If the first season of Cloak & Dagger was about 50% of what it ought to be, I’d say Season 2 creeps up to 63%. So, an improvement, but enough of one to warrant a bump in letter grades? Probably not.
Which is too bad, because the potential really is there with this one. The best part of the first season was the two leads, Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph as Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson, and the bummer of the season was keeping them mostly apart until the last few episodes. I’m happy to say the show does learn from that mistake this time around and pairs them up immediately. Tandy and Ty are now a duo for all intents and purposes, best friends and partners, and the chemistry between Holt and Joseph is real and pretty much carries the show altogether. Having them in scenes together is almost enough for each full episode, and building their relationship even further (as they do this season), so that the love between them is all encompassing and just now starting to maybe become romantic is intriguing and what makes me want to keep watching.
But there are still things about the show that need fixing. One is the pacing. I never thought I’d have to say this about any kind of superhero show, but Cloak & Dagger really needs more action scenes. The powers Ty and Tandy possess (aside from their easily explained ones like teleportation and creating knives of light) are vague, spiritual and kind of difficult to track. Soon each episode involves a trip into the shadow dimension that Ty seems to be the gatekeeper of, and it’s almost impossible to tell what’s going on in there. I’m not even sure the writers could explain it to me if I asked, since I’m calling it the shadow dimension of my own accord- it’s never named or specified what, how or why this place exists within Ty’s abilities to access it (he’s referred to once as some kind of “master of time and space,” but he doesn’t even know how he does this). A lot of time is spent meandering in the depths of Ty and Tandy’s minds, especially when the villain of the season, Dyspare, starts messing with them using his own telepathic powers. I don’t mind these kinds of trippy visual quest episodes, but after a while you start tapping your foot, wanting to see Cloak & Dagger get down to business.
And they do, finally, in the last couple episodes of the season. Traditional costumes make their appearance, the duo teams up to fight some bad guys using their simpler abilities, and that’s when it feels like things are kicking into gear and the show starts firing on all cylinders. But it takes too long to get to this point. Much time is spent on the voodoo of New Orleans yet again, using unnecessary characters like Evita, the supposed girlfriend of Ty that he never speaks to or sees, and as much as I do appreciate the slightly different tone the show is going for, with such an appealing central relationship between the two charismatic leads, I actually think more convention in the genre could be used to great effect here. Give Ty and Tandy more traditional villains and episodic bad guy plots and a chance to make use of their powers as a team, all the while building up their love story. Ease up on the spiritual voodoo and spacial mind travel. With the two headed on a bus out of New Orleans to try their heroics in a new city in the finale, that seems like a promising start. Leave Louisiana behind and go full on adventure of the week. Then I’ll bet we get a show that can really live up to its potential.