you to see the things that make you angry and change them.” THIS.