Cloak and Dagger 1x04 "Call/Response" Review
I’ve. Been. Waiting. For. This!
If you’ve been reading along, then you’ll know that I have been craving an episode of Tandy and Tyrone having an actual conversation with one another and, thanks to Tyrone seeking Tandy out at the end of “Stained Glass”, we’ve finally gotten it — and not a moment too soon, as it appears the action might finally start kicking in. Cloak and Dagger has been careful, taking its time to explore the nuances of its main characters and I’ve been grateful for it, but a part of the joy in watching a superhero anything is action and it looks like, thanks to the events of “Call/Response” we’re getting there.
As is its tradition, Episode 4 picks up right where we left off, with Tyrone arriving at Tandy’s home. I can’t say I wasn’t shocked that Tandy chose to stick around; the girl runs faster than a cheetah when she’s afraid, but I suspect that Tandy knew this moment was inevitable, and that she also draws a measure of comfort from Tyrone, even if she has yet to admit that to herself. The conversation was deep and meaningful; I was almost surprised at how open and raw they were with one another, but that doesn’t mean that everyone was happy at the conclusion.
Again, we’re treated to parallel journeys, scenes of Tandy and Tyrone going about their lives after their big conversation in the church, interspersed with the dialogue and cut ins of the actual conversation itself. I’m a huge fan of this multi-layered aspect of storytelling, especially as it seems to play into one of the character’s powers. Cloak has the ability to essentially shift into another dimension, crossing miles of space in mere steps. The formatting of the episode feels similar, as if we are Cloak, moving back and forth from one place to the next, and I love it. The best part of this episode was the affirmation that the things they’re experiencing are real. That even if they are cursed, as Tyrone believes himself to be, they aren’t alone, which probably means a lot to these two in particular.
This is also the moment that we get confirmation of their powers: Tandy is seeing people’s hopes while Tyrone exposes their fears. The conversation in the church doesn’t just help them confront each other; they also confront the things they’ve been avoiding in real life. For Tandy, this means going home and dealing with Gregg, her mother’s lawyer boyfriend. Tandy doesn’t trust him, believing him to be just like the others, but when she allows herself to physically connect with him, all she sees is his earnest hope that he, Tandy and her mother can be a family after they successfully take down Roxxon. Tandy, who doesn’t appear to trust easily, decides that maybe she can open up to Gregg, and it’s heartwarming to see her take steps to do just that. Joining him at his office to research the case, sitting down to a family dinner, even speaking up for him to her mother after an unfortunate phone call.
Unfortunately, Tandy just can’t get a break, and that means that Gregg has to go. After Tandy’s mother kicks him out during dinner, Gregg decides to head back to his office. Tandy, having tried to convince her mother to forgive him and discovering that she broke up with him instead, decides to venture over to his law office only to witness his murder at the hands of a gasoline totting assailant.
Tyrone’s journey is a bit different, but still focuses on conquering a fear. He does want to get justice for Billy, but his previous methodology was only going to end with him dead or in jail and his parents having lost another son. Instead he decides to employ a bit of subterfuge, taking a lesson from Tandy and pretending to be something that he’s not (in this case, he pretends his bike has been stolen). His first attempt is a failure and it’s not hard to understand why. Tyrone has a justified fear of the police. Not only did he witness his brother’s death at their hands, but he is a young black male. If Cloak and Dagger is set in our world (and it apparently is) he has likely seen the near constant news stories of young black men who have lost their lives at the hands of police officers who are never brought to justice. That first attempt at walking into the police office filled him with fear and he bolted before he could be approached by an officer.
Tyrone heads home only to be confronted by his father about his missing garden shears. Otis, like Tyrone, harbors a fear of what the police might do to his only surviving son. It’s little wonder he’s so angry with Tyrone for stealing his garden tool. And he doesn’t believe Tyrone’s story, even though he’s telling the truth. Otis decides it’s time for some quality father/son bonding and I can’t mention enough how much I love Cloak and Dagger’s location switch from New York to New Orleans. It’s this switch that allows them authentically incorporate the Mardi Gras Indians (krewe) of New Orleans and the brief glimpse into this rich bit of culture (similar to the exploration of Voodoo in Episode 3) was both educational and fun.
Otis grew up in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward and was the Spy Boy for the krewe, someone who typically goes ahead of the Chief in the parades. The Spy Boy mythology for Cloak and Dagger is enhanced, and it’s no coincidence that Tyrone’s abilities place him almost perfectly into the role. We are informed that a Spy Boy “runs out into the unknown, unprotected, where nobody can see, looking for trouble so we all know what's coming,” and that’s almost a perfect match for who Tyrone is now.
In another twist of fate, Billy was training to be the next Spy Boy when he passed, and Otis avoided the Wild Redhawks for years as a result. It’s a sign of how affected Tyrone was by his conversation with Tandy that, instead of shying away from a piece of Billy’s legacy, Tyrone finally feels as if he might belong in this place. It’s also so poetic that both Tandy and Tyrone have chosen to hold on to Billy’s “cloaks” (Tandy with his hoodie and Tyrone with his Spy Boy cape); even in death Billy protects Tyrone and by extension Tandy. Spending this time with his father does help Tyrone accomplish his goal of getting into the police station and I’m hopeful that he’ll continue on his more peaceful quest to take down Connors.
Although the church confession started out well, when Tandy confessed to Tyrone that she has suicidal ideations, Tyrone snaps. I imagine it’s hard for him to think about someone willingly taking their own life when his brother’s was snatched from him, and I also think that there’s a connection between he and Tandy that might be pushing his volatile reaction, but it was the wrong choice. Tandy pushes back, pointing out that Tyrone is economically advantaged and is lucky enough to have two loving, present parents.
It’s sad to watch what was a budding friendship quickly devolve into a shouting match about who has it the worst, and neither of them are wrong. Tyrone’s wealth, as he points out, in no way stops him from being targeted by the police, and Tandy’s whiteness allows her entry into almost any room she wants to be in, but Tandy isn’t wrong when she recognizes that having that wealth and those parents have protected Tyrone in ways he is probably unaware of.
The conversation ends with Tandy pointing out that, when she was in Tyrone’s head, one of his own hopes was that he would die. Time after time, Tyrone committed suicide by cop in her vision and if all Tandy sees is hope, that clearly means that it’s something Tyrone has considered. Being confronted with his own hypocrisy and backed into a wall, Tyrone tells Tandy that maybe she should just kill herself, and the two part ways in anger. Tandy desperately tries to drown her anger (and her grief — the girl needs a friend and she was clearly reaching out to Tyrone only to be rebuffed) with drugs, while Tyrone works out in his room, hoping to channel his frustration through his body. Neither options seem to work and while Tyrone expresses his rage by simply yelling it out, Tandy takes a more drastic step.
Perhaps feeling the weight of her loneliness, in the wake of Gregg’s death and Tyrone’s last harsh parting words, Tandy ties a chain around her ankles, binds her hands and jumps into a river. There’s no hesitance and it’s painful to see how deep into her depression, her hopelessness she is. I was more than a little relieved when Tandy’s fear (thus far that’s what’s caused her dagger to appear) allows her to materialize the dagger and cut her bonds, because the fear means that, even if in that moment she wanted to die, she hadn’t truly meant to follow through.
Tandy comes out of the water strengthened and returns to Gregg’s law office to retrieve the files he’s been keeping on the Roxxon case. It’s lucky she’s been practicing, because she sure knew enough to cut through the steel of the safe with her dagger. I’m proud to see Tandy moving forward and I’m excited to see the two of them reunite next episode. Whatever happens next, Tyrone and Tandy still have a lot to work through and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to follow them.
Cloak and Dagger airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Freeform.