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October 6, 2015

'The Cape' Season 1, Episode 8 Recap

by Ryan McGee, posted Feb 22nd 2011 12:20PM
The Cape['The Cape' – 'The Lich, Part 2']

At this point, 'The Cape' has gone so far over the top that its weird storytelling almost works. Emphasis on "almost," but since the show's previous superpower was "boring the audience into submission," I'll take the freakiness of this new brand of show.

'The Lich, Part 2' had all of the ambiance of the first part last week, and if it didn't quite have the propulsive forward movement of that initial half, it introduced some mysteries that I actually want solved.

Now, there's no saying any of those mysteries in fact WILL be solved, in that the show closed down production unexpectedly and didn't have the chance to film a full season. Around a month ago, I would have called that a mercy killing. Now? It's a case of a show potentially canned at right when it finally started to figure out what it could be.

For some, 'The Cape' is now a superhero yarn with some genuinely off-center characters. For others, a weekly drinking game. For others, a chance to practice an at-home variation of 'Mystery Science Theatre 3000.' No show is one thing to all people, but 'The Cape' had come perilously close to meaning nothing to anyone.

The stakes around this two-part episode had something to do with a piece of waterfront property being both 1) the potential site of an privately owned arms dealing front, and 2) Ground Zero for the Palm City Zombie Apocalypse. Frankly? I got giddy writing that sentence. If you're gonna go crazy, go BIG crazy, I say. Having Vinnie Jones as the genetic offspring of a British gangster and a Kimono dragon just isn't crazy enough for me. But a crazy billionaire that drugs up Orwell to be his petrified bride while Ileana Douglas wanders in from the superhero version of Wysteria Lane? That's the type of loco I can embrace.

Keeping Summer Glau in stasis for an hour would have seemingly continued the hate crime this show seems to inflict on her on a weekly basis, but actually turned into one of the more interesting uses of her character to date. Psychedelic dreamscapes can be a crutch for a show to use, but since her character is so guarded, this may have been one of the only ways in which to get such a download of information about her.

Having Vince stand-in as her husband confirms the attraction hinted at in 'Goggles and Hicks,' but more intriguing were the hints about her mother. Seems like we've located the source of the split between Orwell (or Jamie, should we say?) and Peter Fleming, but things are still murky. What's not murky, based on what little we saw once Orwell walked through the imaginary door: Chess had something to do with her mother's fate. Either he took over Fleming at a crucial moment, or was born out of some accident involving her.

I'm not sure how we're supposed to handle Orwell's crush, given that Vince is more involved with his family than ever after injecting Dana in the mix this week. Maybe it's just that, a crush, and we can hope this plot never reaches an awkward moment in which Vince uses The Cape to aid in a sensual tango between them. Given my relative apathy towards Dana/Tripp, I can't say I'd mind a Vince/Orwell pairing, but I'm pretty sure that's the exact opposite of what the show wants right now. But hey, I no longer wish for Tripp to be struck mute anymore, so I guess this represents improvement on this front as well.

Perhaps this two-part Lich-centric storyline could help other shows conquer a current problem on the television landscape. Shows generally fall into two broad patterns: a series of stand-alone episodes or a longer-form, continuity-laced storyline in which episodes represent pieces of a larger puzzle. That's an oversimplification, to be sure, but there's nothing that says a show had to be either 'Law & Order' or 'Lost,' either.

'The Cape' seemed to tell its strongest story to date when it didn't do either extreme, but instead told a discrete story over two episodes instead of one. It gave the story room to breathe, but didn't make the writers stretch things out past their due date. Knowing the limits of a story is as important as the story itself when it comes to small-screen storytelling. Other shows could do worse than employ this model in their own season-long storytelling models. Maybe their version won't feature dockside zombie apocalypses, but hey, no one's perfect.

'The Cape' airs Mondays, 9PM ET on NBC.

What did you make of the back half of this two-part episode? Has 'The Cape' found more solid footing, or am I as crazy as The Lich himself? Leave your thoughts below!

Watch the full episode here:

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Sy-Fy has given up on Science Fiction/Fantasy. Do you really want to watch Face-off and Ghost Hunters? The Cape is a work in progress, an untidy and often unsatisfying show trying to find its feet. Sort of like Serenity. Maybe Dana gets killed next week and Vince and Orwell hook up. My point is that puring cold water on the show that at least has the potential to evolve into something is exactly the same kind of thinking that got Star Trek canceled in its first year.

February 23 2011 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I try to be the type of person who can just sit back and enjoy a fun series without nitpicking. That's why I still watch Chuck and hung on to The Simpsons a lot longer than many of my friends with similar tastes. That being said, I just can't do it with The Cape. The first episode I watched and hated, but gave it another shot - which I hated as well. The series just seems to be making fun of the viewers, IMO - as if they're saying "let's see how bad we can make it before they throw something at their television screens." This is a real disappointment for me, as I was attracted by the premise from the start. "Over the top" is an excellent way to describe it, but it's so extreme that it takes the fun out of the series for me. I hope it either gets canceled, or returns with a completely different quality than it's had so far.

February 22 2011 at 11:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The only reason I watch is Summer Glau. She could slice bread and I would watch. The series is a poor copy of --well, nothing. The actors are pretty good. Costumes poor. Writing terrible. Story lines bad. Concept is to not get sued by any comic magazines. The very idea wife and son could not tell just from the voice who the cape is--just laughable and so sad for them.

I find if I DVR it to the parts Glau is in, my night goes much better.

February 22 2011 at 2:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I watch the show every week. It is a fun hour and I don't dissect it, I just enjoy it. I would hope that if the show gets picked up for more seasons, they will go in the direction of Vince/Orwell relationship. Maybe Vince will come to realize that he cannot clear his name and won't ever be able to go back to his family. Orwell after helping Vince take down Chess/Daddy stays to help Vince fight crime in Palm City. A romance develops a crime fighting duo! Besides Vince's wife seems to be moving on, yes she cried the other episode but I think that is the turning point for her. She is getting ready to move on.

February 22 2011 at 2:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You didn't mention the best feature of this episode: Dana finally meeting (and helping) The Cape and learning that Trip has been telling the truth.

February 22 2011 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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