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!