Cloak & Dagger 1.09 Review: “Back Breaker”

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With nothing left to lose, can Tandy and Tyrone find their way back? Find out in our recap of Cloak & Dagger episode 9, “Back Breaker.”

A Hero’s Journey

Nothing to see here folks, just Evita’s Auntie spitting rum all over New Orleans. Of course, it’s so much more than that, it’s a VooDoo ritual that’s leading her to none other than a Roxxon valve. The crisis she predicted draws closer and closer.

Meanwhile her niece Evita is a getting a lesson on the hero’s journey from Father Delgado. Apparently a big part of that journey is an obstacle that sets the hero back (Cloak & Dagger doesn’t seem to care for subtlety, yet manages to weave all the obvious references in without making the viewer roll their eyes too much).

Despite their “victories,” our heroes are crashing and burning. Tandy turns back to drugs while O’Reilly deals with the fallout of Fuch’s brutal murder.

Ty’s situation is even more complicated. He can’t fathom why his parents don’t seem the least bit happy about Connors’ confession. If anything they’re more on edge  Why trust the police to get it right this time?

After all these years of being right, there’s no acknowledgment from his parents, especially Adina who seems to be at her breaking point. 

Back to the show’s true MVP, Auntie Chantelle, we get the full doom and gloom prediction, this time calling out Roxxon by name. They’re “digging up all the things that make this place special,” and she begs Evita to ask Tyrone if he’s met the other half of his divine pairing. They’re the only ones who can stop this.

Tandy has stepped up her con game, but instead of stealing money she’s stealing hopes. It’s a new high for Tandy to drown out her pain.

Flashing back to Evita’s English class lesson on the hero’s journey, Father Delgado explains the hero’s regression begins with a trauma, an unintended consequence of their new abilities. Of course for Tandy and Ty, the fears and insecurities he references are the ones that result from realizing the truth hasn’t actually set them free.

With powers and nothing to lose, they’re set for self-destruction. A song plays in the background professing, “I’ve got demons, and they don’t do as they’re told.”

Ty gets into a fight at school while Adina’s shown losing her temper at work.

Tandy shows up at Mina’s house for brunch and can’t hide her disgust over Mina’s happiness about having her father back. 

Ty gets sent to Father Delgado’s office, who apparently also teaches history. He tells Ty he’s fighting a war that’s over, just like New Orleans after the War of 1812. Another weirdly applicable New Orleans deep cut for this show.  You have to give credit to the writers for doing their homework. The only one who’s going to die from this battle is Ty. 

Ivan asks Tandy what she’s going to do about Roxxon, but Tandy keeps zoning out. She can’t stand to hear Ivan praise Nathan now that she knows the truth. Mina makes it worse by offering her a job at Roxxon.

As they go to shake hands, Tandy steals her hopes, telling her, “Now you know how it feels.”

But Father Delgado tells his class regression can’t keep the hero from being who they’ve become, it’s only temporary. 

That doesn’t mean they won’t try to escape back to who they used to be, and for Tandy, that means using her Roxxon cash to bail out her ex-boyfriend Liam. Really she’s just using him though, gorging on his hopes. She’s interrupted by Ty, who somehow breaks through into her dreamscape after invading Father Delgado’s fears.

We had already seen Liam’s vision of a future with Tandy, but Delgado’s fears of killing a child in a car accident are much more vivid and terrifying.

As Detective O’Reilly sits in the bar, piss drunk for Fuch’s wake, Father Delgado foreshadows something much more sinister. If the hero can’t come back, they either die or become a villain.

Cue Connors walking into the bar before O’Reilly attacks him. He beats her and tells her they’re not finished. Props to actor JD Evermore for playing the scum of the earth with such conviction. I’m not sure I buy it if O’Reilly becomes a villain though. There hasn’t been enough character development for it to feel earned, so they’d just be relying on trauma which seems cheap.

What’s the Point?

Just as Evita goes to talk to Ty, Tandy shows up.  But when Tandy goes to steal her hopes, Evita fights back (presumably because of her connection to the mystical). She realizes they’re the diving pairing her aunt foretold. 

Tandy tells Ty to stay out of her head because they’re not partners. It’s painful to see them fight each other. Ty makes one last effort to break through but Tandy tells him she’s just a “screwed up bitch.”

“I’ll see you in your dreams,” Ty threatens and promises as she storms off.

And Father Delgado really hits the nail on the head in his narration, telling the class they may be wondering what is even the point of regression. Yeah, I’m starting to wonder…

The point? The story isn’t about them, it’s about us. And he gives the most meta speech in the history of Marvel television. 

“Heroes make mistakes because we do. They do things they regret because we do. And like most any story told, myth is a mirror, one we hold up to see ourselves more clearly. That is the Catch-22 of the human condition, the inability to see ourselves for who we are.”

Tandy and Ty are forced to look at themselves in the mirror, but is it too late? The episode moves at a breakneck pace from that point, with the writers doing everything to get your heart pumping. 

Tandy returns to the church to find Liam robbed her. 

Meanwhile, Mina goes to the Roxxon worksite after the heat has spiked. There’s an explosion like on the rig and the workers go to attack Mina.

O’Reilly gets the call on her radio that Fuch’s killer was caught. Given Connors’ threat, that can’t be good news. 

Adina admits to Ty in a heartbreaking conversation that she never pursued Billy’s killer because she knew anyone with the power to cover it up could destroy them. That’s why she was upset at the police station because all he’s done is put himself in danger.

Ty, in a mixture of youthful naivete and outrage,  is sick of it though. He could do everything right and they’ll still come after him. He thinks it’s better to fight. It’s a powerful moment that explores the generational shift of how society looks at the things accepted for too long.

But Adina’s fear for Tyrone becomes real frighteningly fast when the police arrive at his house. In a shocking twist, he’s the one Connors set up to take the fall for Fuch’s murder. His only choice is to run. 

Tandy comes home to talk to her mom, but Roxxon has sent an assassin. She too has been set up.

It’s the end of their journey and the heroes must make a choice. With one episode left in the season, things have heated up faster than a Roxxon pipeline.

Additional Thoughts:

  • Stan the Man got a cameo! This time in the form of the paintings at the apartment of Tandy’s mark. Doesn’t quite live up his Runaways cameo, but glad to see him nonetheless.
  • I wonder if they have bigger plans for Father Delgado in season 2? We’ve seen so little of him this season. There isn’t a character I would get rid of on this show, but it does seem like they don’t always know what to do with all of them.
  • THIS SEASON WENT BY SO FAST! I’m really sad we only have one episode left, but hooray for the renewal  announced at SDCC.

Cloak & Dagger airs on Freeform at 8 p.m./7c every Thursday. Stay tuned to The Marvel Report for more coverage. 

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