Marvel's 'Cloak & Dagger' Is a Well-crafted, Captivating Nightmare

Cloak & Dagger begins with the concept of fate and somehow folds in much more. Daredevil writer Joe Pokaski and his team are impressive, managing to stitch together themes at their intersection points by unpacking the nuances between race and class, where living and surviving merge. Ultimately we find ourselves exploring the balance, or in this case the similarity, between hope and fear. Exacerbated by superhuman powers of lightness and darkness, Cloak and Dagger discover the mysticism that saved them over a decade after they first meet.

cloak and dagger review freeform
Aubrey Joseph (as Cloak) and Olivia Holt (as Dagger). Marvel TV

The premiere is best described as your worst nightmare. I know it's mine--a crash off a bridge and a brutal murder. Flashforward to adolescence, and we see the effects of grief, loss and survivor's guilt on our main characters Tyrone aka Cloak (Aubrey Joseph) and Tandy aka Dagger (Olivia Holt). Not many shows intricately explore these traumas experienced at the pre-verbal stage and how they develop over the course of a decade, subsequently ditching the all-too-popular reaction to death and zooming in on the intense psychological isolation that sneaks up during impressionable years. Peaking at a point where to endure is simply unmanageable, Cloak & Dagger is a harrowing story about the limits of the human breaking point.

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Olivia Holt plays Tandy, also known as Dagger. She can generate sharp beams of light that look like daggers. Marvel TV / Trailer

The lead actors play eloquently into the narrative, illustrating what it's like to be both emotionally full and empty at the same time, a sentiment that is hard to produce in adaptations that fall into the trap of primetime comic book pacing. In the episodes provided for review, Tandy and Tyrone struggle to give into their fears. For this reason, the plot only moves in the context of the characters, and not always forward. The structure is what makes Cloak & Dagger, in the first half of the season, more compelling than action-packed.

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Aubrey Joseph plays Tryone, also known as Cloak. He can engulf himself and others in darkness, allowing him to teleport. Marvel TV

It's teenage angst in a way worth talking about. Why does Tandy cover the pain with perscription drugs? Why can't Tyrone let out the anger that's been building since his brother died? The interactions between two intrinsically intertwined characters are few, but, when they do happen it's cathartic both for characters and viewers. The commitment to New Orleans as a backdrop deserves applause—the culture, the architecture, the voodoo. The characters and plot are drenched in a rich history that gives depth and finesse to some of the series twists and turns. The city itself is a character, not just a set or a reference. You may even learn something too.

cloak and dagger release date marvel freeform
'Cloak and Dagger' arrives on June 7. Marvel TV

How exactly Tandy and Tyrone's powers manifest and interact is after the premiere, largely unclear. It's a blessing or a curse, depending on why you're watching. Though, the jarring imagery of light and dark above and below surface level should be enough to float most through the midpoint at ease. Whether you're a Marvel fan or not, it's undeniably a must-watch if you want something different.

Cloak & Dagger arrives June 7 on Freeform.

Marvel's 'Cloak & Dagger' Is a Well-crafted, Captivating Nightmare | Gaming
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