'The Cape' Season 1, Episode 3 Recap
by Ryan McGee, posted Jan 18th 2011 2:30AM
['The Cape' – 'Kozmo']
Comic books almost always have origin stories. And if the pilot episode of 'The Cape' featured the origin story for Vince Faraday's transformation into the titular hero, then 'Kozmo' sought to fill in some origin stories for that fabulous piece of superhero wear as well as for Orwell. There wasn't a whole lot of forward motion in terms of reclaiming Palm City as a whole, but as Vince tells his son Trip at episode's end, "Justice takes time." (You know, roughly 13 episodes or so of time.)
Becoming a superhero is just one piece of the puzzle. Figuring out the new world order of things after announcing his presence to the world is quite another. This holds true not just for Vince, but everyone else in the city as well. Stopping an exploding tanker earns The Cape a virtual merit badge, to be sure, but it doesn't leave him better equipped to know how to take down Peter Fleming. His attempts to shake down a dirty cop from his freight yard arrest don't yield any more information, just an unwitting exposure of Orwell to Chess. And while we may not know Orwell's real first name, we now know her last.
Using Gregor Molotov to start the reveal of Orwell's true identity was a welcome way to get her backstory revealed early on in the series. If we sat here two months from now watching her parry away questions about her identity, more than a few fans of the show would be constructing their own super caps in order to break their television sets from across the room. (Note: I'm not suggesting you do that under any circumstances. Especially if you belong to a Nielsen household.) Was the reveal truly shocking? Not particularly, but since the show didn't let the mystery linger any longer, the reveal was welcome all the same. And while we know, the mystery is still intact within the world of the show itself.
So Orwell is a Fleming, and a Fleming that went from ballerina to criminal to superhacker somewhere along the way. Think of her as a combination of Lara Croft and Chloe from '24,' with a little 'Swan Lake' thrown in for good measure. How she went from Daddy's Little Girl to Daddy's Nemesis will undoubtedly be revealed as the series goes on, but it seems clear enough now that Peter Fleming doesn't quite yet recognize his daughter's handiwork in the Orwell operation. Either he underestimates his daughter's abilities, or perhaps thinks that she's already dead, much like Dana and Trip believe Vince to be dead. In any case, learning Orwell's true identity will either send Peter completely over the cuckoo's nest or be the one thing that brings him back from the brink. Given this show's penchant for over-the-top reactions, I'd wager on Door #1.
With Fleming's attention on Orwell this week, it was up to Gregor to shine light upon The Cape. Or, rather, "Kozmo," a long-standing iteration of men who wore the cape throughout the ages. "Kozmo" is the show's version of The Dread Pirate Roberts, although neither Gregor nor Vince made any quips about using the cape left-handed tonight. Pity. There seems to be no true original story for the fabric itself, which is rather great: Having one, unassailable origin would rob the cape of some of its mystique. Moreover, the variety of opinions over its origin mirror what seems to be a psychic component to the cape. Tonight's episode seemed to insinuate that the cape reacts to the emotional state of its user, which allowed Vince to turn the hate Gregor poured into it against him.
Psychic fabric? Hey, why not? So long as it doesn't act like the mood-altering slime from 'Ghostbusters 2,' I can roll with it. Having Vince end the streak of larcenous use for the cape speaks to the type of moral choices he made as a soldier, and the types of choices he's unable to effectively pass onto to his suddenly pugilistic son. One of the stronger moments in tonight's show lies in Vince hearing just how much his absence has affected Trip. For a man who assumed the superhero persona in order to inspire Trip, it cut deep to have Random Dweeby Yet Slimy D.A. try to turn into Trip's surrogate dad.
All of these notes are played in bold, unsubtle, and vibrant colors. (Often literally, in terms of the lighting at the circus.) It's a fine line between sincere and corny, and 'The Cape' often does an imperfect job at walking that tightrope. For every crack Max makes about his waistline, there's another speech in which he warns Vince, "Either you wear the cape, or the cape wears you." A line like that was played for laughs in 'Mystery Men,' but is played here only to groans. Having a sincere superhero show is fine, and frankly welcome in a landscape full of heroes that do nothing but moan about their lot in life. But when sincerity turns into mawkish, maudlin melodrama, fans might want a hero to save them from this show.
What did you think of 'Kozmo'? A strong follow-up to the pilot, or something far less than super? Did the Orwell reveal surprise you, or confirm your suspicions? Leave your thoughts below!
'The Cape' airs Mondays at 9PM ET on NBC.