Cloak and Dagger Alignment Chart Review

This week, Cloak & Dagger is back on track and, as I expected, the drama was tenfold. The episode, “Alignment Chart,” brought us a tale of two vipers. One was hiding in plain sight and the other, seemingly more dangerous one, was actually defanged. Let’s get into which is which.

Connors wants justice

As we saw last week, Connors is now out of the Darkforce Dimension. But, even though we thought we saw him running away last week, he was actually doing something good—he was getting his buried evidence from Billy’s murder.

Connors is not the same man we once knew. You could go as far as to say he’s a completely different character now, and not just because of the beard. He’s a man who has faced the worst sides of himself for a long time in the Darkforce Dimension, and after being haunted for so long, like Ebenezer Scrooge, he’s ready to do right by his soul. For Connors, this means turning himself in. But to do that, he has to get all of the evidence, and part of that crucial evidence is locked away in a rich white man’s vault.

Not just any rich white man, but one of the leaders of the town’s elite white society. In their exclusive club, various sins are buried, and that includes Connors, who was able to waltz in there thanks to his uncle and erase Billy’s blood from his hands. But now, our newly-reformed Connors needs Tyrone to bust the joint and steal the necessary info that will convict Connors, the entirety of the white elites for their various cover-ups and exonerate Tyrone of Connors’ death.

Throughout the entirety of Connors’ journey for proper justice, he’s met with distrust from Tyrone and his dad Otis. Rightfully so; he is the guy who killed Billy in cold blood, after all, and he’s been a dirty cop for years with the police force tied around his finger. It’s natural they’d assume he’s trying to get something out of the deal or further incriminate Tyrone. Tyrone eventually gets O’Reilly involved and concocts a ruse to get the elites’ meeting house evacuated, Tyrone is left empty-handed, leaving him to further distrust Connors. The info that was supposed to be there is mysteriously gone.

But just as Tyrone is about to kill Connors himself by choking him, he sees into his soul. Turns out Connors has been telling the truth the whole time. Yes, he doesn’t know what the higher-ups have done with the crucial information Tyrone needs, but he is adamant about righting his wrongs, even if that means his own life must be taken in the process. With his heart on Lady Justice’s scales, Connors is ready to be judged.

Tandy gets caught

The viper we should have been on the lookout for was none other than the group counselor, Lia. At the risk of sounding like I’m victim-blaming, Tandy’s headstrong nature got her in trouble. Tandy herself took on a viper’s skin and lied and pretended to be an abused victim so Lia would take the bait. She even unwittingly roped Tyrone into her plan to make him look like her abuser. Even worse, as Tyrone points out, she unknowingly evoked racial overtones by painting him, the Black guy, as the aggressor.

But while Tandy thought she was getting over on Lia and finding out the scoop on Lia’s ex, the head of the trafficking ring, Lia was one step ahead. Yes, Tandy beat all the guys involved in the ring up in a tremendous show of force, but her focus was all wrong. Tandy took her eye off the supposedly harmless Lia, but it turns out Lia was the one baiting Tandy the whole time. Now, unfortunately, Tandy is strapped to a gurney in the private ambulance, potentially the next trafficking victim.

But there is something I hope Tandy learns from this ordeal, since we know she will escape her kidnappers in the next episode. Her biggest character flaw so far is her narrow-mindedness, and at some point, she has to evolve beyond it and realize the broader scope of victimhood.

I’d rather Tandy learn this through something less traumatic than being kidnapped by a human trafficking ring, but the lesson at hand for her is that becoming a victim of abuse doesn’t mean you allowed your victimization to happen. Yes, fighting back can help you overcome feelings of victimization. But fighting back doesn’t mean you will never be subject to feeling victimized ever again. Being a victim doesn’t mean you’re weak. Tandy’s flawed thinking of equating victimhood to rolling over has been put to the test now that she herself is in the victim’s role, even though she fought back.  

Tandy is very self-righteous, which can be a good thing when channeled correctly, but it often leaves her not understanding the nuances and complexities of emotions. I say this while knowing she’s working through her own anger and grief around her father. However, you’d think within some of this emotional turmoil, she’d use it to better understand why it was so hard for her mother to leave her abusive situation. After all of her time with Tyrone and the junk he’s been through with the law, you’d think she’d try to better understand why and how the system works against those women and girls who have been trafficked, especially if they are females of color. You would think something would have rubbed off on Tandy by now.

At any rate, I’m eager to see Tandy escape her kidnappers and get one step closer to shutting down this trafficking ring once and for all. Her heart is in the right place, but let’s hope she doesn’t trample on other people’s hearts—namely her mother and Tyrone’s—in the process of dealing with her own emotional issues.

O’Reilly fights back

Speaking of fighting back, we need to talk about O’Reilly finding her mojo again. She’s been really feeling out of it lately, which is an understatement. Her more dominant side, Mayhem, has split from her body, leaving O’Reilly left with only seemingly paralyzing fear and doubt. It’s almost as if she’s going through PTSD, which I think is apt, since she’s still processing Fuchs’ murder.

In fact, maybe Mayhem is a metaphor for PTSD, or at least the same type of self-inflicted anger Tandy is also experiencing regarding victimhood. Both Tandy and O’Reilly are needlessly beating themselves up over actions they had no control over, and both are resulting to violence in different ways. While Tandy is taking the vigilante mantle and going after the bad guys on her own, O’Reilly’s anger is channeled through Mayhem, who wants to kill everything in her attempts to save people. Both Mayhem and Tandy have a lot in common, since they tend to result to black-white thinking by figuratively painting the labels “victim” and “aggressor” in broad strokes. Case in point: when Mayhem was about to kill that boy in the drug/trafficking ring before Tyrone saved him. Yes, that boy was actively working as part of the gang. But he was also a victim of circumstance, someone who still had a chance to turn his life around.

O’Reilly’s moping finally came to an end when she had a come-to-Jesus moment with Fuchs’ obituary. Refreshing herself with her grief seemed to remind her that there are victims out there who need her help, including Fuchs, whose murder is still unsolved. She finally kicks it back into gear, breaks out her arsenal, and dives into helping Tyrone clear out the old boys club and get that (missing) information.

However, Mayhem has been silent this week. Where is she? What is she doing? What havoc has she been causing while the story hasn’t been on her? I hesitate to find out. But hopefully we’ll get more clues on her whereabouts next week.

Overall, a great episode that picked up the pace and is doing a great job showing us complex characterizations and motivations. Seeing how next week’s preview shows Tyrone bleeding out on the floor, it looks like we’re in for even more drama.

To follow in the footsteps of the notice at the end of this week’s episode, if you or someone you know might be a victim of a human trafficking ring, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or visit humantraffickinghotline.org.

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