Cloak and Dagger B Sides Review

This week’s Cloak & Dagger episode, “B Sides,” was a slow-burn, but once it picked up steam, it revealed itself to be one of the most depressing episodes this season. I’d go as far as to say that it was one of the most depressing episodes of the entire series so far.

In the episode, we find Tandy get systematically beaten down emotionally by doggone Andre, the guy we thought was on our side! But what’s really going down is that Andre steals women’s hopes. What’s still unclear is how Andre roped Lia into this thing. Are they in a relationship? Did he steal her hope, too? I’m sure these questions will be answered later on. What’s most pressing now is the ordeal Tandy goes through as she becomes another girl trapped by a system that devours women whole.

Let’s get into what Tandy endures.

Andre’s method

Andre’s strategy for breaking Tandy down is simple—get into her mind, figure out where she gets her well of hope from, and compel her to give that hope to him.

As we saw in “Rabbit Hold,” there’s an otherworldly catalog of women’s hopes and dreams in the form of records, and in this episode, we figured out that it’s Andre’s collection. Thankfully, this makes the Darkforce episode have much more meaning; it wasn’t as much of a filler episode as I originally thought.

Andre played every one of Tandy’s “songs” during this episode, from her fantasy of a perfect life with supportive parents and a dance career to her tragic life of pickpocketing. But as Andre quickly found out, her parents, ex-boyfriend, horrible life and dreams deferred were all things that didn’t matter as much to Tandy in comparison to her love for Tyrone. With that, Andre destroyed her image of Tyrone, killing him in front of her. Without Tyrone existing in her mind, Tandy has no hope and no way to fight back, making her yet another one of Andre’s victims.

Tandy’s dark lesson

I don’t know what to expect next week because the previews showing her in a rundown hotel room are making me nervous. But I hope Tyrone can get to her before anything else traumatic happens to her.

As I said last week, I wish there was another way Tandy could gain wisdom rather than her actually being trafficked. But I can tell that the show is setting Tandy up to learn about what being strong versus being a victim actually means.

Throughout the season, Tandy has associated victimhood with not trying. But as we saw in last week’s episode and this week’s episode, Tandy’s fighting spirit has kept her trying and trying and trying to escape and catch the bad guys. She can’t say she didn’t do everything in her power to try to get away from her current ordeal. But a powerful, and dare I say humbling lesson for Tandy is that some people don’t become victims because they didn’t fight and people shouldn’t be looked down upon for becoming a victim. What I’m hoping is that this experience teaches Tandy how to be a better superhero when it comes to empathizing better with victims. But I also hope it teaches her how to be kinder to herself.

She’s all about this fighting mentality because she feels victimized by her father. She doesn’t want to end up in the same situation as her mother, someone she still perceives as weak. But this mindset puts Tandy at a disadvantage; she ends up being too hard on herself and she winds up dismissing her emotions when it comes to her feelings about her father, her mother and herself.

But regardless of what Tandy learns from this horrible ordeal, I really hope she gets out of it as soon as possible, because it’s hard to see her in this predicament.

Who is Andre?

If it’s not known by now, let me make it clear: I’m not a C&D aficionado. With that said, I’m sure that Andre is based on a character from the comics that I’m not aware of. But I know he’s someone, so I did a little bit of research. Let me know if you think I’m right or if you have other suggestions.

So, from my cursory look at ComicVine, I’m guessing that Andre might be a riff on Cadaver. He’s described by ComicVine as an “[e]vil creature that drains and draws light & therefore life. He as a gem on his head that enables him to channel light to his disease-ravaged cells.”

The page doesn’t have anything else about him, but this small description lines up nicely with Andre’s little origin story he told Tandy. Apparently, he’s been suffering from something that causes him painful headaches. At first I assumed he was suffering from depression, and even though depression doesn’t always cause headaches, I still think he must be suffering from some type of depression or other mental illness that leads to mental overwork and stimulation.

In any event, his illness led him to believe committing suicide was his only answer. Instead, his decision led to something else. When he decided to commit suicide, it was on the night of the Roxxon explosion, the one that gave Tandy and Tyrone powers. When Andre woke up after jumping into the water, he had the power to take people’s hopes, allowing him to ease his own internal despair.

I personally think Andre is one of Marvel’s most successful TV villains since Luke Cage’s Cottonmouth. He’s a tragic, despicable monster. What makes a villain the most unsettling is when they tap into emotions we all feel, and Andre’s mental anguish isn’t unknown to a lot of people. It’s just unfortunate that he’s using his powers to steal hope as a reason to hurt other people. Let’s remember that his power is essentially the same as Tandy and Tyrone’s. But whereas they use it to help people, he’s actively using it to hurt people and destroy the very communities he claims to support.  

This is a tough episode overall. There were a lot of small things that happened that interested me, such as Billy possibly having a partner in Tandy’s fantasy, the song that tied every one of Tandy’s mental scenarios together, and that very pointed dig at how America views Black men, even police officers, as criminals. But my overall feeling after this episode is as if all of my hope has been drained away. Time to watch some RuPaul’s Drag Race to get my hope quotient back up.

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. Also, if you or someone you know is in distress or in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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