Tyrone’s parents

When I watched the first season of Underground, a series Pokaski co-ran with Misha Green, I was amazed at how tightly written each episode was. In fact, I don’t remember an episode I hated or thought was filler. Every episode told you something necessary, and the information given would eventually be built upon, telling a multilayered story of the tragedy of slavery. It was a series who already knew who it was and where it was going, something that’s hard to pull off in a first season. Similarly, Cloak & Dagger rarely gives audiences a chance to find an episode to hate. Each episode better explains the challenges facing Tyrone and Tandy, and how their lives coincide with the history of New Orleans. Like Underground, it’s a show that knows who it is and where it’s going.

I only have one gripe with Cloak & Dagger, however, and that’s how Tyrone’s parents, Adina and Otis, were handled.

I understand that the Johnson family unit is comprised of a group of people who don’t know how to handle emotions well. In many personal ways, the Johnsons are very familiar to me. Maybe that’s also why I’m a little annoyed with them. Every member of the family is mired in grief over the death of Billy and the lack of effort by the police to find the killer. However, despite the fact that everyone is drowning in their own sorrow, no one knows how to help each other. To be more specific, the parents somehow don’t know how to help Tyrone successfully cope with his grief. Instead, they push perfectionism on him, hoping that will keep him safe.

The point Tyrone makes to his mother, that perfectionism won’t keep him safe as a young black man in America, is correct. But what’s also true is that perfectionism is a maladaptive tendency to try to control life, and that maladaptive practice could push Tyrone even further into grief and depression. Yet his parents don’t understand that. Even worse, they don’t ever talk to Tyrone about his feelings surrounding his brother. I mean, it’s as if they forget that it was Tyrone who saw his brother get murdered before his eyes! At least they were spared that horror. Even worse, Adina and Otis don’t even talk about Billy in normal conversation. They act as if he never existed. They didn’t even commemorate his memory on the anniversary of his death. I think that’s something that’s just a real shame, because most families talk kindly about the memory of their loved ones.

Perhaps Tyrone’s parents are designed to be this way to show that parents don’t always know the right things to do. Parents aren’t perfect, and this is true. Tyrone’s parents are perfect examples of how dysfunctional families don’t always come in the stereotypical form, like Tandy’s family, which includes alcoholism, drug use, and physical abuse. But regardless, Tyrone’s parents need to get out of their feelings at some point. If they thought stuffing down their feelings and ignoring Tyrone’s heart would save them from further heartbreak, Tyrone’s fate should prove to them how wrong they were.

Hopes for Season 2

With all of this said, here’s what I want to see come Season 2.

Tyrone’s parents emoting: We need to see some depth of emotion from Tyrone’s parents. Yeah, there have been a couple of times when Otis and Adina have opened up, but it seems to take so much effort for them to do that. It’s as if they think Tyrone doesn’t have any of his own emotions because he’s a kid. What I want is for Tyrone’s parents to wake up from their grief enough to realize they need to be more proactive in their remaining son’s life. Sure, it’s going to be a challenge since Tyrone is now on the run and, at Otis’ behest, is under instruction not to contact them. But they’ve got to stop being scared of everything and fight back against the system. The first way they can do that is be there for Tyrone in his time of need.

More about Tandy’s dad, Nathan: We’ve left Tandy in a vulnerable position when it comes to her father. For the better part of the season, she had believed Nathan was the best dad ever. Turns out he’s one of the worst. I’m hoping that next season, we’ll see Tandy talk with her mother Melissa about Nathan and reach some type of closure. At the very least, here’s hoping she becomes closer with Melissa. Seeing how she’s moved in with her at the end of the season, it looks like they’re headed towards the road of reconciliation.

How will Team C&D shape up: Currently, the only people on Team Cloak and Dagger are Tyrone and Tandy, but the Season 1 stinger has shown us O’Reilly has transformed into her superheroic alter-ego Mayhem. I’m sure we can expect Mayhem to eventually be on the side of Cloak and Dagger, since one of her superpowers is emitting a gas that can compel people to tell the truth. But could she be the only addition to Team C&D? If you recall, we still have Mina and Ivan to think of. If Mina has recovered from her Terror transformation, how will she continue to help Tandy? Will Ivan get looped in on everything happening with Tandy and Tyrone and help them figure out how the Roxxon chemical is causing all this supernatural stuff to happen?

More of what’s right: Overall, I just hope Season 2 continues the strong storytelling and worldbuilding established in Season 1. As I’ve written elsewhere in this article, there’s so much to like about Cloak and Dagger. There’s so much the show is doing right. It could definitely teach other shows a thing or two about subverting expectations, challenging tropes and stereotypes, and being courageous enough to weave some harsh truths in between the daring-do. Of course, I hope to see Tandy and Tyrone do more battle under their Dagger and Cloak personas, but I’m just as happy to see them battle what life throws at them in their personal lives. The two are just as engaging as normal teens as they are superpowered misfits.

Cloak & Dagger is a new step for Marvel, and I’d say it’s the right step. It’s edgy, mature, and moody, but above all, it might be the most realistic show Marvel has produced. The show’s superpower doesn’t lie in the Cloak and Dagger’s abilities; it’s superpower is how it successfully speaks on the complex emotions behind real world issues. If it stays on target, Cloak & Dagger could become one of Marvel’s most important contributions to television.

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