Episode Title: "Dice"
Writer: Tom Wheeler
Director: Michael Nankin
Previously on "The Cape":
Former cop Vince Faraday (David Lyons) learned that Peter Fleming (James Frain) was secretly using his ARK corporation to transport bio-weapons and was subsequently captured by ARK soldiers and framed as Chess, Fleming’s lethal alter-ego. After a televised chase that made the world, as well was Vince’s family believe that he was Chess, an explosion nearly killed him. He was found alive and then taken in by Max Malini (Keith David) and his Carnival of Crime. After some persuasion, Max trained Vince in the use of a special suit to become The Cape; his son’s favorite superhero.
Recently, Vince and the Carnival of Crime were at cross-purposes when Vince enlisted Orwell (Summer Glau) to help him expose Fleming’s double identity on a train while the Carnival attempted to rob it. Vince did get Fleming and his former associate Scales (Vinnie Jones) to declare war on each other, but Vince’s relationship with Max and the Carnival was frayed. Vince was also unaware that Orwell is secretly Fleming’s daughter.
In flashback, we meet a young girl named Tracey Jerrod who can predict the future based on her understanding of probability. Fleming and Tracey’s father Henry (Kevin Kilner) discuss how her ability works before Fleming insists upon meeting her. However, once Fleming is introduced to her, she tells them that Fleming will kill Henry in the future and then she will kill Fleming. The future Chess laughs off her predictions, but then ten years later, an older Tracey (Mena Suvari) attempts to kill Fleming with a pair of exploding dice at a casino. At the Carnival of Crime, Orwell does a favor for Vince and provides him with his police record and those of the Carnival members.
As Vince wallows in his misery, he wonders if his life turned to s*** because of destiny. Elsewhere, Fleming is attended to by his personal physician and it is implied that Chess is a separate personality within him. He realizes the young woman tried to kill him, but he is more concerned about the launch of his T.R.A.C.E. program which can predict some future events. Vince and Orwell identify Tracey as the daughter of one of Chess’ victims and Vince is more than happy to let her do his job for him. But Orwell seems oddly protective of Fleming and insists that Vince needs him alive to clear his name.
Vince and Orwell track Tracey to her apartment, where they see the extent of her obsession with Fleming. Tracey actually eludes them by allowing Fleming’s men to capture her and they bring her to meet with him at the Violin restaurant. Clearly taken with her, Fleming learns Tracey’s identity and motivation. She distracts him with conversation and sets off a chain reaction that nearly kills him with a falling chandelier. Vince saves Fleming, but he is disgusted by the turn of events. Later, Vince and Orwell work out that Tracey is attempting to destroy T.R.A.C.E. because it is based on her mind. Unfortunately, Fleming’s launch event will be nearly impossible to sneak in to.
With two days to work with, the Carnival gives Vince a crash course in tightrope walking to reach the ARK building. On the night of the event, Tracey sneaks in with little effort and Fleming tries to initiate a relationship with her. She admits that he is special and dark, but she vows to destroy him and his entire building. Orwell figures out that Tracey has set up the building to ignite thanks a strategically placed gas filled elevator. But Vince arrives just in time to prevent it. However, while Orwell subdues Tracey, Vince blows up the building’s research lab to destroy T.R.A.C.E. and get the last laugh on Fleming.
Later, Fleming’s alter-ego starts to make itself heard in his head again. Back at the Carnival, Vince again turns his head to the idea of destiny and whether his life is an accident or not. In flashback, we see that Max consulted a calendar that seemed to predict future events, including the discovery of Vince on the day of the explosion. From the way that Max immediately checks The Cape, it is clear that Vince’s selection was no accident.
If any of what I described above sounds interesting, then I’m telling it wrong.
I recently had an epiphany about "The Cape." As a drama, it’s a dead end. But it would make a fantastic comedy in the hands of someone like Adam Reed and the voice cast of "Archer." One of the many, many problems that this show has is that it takes itself way too seriously. The people behind "The Cape" really seem to think that this is high drama. But if there was actually real humor in the show then it could work beautifully. And I don’t mean little "Spider-Man" one-liners. "The Cape" needs to be an over-the-top comedy.
But "The Cape" is not a comedy. It’s certainly not a great drama. Or a good show. And it’s just not entertaining.
I don’t know much about Thomas Wheeler, but from the three episodes of "The Cape" that he’s written I can tell that he’s got no sense of story or character, his dialog is atrocious and I’m not sure if he’s ever read a comic book in his life. Frankly, he’s just a bad writer. And his brother, William Wheeler is also a terrible writer, judging by last week’s episode.
It’s not hard to understand why "The Cape" has constantly falling ratings every week. The real mystery is why anyone came back after the first episode. I’m only watching it because it’s part of my job. But it’s also the show I dread watching the most. I get no enjoyment out of this and I’d much rather write about a show that I love or enjoy than to tear something down. But it has to be done. Someone has to warn unsuspecting viewers who might accidentally tune into this.
I’m doing it for you, America!
Once again, there are no actual laughs in this week’s episode, but I did chuckle at the audacity of the title card that claimed Mena Suvari’s Tracey was only ten years older than the little girl Tracey. I even wrote in my notes "Try 20 years later," and I was right. Suvari is in her early ’30s… and time has not been kind to her. In fact, it’s kind of ludicrous that Fleming is so into her. At the age she’s supposed to be, Tracey’s about the same age as Fleming’s long lost daughter. Anyone else creeped out by that?
This episode also jumps all over the place in terms of previously established characterizations that seem like afterthoughts to the series’ original plot. For starters, the idea that Chess and Fleming are two separate personas is at least intriguing, but there was nothing in the earlier episodes that suggested that. Orwell is also showing way too much concern for "daddy," compared to her earlier efforts to bring him down.
But worst of all is Max, who last week was ready to let Vince die or get his ass kicked just so he could rob a train. Now they’re telling us that The Cape is Vince’s destiny and Max knew all along?
Give me a break.
"The Cape" is a true clusterf*** of a show and it deserves the early grave that it seems to be heading towards. Only morbid curiosity should bring people back to see how low it can really go.
Crave Online Rating: 1 out of 10.