This week’s Cloak and Dagger episode, “Shadow Selves,” was the origin story for Mayhem we needed. But it was also more than that—it was a study of how the emotion of mayhem can actually be used for good when it’s channeled in the right way. The episode also gave us our first internal look at the Darkforce Dimension.
Let’s dive into what we learned about Mayhem this week.
Roxxon plus trauma equals disaster
Roxxon chemicals are dangerous enough on their own. But they’re even more dangerous if they’re in combination with some type of trauma. For the mice in Mina Hess’ laboratory, that trauma is electricity. But for Brigid, it was a gunshot. Regardless, trauma causes those affected by Roxxon’s “Terror” chemicals to split into two beings, both sharing the same memories, fingerprints, everything. The difference is that one copy is docile and the other is dominant and violent with urges to destroy the other.
This reveal answers a lot of questions I had last week. But it also presents a new host of questions, such as if Mayhem was created like this, does that mean other Mayhems could be created? Is the Roxxon chemical still out there, putting the public in danger? We’ll just have to wait and see where the season takes us.
It was interesting to see how the show transformed Mayhem from book to screen. As comic book fans already know, Mayhem is something of an anti-hero vigilante who uses violence to achieve positive ends. For instance, she helps Tandy and Tyrone find the lost girls who were about to be trafficked. But the search and rescue meant Mayhem caught many bodies in the process. Her penchant for killing is wrong.
But the fact that she’s trying to right the wrongs of New Orleans by any means necessary puts her in a complicated position as a character. It’ll leave viewers wondering if they should actually root for her against their better judgement. Technically, she’s doing what Brigid couldn’t and wouldn’t do. And, if we’re being honest, she’s doing what even Tandy and Tyrone can’t do because they’re teenagers with a code. Tyrone is especially strict about his ethics, since he’s not one for Mayhem’s shoot-em-up style. That same method of doling out “justice” is what got his brother killed, after all.
What complicates Mayhem’s vigilantism is that she goes after “bad” guys indiscriminately. Case in point: the financial guy who was involved with the gangs at the club. Even though he wasn’t directly involved with the trafficking plan, he still had enough ties to it that she felt justified in killing him. However, Brigid probably would have used him as a cooperative witness, turning him against the others with the promise of less jail time. I’m just surmising here.
Another point: Mayhem kills all of the gang members who have the girls in jail cell-like rooms, but she doesn’t stop her semi-automatic for the young boy whose caught up in the mess. It’s up to Tyrone to protect him and consume Mayhem, sending her to the Darkforce Dimension.
The Darkforce Dimension
I have been waiting for a good look at the Darkforce Dimension, and I can finally say we’ve got our first glimpse of the realm connected to Tyrone.
When Tyrone transports Mayhem to the dimension, she is met with Brigid’s former police officer boyfriend, still stuffed in the refrigerator. Mayhem’s reaction suggests that this is one of her biggest fears, which leads me to wonder if Mayhem will be tortured by Brigid’s fears as well as Mayhem’s own killing spree.
I also wonder if the fear in the Darkforce Dimension has some type of cleansing effect on its inhabitants. I haven’t read any of the comics, so I’m sure there are some out there who might be yelling the answers to me as they read this, but I’m assuming Mayhem finds her way out of the Darkforce Dimension. If that’s the case, does she come out emotionally altered? Will she become more like Brigid? Or would she want to bind back with Brigid to make her a whole person again? I’m only asking this because it seems the only way to subdue and tame the emotion of mayhem is by systematically breaking it down. I don’t know another way to quickly do that other than exposing it to fears bigger than it.
What’s up with Father Delgado and Adina?
There are two wildcards in this episode—Father Delgado and Tyrone’s mom Adina. I’m sure we’ll know how they fit into the series the deeper we get, but at this point, I’m trying to figure out how they will affect the overall story.
First, we have Father Delgado, who leaves his post at the school, seemingly because of guilt. If we recall, he has some skeletons in his past due to his former drinking problem. But his meetings with Mayhem seem like the catalyst for Delgado’s spiral into an alcoholic existentialism.
My question right now is what does Delgado have to feel guilty about in relation to Tyrone? Does he feel like he didn’t fight hard enough for him? Does he feel like he led Tyrone toward the path of vengeance that got him in trouble with the law? Does he feel ineffectual as a priest?
I’ve also got questions for Adina, who voted against the parish’s investigation into an ex-cop for excessive violence. She knew it was wrong, but she voted on the wrong side of history all for the politician she works for. Her one vote caused the vote to tank, letting the ex-cop go free. Why would she play games like this when her own son is on the run from the law because of a bad criminal system? Don’t make me lose respect for you, Adina.
Overall, another solid episode for Cloak and Dagger’s second season! I’m so glad the show is keeping up the same caliber it had last season. It’s going to be a joy to see where this season goes.
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