This article contains major spoilers for the Cloak & Dagger Season 2 premiere.
While there may only be two names in the title, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger is really a show with three leads. The third is Emma Lahana, who played Brigid O’Reilly in the first season. In Season 2, she is taking on an extra role: Mayhem, a vigilante who has far fewer personal limits than Brigid, Tyrone, or Tandy when it comes to hunting down NOLA’s bad guy population.
“We wanted Mayhem to be the part of us that asks: why are we waiting so long for justice?” said showrunner Joe Pokaski of the character, who is adapted from the comic book source material. “And she is the angriest part of us … So, that’s been kind of the plan—particularly when you have such a talented actress like Emma—to present her as kind of this third rail of vigilantism.”
The experience of watching Mayhem as a viewer in a world that feels as though it is becoming increasingly unjust (especially for those who are the most marginalized and therefore vulnerable) can be a cathartic one, which creates some fascinatingly complicated feelings when it comes to judging a character who is ostensibly a villain, but with a very understandable agenda.
“I think the hardest part of writing Mayhem as Bridget for us in the writers’ room was making sure we didn’t want to be with Bridget, and I have to give Emma a lot of credit for that as well,” said Pokaski. “Because I think there’s part of us that fantasizes about just ripping open society and upending the status quo. It’s biblical from when Jesus threw them out of the temple, a kind of eye-for-an-eye mentality. We want to see justice but sometimes we don’t wait for it.”
From the looks of the trailer, Tandy and Tyrone respond to Mayhem’s flavor of vigilantism will be different. Pokaski teased of their reactions: “Tandy and Tyrone both find themselves on different sides of the Mayhem-Bridget spectrum, depending on what’s happening to them in their real lives.”
While both Tyrone and Tandy have a form of friendship with O’Reilly, in Season 1, the dynamic between Tyrone, a black teenager whose older brother was killed by a cop in front of him, and O’Reilly, a cop herself working to end police corruption, was particularly interesting, as the two characters leaned on one another in pursuit of their not-totally-unrelated goals.
In Season 2, Pokaski said, Tyrone will act as a bit of a protector in his relationship with O’Reilly as Mayhem continues to cause havoc while wearing the same face as Brigid.
“She’s not all together and she needs some help,” said Pokaski, adding that Aubrey Joseph’s performance as Tyrone really highlighted the character’s nurturing qualities in his dynamic with Brigid. “There’s things that he does, you know, in Episode 3 there’s a moment where he steps towards her, puts his arm around the chair and it’s so protective and it’s so beautiful it’s a cool kind of payback.”
Mayhem primarily seems poised to go against the criminals of the city, the people who make money off of other people’s pain. Does she pose a threat to Tyrone and Tandy, who don’t fall into that category?
“No, I think that’s kind of the beauty and that was what was interesting about her is that, she has no beef with them right now,” said Pokaski.
How long can the tentative truce last? Pokaski teased: “I think at some point they’re going to get in each other’s way. There is a conflict in Episode 4 and then there is a big fight between Mayhem and one of them in Episode 9 as things kind of come to a head and people have more skin in the game.”
Cloak and Dagger Season 2 airs Thursday nights at 8pm ET on Freeform.