Donning ‘The Cape’

THE CAPE: 1.01 “Pilot”
THE CAPE: 1.02 “Tarot”

Before launching into my review, I should make sure you know a few things. First, I’m a girl. Second, I’m not someone who watches a ton of action films, let alone superhero movies, though I did watch both of Christian Bale’s Batman movies and I used to watch Batman cartoons. What does this mean? Basically, if you’re a pro at identifying what makes a cool superhero show or movie “cool,” you might disagree with what I have to say. But as someone who’s been moderately exposed to the genre, here goes…

I didn’t have the highest of expectations going into The Cape. In fact, I was desperately disappointed with the promos, hollering at the screen, “Show Summer Glau! Show Summer Glau!” Yes, she was the reason I was curious, and for some reason, I also felt that she was the reason that anyone would check out the show.

But settling into the pilot, I was quite surprised. It had an intriguing premise. Maybe not the fact that our protagonist was framed for a crime and presumed dead, but the fact that our leading villain “owned” the police through privatization. Now, we can move forward assuming not that the police department is incompetent, but instead that they’re blinded by hierarchy. It sets up quite a scary scenario for the series to live into.

What blinded me was the circus troupe that Vince landed himself in. I have to admit; I was rather skeptical when he fell into this motley crew. But it makes sense how he found his skillset, getting it from these people. I think I would have believed it more if they had been outcast citizens, not the bank robbers they turned out to be, but eventually my disbelief was suspended, and I let it go.

Let’s move on to the main villain, Chess. I’m not entirely sure yet what I think of the leader of Ark, and it took me the entire episode to figure out what silhouettes were in his eyes. That effort could have been saved if they had done a quick closeup of his eyes. Right now, while I think he’s successful at the malicious vibe, I don’t really see how I will be bothered by him all season long. It’s really his minions that get the job done, and I understand that Vince will be fighting them throughout the season (at least, I assume), but how threatening can a guy in a suit really be week after week?

Then there’s Orwell, who, of course, I want to like. And I do, though hesitantly. Right now, Orwell’s straddling the intersection of benevolent benefactor, super-techie, shy underdog, and badass. That’s not settling right for me yet. Perhaps it’s to keep her a mystery, I’m not sure. But I felt more for her when she was left alone in her lair, of sorts, as she closed down her tech displays, emphasizing her loneliness. I want to know more about why she’s hidden, and while I know Summer Glau is awesome in stiletto heels kicking some jerk in the face, I want to see more of the vulnerable side that makes her not want to be seen.

Read more after the jump!

Ok, characters aside, let’s look at plot. Personally, I was riveted at the pilot, watching the development of Vince and his reactions as his life spiraled out of control around him. His final moment with his son, while rather predictable, was necessary. If only that really was his final moment…

I suppose that’s the problem with episode two. The idea of the Tarot–especially with the idea that they have their own skillset in death, like the Poisoner–should have really grabbed my attention. But instead, we got these annoying scenes with Vince’s family. Personally, I think we need a little more Bruce Wayne. We need to know that Vince’s family is in his head and in his thoughts and his moves, his actions. But we don’t need to see them in the show. They should be his motivation, not our viewing experience. We should feel the absence just as he does.

Plus, they slow down the action.

How did we get 40 minutes into the episode before even introducing who Caine really was? That’s just too long.

And I guess that’s where I worry about the series. Is it sustainable? Can we, week to week, come back for our very own action adventure with creative characters and challenges? Or will it just become tired and take itself too seriously? Right now, we’re getting the occasional joke (“You know you’re not wearing a cape, right?” “I’m aware of that.”), but it does walk a very fine line to going too serious or even too cliche (“Farradays are fighters.”).

So what do I think? Well, hour one entertained, and hour two made me pull out the Twitter feed to see what people were saying. So I guess there’s more to see.

In case you missed last night’s episode and want to see what I’m talking about, I believe there’s an encore tonight in about an hour. Then come on back and let me know your thoughts!

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One thought on “Donning ‘The Cape’

  1. I also watched the 2 hour “The Cape” with low expectations, but the hidden “I hope its good so Summer Glau has a TV job” intention. Anyway, it was stupid:
    -We have no idea who Faraday is. He was a cop, then he wants to join Ark, they frame him, then he is the cape. That’s a fine enough theory, but they didn’t make us feel like we want him to have revenge. We never got the feeling that he is an anguish that he is away from his family (and by family, I really mean son. I don’t really know if he cares about his wife. The show never really gave us an indication that he does). The greatness of a superhero is not that he fights evil, its that he fights evil despite the evil and pain within him. He overcomes the obstacles to be the best among us. Everything for the cape seemed too easy. His mentor said that he would push his mind and body to the limits. I guess that was during the commercials because we saw: find cape, wear cape, be cape. He barely trained to fight, dodge bullets, use stealth, anything. He just went out there. Also, he has to remain dead to his family to protect him. Thus he has a secret identity, the cape. Yet it take 2 episodes to figure out he needs a mask?
    -Corporations are bad. Yes, we get it. Cant someone else think of any good supervillan besides this?? And the head of Ark is suppose to be some super genius Chess. But he just takes off his mask in front of the guy he is going to frame? He blindly gives a new employee a card that opens everything, including bank vaults and doesn’t cancel said card once he frames him for super villainy? And he is baffled why his banks are getting robbed. And he keeps is supervillan computer in a chess board. That way no one will find it and maybe put 1 and 1 together and figure out he is Chess.
    -The action was boring. Using a cape and old timey circus magic is a good idea, but they could have gone so much further. Maybe they will do more fantastic things later on like, learn acrobatics, learn to tame or control animals, or use the cape to turn into a giant ball and roll down the street. Just a lot of punch, kick, and then the cape grab trick.
    -The best part of the show was Summer Glau. But I wish she was more hands off, less butt-kicky. She is suppose to be a super computer oracle type. Unlimited power in cyberspace, but basically useless in the real word. That’s why she needs the cape.

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