Cloak & Dagger has never been shy about using stories within a story to remind you that at the end of the day, superheroes are our modern mythology.
But instead of relying on an old New Orleans tale, this week’s episode turns to one of Aesop’s Fables, “The Farmer and the Viper.” The tale tells the story of a farmer who comes across a viper in the snow and must decide whether to help him. Throughout the episode we see Tandy telling the story to an unseen audience, as blue and red flash in the background.
But who is the farmer and who is the viper? Well, that’s a little more complicated.
The obvious choice for viper is Connors, who escaped the last episode and starts this episode at a stash house pulling out a gun.
His escape leads to more conflict between Tandy and Ty, and Tandy is especially on edge since she thinks Mayhem is her last chance at solving this case.
Tandy takes the case way too personally, later lashing out at her mother for not leaving her abusive father. Instead of her trauma making her more empathetic to others, it’s hardened Tandy into seeing the world in black and white.
“Leaving someone who hurts you isn’t hard, mom. You just leave.”
With Tandy gone, Ty turns to Brigid but she’s still a complete mess and can’t help him. Ty decides to go it alone, sniping at Brigid, “I wish the other you were here.” Ouch.
Watching Ty among piles of guns is tense until you realize he’s not using any of them, just the gun powder to draw a veve symbol to lead him to Connors. Connor is ready with a gun in hand, but it’s not to hurt Ty – it’s to help him.
Like the farmer in Tandy’s story, Ty has a choice… he can kill the viper or trust him.
Connors offers him all the evidence and confession he would need to clear his name. Apparently living inside the void was “a waking nightmare” and forced Connors to face his actions and realize he must atone. Has Connors really changed? Ty is too filled with anger to believe him.
Meanwhile, Tandy continues on her own quest to save the missing girls and gets a lead from Andre that her group leader Lia may know something. But not before he mentions the rescued girls are talking about, “A girl who looks like an angel, a boy who looks like a shadow.” It doesn’t seem like he knows her secret yet, but if she keeps digging he might find out.
At Mayhem’s headquarters, Brigid comes to term with her own inaction, seeing that Mayhem saved Fuchs’ obituary. Maybe the other part of her isn’t all evil after all.
Ty goes to an unlikely ally to help him decide what to do with Connors. His father Otis is shocked to see Ty at his doorstep. While Ty’s been gone he’s gone back to the old neighborhood living with the Redhawks, and we even see him working on a Mardis Gras cloak similar to the one Billy once made.
Naturally, Otis immediately wants to kill the man who killed his son, but Ty implores him to listen to Connors’ offer. Connors admits even if he confesses, his family’s connections may get him off the hook once again. But he can offer something even better: information. His uncle keeps a file of secrets that Ty could use to protect himself and give him an all new source of power in the corrupt New Orleans.
It’s a complicated decision. Ty wants justice, but the only way he may be able to get it is to play dirty. After all, “secrets are powerful things when you know how to use them.”
This episode does a lot to explore power structures and privilege, not just by race but also by gender.
To underscore the different places they’re coming from, Ty and Otis even have to continually correct Connors that Billy didn’t just die, he murdered him.
Tandy gets Lia to open up about her past, and learns that Lia was pimped out by her abusive boyfriend who owned a grow house over and over until she finally walked away. It goes back to what Mayhem said the last episode about men having their own power structure.
Tandy wants Lia to get justice. And she knows how to get it.
Ty and Otis have a parallel conversation about whether people can change. Ty wonders, doesn’t Connors deserve justice?
“Can you tell me what that word means?” asks Otis. Otis tells him to consider taking the deal. And if Connors reneges? Take justice the other way.
Connors talks Ty through the plan to retrieve the file, but he’s going to need help. And thankfully, a newly reinvigorate Brigid is there for him.
But, as we reach the conclusion of the episode, we also reach the conclusion of Tandy’s story, where the farmer gets bitten by the viper after all.
Tandy raids the grow house, but almost doesn’t make it out and has to use one of her new energy blasts to escape. She threatens the ex-boyfriend and promises that he’ll never get to use another girl again.
Brigid and Ty stage a bomb threat to get into the social club where the file is hidden, but once he retrieves it he realizes it’s empty. It appears Ty is the one who’s been bitten.
Ty kidnaps Connors, taking him back to the church and admitting his intentions to kill him. But before he can, he sees into Connors’ fears where he handcuffs himself over and over and sees he really does regret his actions. Ty realizes he can’t be the one to judge him, but maybe someone else can. He takes him to see Adina for his final judgment.
Outside the grow house, Lia shows up claiming she was worried about Tandy. But something feels off. Tandy launches into an inspiring speech about fighting back, but it’s cut short.
We see an ambulance pull up. Those flashing lights throughout the cut scenes to the fable have been siren lights. Lia tasers her and we realize it’s Tandy who’s been bitten by the viper.
In her drug-induced coma, Tandy continues her vision, finishing the story at a celebration where she’s with her family and Ty, in a police uniform. There’s a lot to unpack in this vision, but the episode leaves us hanging until next week.
- Shout out to the Cloak & Dagger costume designers for Tandy’s outfits. They’re always just a little edgy/tough and add so much to the character.
- “Haunting cover of the week” goes to the version of “Shout” by Tears for Fears used in the closing moments.
- If Andre told Tandy to talk to Lia, is it possible he’s in on this too? Never trust a “helpful” character who seems to show up out of nowhere…
Cloak & Dagger airs Thursdays on Freeform.