This Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger review contains spoilers.
Cloak and Dagger Season 2, Episode 6
Cloak and Dagger does alternate reality/hallucination episodes better than most TV shows. “B Sides” was maybe my least favorite episode of an admittedly very strong season thus far—it felt more like treading narrative water than this show almost ever does—but it was still a fascinating, heartbreaking trip into Tandy’s psyche during one of the most traumatic experiences of her life.
“B Sides” is an entire episode set inside of Tandy’s mind, strongly controlled by Andre Deschaine, the community leader and support center organizer who is revealed in this episode to be a person with his own terrible power, and the man responsible for stealing vulnerable girls and women off of the streets of New Orleans. Andre feeds off of the despair of the young women he takes, making them live through the most horrifying of experiences inside of their heads until they have no hope.
For Tandy, who has low self-esteem but a fighter’s spirit, it takes an entire episode for Andre to make her hopeless. He takes her hope first by giving it to her, by letting her live out an imagined life path that gives her some version of a “better” reality: a life as a prima ballerina with a devoted father and husband who doesn’t abuse his wife.
Slowly, the existences get a little less hopeful. A racist, sexist convenience store clerk pulls a gun on Tyrone. In another life, Tandy may be a Roxxon engineer, but she is sent to the doomed oil rig minutes before its meltdown. In a third imagined existence, she steals wallets to maintain her drug habit.
While things may be dire in all of these realities, they aren’t without hope—because Tandy always has Tyrone, in some way. In one reality, he is her best friend, together since the night of the Roxxon explosion. In the second, he is a worker on the doomed Roxxon oil rig, and the only Roxxon employee who seems to respect her. In the third, he is jacking a car when she needs a lift from the police, a safe harbor in a sea of desperate confusion.
Unfortunately, Andre soon recognizes this pattern, too, and knows what he has to do to take Tandy’s hope. Making Tandy think that she has broken free of the ambulance, Tandy and Tyrone go to the support center to confront Tyrone. Andre shoots Tyrone, killing him as Tandy watches. It is still a hallucination, of course, perhaps part of the Darkforce dimension in some way, but it feels real to Tandy, and that is all that matters.
She ends the episode broken of hope because she thinks Tyrone, the one person she has allowed herself to trust, is gone forever. An unconscious, hopeless Tandy is wheeled from the ambulance in the real world to her next destination: the Viking Motel. Will she be funnelled into the human trafficking ring like so many of the other girls and women who have gone missing?
And what are Tyrone and Brigid up to in the real world? Have they noticed Tandy is gone yet? What is happening with Connors and Tyrone’s mom? “B Sides” did a good job of distracting us from many of the ongoing plots of the season, and may have been a telling peak inside of the mind of Tandy, but I’m not convinced it was worth an entire episode of this 10-episode season, especially because we lose such sight of Tyrone.
This is an episode that will be hard to fully judge until we see the full shape of the season (I hope, like Brigid/Mayhem and Tandy, Tyrone gets a Tyrone-centric episode), but, for now, it is the (high) low point of an excellent season so far.
There were so many familiar faces in Tandy’s hallucinations, representing the impressive, character-driven scope of this world. It was especially nice to see Liam, who we haven’t seen since Season 1. How you doing, buddy?
This episode reminded me a bit of last season’s “Lotus Eaters,” which took place inside of Ivan Ness’ mind, and employed a similar logic structure.
While the Andre twist was great, I am sad to see a rare representation of mental health therapy and support in the superhero genre turned into a villain. I know Andre said he helps most of the people who come into the center, but, um, yeah… this place feels super icky now, which is a shame because it was portrayed as such a hopeful place of healing in the season opener.
I do love the continued use of the record store narrative device. Also, villains are always creepier with gloves, so good in-universe reason for making Andre even scarier than he already was.