Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Cape: Tarot

I have always believed that what was wrong with so much of the superhero genre in other media like television and film is the seeming need to retell the hero's secret origin. Most times, unless the origin is part of the story told, it's not needed. All you need is the understanding that this is the hero, he can do this, and here he is, roll with the story.

In running the second episode "Tarot," immediately after the pilot and origin story of The Cape, I think NBC is hedging their bets and giving the audience the supposed best of both worlds. Here's the secret origin, and here's the first adventure. I'm down, or rather, seeing how much I liked the pilot, I'm still down.

The episode starts with a bang. The Cape visits Chess and runs afoul of a new villain guarding the big bad called Cain, with a tarot tattoo and a poisoned knife. Our hero barely escapes with his life and a little help from the beautiful Orwell, played by Summer Glau. She drops him off with the Carnival of Crime then runs. Shame, I was hoping to see them interact.

Max Malini, the ringleader of the circus, thinks Faraday has been reckless and careless, and so revokes the 'magic' cape from him. What follows is an amazing montage sequence where Faraday hones his abilities and continues his training. It's not only the kind of thing you figure Batman does in between issues, but it shows the determination of our hero. I like it a lot.

There's a lot to like here. This show just keeps getting better. There are hints of a larger hyper-reality mythology happening here, not only the concept of a ring of assassins called Tarot, but also the thinking that maybe The Cape isn't the first superhero in this world. I also like the title cards that accompany each scene. I love Rollo played by Martin Klebba, who I had previously seen in a non-dramatic reality role as Amy Roloff's friend in "Little People, Big World." He's rocking it here in "The Cape." Summer Glau as well kills in this episode.

That's two in a row, looking forward to more.

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  1. I took this as them getting one of the big tropes out of the way, the hero deciding he doesn't need his costume/having his costume taken away from them. I seem to recall there being a Spidey story in the old days where he was doing without the costume, and I think the Circus of Crime was involved?

    Anyhow; it was a decent story and I'm hoping they can get all the 'necessary' plots out of the way (origin, don't-need-my-costume down 2 out of 2) and get to more salient stories.

  2. I agree that the show is getting better. I thought the pilot was a little too "Streets of Gotham." Crooked cops are outed by the mysterious online Oracle -- oops, I mean Orwell; Our Hero trains in illusions and uses a cape; the underworld is run by Black Mask -- oops, I mean Chess. You get the idea.

    But once they established all of that, I am glad to see that they are using it all for their own needs instead of feeding the similarities.