*Mild Plot Spoilers About Marvel's 'Cloak & Dagger' Season 2 Ahead*
While a crop of Marvel Netflix shows are off the air (for now at least), you should have no fear. Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger on Freeform is back after its stellar first season, and it is still the best superhero series on television right now.
Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and sharing continuity with all of the films, the series is based on the young adult superheroes Cloak (AKA Tyrone, played by Aubrey Joseph) and Dagger (Olivia Holt), who are brought together after a chance encounter at a young age exposes them to a chemical and gives them superpowers. Years later, as teens, they face their destiny and are pushed back together, seemingly fated to use their acquired powers to save their city from disaster.
The series premiered last year and reimagined the NYC-set comic, which was born out of the '80s War on Drugs-era (having some problematic stereotypes about race) and chronicled the duo as vigilantes taking on the drug trade. It is remixed as a New Orleans-set, socially-tinged coming-of-age tale of the Black Lives Matter-era about teens growing into their powers that's spawned by an officer-involved shooting at the center of it all.
At the end of the first season, we left our young heroes in an interesting, yet familiar predicament. One hero is with their family and the other is living on the street. However, this time, their roles are switched. Tyrone, the quiet yet charismatic prep school basketball player (who can teleport and lead people into the Darkforce), is now on the run and seeking refuge inside a church. Tandy, the headstrong, streetwise former criminal, (who can emit light daggers and heal people) is now reconciling with her father being an abuser, as she has returned home and is helping out with her mother’s recovery, as well as her own.
Spending so much time on building the characters and their environment in the first season was not in vain, as it makes for a perfect setup in season 2. It’s time for some comic-book fun to kick in and for Cloak and Dagger to do what they were meant to do -- be superheroes and save the day. In its two-hour season premiere, there's more action than audiences saw in the entirety of season 1. In the time that has passed, both have grown confident in their powers -- and stronger. They haven’t spent much time together since they essentially saved the city in season 1, but once they are back together, it’s like no time has passed at all and their relationship (still, for good reason, bucking its comic book origin by being platonic) continues to grow deeper.
Aubrey Joseph and Olivia Holt in 'Marvel's Cloak and Dagger' | Photo: Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani
The show is no stranger to taking on topical, social justice-oriented themes such as police brutality, mental health and much more. Those themes remain for season 2, and they introduce themes like domestic violence and human trafficking as societal woes to be taken down. Grounding these storylines in real-world issues continues to set the show apart from its peers. While Black Lightning is also good at doing this, Cloak & Dagger masters it.
The show also maintains the critical cultural element of the Creole people and Mardi Gras Indians. The insightful social commentary also persists, as Tandy, despite growing quite a bit during Season 1 and when we last saw her, still remains a walking embodiment of white feminism and white privilege, though she “gets it” way more than she did when we first met the character last season (mostly due to the influence of Tyrone).
Both of our leads, Joseph and Holt, remain on their A-game. Holt, a former Disney star, is proving herself to be in the leagues of her fellow former Disney actresses who’ve gone on to make it big. And with Cloak & Dagger counting as his first major role, Joseph's range continues to show that he should be a hot commodity for casting directors everywhere. The young actor is deserving of being Hollywood’s next big thing. As for the other cast, more Gloria Reuben, who portrays Tyrone's mother, is always great; Andrea Roth is always compelling as Tandy's mom; and Noëlle Renée Bercy, who plays Tyrone's love interest, Evita, deserves to be a series regular. The latter could honestly be retconned to be a Marvel superhero of her own.
Noelle Renee Bercy and Aubrey Joseph in 'Marvel's Cloak and Dagger' | Photo: Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani
The experimental nature of the show also remains as both Tyrone and Tandy travel in and out of folks’ thoughts and fears. The non-linear form of storytelling that was sometimes used in season 1 is also applied in season 2. The second hour of the season premiere goes through the same plotline and story from the perspective of the three main characters: Tyrone, Tandy and their cop friend who just can’t catch a break, Detective Brigid O’Reilly (Emma Lahana)...who may actually be the vigilante Mayhem, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the officer. Are O'Reilly and Mayhem one in the same? The Mayhem storyline is an interesting one, and the jury is still out if it will exactly fall in place once everything is put together, but the series definitely deserves a shoutout for weaving her onto the canvas.
It looks like fans will be in for another wild ride for a second season that we can predict will continue to change the game and redefine what comic book adaptations should look like.
Marvel's Cloak & Dagger premieres April 4 on Freeform.