Man, the comics blogosphere really hates this show, doesn't it? I've read about a dozen reviews of this show, and the most favorable was 'Meh.' I'm not sure if I'm just too forgiving, or whether it could be that I'm wrong.
Nah. That couldn't happen. The comics blogosphere is full of Comic Book Guys who are brutal to anything that doesn't fit into their narrow view of 'good'.
So, does tonight's episode fit under any category of good?
In Russia, a man breaks out of a supposedly inescapable prison, leaving a trail of bodies, a straitjacket and an impossibly small hole, using a tooth that had been crafted as a key. Meanwhile, our hero has been watching the trainyard where he was framed. He follows and questions a cop by hanging him over a bridge. The cop is dirty, he knows Fleming is Chess and that Faraday was framed, but is willing to die instead of 'fess up. The way he figures it is he's dead either way. Orwell buzzes Vince and tells him that pursuit is on the way, so he dumps the cop off the bridge onto a passing truck. Orwell is a bit distressed over Vince's callousness, but he claims that he knows what he's doing.
Back at the circus, Max is bothered by Vince's actions as well, and utters the Dumb Quote Of The Night:
"You either wear the cape or the cape wears you!"
After that mind numbing morsel of wisdom, Vince heads for his hideout. Who should show up in Max's trailer, but our aforeseen Russian Criminal, Gregor Molotov? (That was rhetorical, son). Molotov is there for the cape. He was Max's student back when Max called himself 'Kozmo the Unkillable', and he was in training to be the next Kozmo. Apparently, the 'unkillable' part is a 'Dread Pirate Roberts' scam, where the original Kozmo trained his apprentice and so on. Max saw that Gregor was eeeevil and couldn't be trusted with the cape, so he killed Kozmo, and apparently let Gregor rot in Russian prison. Max claims that the cape was mislaid; Gregor thinks that they are suffering from a credibility gap.
Fleming (Yup. We need to check in with our arch villain from time to time) is apparently hunting for his daughter. He and Voyt are also hunting Orwell, and they nearly got her when she clued Vince in at the top of the show. She burned her lair and escaped with only minutes to spare. They think they can snag her next time...
Orwell shows up with her stuff at Vince's lair. He warns her that his place is frequented by Circus folk, and then goes into his obligatory "I'm not sure I can trust you if I don't know your real name" speech. She gets a zinger back in about Max's obvious pseudonym, but it's lost on our thickheaded protagonist.
We get a nifty little vignette where Vince and his son are both reading the Cape comic book at the same time. This week, the comic book actually has words in it! (Last week, it was like Marvel's " 'nuff Said" stunt of a few years back. No captions. No word balloons. No credibility. )
Faraday follows Molotov into town, where Molotov promptly loses him. Gregor joins a poker game where he learns that the dark cape is being used for (gasp) good, and so he kills his fellow players with the playing cards. It may've even been Aces and Eights.... Faraday finds the victims, but seeing as they are victims... it's too late. He removes evidence from the scene and heads for the circus.
Orwell is visited in the Cape Cave by Rollo, who hits on her (slightly) and takes her to the circus. She meets the crew, including Max.... and Gregor. Gregor reads her palm, calling her a 'Princess with daddy issues, and no real identity'. Faraday waltzes in, bottle of vodka in hand and wants to give Gregor a proper sendoff. (Max had told him to split.)
Dana Faraday, while pursuing a case of criminal urination, finds out that all the bums in the train yard saw the Vince Faraday/Chess frame up... and that it was a frame up. She makes the mistake of telling Voyt about this, and the bums all disappear. Oh well.
At an odd sort of dinner party, Vince and Gregor figure everything out together. Gregor learns that Vince is The Cape, Vince learns a bit more of the history of the cape. I think Vince got the short end of the deal.
Dana walks through a dark, deserted parking garage, her footsteps echoing. She hears someone behind her! It's her boss, there to hit on her (slightly). Vince witnesses this, but doesn't hit the boss, not even slightly. He just glowers.
Orwell continues to hang with the circus people. They're growing on her, but I'm sure a bath will help. The circus guys are prepping for a show....
... and the show arrives, and Gregor has taken Max Mollini's place as ringmaster. He has Rollo and Max emperiled in various death traps, from which they will die. The audience thinks this is all part of the show, especially when The Cape swings down and hits Molotov hard. He frees Max, Orwell frees Rollo. While Vince tries to revive Max, Molotov grabs the cape off Vince's back. They fight a bit- Gregor has superior knowledge of the cape and it's capabilities, Vince has a pure heart and superior.... uhhh... strangulation skills? Anyway, Vince wins but refuses to kill Gregor, knowing that no jail can hold Gregor and that he'll be back for the cape.
Orwell and Vince have taken pictures of the railroad hobos getting the bum's rush and given them to Dana under cover of... manilla envelopes under the door.
Orwell spends more time at the circus, and in a cross fade, we realize that there is a connection between her and Fleming.
The Cape lectures Trip Faraday about the evils of fighting and the difference between combat and valor, thus giving us a rather confusing moral to this story.
Okay. That wasn't quite a hot mess, but it came close in places. The cheez-whiz was spread a little thinner this week, and anytime you get to see Summer Glau in a leotard, well... that's almost worth wading through the show for.
The idea that the cape is nearly mystical is interesting, but I'm not sure if this is the place in the series to start that thread.
Oh, it's now patently obvious that Orwell is Fleming's daughter. Groan.
Gregor could be an interesting villain, but this is TV... SHOW us, don't tell us.
It occurred to me that this is the sort of show that would be at home on Nickelodeon, or maybe USA or Syfy. It feels like a Nick young adult drama, with a cast that's a bit too old. It has sufficient quality to be a good cable show, but it just feels cheap and badly paced on network TV.
I don't give this show long to live, honestly. And that's too bad... it was just poorly placed.
Will Conservatives Like This Episode?
Evil Russians, good guy wins and gives a Shazam! style moral at the end. (Not to mention Summer in tights, doing aerial splits. Hey, we Conservatives like girls, too!) What's not to like?