Tonight's The Cape showed the flipside to last week's episode. In the first part of “The Lich,” the slower pace allowed for other characters than The Cape to have something to do, and some of the character actors, particularly Tom Noonan as The Lich's assistant, took the opportunity to shine. It came at the cost of a bit of The Cape's crazy that we all know and hate/love, but that seemed to be it, and it was all right.
In tonight's second half of the two-parter, we see that far more of that was lost. The crazy idiocy of the show really can only sustain a storyline for an hour. The first half of tonight's episode was classic “so bad it's entertaining” The Cape. The second half was just “so bad it's bad.” How did it all go so wrong? Let's check the tape!
TO HAVE and TO HOLD: We open with Summer Glau in a wedding dress. That's some nice fan-service right there. It is, of course, a hallucination, as The Lich is rambling about how he's gonna marry Orwell, and she's in a fantasy marriage scenario.
Meanwhile, The Cape is preparing for a water balloon fight. Which is kind of great, to be honest. Although what he's doing with the water balloons doesn't make much sense, but it ends up with him doing MacGyver CSI and picking up some fingerprints (an almost identical scene happened on No Ordinary Family this week; it's probably the closest we'll get to a crossover).
Tom Noonan is also proving that he's far too good for this show, with a lovely Biblical rant as The Cape searches for his fingerprint in a database. The scene of documents popping up in front of the hero as the villain rants in a different room is such a cliché that I lay money on The Cape saying “That's it!” when the document pops up. It's a push. He says “Gotcha!”
For RICHER or for POORER: The Lich keeps building up the creepy by ranting at Summer Glau, who really needs her crazy Internet commenter mace at this point. Instead, she retreats into her wedding fantasy, where it turns out that she's marrying Vince in escapist-land! This gives us the opportunity to see a bit more of the riveting chemistry between the two actors, at least until Orwell sees a white door and figures it's a return to reality.
The Cape and The Carnival of Crime are breaking into the asylum where Chandler had been held. Rollo says, continuing his incredulous over-exposition trend from last week, “An insane asylum? Filled with zombies? I don't even know what to say.” Fortunately, Max is prepared, saying “that's why we brought our dates,” as he and Rollo whip out some shotguns. Their investigation of the asylum leads nowhere except to Orwell's purse (which contains her driver's license), so Vince decides to go hang out with his wife, who can let him interrogate John Lee Roche. “I'm out of time. And options.” Uh, dude, that was your second option. You have lots of other options.
There's some odd tension between The Lich and his nurse. She provides a centerpiece of lemons for his pre-wedding meal with Orwell. The Lich wanted lilies, dammit. So he breaks the dish and goes to get them himself, leaving the nurse to threaten Orwell: “You’re just a whore. Enjoy that dress. I’m gonna bury you in it.” Meanwhile, The Lich goes outside to some incredibly bombastic music and picks some flowers.
In SICKNESS and in HEALTH: It's pretty easy to pinpoint just where the episode goes to shit. Before this chapter, it had been vintage The Cape. Dumb, kind of fun, kind of dumb. The Cape's scene with his family, however, brings out the worst in all the characters. The Cape can't really emote. Trip remains extremely poorly written and rather poorly acted. Dana is probably the best actor of the bunch, but she's saddled with the worst dialogue of all.
In quick succession, we get this series of disasters:
- The Cape shows up on the roof and tells Trip “I need to speak with your mother.” Trip makes “like all whoa dude” eyes.
- Trip goes to tell his mom, who basically treats him like an insane child instead of her son.
- She gets outside and starts ranting and raving about, I don't know, who cares. Theoretically, The Cape is unhappy, because he scrunches up his face. Then he does a magic trick to shut her up.
- Trip responds to the magic trick by saying “That was totally rad.” You're hip with the lingo of the kids, The Cape writers.
- The Cape tells Dana that lives are at stake, which is dumb enough, then Trip pulls her shirt and says “Mom, lives are at stake!”
- The Cape finally convinces Dana by saying, “In your gut, you know it to be true.
- “I need to speak with your mother.” Whoa eyes. She doesn’t want to meet The Cape. “That was totally rad.” “Mom, lives are at stake!” “In your gut, you know it to be true.”
- Dana never recognizes her husband's eyes, body type, or voice.
The chapter gets a bit of salvaging when The Lich returns with his flowers, talking about first date clichés and saying, “We'll look back at this moment and laugh.” That's pretty much the last fun bit of the episode. The show devolves into outright absurdity, as Vince and Orwell share a wedding dance in their little fantasy. Summer Glau probably won't put that scene on her highlight reel.
FORSAKING all OTHERS: The Cape thinks The Dark Knight is a pretty cool movie. How can I tell? Because this chapter is basically taken right out of The Dark Knight. The Cape, with Dana and the newly recruited Justin, bust into Roche's holding cell. Justin tells The Cape to use standard operating procedure, which The Cape interprets to mean that he should hypnotize the bad guy with a flash of fire. This effective use of police procedure turns out to be the thing that finally convinces Dana that The Cape is her husband. Whatever works, I guess.
You MAY NOW KISS THE BRIDE: Hey, remember Peter Fleming? He's in the credits, so he shows up in this episode. Surprisingly, it's in Orwell's fantasy sequence where he shows up to give the bride away, since he's her father. It's kind of nice that this reveal is presented so matter-of-factly.
The Cape and The Carnival are breaking into something different this time, and The Cape tells Rollo, “Come on, BRO” with an excessively white enunciation of “bro.” Once they get in, Rollo asks “So, Vince. These Chandlers. Who were they?” That's not me paraphrasing. That's his actual line. “Hey, Vince, how about that exposition? Would now be a convenient time for that?”
Orwell, meanwhile, is slowly freeing herself from the drugs, as the nurse threatens her with more. Based on the look in her eyes, she wishes she could kill with her brain. Hah, that's pretty unlikely! Also, Vince says Orwell's name. It sounds like Jamie.
Til DEATH DO US PART: The Lich finds The Cape in his basement. He cuts himself across the hand to show that can’t feel pain, which is an advantage in a fight, theoretically, but shouldn't the blood loss be relevant? Also, when did The Lich learn to fight? Not that he acquits himself terribly well. The big fight is over quite quickly and anticlimatically. Orwell has also freed herself from the nurse (see, she's a strong woman who doesn't need to be rescued!), but she collapses shortly after (she still needs to be rescued!). Vince rushes to her, saying, “We need to save Julia!” I thought it was Jamie.
There's another terrible scene with Trip and Dana.
Orwell wakes up, and Vince introduces her to Max. “Welcome to the Carnival of Crime, Orwell.” Then she sees a white door like in her escapist dream, and it's really scary. Yeah, circus props are pretty scary. The end? The end, I guess.