All our major characters were detailed in the intro to the last article so we won’t do it again. The only thing of note is that I’ve decided that I’m going to going to go ahead and spoil the Trip and Dana stuff at the beginning, and by “spoil” I mean “go over because they’re not really interesting yet” so it’s a mercy I can put it all in one paragraph. Also, be wary that there’s at least one gory image in this article.
Trip’s plotline in this episode concerns him starting at a new school and having to deal with the other kids making fun of him for being Chess’s son. He does this by fighting, which we only hear about. Dana’s plotline is a bit meatier with her discovering that one of her new clients was present at the train yard and saw everything that happened with Vince and may be able to exonerate him. Unfortunately, she gives this information to Marty Voyt so things don’t go very well.
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
The opening scene this week is extremely simple but does an excellent job of setting up this week’s antagonist: a man known as Gregor the Great (Thomas Kretschmann). He’s in a Russian gulag and gets told he can’t escape. Naturally, he quickly escapes while killing several guards and slipping through a narrow pipe. In one short scene, we know what this man is capable of and his goal: Kozmo. Granted, we don’t know what Kozmo is yet, but we’ll get to it.
OUT OF THE PAST
In Palm City, Vince is investigating the train yard from the first episode and flashing back to an Ark Trooper named Phillips, who he subsequently goes after as the Cape. The confrontation goes as expected, with the Cape pulling the door off Phillip’s truck and then dangling him off a bridge in the classic super-hero intimidation move. He wants Phillips to tell the truth about what happened that night, but Phillips is far more afraid of Peter Fleming than the guy who’s dangling him off a bridge and then drops him onto a truck. Orwell isn’t happy about the Cape’s methods but still helps him escape the incoming Ark Troopers.
The Cape goes back to the Carnival of Crime, which is still a major setting in this show, and is training to use his cape more effectively. Max warns him that he’s becoming too angry and that won’t help anyone, but as the conversation ends who should walk in but our pal Gregor the Great, whose surname is Molotov in case it wasn’t clear at this point that he was evil. He’s back in town for his cape, which is bad news for the Cape.
KOZMO THE UNKILLABLE
Max won’t reveal anything about the cape, of course, and even tells Gregor it’s been lost. This isn’t happy news for the psychopathic killer, as the cape was the only thing that kept him going through his twenty years in prison. The only solace Max can offer is a warm bed for the night, and it might have ended there if Vince hadn’t walked in totally unbidden and basically picks a fight with Gregor, who then leaves. We then learn that Kozmo was actually a shared identity that came with the cape. It belonged to Max for some time and he initially trained Gregor to take up the mantle, only for him to go mad with power and start killing people instead of the thefts Kozmo usually did. Max took it away and had him sent to prison with the intent of Vince creating a new more benevolent legacy for the cape. He then advises that Vince lay low until Gregor leaves town, but that ship’s already sailed.
We’re then introduced to a new subplot: Peter Fleming has a daughter that’s disappeared. He’s distracted from his sulking by Marty, who arrives with the news that the Ark Troopers were almost able to apprehend super-blogger Orwell. They’re able to track her (look, we all know it’s Summer Glau, let’s just keep this simple) and Fleming wants her taken care of since she’s been spreading ugly truths about him and the Ark Corporation. All he wants is for Palm City to be safe and calm, and for Orwell to be found and eliminated… permanently. It seems redundant to say you want something eliminated permanently, but perhaps he just wanted it emphasized.
Orwell, meanwhile, is waiting for Vince at his hideout. She’s a bit miffed about the night before since she almost got captured and all, and he responds by being mad about her current lack of backstory. He wants to know her real name, her source for money and tech, and… and… Orwell is Fleming’s daughter, isn’t she? She’s using her father’s own funds against him? That’s what’s going on here, right? Anyway, she says that Vince knows just as much about Max, who personally knows a man who’s all over the Intrerpol databases for many crimes. The two reach some degree of peace and then there’s a scene where Vince and Trip read a Cape comic at the same time and I have to admit it’s a nice scene.
Later that night, Vince trails Gregor. This lasts for about a minute as Gregor easily ditches his tail and goes to a poker game filled with criminals. He learns more about the Cape and then kills all his poker buddies. He has killed so many people in this episode.
SECRETS OF THE CAPE
The next morning, Vince learns about Gregor’s activities and decides it would be a good idea to poke this bear. More importantly, Rollo has found Orwell at the Cape’s lair and convinced her to come to a show the circus is performing, which has to be a lie since they’re the Carnival of Crime. She still goes and is welcomed by everyone with open arms, even Gregor, who seems to be ready to leave when Vince stumbles in and demands they throw him a going away party which is really just an excuse for Vince to interrogate Gregor who is far too busy reading Orwell’s palm and adding more fuel to the “Orwell is Fleming’s daughter” fire to care too much. The cape’s origins are discussed until things reach a boiling point between Vince and Gregor. The latter vanishes and swears he’ll get back the cape, which Vince then dons to stop him.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
Orwell is quick to realize how bad of an idea this is, especially since Gregor’s palm reading was scary accurate and he might know about Vince’s family. The Cape immediately goes after Dana, only to discover that she’s perfectly fine except her boss is obviously trying to get into her pants. Gregor’s true plan was to take over the Carnival for the performance which actually happened and seemed like a bad idea considering all the crimes they do. Anyway, he intends to kill all the circus folk we’ve been introduced to but the Cape arrives to save Max while Orwell saves the others. Unfortunately, Gregor then snatches the cape from Vince and declares himself the new Kozmo the Unkillable. This matters little as Vince quickly regains the upper hand and manages to defeat Gregor.
ONE MAN, ONE FIGHT, ONE RIGHT
That’s the Cape’s crime-fighting credo, and while it’s clumsy it does do the job. Anyway, thanks to Dana telling Marty about the train yard folk being witnesses to Vince’s framing, they’re all getting rounded up and sent away by Ark Troopers. Luckily, Vince and Orwell are there to take pictures which they slip under Dana’s office door. There’s a brief scene where the Cape shows up to tell Trip not to get into fights at school, and then the show all but confirms Orwell as Fleming’s daughter when he watches a ballerina in a music box as the scene fades to Orwell doing sky dancing and then back to the ballerina.
In this third episode, we’re already starting to repeat some things. Vince once again has to fight crime without his cape, and he once again chooses to go to the wrong place to intersect the antagonist. It was still an entertaining episode and we did get at least some of a mystery with Fleming’s daughter and Orwell though the show is either being intentionally overt about their connection or planting a healthy crop of red herrings. We’ll have to see where that one goes.
My main issue with the show thus far will be the under-reliance on the Cape itself. As the show’s central gimmick, they’re awfully stingy with it but at this point that was the norm. Most of the other super-hero shows of this era downplayed the use of powers, like the original The Tick and The Flash live-action shows. They also seem to be spinning their wheels a bit, but they have all their pieces in place so it’s time to use them. We’ll see if they do next week with “Scales”.