This review may contain spoilers.
6. Goggles And Hicks
Some of you may not have heard the sad news, but it was recently announced that The Cape has had its run of episodes reduced from 13 to 10. Chances of it returning for a second series are looking thinner than, well, the average plot of an episode of The Cape.
This episode kicked off in Afghanistan, introducing us to a pair of assassins, Goggles, a nerdy guy, and Hicks, a near-mute gun nut. Essentially, they fit neatly into the roles of Microchip and The Punisher, one stakes out the target and provides the weaponry, the other gets close enough to pull the trigger. And sometimes (as in this episode) they fly around a mobile targeting drone loaded with automated weaponry.
In case that last line didn’t tip you off, this, for me, is the first episode where The Cape has finally decided to go for all-out camp action, rather than maintain the rather po-faced tone of its earlier episodes.
Not only is Goggles an irreverent nerd type who (for the first time) allows the series to take a little pop at the general audience for superheroes, the episode also introduces a similarly nerdy kid for Trip (Vince’s son) to befriend. He’s nothing like any kid I’ve ever met, but at least he manages to give Faraday’s son a chance to display an emotional range beyond sullen for the first time.
If there were any doubt that this episode had decided to camp things up, when Vinnie Jones makes his cameo (which is not so much seamless, as it is stapled on), tricked into meeting Faraday in a church, he utters the series’ most quotable dialogue yet: “I firmly believe in the separation of church and crime”. Transfer that line into the mouth of Burgess Meredith and you could easily believe it came from the old Batman series.
Yet, more evidence of campy genre service were the villains themselves, who are initially introduced as hired killers working in Afghanistan (in an attempt to make them seem dangerous) and then spend the rest of the episode trailing the hero in a van while spying on him, placing him in various situations to provoke a reaction. I definitely remember seeing that plot in an episode of Buffy, although then it was being played for laughs.
No, instead, these guys are attempting to learn everything about our be-caped hero before they kill him. As you do. The comedy one babbles on about some kind of philosophical reason for this, but really, it’s nonsense from the very start. Even when they have the perfect opportunity to kill him, they shoot him with a tracking device, rather than a bullet. If they’re the best assassins around, the competition must have trouble loading a gun, let alone firing it.
All of this occurs as Faraday attempts to take a day off from being The Cape, if only to let his broken ribs heal. Not a bad idea in itself, but since he refuses to actually tell Orwell why he’s doing it, he spends a lot of time getting into unnecessary fights. It’s the worst kind of misunderstanding, one that only works if the characters involved refuse to act like normal people.
Some more stuff happens with Faraday’s wife, but, to be honest, at this point it’s clear why the brakes are being put on the series. Six episodes in, shows like Buffy and Heroes, that started off with a stumble rather than a sprint, had found their feet. The Cape is having trouble finding the starting line.
Several episodes in, we’ve seen the same plot several times: villain arrives, villain attempts to kill The Cape, villain is dispatched. The only development comes in the characters around Faraday, and when he gets any advancement of his own, it’s in the form of a montage where he learns to ice skate.
At this point, The Cape actually manages to be less interesting than his wife and son, both of whom actually have some direction in the narrative. Even the Carnival of Crime (who, hilariously, are forced to sneak their crime around Faraday) are more interesting than the man himself.
It’s a damning realisation to reach, and to be honest, one I’m not sure can be reversed in the 4 episodes we have left. But, we’ll see.
Read our review of episode 5, Dice, here.
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