We’ve finally made it to the finish line, everyone! With the last episode of this season’s Cloak & Dagger story, “Level Up,” we are left on a semi-satisfying cliffhanger that promises burgeoning romance for our two leads as they head elsewhere, away from New Orleans. It’s a fresh start for these two as they take their vigilantism on the road after defeating Andre and setting New Orleans free from his jazzy grasp.
We’re also led to assume that Mayhem and Father Delgado successfully cleared Tyrone’s name by hanging up Connors’ corpse in the police office and providing the police with the necessary documents to arrest Connors’ uncle. I would have personally liked to have seen how all of that played out instead of having it rushed past us as part of the denouement, but I have bigger fish to fry since we knew Tyrone was going to get cleared at some point anyway.
While this finale was great in that Tandy and Tyrone finally had to face themselves in order to kill Andre, it also made me wonder about some things regarding the overall story this season tried to tell. Here’s what made me squint my eyes and stroke my chin as I watched the episode.
Was this season necessary?
What do I mean by this? I mean that I wonder if this season was seen by the writers’ room as a necessary hurdle to get over in order to get to the next, and presumably more exciting, chapter in Tyrone and Tandy’s vigilante lives. For a season that started out strong, so much of it ended up feeling like a drag. Plotpoints were rehashed over and over, and not in a way that suggested a purpose. To borrow Andre’s penchant for music, there wasn’t much of a refrain throughout this season as much as there were choruses that were being bluntly shouted at us.
Tandy having problems regarding her father and Tyrone trying to face his reality as an imperfect being are recurring issues that we should be invested in as the audience. But somehow, those very important character building blocks just seemed boring. I think it’s because, perhaps, the writers weren’t excited by what they had to work with. Clearly, as alluded to in the stinger, a bigger story awaits us next year. Maybe the writers were just doing a literary form of eating their vegetables so they could get to dessert. They knew they had to address all of these lingering problems and tie up loose ends, so they just plugged their noses and did it.
Did Andre’s power create a mini-Snap?
It only occurred to me during the first minutes of this episode that what Andre did at the end of the last episode was a miniature version of the Snap, the cataclysmic event we know happens in the main MCU. Technically, Cloak & Dagger takes place in the MCU, but to me, it’s now unclear if Tyrone and Tandy ever experience the Snap because of their own Snap-like event that happened in New Orleans.
To be honest, I think the official line for Cloak & Dagger is that even though the show is a part of the MCU, it doesn’t abide by MCU rules. Meaning that a lot of the events that happen in the main storyline don’t affect anything that happens in Tyrone and Tandy’s part of the MCU universe. Maybe that’s because Tyrone and Tandy live in an alternate timeline? Even though we saw Tyrone reference Luke Cage in an earlier episode, maybe their Luke Cage exists in a New York that houses Miles Morales, not Peter Parker. At some point, I would like for the show to address what timeline Cloak & Dagger exists in, since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. addresses the Snap and works it into its storylines.
In any event, I thought it was a nice send-up to the main MCU storyline for this season’s finale to include a Snap-like event. Thankfully, none of the victims were killed; they were just transported to Andre’s personal jazz bar in the Darkforce Dimension. The one person who was killed, of course, is Andre, but is he really dead? His body might be dead, but per Auntie Chantelle’s word, he was destined to become a Loa. Indeed, Evita puts his Loa marker on his tombstone, meaning that he has ascended to become a being that others can call upon in ritualistic prayer. It’d be cool to see someone call upon him in the next season.
Tyrone and Tandy finally earn their costumes
Even though it does seem like the writers were itching to get onto the next phase of Cloak & Dagger, there is a positive that can be gained from this season. We can look at this season with a charitable viewpoint of it being the season that Tyrone and Tandy finally earned the right to wear their superhero costumes.
I think fans have been clamoring to see Tyrone and Tandy finally work in tandem while wearing their costumes. We know this show has been grounding these characters in realistic emotions and settings, but come on—it’s Marvel! We like seeing the costumes! I’ll speak for myself and say that I know I’ve been waiting on these two to finally don some superhero threads.
Finally, we got out wish. Once Tyrone and Tandy finally entered the Darkforce Dimension for the last time this season, they emerged into Andre’s realm ready for battle in their versions of their comic book costumes. For Tyrone, it was his brother Billy’s Mardi Gras cloak. For Tandy, it’s her ballerina uniform. Both of these costumes exalt their wearers into the more grandiose, perfect versions of themselves. For Tyrone, his strength comes from his brother, someone he still idolizes even in death. Tandy’s strength, on the other hand, comes from her childhood love of ballet, when she was at her happiest and purest of spirit. Both costumes are a succinct and beautiful culmination of everything these two have been through and how they’ve grown to make peace with their past and use it to fight for justice in the present.
Even better than the costumes were their fighting moves. One key move Cloak and Dagger would use from the comics is Dagger jumping out of Cloak from his smoky interior and lunging at the villain with her light daggers. It was so fulfilling to finally see that play out on screen when Tandy came out from Tyrone’s cloak and stabbed Andre. Let’s hope for more of these moments in the next season.
The final verdict
Despite my complaints this season, I still feel like it was a good season of television. I feel like Season 1 was much stronger in terms of knowing where it wanted to go, whereas this season seemed to make up its rules as it went along, particularly regarding what the rules are for the Darkforce Dimension. Maybe they were trying to pull on a dreamlike theme with the Darkforce Dimension, but things just seemed to happen sometimes.
But overall, a bad season of Cloak & Dagger is still more interesting than other shows on TV. The series is so layered and complex. It’s a show wants to say something different and timely to its viewers. I think that on the whole, it succeeded in getting its audience to think about a host of social issues. It might have even sparked some positive change in viewers as well.
If I had to give this season a grade, it would be a B-. Clearly, it did the best it could to present a well-told story, but some Is weren’t dotted and some Ts weren’t crossed. But the effort is there.
What did you think of this season? What grade would you give it? Write about it in the comments section below! I hope to see you back here for Season 3!
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