NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Cloak & Dagger” are present in this review
Following directly after Cloak & Dagger’s second season premiere, as a back-to-back offering, “White Lines” picks up in the immediate aftermath of Tandy’s and Tyrone’s violent discovery at the nightclub. This episode takes a branching narrative structure, detailing how the show’s three core heroes separately come into contact with an illicit kidnapping operation in New Orleans, which of course leads them to the truth about who is behind the nightclub murders. These events result in what’s overall a standout episode of Cloak & Dagger, one filled with more compelling drama on all sides.
First up in the story cycle is Tyrone, following the latest spat between Tyrone and Tandy, wherein Tyrone tries to appeal to Tandy that suffering people don’t choose their misery, or their destructive situations, whereas Tandy feels that they are partly responsible for them. This is an interesting core theme for the episode, one that’s explored pretty well, as Tyrone and Tandy have to struggle with the idea of saving people in an increasingly complicated world, especially when some people seemingly don’t want to be saved. This question eventually leads Tyrone back to Chantelle, whom he consults when he sees a mysterious symbol drawn in cocaine by a murder victim that logically shouldn’t have been at the gang meetup. This also provides a convenient opportunity for Evita to inadvertently reunite with Tyrone, and learn about his budding Darkforce-manipulating powers as Cloak.
While his story arc is still pretty good overall here, Tyrone’s narrative is the one with a few questionable elements. Tyrone’s still spending way too much time bumbling around in plain sight, but the bigger issue is the fact that Tyrone trying to decipher the religious veve, which somehow brings him to the side of the abused girlfriend that Tandy is talking to in her support group, feels a little contrived and uninteresting. For some reason, Tyrone can’t draw the symbol properly unless he’s got the right amount of focus, and when he does, it just magically brings him to plot points that move the episode forward. That seems a little too convenient at times, and it just feels evident that the writers didn’t know how to organically bring Tyrone up against the new threat in this episode, so they just had him fart around with his powers some more. At least Tyrone got to reunite with Evita here however, even if she’s initially angry that Tyrone refused to let her know that he was alright.
Tandy’s storyline is once again a little tighter in this episode, as she continues to struggle through her support group, chewing out the troubled girlfriend that she tried to befriend before. Eventually, that girlfriend goes missing though, with Tyrone discovering separately that she was taken away in an unauthorized ambulance, for reasons unknown. Tandy begins asking around, believing that something is wrong, and sure enough, the woman shows up in the hospital soon, after apparently overdosing on heroin. Tandy’s guilt and determination continue to build at this point, and in the process, she also meets another support group leader, Andre Deschain, a former jazz musician who had to give up his career due to migraines.
Tandy’s tour through the poor, African-American-heavy neighbourhood of New Orleans makes for a nice moment of gaining an appreciation for a grander scope of suffering. Tandy means well, but Tyrone’s aggressive outward focus is complemented by Tandy’s aggressive inward focus, and that beautifully came into play during this moment. Tandy starts seeing hallucinations of her father after wandering around the neighbourhood however, suggesting that her powers are also continuing to develop further, as are Tyrone’s. Of course, Marvel Comics fans would likely know that Tandy’s father possibly isn’t as dead as he initially appears, given that he becomes the Lord of Light in the printed panels, but it remains to be seen if Cloak & Dagger will also go this route. Regardless, Tandy’s investigation eventually leads her to the ambulance lot, where she meets O’Reilly.
O’Reilly’s story arc went in the direction one would expect, given this season’s Mayhem-heavy marketing, but it still provided a nice appetizer for the Mayhem carnage to come. We see O’Reilly descending into drink early in the episode, eventually being called into the crime scene at the nightclub, where she has to quickly shoo out Tandy and Tyrone. After casually coming in again, once the NOPD properly arrive, O’Reilly recounts that the crime seems to have been the work of one person, who somehow took out everyone unscathed. O’Reilly shows signs of increasing instability, particularly when she begins intimidating the wife of the man who drew the veve that Tyrone happened to notice before, but there was a pretty surprising curveball yet to come here. Tyrone eventually discovers O’Reilly tied up in her apartment, while Tandy is also poking around the ambulance lot with O’Reilly at the same time! After Tyrone frees O’Reilly and teleports to Tandy, the three see that, “O’Reilly” has murdered the driver that she was questioning, stating that the cat is out of the bag as the episode concludes. Yes, it seems that Mayhem is an entirely separate person from O’Reilly, one that completely bears O’Reilly’s likeness, with Mayhem possibly being created by a reaction from O’Reilly’s exposure to Darkforce during the first season’s finale.
Mayhem’s portrayal on Cloak & Dagger is a considerable deviation from Marvel Comics lore, wherein O’Reilly became Mayhem after she was resurrected by Cloak and Dagger, following a failed investigation effort that saw her blindsided by corrupt cops. In the case of the Marvel Cinematic Universe however, O’Reilly is still O’Reilly, and Mayhem appears to be a clone of some kind, one likely determined to start seriously damaging O’Reilly’s principles and reputation! The show’s heroes have stumbled into a major crime ring by the look of things, and yet, it’s tough to determine who’s the bigger threat at this point. Whatever the case, “White Lines” is nonetheless a superb episode of Cloak & Dagger, one that finds an effective and unexpected way to introduce viewers to Mayhem properly, while once again giving Tandy and Tyrone some nicely distinct narrative journeys that nonetheless parallel each other in a clever way. Tyrone still feels like he’s lagging a bit behind Tandy from a narrative standpoint, but hopefully we can achieve a consistent balance in the coming weeks, especially now that O’Reilly is just as much caught up in the bizarre world of superpowers, in her own way.
- Great use of branching storytelling
- Tandy's trip through the poor part of town
- Mayhem's dramatic reveal at the ambulance site
- Tyrone's storyline isn't quite as tightly realized