I had high hopes for The Cape, mostly because it’s very similar to a Batman type character. Regular dude (Vince Faraday/The Cape) wronged by some other dude (Peter Fleming/Chess) is now forced to right that wrong. I never get tired of that story and The Cape has that plus other good stuff, but the presentation was off.
Point 1. It was billed as a two-hour premier, but what you really got was two HOUR episodes back to back. The first hour being the Pilot and the next called Tarot. If you missed the Pilot, you could pop in for Tarot and still understand what’s going on.
Think back to Buffy’s sixth season opener. It was on a new network and they wanted a big event, so the writers gave them a two-hour episode. Yes, it’s called Bargaining part one and two, but that was for syndication purposes because other channels would break it up into hour long episodes. I think it would be much harder for someone to jump in middle of this episode without something to tell you what you missed. Even on the DVD when you click the episode, you get the whole two hours. It was meant to be one complete story.
But okay, NBC didn’t do that. Not the first network to do a two episode premier. Which brings me to my next point.
Point 2. First episode was all origin. Because of the Batman similarities, most people understand the origin of The Cape. Even if they didn’t, spending an hour telling us was boring. It would’ve been better to give us an episode where The Cape is already an established crime fighter. The focus needs to be on him and HIS motivations. All the characters and plots crammed into the premier, each could’ve served as single episodes. This was how Batman was introduced in the comics. Many issues later his origin was told.
So that was the stuff I didn’t like, but I did say there was good stuff to The Cape. I really liked the father/son relationship. Sons pretty much come hardwired to think their Dads are superheros. Vince Faraday literally becomes that, partly to go after Chess, but more so to keep his son’s hope alive.
The world thinks Faraday is a traitor and his son is starting to believe it. There’s a great scene where Faraday, dressed as The Cape, visits his son to tell him what he’s seen in the news is false. The chances of his favorite superhero, the one he fondly remembers reading about with his Dad, making a stop just to tell him that is unlikely. It doesn’t matter. That’s what his son needed to keep his hope alive. I could see future episodes where Faraday, dressed as The Cape, continues to visit his son. At least I’d like that to happen.
The human aspect. That’s what will keep me tuning in.
Faraday is a broken man, but there’s still something in him that wants to fight. His new allies are also broken, but they’ve lost their hope. Faraday, as The Cape, could be the one or The One to bring them all together. As a wise man named Whedon once wrote a character to say, “Champions don’t see the world as it is, but what it could be.” Or something like that.
I really hope the show improves because genre shows like this take time to build an audience and that’s not something networks like to hear. I’ll give it a few more episodes, maybe more than that because of Summer Glau. Once you’re on a Whedon show, you’ve got me as a fan for life.