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Marvel's Cloak & Dagger - First Light/Suicide Sprints - Advance Preview: "Bright Light in a Summer of Darkness"

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or have avoided any type of medium where ads are shown, chance are you’ve at least heard that Freeform is premiering a new Marvel Series, Cloak & Dagger. The ads for Cloak & Dagger really seem to aim at the “Epic” relationship between the two titular characters, their journey and the fact that one of them must die. While the promos remain spoiler free(as will this preview) and chocked full of intense and epic action between the two characters, the first two hours being premiered June 7th are quite the opposite. While some may be disappointed given the ad campaign, here’s the thing, the premiere may be a slow burn when it comes to Tandy and Tyrone being together, but it’s still damn good.

Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger follows Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph), teens who experience a linked tragedy as kids who later grow into what appears to be two seemingly different teenagers. Things get real twisted as a chance reencounter complicates the teen’s lives and throws powers into a mix of already complicated situations the two face. Honestly, while watching the pilot I forgot this was a Freeform show and simply am amazed that no other network gobbled this up. I was pretty cautious going into it, much like I was when I went into another Marvel show about teens that are actually connected to Cloak and Dagger, Marvel’s Runaways(now streaming on Hulu. For me, they both have a slow burn mentality, but something about Cloak & Dagger’s low burn across these two episodes really worked for me.

One thing that is really striking about the premiere is the way the show has decided to reverse the roles that Tyrone and Tandy had in the comics. When we first meet teenage Tandy, Holt oozes in an on-screen charisma that forces you to keep your eyes on her. Her performance across the two episodes is highly believable and what the script throws at her, she takes and makes great. There’s an honestness to her portrayal of Tandy that really makes you feel for her whether it be when her life is threatened, she’s hiding from her mom, working a con, or simply seeking comfort in her own makeshift hideaway you can’t take your eyes away. There’s a lot to Tandy that has made her who she is, just as much as there is to Tyrone and that’s what makes this show so good. Each has their own cross to bear when you first meet them and you can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

Joseph also holds his own in the first two episodes as well, as he still seeks answers from the tragedy that happen so long ago, even though his parents seemed to have moved past it. You can sense that Tyrone is under a lot of pressure to be someone from his parents, a someone that opening scenes almost lead you to believe he will be. Tyrone and Tandy’s initial tragedies as kids is portrayed well by the kid actors and the show does a great job or slowly unraveling details of that night. There is no clear villain in the first episodes, but more so personal demons that both kids are learning to deal with that are exacerbated by the onset of their powers.
The support players are strong as well, and no one appears to phoning it in. Some supports are given more to do than others, mainly the parents of Tandy and Tyrone. Tandy's home life is far from normal, and as messed up as it is, it makes for some really good TV. Andrea Roth as Melissa Bowen is a real sight to see as a mom barely holding it together and who probably needs some parenting herself. The first two hours also scratch the surface of something that could be much deeper with Tyrone's parents, played by Gloria Rueben and Miles Mussenden. There's one scene in particular between Tyrone and his mother that I found to be refreshing when it came down to addressing the pressures parents put on their children to be better.

The show’s creator, Joe Pokaski, also pens the first two episodes of the ten episode season and he does a fantastic job of really world building in the inaugural hours of the show. There’s a lot of story here, but it never feels like too much and that lies in credit to performances, direction and the writing.
The special effects, while minimal, are done well. Tyrone and Tandy have no current control over their abilities and the mistakes they make with them add more into the story. My only moment of annoyance was a song that was featured at what seemed to be a pivotal emotional moment felt out of place for what the scenes were trying to show. (It may be changed for the finale edit, so I won’t go naming it now) The two hours really flew by and I didn’t even think to notice that teenage Tandy and Tyrone maybe had a total of one scene together. The thing is, the show is spread equal between their points of view, that it never feels like it favors one over the other.

The show as it is, tends to be a bit different than its comic book roots at least from the minimal knowledge I have of them, but someone with no prior knowledge of these characters will do just fine jumping in without knowing them at all. I’m sure over the course of the show we’ll see the powers develop fully, but in the case of the first two episodes, Tandy does have the ability to create daggers of light, while Tyrone is able to utilize darkness to teleport. Both are unclear of just how these abilities work and why they have them and viewers are just as in the dark about it as well. There's also no clue yet, if or how this show relates to any other Marvel Cinematic Universe content, mainly Runaways, which is fine because as it is now, Cloak and Dagger is clearly capable of standing on it's own.

There aren’t any huge twists in the first two hours, but there are more than a few things to get really excited about, like Tyrone in a pseudo Cloak looking disguise at one point. Here’s a few things you can expect from the first two episodes.

Two deaths that have huge impacts on the DNA of the show.

Tyrone and Tandy’s meet-cute is as intriguing as you’d expect.

Though they met when they were kids, they’ve always had a piece of each other with them since the night they met.

Someone tries to use their powers to get out a situation and it fails, while another doesn’t intentional try to use them but does and creates a whole new world of problems.

The Bottom Line: Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger is wondrous to behold, and the first two episodes are a slow burning yet engulfing landscape that is visually appealing and emotionally gripping. Joseph and Holt light up on screen and will have you holding your breath to see what comes next. The world building is effective and reels you into the story and lays some groundwork for what is sure to be a wild ride of a season. Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger is a bright light in a dark summer season that promises to deliver on all the epic-ness that it promises from its promos. A must-see with a little something for everyone so be sure and check it out. A.

Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger two hour premiere arrives June 7th on Freeform with the episodes First Light and Suicide Sprints. Be sure to check back after the premiere for our full spoiler heavy reviews and reaction polls.


Do you plan on watching? Any theories as to how the season unfolds? Anything you hope to see from the comics translate onto the screen? Sound off below in the comments!

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