REVIEW: The Cape “Pilot” and “Tarot” S1 E1&2

10 Jan

The show I was most excited about for the mid-season finally premiered last night.   I was still reeling from my Eagles losing to the Packers so I was ready for an entertaining, take-my-mind-off-the-fact-that-my-team-sucks show.  For me, the Cape did not disappoint.   Although watching the show, I can see how people wouldn’t like it or it wouldn’t be their cup of tea.  But for me, I thought it was well done and met my expectations.   For those who didn’t watch the main premise of the show revolves around Vince Farraday (played by David Lyons) who is a detective in the fictitious city of Palm City, which looks to be based in California.  Vince is married to Dana (played by Jennifer Ferrin) and has a son Tripp.  Farraday has been investigating the many murders and crimes committed by Chess, a mastermind criminal the city is anxious to apprehend.  Farraday is approached by his friend Marty, who is a cop with a private company called ARK, that is the first privatized police agency in the world.  Marty wants Farraday to come work with him since it looks like ARK is planning to take over the public police force anyway and since Vince has been frustrated with all the in-house corruption, he agrees to join him.  He meets with the head of ARK, Peter Fleming (played by the wonderfully creepy James Frain) and agrees to come on board.  One night Farraday gets an email from the mysterious Orwell (who has been uncovering all the police corruption) telling him that ARK has a container full of L-9 explosives being brought in to take over the city (the same L-9 that just killed the police chief.)   Orwell is like the Gossip Girl of Palm City…you’re not sure how this person knows everything, but they do and they broadcast their knowledge to anyone who is listening.  When Farraday calls Marty to help him investigate, 2 ARK gunmen show up and drug Farraday and you find out Marty was the one who alerted them….bastard.  Farraday wakes up face to face with Chess.  It’s revealed that Chess is Peter Fleming and since Farraday won’t join their team after what he knows, they decide to ruin his life and frame him as Chess, so Fleming can look like ARK apprehended Chess and take over the police department.  It has all been set up and while Farraday is running for his life with the signature Chess mask stapled to his head, ARK is hunting him down and the media is filming the whole thing.  His family is watching this on the news and the media reveals that Chess is Vince Farraday.  Is family can’t believe it.  When Farraday ducks under an oil tanker, there is a trap door he unlocks and falls through.   At just that moment, ARK shoots the tanker and it explodes, while his family watches on TV.  Presumed dead and with “Chess” apprehended, ARK takes over the police department and Farraday’s family lays him to rest with Marty there to support the family….bastard.   Farraday is taking in by an underground group of bank robbers, who were also once in the circus, led by Max Malini (played by Keith David).  Max takes Farraday under his wing and teaches him what he taught some of the greatest illusionists in the world, tricks, illusions, and escape maneuvers that will transform Farraday into….The Cape!    So you have your hero and you have your main villain as the premise of the show.  Let begin with what was good.

The first thing I noticed that I liked was the pace of the show.  They could have dragged out Farraday in his regular cop life and his relationship with Marty and the set up leading to him becoming The Cape for the first hour (which is what I thought was going to happen.)  I was pleased to see that it moved very quickly and within the first 20-25 minutes, you learn about Farraday and his family, his work life, who ARK/Peter Fleming are, and how he was able to transition himself into being the Cape.  You also learn who Chess is right away.  It was great pace.  It moved fast enough that I wasn’t bored and slow enough to give what is happening reason and substance.

The second thing I liked were the small introductions when we came back from commercial break.  With this type of show, there is a lot to introduce.  You have heroes, villains, friends, family, plot, supporting characters, mystery characters, etc.  There was much to dissect.  I don’t read comic books so I don’t know if this type of story telling is typical but for them to introduce each new segment with a “title” was smart and helped to organize what was going and give the audience a heads up for what was coming.

The third thing I liked was how they showed Farraday becoming The Cape.  Since this is supposed to be real life, and Farraday is a regular cop, he wouldn’t just all of sudden have super powers.  So what could be better than having a former circus group find him and train him.  They have a hypnotist show him how to hypnotize people to doing what he wants them to do.  He has the strong man beating the crap out of him to toughen him up (although by the looks of David Lyons’ arms, Farraday wouldn’t need much of that….yummy!!!)  Finally you have Max that can teach him the illusions and tricks to move around like a Superhero!  And I can still use my suspension of disbelief for certain parts of the show.   It was well done.   Max is great and David plays him very well.  He’s a business man but he’s a criminal.   He helps Farraday but wants something in return.  Max is not a good guy but the way David plays him, you can’t help but like him, especially when he ends up helping Farraday and later when you see him checking up on him to make sure he is doing ok.   For some reason, he seems to be taking a special interest in Vince above a business deal.  But I am interested to see more of Max’s back story.

Finally Orwell.  I like her so far but I would like to know more about her.  I have many questions.   What is her motivation for saving the city?  Did something happen to her or someone she loved?   How was she able to get all the information she was able to get (like the information about the corrupt cops?)   How does she have all that technology and why?   How does she have the money at her age to be driving around in THAT Mercedes?   What is her end game?   I like that show already answered some questions, like who Chess is, but I’m glad there is still some mystery with Orwell.  Although, why wouldn’t Farraday push her for more information.   He was just betrayed by his best friend, so why would he so easily trust this girl?

What didn’t I like?  Not much.   But the one thing that concerns me is throwing too much at the audience at once so early in the series.  I know these shows have a very limited window to make an impact to be renewed but I hope that they don’t rush too many stories too quickly.  Right now we have Farraday wanting to bring down ARK with Orwell, the mystery about who Orwell is and what her end game is, Max and his crew of circus bank robbers, Fleming/Chess and his quest for ultimate power and destruction, Marty and how his choices may affect him and his family, Farraday’s family and how his “death” and ruined reputation is effecting his son and how his wife is trying to move on for her son and herself, Cain and the really creepy bad guy who likes to poison people and is part of a secret society known as Tarot (where I’m sure we will meet more bad guys), and helping keep Portman safe, who is the Secretary of the prison system and is against ARK taking over the prison system.   So there is a lot going on.   All of which I am intrigued by but if it starts to be too much, I will lose interest and only care about the stories that interest me.  Quite frankly, that’s what happened to me with The Event.  Too much going on and not enough that was engrossing to keep my attention across the entire story.  Don’t do that The Cape!!!!   While Tarot and all that is peaking my curiosity, I think it can come back into play as I get more invested in the characters and the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed the Cape.  It is different from anything else on TV right now.  I’ve heard some people compare it to Heroes.  This show is NOTHING like Heroes and really the 2 shouldn’t even be compared.  Heroes was great for 2 seasons and then completely fell apart because it has no idea what it’s identity was.  Plus its initial premise was everyday people with extraordinary abilities.  Does that sound like anything I just described above?  It doesn’t to me.  Just because this is based on a comic book character and has a comic feel to it, doesn’t mean it’s like Heroes.  The Cape has already laid out what it is about and the goal which is to bring down ARK and get Vince back to his family safely.

The Cape is back on during its regular scheduled time, Monday January 17th at 9pm.  I believe the 2 hour premiere is being re-run tonight so if you didn’t check it out, you should watch and give it a chance.   Then let me know what you think.

UPDATE: Ratings for The Cape were ok.  2.6 for 8.4 million viewers.  Not bad.  Not great.  For NBC, they are probably happy.  But we’ll see when it goes to it’s regular Monday night slot.

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Posted by on January 10, 2011 in NBC, Recaps and Reviews


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