The Cape episode 8 review: The Lich: Part 2

There's not long left for The Cape and, sadly, it remains an uphill slog. Here's James' take on the latest episode...

This review may contain spoilers.

8. The Lich: Part 2

At this point, any goodwill anyone had left for The Cape has surely been obliterated by its succession of tedious plots, cartoonishly one-dimensional villains, poor acting and general commitment to mediocrity in all its forms. And yet, eight episodes into a 10 episode run, I might as well take it to the end.

Let’s at least credit the show’s creators with an honest attempt to make worthwhile entertainment, shall we?

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This week is the second part of The Cape‘s first two-parter, The Lich, not that you’d really know it, based on the shift in tone, focus and narrative structure. Most of the episode’s core is based on an oddly expository hallucination Orwell has, alongside The Cape having to get his kid to recruit his wife.

Now, first things first. This episode would, it appears, be the first time we’ve seen Fleming actually admit to being Orwell’s father. The thing is, it was done in such a throwaway fashion that they seem to have forgotten they were setting it up as a mystery in the first place. Fleming himself was barely even in this episode. I’ve got no problem with writers clearing up mysteries before they get strung out for too long, but at least try to make the big reveal have some impact, hmm?

As it was, I have to wonder whether the intention was for it to be a little ambiguous. Certainly, they failed to make it as surprising as it should have been. Similarly, the point where Vince finally speaks to his wife suggested some level of ambiguity. Does she recognise him? Does she not? Although someone evidently forgot to tell the actors that there might be some glimmer of recognition, because the characters certainly played it straight.

Of course, this kind of thing demonstrates the utter contempt the series creative team appears to have for their own narrative points, let alone their audience.

The first meeting of Vince and his wife should have been, to put it bluntly, a massive deal. He should have done all he could not to have to face her. Instead, he just meets her on the roof. Good work there.

Indeed, only the fact that everyone in The Cape seems to be as dumb as a sack of hammers prevented Vince’s wife from actually recognising him when they met. It must have been that. It sure as hell wasn’t The Cape’s disguise, which consists of forty percent facial coverage and a lack of voice obfuscation.

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And while we’re on the subject, does anyone even remember why it is that The Cape can’t go back to his family again? Something about Fleming possibly putting them in danger, as I recall, although quite why he can meet them and hang out with them as The Cape, and not as himself, isn’t really clear.

In fairness, not everything about this episode was utterly deficient. The scenes with The Lich were capably directed into a vague pastiche of 40s horror films. But it’s kind of difficult to praise that too much, because it didn’t really work in context, because the cheesy tone was massively wrong for the episode.

Far from being a believable horror character, the Lich was a one-note villain, whose previous motivations of sociopathic revenge were largely dropped in favour of some insane plot where he was trying to marry a paralysed Orwell and his carer became jealous.

In all honesty, I don’t know what the writers of The Cape are trying to do anymore. What started out as an enjoyably crap throwback to costumed pulp detectives has ended up as a genuinely crap attempt to do superheroes that lacks the balls to ask its audience to accept anything supernatural or too science fictional, but still wants to have those elements in its show. It’s not just patronising, it’s insulting.

Will the last two episodes be any better? I seriously doubt it. But still, we’ve come this far…

Read our review of episode 7, The Lich: Part 1, here.

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