Five Reasons to Watch ‘Cloak & Dagger’ on Freeform
By Suleikha Snyder
Freeform’s brand-new series Cloak & Dagger is the perfect summer adventure! Based on the Marvel comics of the same name, the show is about polar opposite teens Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen, who develop startling superpowers after they’re caught in a mysterious offshore rig explosion as kids. You could easily use that ol’ cliché that “their lives are irrevocably changed,” but it’s not actually the powers or the explosion that change things for them. Life changes things for Tyrone and Tandy, as they both experience devastating losses that inform their personalities and their choices. Years later, when they cross paths again and their powers manifest, it’s as if their lives come into alignment. Because they each find something they’ve been missing — balance.
1. Tandy and Tyrone — played by Rachel Ryals and Maceo Smedley as children and Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph as teens — are absolutely magical together from the get-go
Their official “meet-cute” is at a party in the woods, where Tandy steals Tyrone’s wallet. (Don’t the best love stories start with a little thievery?) When Tyrone gives chase and then catches up to her, it’s like gasoline and a match — boom! Their powers are activated. Tandy’s appear to be light-based, while Tyrone’s appear to be shadow/darkness-based. It terrifies them…and immediately intrigues the audience. Because we know there’s a love story brewing, but the nature of their powers and what their connection really means makes it complicated. There’s so much more for them to figure out together. Why them? Was it random? Were they chosen? Do they have a purpose? “The universe keeps pushing us together,” Tyrone observes in the show’s promos. “The universe keeps pulling us apart,” counters Tandy.
2. The show doesn’t shy away from current events and the issues facing marginalized communities
Whether it’s referencing New Orleans’ post-Katrina recovery/handling or the shooting of young black men by cops, it's handled with gut-wrenching realness. Tyrone’s superhero origin story is rooted in the loss of his big brother, Billy. There’s a haunting scene in the second episode where he accidentally uses his powers on his mother — played exquisitely by veteran primetime actress Gloria Reuben — and sees her deepest fears about losing her sons. Like in any good comic book story, Cloak & Dagger’s super-powered trappings are just a way to cast humanity in sharp relief.
3. It’s very much about the Haves vs. the Have-Nots
There’s a very satisfying revenge/payback element therein. Whether it’s Tandy pulling off daring cons to steal from the rich or Tyrone seeking out justice for his brother’s murder, privilege is a huge overarching theme. That’s incredibly fascinating — especially since the show flips the dynamic from the comics. There, Tyrone was the thief and Tandy the good girl. Here, he’s a private school student and a jock, from a stable, loving, two-parent home — while Tandy’s practically living on the streets, committing crimes to make money because her irresponsible mother can’t hold down a job. Their past and their powers link them and their respective worlds.
4. The leads are both gorgeous. What? We can’t be shallow?
Cloak & Dagger knows what they’ve got in their two 20-year-old stars! Olivia Holt, who looks a lot like a young Julia Stiles, has a lovely face and a great — but realistically acquired, given her circumstances — wardrobe. Aubrey Joseph turns up shirtless countless times in the first two episodes alone, and he has an intense charisma that makes him instantly root-worthy. They’re beautiful people — and even more beautiful together!
5. There’s a larger conspiracy at play that Tyrone and Tandy don’t even have an inkling of when the show begins
They’re just two kids in crappy circumstances who have to deal with sudden on-set super powers (pretty much the most apt metaphor for puberty EVER). But viewers are given hints that the rig explosion, tied to Tandy’s father’s work, involved some secret science-y things that went terribly wrong. Plus, the trailers for the show have someone calling Cloak and Dagger “the divine pairing,” and warning that one of them will live and one of them will die. That’s not ominous at ALL, right? Whether viewers learn the deal first, or discover each puzzle piece along with Tandy and Tyrone, Cloak & Dagger promises to shine a much-needed light in the darkness, brightening the summer TV season!
Check out Cloak & Dagger on Thursday nights at 8PM through August 10, or watch episodes online and via the Freeform app.