Cloak and Dagger 1x03 "Stained Glass" Review
If you love dream sequences, then Cloak and Dagger’s third installment, “Stained Glass”, is for you. Almost the entirety of the episode takes place in the consciousness of our protagonists, Tandy and Tyrone.
I have to admit, I’m not usually a huge fan of this type of episode. I think they are too often used as filler episodes, but two things make this episode stand out in a good way for me: first, Freeform digs deep into the fact that the show is set in New Orleans and uses the history of voodoo and its practitioners as a part of the lead in to the dream-like state Tyrone and Tandy enter; and second, because Tandy and Tyrone’s powers have a root in dream states (the ability to see people’s fears or hopes) the episode simply feels like one more step in their journey to discover just who and what they’ve become.
The show has a pattern that I’m really enjoying thus far: each episode picks up right where the preceding episode left off, so you don’t miss any of the action or the resulting drama. When last we saw our teenaged duo, Tyrone materialized in front of Tandy’s vehicle and sent a bullet crashing into her windshield, forcing Tandy to veer off course and into a tree. Tyrone, being who he is, approaches the injured driver to see if they’re OK and that’s when Tandy discovers she’s once again run into the boy she’s been running away from since their initial meeting on the beach eight years ago. Tandy is left with a concussion and absolutely no desire to talk it out with Tyrone, who seems pretty cool about the fact that he’s just been transported into the middle of the street and almost shot someone. When they hear the sirens coming, Tandy speeds off, leaving Tyrone to duck behind a few available bushes and wait until they keep going.
This quick meeting and separating has already become the status quo for the titular pair, and even though I am a fan of the slowburn dynamic (and it’s only been 3 episodes), Olivia Holt’s Tandy and Aubrey Joseph’s Tyrone have such undeniable chemistry that I can’t help but want every moment that they’re on screen together to stretch out. It’s also important that we get an opportunity to see these two teens as individual characters before they become a dynamic duo, especially as we already know that they’ve been forever linked by whatever happened under the water when the Roxxon explosion occurred.
I’m very much a fan of the paralleled method of storytelling the show has adopted thus far, focusing first on one character’s plot line and then on another, always making sure to bring the plot lines together at the conclusion of each episode. This time, Tandy and Tyrone unwittingly wind up exploring the inner workings of each other’s minds. Tandy is forced on her journey by the concussion, as she gets settled on the bus to somewhere besides where she is, she’s sucked into a sunny basketball court where she sees a young Tyrone. Tyrone chooses his journey, determined to discover what’s going on with him, and takes Evita’s Vodun Aunt Clarisse up on her offer of a “cleansing bath”.
This, my friends, is when the episode gets interesting. Instead of learning more about themselves on this walk, the pair are drawn towards each other. Tandy sees Tyrone’s hopes, his guilt and his near crippling sense of worthlessness. As we watch, it becomes clear that Tyrone, who has lived an exemplary life, trying to make up for everything his parents lost in Billy, doesn’t feel at all deserving of the accolades he receives. People in Tandy’s vision continually hand Tyrone checks and, instead of cashing them, his childhood self sits, in a loan shark’s office (with Billy’s picture on the wall), in a crumpled pile of them. The message is clear: all of the “checks” (or accolades) are simply borrowed from Billy and, at some point, Tyrone expects that he’ll have to repay them with interest.
Another odd facet of Tyrone’s “hopes” is that he spends an inordinate amount of time allowing others to castigate him for the guilt he carries. His attempts to collar Officer Connors all fail, winding up with his own death at the hands of the police, his parent’s deaths. He continues to fall into the same trap, only breaking the cycle when Tandy shows him another way. She places a dagger made of her light on the table and, in Tyrone’s hands, it becomes handcuffs. Even as he moves to place them on Officer Connors, Connors runs — perhaps symbolic of the journey that Tyrone will have to take to bring true justice to Billy. I find it hugely interesting that in Tyrone’s hands Tandy’s light becomes something completely different, and I’m wondering now if that’s a skill that will transfer into their reality.
In Tyrone’s dreamscape, we encounter a bleak darkness that perfectly matches the horror that he’s about to see. Tandy, wearing the white dress she stole in the first episode, stands frozen outside of a conference room with walls of glass. Inside, her father is tied to a chair and, as she and Tyrone watch, he is tortured by his colleagues over and over again. They waterboard him in a cruel imitation of his actual death, and each time, Tandy runs away. Tyrone follows, in a vain attempt to force her to confront her fears, his words reaching deaf ears.
It’s not until his powers manifest and physically wrap around her that Tandy finds her light and her dagger appears. Tandy moves towards the box, perhaps to cut her father free, but the scene jumps abruptly. Suddenly we’re in her church and watching as young Tandy feeds a line of willing men roofies from a communion cup. This is perhaps, our first direct glimpse into Tandy’s view of herself: a beautiful, debilitating drug.
When both emerge from their dream states, it’s with renewed focus. Tandy, who was running from her actions in New Orleans, returns and decides to take Detective O’Reilly up on her offer of pursuing justice against her would-be rapist — an obvious effect of watching Tyrone’s dreamscape — while Tyrone decides to reach out to Evita, clearly learning to embrace the people you care about instead of running away from them. Unfortunately, in Tandy’s case, Officer Connors, who has his hand in too many pots to count at this time, had bribed away Rick’s case, meaning Tandy won’t be getting her justice after all.
The episode ends with Tandy and Tyrone reunited again. This time Tyrone, continuing his spree of not running, seeks Tandy out at the place he saw in his vision. I am seriously hoping that this time, Tandy stays, because it seems like Tyrone is finally ready to talk. As a closing note: am I the only one concerned that Aunt Clarisse is keeping a 3d printed voodoo doll of Tyrone on her fireplace?
Cloak and Dagger airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Freeform.