Review - The Cape: Tarot

I watched the first episode of The Cape somewhat excited for the possibility of a new superhero show. What I got was a somewhat disorganized and frenetic origin story that introduced way too much at once and seemed all over the place. Since I had two episodes recorded on the DVR, I figured I should give the second one a shot. After watching "Tarot" I'm still not completely convinced this show will be great, but I do feel a little bit better about the show in general as a result.

The second episode took a deep breath and slowed down. Vince is continuing to refine his abilities The Cape and learns that Peter Fleming's next target as Chess will be Patrick Portman. Portman is set to rule whether or not the Palm City prison system will be privatized, which could potentially give Fleming complete control of the police and prisons. Fleming has hired Cain, a member of a group of assassins called Tarot who is proficient with knives and poisons. So this is nice. We get an assassin proficient with knives. Was he a mercenary in a war? Trained assassin? Former knife throwing champion? Nope. None of the above. He's a French chef. Yipes.

A good portion of this episode was spent involving Vince's wife and child, Dana and Trip. As Dana struggles to get a new job she changes her name, promptly pissing off Trip and making him think she thinks Vince is guilty. Ultimately, she gets a job at a law firm because of grittiness and because "Faradays are fighters." There was quite a bit of flashback in this episode, outlining the relationship between Vince and Dana. It's unclear if the relationship established in these flashbacks is what prompted Dana to stick with the Faraday namesake or not. It does appear though that, in her position, Dana will be pulling at the thread that maybe Vince isn't dead and that he definitely wasn't chess.

Palm City must be filled of a lot of empty buildings appropriate for a hideout because Vince finds one and sets up shop. You would think he had been in there for years too, with the amount of photos, news clippings and computers. We get to see a glimpse of the true Summer Glau when she faces off with Cain and sufficiently holds her own in a battle. Other than that though we see her running around in a miniskirt and driving a really snazzy Benz. Still no word on where she gets the money though.

Long story short, Vince saves Portman from being poisoned and the prison system stays public (not sure who wins when the prison system is involved). I don't know why hogtying Cain and leaving him the kitchen for Chess to find really stops anything. Couldn't he just untie him and return the poisoned plate to Portman? And how does Portman go from getting death threats and close to resigning to becoming Harvey Dent all of a sudden, taking a stand when a masked vigilante asks him to?

Theoretically, if Fleming had gained control of the prisons as well he would have an assembly-line of "rogues" if you will, selecting them from the "gallery." Yes, I'm intentionally doing airquotes there because it's becoming more clear with each episode that The Cape is a blatant ripoff of Batman. I honestly don't see this show lasting more than a season (if it makes it through even that). I'm sure each new weekly villain will share something in common with villains in Batman (we already saw a straightjacketed one in the preview that could be Joker or Riddler inspired). I'm also sure that each episode will be pretty predictable.

David Lyons is one of the few bright spots of the show (as is Keith David) and their portrayals are actually pretty good. So few bright spots won't shine through the dark though, such as James Frain's and Glau's talents being wasted on bad characters. I get the sense that NBC is desperate to get back the Heroes audience it lost, but what they don't seem remember is that audience dwindled to very little when it was all said and done. Parading a superhero themed show that borrows heavily from other influences (Batman Begins, Robocop and The Prestige for instance) with little of its own character is not going to be successful.

At least Chuck returns on Monday, serving as the lead-in for, you guessed it, The Cape.