TV Review: The Cape (episodes 1 and 2)

E: M, I can’t help but think that if we were 10 and 9 again, The Cape would totally have been the coolest thing we’d ever seen.

M: Yeah, it took me a couple days to get to it on DVR, but I was quite pleased.

E: Well, I think you probably liked it more than I did.  I wish they hadn’t rushed the whole origin story, though I certainly see why they did.

M: You know, that’s the weird part.  I’m usually very critical of fast pacing, preferring something the slowed down pace of Unbreakable to something revved up like Transformers.  This didn’t feel rushed to me.  Yes, the revelation of the bad guy happened quickly, but I don’t think that he is the ultimate baddy, so I think that it didn’t need to be held back.  What were you looking for that was different in the pacing?

E: Well, that’s a large part of it – James Frain’s baddy (who’s a series regular, so I think there’s every indication he’s the ultimate baddy) and also the training.  I mean, one minute Vince’s being beaten up by a midget, and the next, he’s a superhero?  I wonder if  you could take more time on cable, but not on network?  Either way, I was stunned that he was practicing right off.

M: See, from the feel I get, the little person’s going to be beating people up for however long the series is around, so I had no problem with that.  Ultimately, I found it to be fun, exciting, and to have at some interesting characters.  I also like that it has a comic book feel to it, as opposed to the currently en vogue graphic novel feel.

E: I agree. Love Frain’s creepy eyes.

M: Agreed, the chess-piece contact lenses were very cool.

E: I think my favorite thing about the whole show is the art direction and the music, especially the music.  Sure, it’s all a bit cliche, but it’s nicely carried through, and it gives me that thrilling childhood feeling.  I feel like the show is in this weird limbo; some of the violence is pretty nasty (the Gambit-style murder with the deck of cards, for example), but the plotting is more family-friendly than sophisticated.

M: I’m good with that, and I like Vince Faraday.  Even more than him himself, I like the Faraday family.  I like his wife and son (last seen in FlashForward playing the autistic son of the home wrecking Captain Norrington)…

E: …Oh, that’s why he’s so familiar…

M: …and I like the family history they are building (Faradays are fighters!).

E: Agreed, and I like the wife a lot.  I like her refusal to disavow Vince.

M: That was unexpected, and really nice.  I found the part with the aftermath on his family to be much heavier, more emotional and intense than I expected.  In fact, it was tough for Mrs M to watch, but gave us a really good feeling for the wife.

E: It was really sketchy and out of no where, but I like that she’s a lawyer in the sense that it gives good possibilities for the show. Of course, I could have wept when she told the security chief/traitor/bff about the evidence which might clear Vince, and then just gave up on it.

M: I don’t think she gave up on it, I think it’s just pushed aside for the time being.  More will come of that, and slimeball Marty will get his due eventually. Now, I absolutely love the circus crew.  I love that they are not all virtuous, that they have their own agenda, and start out using Vince.

E: Yeah, and it’s nice that they now consider him one of their own.  Plus, you don’t get to see a lot of circus folk on TV, not consistently. So that’s a sort of plus.

M: It hearkens back to the entertainment of bygone days, be it when circuses were popular, or when fiction involving them was in style.  I like it a lot.  On the other hand, I’m undecided on Summer Glau’s “Orwell”.  I like the character in concept, the 1984 tie-in (not subtle), but I’m not sure I like the execution yet.

E: Wait,  you were expecting subtlety why?

M: I wasn’t, I was just pointing it out.  Now, I’ll give you this, one thing that I think WAS too fast paced was the not-yet-officially-revealed-but-really-revealed news that she is the the bad guy’s daughter.

E: That’s what I mean about the show rushing things in general.  They totally hit us over the head with that, and why?  Wouldn’t she have been more mysterious if they actually left her some mystery?  I mean, other than the question of how she can drive super flashy, easily traceable cars and yet remains incognito.

M: They could have handled that much more sneakily, and revealed it in a shocking twist at some point down the road.  Instead they made the relationship abundantly clear from the start, with the first mention of his missing daughter being immediately followed up by Vince asking Orwell where her money comes from, and then eliminated any doubt with the music box/Pink-at-the-2010-Grammys type suspended dance-twirling scene.

E: Can I just say, I almost died when she rode into the circus side saddle on a motorcycle?  Talk about putting the visuals before common sense…

M: Oh, but the visual of a bald little person driving in on a motorcycle, with the female Terminator riding behind him side saddle?  That was so worth it.

E: Maybe to you.  I didn’t think it was sufficiently hard core of her.  Much too dainty.

M: Exactly!  The terminator was dainty, and the little person was the badass.  I loved it.

E: Oh, whatever.

M: Anyway, on a different front, I like that Vince keeps appearing to his son as The Cape. Now where the show needs to go is to have him stop more crimes in character to build a reputation.

E: I concur.

M: And after that, but only after that, they should delve more into the ring of assassins with different Tarrot cards tattooed on them.  That was a good setup, by the way, and I’m glad they didn’t jump right back to it.  Let it linger, come back to it only sparingly, let the discoveries about it build slowly.

E: What are the chances they’ll listen to that advice? I wish they would!

M: Given my faith in TV execs…  probably very slim.  But here’s hoping, because I like what they’ve done so far.

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