logan J. fowler suits up for a review of NBC’s The Cape pilot episode …
Superheroes in entertainment are a dime a dozen these days. Everything is being adapted into film or TV shows from existing comic book lore. So, upon hearing about this new show titled The Cape, I decided to give the original tale of a framed crime fighter a shot.
With a two-hour pilot, The Cape gives us a fair amount of exposition. We are introduced to the protagonist, Vince Faraday (David Lyons), as a stand-up police officer with a loving wife and child, working for an area called Palm City. The city, as any superhero show would be, is overrun with crime, pretty much spearheaded by a villain named Chess (James Frain), who plans to execute the chief of police. Chess succeeds with his plan, and due to that, a major corporation by the name of ARK now owns the police, and develops a private system for the boys in blue.
Vince becomes one of those cops after a meeting with ARK head Peter Fleming. However, when Peter gets a lead as to what caused the chief’s death from a mysterious blogger named Orwell (who has a massive knowledge of all that goes on in Palm City), he is found and betrayed by fellow officer Marty (Dorian Missick), who brings Vince before the head of ARK. Peter Fleming, as we find, is not only the head of ARK, but also Chess, and he frames Peter for the chief’s murder by stapling Chess’ mask on him and putting him out in the open.
On the run, Vince falls in with a group of circus performers, lead by Max Malini (Keith David). Max and his crew need money, and Vince eventually assists them since his ARK ID card allows access to banks. As Vince is hitting the old punching bag, he notices a long black cloth, one that reminds him of his son, and a comic he read with him called The Cape. Vince pleads to Max to help him learn the tricks and trade of not only using the cape as a weapon, but also tricks of the circus, such as disappearing into thin air. Max then becomes his mentor, and the two begin a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” relationship. Vince needs the training; Max wants the money.
Vince begins to learn the skills needed to fight crime, and in time Max tells him he is ready. One night while patrolling and looking for Chess and one of his henchman Scales (Vinnie Jones), Vince comes face to face with Orwell (Summer Glau), who steps up as Vince’s eyes and ears behind the scenes due to the fact that she wants to take down ARK and Chess, as well.
With his new found skills and an eye for the crimes happening through the help of a blogger who knows Palm City like the back of her hand, Vince sets forth to make things right, clear his name, and serve justice as “The Cape.”
The pilot episode of The Cape had some good stuff. The lead, David Lyons, proves to be a strong actor, as he really ropes you in with his engaging performance of a man wronged in the eyes of a messed up law system. Most of the other actors serve their parts well too — except, well, I won’t lie, the kid did verge on the annoying at points.
On the negative side, the first half of the show was tough to get into, as Vince’s setup came really quick. Also, as a person who has read comic after comic and seen superhero movie after superhero movie, the exposition for Chess really faltered. I mean, we have no reason as to why this guy is who he is and why he’s doing what he’s doing. We have no idea how ARK became his, and to accept that all is provided made it tough to get into the show. It may be that we have to stick around to find out how it all came to be, but in order to understand the characters more, I found it harming the show slightly that these factors weren’t introduced at the beginning.
On that note, the same questions go for Orwell. Her background is never explained, and how she can go where she does, and get all the info she needs is left in question. For both these characters, some strong exposition is definitely needed, and I hope that comes to be for viewers of this show.
With that said, I enjoyed the second half of the pilot more. It may have been that I just accepted all the character development for what it was, and just let my previously stated gripes go. I did get some chuckles out of the pilot, but still kind of raised an eyebrow when a team of circus cronies robbed a bank dressed in drag. The campiness didn’t sit right with me. Not that I don’t expect campiness, especially in a comic book-esque series, but the whole scene seemed out of place with the more serious tone the program was trying to display.
The Cape has a very Batman-ish atmosphere to it. The hero is seen standing on rooftops, as well as pulling thugs into darkness, and provides a raspy voice when Vince is in costume. Even down to the villain, it reminds me of Batman, as Chess is like a crossover of the Riddler and the Joker, with the emphasis more on the Riddler.
It’ll be interesting to see where the show goes from here. I’m just wondering if there is enough storyline to flesh the character and the world out, and if Vince does clear his name, will we continue his adventures as a crime fighter past that point?
Time will tell. As for now, what I’d really like to see in the show is more background for some of its characters. And yes, as for becoming a regular viewer, I will definitely see what lies in store for the caped crusader.