Cloak & Dagger premieres June 7th on Freeform.
By Ariba Bhuvad
In today’s golden age of television, we are lucky enough to have to some of our favorite comics brought to life. The next show to continue this trend is Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger. The series has been created for television by Joe Pokaski and the characters go by the same name as the Marvel comic. Perhaps even more exciting is that the series is set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe so it is quite possible for its characters to crossover into other series’ as well as the movies.
Now, I am a bit conflicted on how I felt after watching the first four episodes that were given to critics to review. On one hand, I really took a liking to the two central characters of the show, Tandy, played by Olivia Holt, and Tyrone, played by Aubrey Joseph. But on the other, I felt it was a bit slow to start. I have not read the comics so I had no prior knowledge of the characters or their story going into it. The premise of the central plot revolves around two teenagers who have superpowers as a result of an accident they were both involved in as kids. In the first four episodes, we learn that they share a connection and their powers are enhanced when they come together. And while they are strangers to one another, there is a strong link there that exists and ties them together.
I am assuming that as the series will progress, there will be a romantic angle that the show will explore between the two characters as their chemistry is already undeniable, thanks to the talents of Holt and Joseph. While I was intrigued by the overall story and what brought the two characters together, I felt a bit confused and lost in the first four episodes. It felt like it too long for them to establish the underlying foundation of the story, and it almost felt like they were running around in circles. And what exactly their superpowers are isn’t really explored or explained even by the fourth episode, we have to just assume we understand what they entail. Presumably, Tandy is the character Dagger, who possesses the ability to use light daggers, while Tyrone is the character Cloak who has the ability to magically transport himself.
While the powers are somewhat obvious, I didn’t quite feel like the story really progressed in the first four episodes. A lot of time was spent building a backstory, which I appreciate in any series, but four episodes in, you want things to start going somewhere. It is clear that Tandy has left a difficult life after the death of her father, and struggles to make ends meet so she lives the life of a con artist. Tyrone is riddled with guilt over the death of his brother and tries to come to terms with that as his powers start to manifest.
I definitely think there is a lot of potential because the story is intriguing and the characters have a certain allure to them unlike some of the other comic book characters. I think they did an amazing job with the casting because Holt and Joseph do a superb job portraying the struggles of their characters and trying to make sense of what is going on with them. What I enjoy even more is that the series does do a good job of focusing on the two characters, because I did want to keep seeing more of them and became invested in what was going to happen to them. Perhaps the other positive aspect of the series, thus far, is the mystery surrounding what exactly gave Tandy and Tyrone their powers. While it’s frustrating that not much has been explained regarding that, I have to admit I’m extremely curious what exactly is going on there.
I also have to commend the creators of the series for one particular aspect that really stood out to me while watching the series–breaking through racial stereotypes. Tyrone plays a rich, black kid while Tandy is a white, homeless girl living on the streets. Many television shows stick to a particular script and are afraid to break through and tell a different story, but Cloak & Dagger does that, and I applaud them for it. And while I’m not completely convinced about the series just yet, I do have hope that it will take a turn for the better as the season progresses!
I give Cloak & Dagger a B-.