Marvel's Cloak & Dagger delivered one of TV's biggest surprises during its first season in 2018. Not in the form of any twist or turn, but in terms of the quality and deep sincerity of the show itself. Being a show about teenage superheroes airing on Freeform (a network not known for prestige drama), there was very little expectation for Cloak & Dagger to be a powerful, important tale of heroism and social justice. But that's exactly what we got, and it only took a couple of episodes for us to realize that Cloak & Dagger was truly something special. To no one's surprise, Season 2 is just as good as its predecessor, and has set itself up to be even better as it progresses.
The second installment of Cloak & Dagger picks up months after the conclusion of the first, and quite a lot has changed for the likes of Tandy (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone (Aubrey Joseph). They've essentially switched lives at this point. After running from home, Tyrone is living on his own in the abandoned church where Tandy spent many of her nights in Season 1. Tandy is living with her mother once again, and the two have built a pretty strong relationship while attending a group for survivors of domestic abuse. Through it all, the bond of Tandy and Ty has grown even stronger, as have their individual powers.
Cloak & Dagger is no stranger to difficult subject matter, and this second season takes even more real-world problems head-on. The themes of police brutality and profiling are in no way absent this time around, but they're joined by the likes of abuse and human trafficking. It's not easy to take on all of these issues on network TV, let alone just one, but showrunner Joe Pokaski and his writing team find an excellent balance in these first two hours, giving each a necessary platform and allowing younger audiences to actually understand what's happening in our world today.
You'd think that mixing these problems with a superhero origin story would be more difficult than Cloak & Dagger makes it seem, but the show's two young leads are what allow both sides to truly flourish together. Holt delivers a commanding performance whenever she's on-screen, with a confidence not unlike theatrical counterparts Gal Gadot and Brie Larson. Similarly, Joseph has gone through an evolution in Season 2 and is rising to the occasion. While his performance in last season was all about taking charge and controlling the world around him, this year is all about subtlety and he absolutely nails the change.
The other stand-out of the sophomore season comes in the form of its new antagonist, Mayhem. Brigid O'Reilly - in a brilliant heel turn by Emma Lahana - is now playing the role of dangerous vigilante. Well, sort of. It's hard to describe what's actually going on with this character and her plot thread without giving too much away, but just now that she will be the talk of the season. While the stories surrounding Tandy and Ty are of the utmost importance and are handled with an immense amount of care, it's Lahana's take as O'Reilly that brings the excitement and thrills required to take things to the next level.
There are fun, light-hearted superhero shows on TV. There are dark, intense superhero shows on TV. Cloak & Dagger is the rare project that manages to be both, without ever fitting into either of their boxes. It's an experience all its own, full of joy, pain, wonder, and intrigue, and that's what makes it so fantastic. Don't let Marvel's most important TV series pass you by, it's too good not to enjoy right now.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Marvel's Cloak & Dagger will return for its second season on Thursday, April 4th at 8 pm ET on Freeform.