cloak and dagger back breaker review

Next week is the Cloak and Dagger season finale, dudes and dudettes! Thankfully, we got the Season 2 renewal, so us Cloak and Dagger fans can heave a sigh of relief. With the promise of a second season, we can watch this week’s episode, “Back Breaker,” with more of a relaxed mindset.

However, Tandy and Tyrone aren’t relaxed at all as their lives appear to be falling apart. As Father Delgado taught his literature class, we’re at the point where our heroes are at their lowest, regressing further back than ever in their respective mentalities. Or, is all of it fate guiding its heroes to their destiny? Let’s get into how the spirits are just setting up our duo for their biggest test yet.

“Born again from nothing”

Our teen heroes have had lives full of pain, and yet it seems like their pain has escalated to an even higher level. In Tyrone’s case, wounds that have never fully healed have been suddenly reopened. Even though he and O’Reilly got Connors admission to killing Billy on tape, Tyrone’s parents seem nonplussed by it. Even more grating for Tyrone is that they seem to conveniently forget that Tyrone was right about Connors the whole time.

Much of the emotional escalation was between Tyrone and his mother Adina. Tyrone acts out at school, finally giving that jerk of a teammate the bruising he’s been cruising for ever since he beat up Tyrone and locked him in the equipment locker. Adina, on the other hand, reams someone out in her office–we can’t hear what the dialogue is, but just from how keyed up or zoned out Adina was in previous scenes detailing her workday, the blow-up was definitely more about her angst over her sons than it was anything her underling did. By the way, Adina works at Roxxon in some capacity, so I’m nervous about what role she might have played or is still playing in everything involving the rig, Ivan Hess’ predicament, and even her son’s own death. You can’t tell me Connors isn’t in some way linked to whatever underhanded ish is going on with that seedy company.

Meanwhile, Tandy is busy erasing her father from her life. She, like Tyrone, thought she had finally gamed the system by getting more details on Roxxon and clearing her the name of her father, Nathan. However, she didn’t anticipate on getting that life-altering image from the mind of her mother, Melissa. Now that Tandy knows her father was an abuser, she’s lost all hope in the world and in people. To fill the hole in her heart, she’s now taking everyone else’s hopes via her powers. It’s just another addiction Tandy is using to try to ease the pain and hurt. However, while doing drugs just hurts her, going inside people’s minds and stealing their hopes hurts everybody including Tandy, who seems to get more worn out and more unstable the more she brain-hops. To me, Tandy was at her most disgusting when she ruined the mindset of Mina, one of the few friends she has. As we’ve seen in a prior episode, Mina loves the environment, particularly the bees that frequent the swamp. After Tandy stole her hopes and joy, Mina killed a bee that landed on her sink. Let’s hope it wasn’t her beloved queen bee.

Tandy also doesn’t realize she’s hurting Tyrone as well, because once again, she’s forgotten that Tyrone’s powers are linked to her’s. Tyrone probably lashed out at his jerky teammate because he was grieving Billy and angry at his parents, but his temper was probably also out of whack because of Tandy’s instability. This theory gains legs when we see Tyrone interrupting another of Tandy’s hope-stealing sessions; this time, Tandy’s stealing from her former boyfriend Liam.

How Tyrone gets into Tandy’s mind is a story of its own; it’s during Tandy’s hope-stealing session that Tyrone lashes out at Father Delgado, who is trying to counsel him after he got in trouble for decking the jerk. No talk of God is helping Tyrone, who denounces God in front of Father Delgado and starts swinging at him, too! Father Delgado restrains Tyrone, and Tyrone’s touch is what sends him into the mind of Father Delgado, who has either committed the sin of killing a little girl, presumably a relative, by being drunk at the wheel, or fears that he could kill someone one day if he doesn’t get his drinking under control. Of course, Father Delgado is shocked and frightened, telling Tyrone to “just go” from his office.

Evita’s aunt Chantelle implores her to ask Tyrone if the girl he knows is the second in the Divine Pairing, and Evita gets her answer and then some when Tandy not only storms into school to demand Tyrone stay out of her head, but also tries to steal Evita’s joy right in front of Tyrone. Thankfully, Evita is also attuned to the mysterious goings-on, and forces Tandy out. Now the truth is out there–the Divine Pairing is here. So with that knowledge, Evita crafts an effigy to go along with Tyrone’s. This one, though, is made of white candle wax and, of course, resembles Tandy.

Now that the two Divine individuals are recognized, it’s clear that this pain is just the set-up. It’s the fertilizer, if you will, that will help them become the protectors they need to be. Their woes aren’t by any means over. Before the episode is done, Tyrone has been framed for the murder of Fuchs, Tandy’s abandoned church has been ransacked, Mina is on the run from Roxxon zombies and Tandy’s mother is a Roxxon hostage held at gunpoint in her own home. But, as we see Tandy’s hands light up, this is the pivotal moment in which, as Tyrone said, they must fight for the world as it should be.

Police brutality run amok

One of the overarching themes of Cloak and Dagger has been police brutality. From Billy’s murder to the reverberations of grief in Tyrone’s family, police action has been cast in a dim light so far. This episode only makes that light dimmer as Tyrone is on the run from trumped-up charges and as O’Reilly is beat up by Connors and no one does anything about it.

Thankfully, before Tyrone has to split, he has a heart-to-heart with his mother about Billy and her seeming refusal to admit Tyrone was right all these years. In her words, it’s not that she didn’t know he was right. It’s that she was trying to protect him. She didn’t want any cop going after the kid who saw the shooting take place, because that could mean that they’d try to kill him to tie up loose ends. I guess she thought that if she suppressed him and denied what he said, he’d forget about trying to bring justice to a case that might not ever see justice. But as Tyrone asked her, is it better or worse to just give up? Doing so would mean Billy died in vain, and if his death can’t come to mean something more than just another black kid being killed by a corrupt system, then what was the point of anything?

It’s not like I don’t see Adina’s point. However, it just seems like in order to honor your son’s memory, you’d do everything in your power to seek justice. It’s better than just trying to forget he existed, which seems like what the Johnson parents try to do at time, such as when Billy’s death anniversary came and went without anyone doing anything special. They could have at least gone to the gravesite or something. I’m not trying to police anyone’s grief, but doggonit, does suppressing memories of a loved one or not aiming to get justice for them make any sense?

On the flipside, did it make any sense for the hoard of police officers to just leave O’Reilly out there in the wind as she’s getting beat up by Connors? A woman is getting beat up by a man and no one steps in to help her? I know last week, I was talking about gender norms being flipped and all. However, the optics of a ton of cops–most of them men–looking the other way as Connors did what he wanted to O’Reilly was a lot to take and, honestly, it’s hard to justify. If this were real life, someone would have stepped in, and Connors would be back on leave because of his actions. But whatever, though.

In any case, he’s somehow gotten out of the charges (according to him) and now he’s ready for revenge. Fuchs was just the start, and now it seems he’s ready to target Tyrone and finish him off for good. At this point, I really need Connors to get what’s coming to him and fast.

Evita, Tandy, and Tyrone

I’m sure we’re going to see some more friction between Evita and Tandy, since Evita is Tyrone’s current and Tandy is Tyrone’s soon-to-be. Of course, Tyrone and Tandy aren’t anywhere near ready to date since they constantly swing back and forth on the frenemies scale. But Evita’s not only going to become her aunt’s eyes and ears at school, but she’s also going to become the wrench in Tandy and Tyrone’s eventual romantic relationship. I think.

Maybe I’m just inferring too much from past television shows and films that designate two women must fight over a man. Maybe Evita will see the writing on the wall when it becomes evident and just backs off. I don’t know. But what I am curious about is how much Evita will help Tyrone on his journey towards becoming a superhero. Also, how much could she help Tandy? It seems like Tandy would do well to have a friend her own age. Perhaps Evita could help the both of them hone their powers, since it seems like she’s got some mental abilities of her own.

We’re so close to the finale, everyone! It looks like we’ll finally see Tyrone and Tandy finally combine their powers and become the Cloak and Dagger we’ve been waiting on. I can hardly wait.

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