Recap/Review: Cloak & Dagger S2E3 – Shadow Selves
When we last saw our fave dynamic duo in Cloak & Dagger, they were face to face with two very different sides of a PTSD filled Bridget O’Reilly coin. The third episode of the second season “Shadow Selves” gives us a little more insight into everything that we missed in the past 8 months since the previous season ended.
Cloak &Dagger kicked off by bringing back our fave female scientist, Mina who is experimenting, humanely, on some mice who seem to have developed in a way similar to the way OG O’Reilly ended up with her very own Mayhem. It seems that a Roxxon water bath can be fatal in a way that no one could have predicted, immense rage and the desire for the clone to need to kill it’s OG when triggered. We flashback to OG O’Reilly’s split day and learn that Mayhem tried to kill her once before, while she was in a coma. Mayhem decided to put her kill mission on hold to kill Connors since he landed her in her current position. We then get put back in the present where the two O’Reillys’ are coming to term with the other’s existence, luckily Tyrone was able to get them out of there before Mayhem can cause a little bit more. After Tandy has a riddle me this meltdown asking for answers to questions that OG O’Reilly clearly doesn’t have, they decide to go to Mina who luckily, has an explanation, even if that doesn’t quite provide a solution.
We get to slide back and forth between now and then, time seems to fold back on itself until the present meets up with the past and it gives us a full picture of Mayhems origin story and her becoming. She started out on a quest to find Ty, by way of the semi-disgraced priest from Ty’s old school. This interaction was quite important because it provides an explanation for Mayhem’s obscure POV and mission statement, the interactions that follow seem to have given her something that the mice didn’t have, a moral compass. During a drunken confessional, the priest basically, and inadvertently, gives her permission to act out her violent impulses on people, as long as they are bad people and deserve it. With the priests blessing, Mayhem sets out to save all the missing girls when she notices a pattern and she plans to inflict her own brand of murder tinged justice.
Mayhem seems to burn through the city leaving bad guy corpses behind her and Ty , Tandy and OG spend most of the episode eating her dust, showing up when Mayhem has already killed everybody and reminding her that she can’t (she can) do things the way she does them. The trouble is, Mayhem gets things done, she gets drugs off the street, she breaks open sex trafficking rings like a fridge door and while her methods , logic and kill count would make Deadpool look sane and lazy, she does get results. In Selves’ she saves a whole truckload full of girls who were being trafficked and while her methods may be extreme and criminal, no one can say she doesn’t get the job done.
Tandy and Tyrone have a few heart to hearts leading to a bit of a switch in ideology, at the beginning of the episode Tyrone is very afraid that he’s going to end up like Mayhem and Tandy talks him back by explaining that he’s a protector and not a destroyer. This conversation is kind of pivotal in that you can sense in its fullness and ominous nature when held up in comparison to how Ty and Tandy handle their solo superhero duties in the first two episodes, that the tide could shift for them. By the end of Selves we see Ty should be more worried about Tandy falling over to the dark side than he should be worried about himself.
OG O’Reilly wants the same thing that Mayhem wants, to save the girls and stop the bad guys, she’s just not willing to go as far as Mayhem is. Once OG realizes that she can get inside Mayhem’s head because they share memories and thinking patterns, they go on a bit of a field trip to stop her. Unfortunately, since Mayhem has no fear and is basically what The Punisher wishes he could be, OG O’Reilly with a Tandy and Tyrone assist team, seem to always be a step behind her. OG spends most of the episode feeling inadequate, ineffectual and scared which is actually a very valid feeling and reaction to have when you find out your Roxxon Clone is really OK with having you dead.
This episode gave us a glimpse into the Mayhem behind the curtain, if humanized her and left us rooting for her instead of the “good guys” even if behind the curtain there’s nothing but righteous vengeance and furious anger. I found my self longing for Mayhem and Tandy road trip a la Thelma and Lousie, except instead of driving off a cliff they start taking down all the bad guys from coast to coast. We got to see everything that makes Mayhem tick, from the talk to the priest we learn that she doesn’t have guilt or remorse and we got to see that she wants to be “good” but, she can’t help herself. It’s bittersweet watching her try to find a humane way to be the psychopath that she is and kind of evolve into a Dexteresque character. She knows she shouldn’t hurt OG , Ty, and Tandy so her compromise is to hurt every bad person she sees until she gets to the bottom of the sex trafficking ring.
“Shadow Selves” seems to have ended way too quickly, I would like to say it is because we got two whole hours last week but, the truth is that the show is just that good. The writing is crisp, the directing was thought out and sharp and the music was again, PURE FIRE making episode three a perfect way to move the story along. There’s something about the way the creative team proposes realistic moral dilemmas and social action undertones, in a way that makes you see the human side of the story, in all of its shades of gray. There is a theme of hope, survival, and fear that runs through the story in a way that’s deeper and way less surface that Tandy and Ty’s powers in relation to the human condition. I like that you know you’re supposed to root for Tandy and Ty but, even Tandy can’t tell if their side is the right side. Everything about Cloak & Dagger provides the viewer with a perfectly curated experience that calls into question everything you thought was right.
I give Episode 3 a sold 9.1