Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger started off strong, with mixed reviews in fandom circles. Inexplicably unpleasable geeks trashed it in substance and style, while others (including me) celebrated its many positive aspects. It is hard, however, to agree that the finale delivered on quality consistent with the rest of the season, despite being a good plot line for the final act. Put on your black or white spoiler-panties, because we’re gonna dig in.
I will infinitely maintain that this program started off well. It offered a fresh feel and texture, seriously great soundtrack, fabulous aesthetic and characterizations that worked really well. It knew what it was and how to sell itself. Episodes were paced well, carried a decent arc and so on. This was basically the case, in my estimation, for the whole season.
The finale was mostly the same. But there was a huge pacing issue with the resolution of the big threat at the Roxxon core. Not only was the sound mix in this episode generally terrible (which I am prepared to blame on Comcast), but the portion of the climax — the two heroes finally deducing that they could unify their powers and end hundreds of years of one-person-out-of-the-pair sacrifice — which really mattered seemed rushed, cheap and insignificant.
Every part of it felt phoned in. The effects, the dialogue, the ease with which they finally dispatched the threat… even though it is very cool that their powers seem to have grown in their absorption of the discharge from the core. Generally, the showrunners seemed to take a moment that should have been huge, set against a very cool song (“Come Sail Away”) and squandered it. This felt like something written to be a 90-minute finale that was forced to compromise and be a normal 60-minute foray. Just five minutes shaved off of some of the flashbacks to previous legends of duos who’d saved New Orleans would have truly balanced the load.
And that is really a shame when you think about it, since the history-repeating legends of various pairs of star-crossed saviors added a cool rooting to the tale.
We visited some many fascinating tales of backstory in the series of historic vignettes. Each one was cleverly set to a period-appropriate rendition of “Come Sail Away.” They gave the concept of the divine(?) heroes a real feeling of destiny, all tied into the bizarre voodoo overtones presented in the tale. We even see the voodoo doll versions of each set of people in more and more evolved materials (our current heroes being carved and 3D-printed).
The finale episode was such a solid four our of five stars, except for the peak of the tale in the Roxxon core. That would have been lucky to eek out a three. Based on that, I have little choice but to rate the finale a three… but the overall series so far is an easy 4.5.
For fans already in-the-know, or those with a fast set of Google fingers, all the promo for Season 2 (as well as the stinger scene in the finale and the lower-third promo graphic) have been riding pretty transparently on the arrival of Mayhem: the ally-who’ll-probably-turn-bad alter-ego of Detective Brigid O’Reilly. (Pictured as a feature image in this article.)
Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger is an excellent platform to have launched a new network around, and I will recommend anyone give it a shot. The lesson I think the creators should take away, however, is that they owe a little more depth to even the most casual of viewers.