Hey everyone! Thanks for swinging by for another installment of Marvel’s Spider-Man on Disney XD. Peter Parker is still being controlled by Otto Octavius, and this week he has to face his biggest challenge yet, Public School? Being the new kid in school can be tough, especially if you’re a ruthless vigilante investigating your fellow classmates! Pull up a web and enjoy as we talk about Season 2, Episode 18, “Cloak and Dagger.”
1. Midtown High provides new challenges, but also new opportunities.
At the end of ‘Critical Update,’ Peter!Ock quits Horizon Academy, not only because of his previous grievances with Max Modell (who fired his… original body? You know, Superior Spider-Man is good but it can sometimes be hard to write about!) Ock refuses to pay the high tuition that Peter was already struggling to keep up with and thinks that because of his high intellect, he should be awarded scholarships and awards. Schools should be fighting to have a student like him instead of squeezing gifted students for money, and so he leaves thinking that he’s done with school.
This week he started at Peter Parker’s old stomping grounds, Midtown High. While initially upset with the decision, Ock decides it’s for the best (at least he can skip some grades and be well on his way to getting a Ph.D.!) While skulking around Midtown High, and trying to avoid a very friendly but still bully Flash Thompson, Ock meets Anna Maria Marconi. Marconi is really the thing about Midtown High that could be the best for Ock’s growth. Marconi is an assistant chemistry teacher who is trying to secure funding for Midtown, hoping to compete with schools like Horizon, and thinks Peter (Ock) can help. It’s also important to note that Marconi is a little person. Much like Ock, she was relentlessly teased as a child for not only being incredibly gifted in science but for her size. She tells a story about how her parents wanted to send her to a gifted school, hoping to improve her school experience, but she refused arguing “if I went to a place where everyone was like me, how could I change things?” Unlike Ock, she doesn’t let others’ opinions of her break her, she uses it as a drive to make her world a better place.
2. Cloak and Dagger prove formidable foes for the Superior Spider-Man
The major conflict this week comes from two new heroes Spider-Ock hasn’t confronted before, Cloak and Dagger. A pair of genetically modified super teens, Cloak and Dagger have powers that not only complement one another well but can literally feed off of one another. Cloak uses “negative void space” to teleport items, but with a limit. Dagger can utilize lightwaves to create weapons but also can use it to recharge cloaks teleportation abilities. The thing that makes these two characters so cool is the way that they interact with one another. They are a well-oiled machine, complementing one another’s powers, this combined with their costumes always makes them visually interesting.
They are even able to defeat the Superior Spider-Man on a couple of occasions, using their teamwork and abilities to keep Ock guessing and keeping him off of his game. While Ock is able to quickly come up with contingencies that help to slow down Cloak and Dagger, they are still able to if not best Spidey, keep out of his grasp. They show just how important being part of a well functioning team can be, even outshining last week’s adventure with The Avengers.
3. Tiberius Stone, Cloak and Dagger, and the importance of shades of grey
The main reason Superior Spider-Man is fighting Cloak and Dagger is that they are stealing tech from Alchemax, an important tech company run by Tiberius Stone, an enigmatic genius. It just so happens that Alchemax is the company that Anna Maria is petitioning for funding, as they have been investing in schools and businesses. There’s just one problem, the reason that Cloak and Dagger are stealing from Alchemax is for revenge.
Alechemax is responsible for the experimentation that gave Cloak and Dagger their powers, doing illegal experimentation on them and destroying their lives. It helps to build sympathy because these kids we thought were criminals are simply trying to prevent Alchemax from doing the same to others, Stone is the real villain here. Except, Spider-Ock doesn’t see it that way. In his mind, they’re all criminals and deserve all the punishment they deserve, while other heroes might see the grey of the situation, helping take down the more serious threat, to Otto it’s simply black and white. This revelation also helps to explain his more brutal nature, if you commit a crime, no matter how minor, you will get the strong arm of justice.Continued below
4. Peter’s back! (ish… kinda, not really)
After drifting through various cyberspaces for three weeks, Peter is finally back in a physical form! (What, being trapped in Doc Ock’s tentacles is technically a physical form!) Thanks to Miles’ quick thinking, Peter and Miles are able to figure out how Ock was able to switch bodies. It’s nice seeing them working together to try and figure out the problem, and it’s nice to see how Peter’s experiences in Ock’s mind has changed him. He thinks that it’s possible he might be able to redeem Ock, convince him to switch back, and maybe work together. They’re not so different and that has impacted Pete.
The other important thing about Peter and Miles’ subplot of the episode is to add a ticking clock to the situation. Peter has already moved his consciousness three times and Miles point’s out that he’s not moving, but rather is making a copy of a copy of a copy. Each time getting a little worse, each time a reflection of what it once was. That really ups the stakes, Peter seems to have only one choice, get his body back.
5. Animation shortcuts lead to an impressive final setpiece
If you watch enough animation, you can sometimes see tricks used by animators to help keep costs down. Usually, these will be things like limiting on-screen dialogue or static images. In this episode, there is one sequence in particular that stood out when Ock’s dialogue is hidden behind clasped hands. There are usually reasons for this, but ideally, it’s to create more impressive action sequences, and this episode delivered.
The last scene is Superior Spider-Man vs Miles Morales vs Peter’s ock arms on a robot. The action is clean and captures the skills of all the different Spider-people fighting. The episode ends with Peter pleading to Ock’s better judgment, hoping to convince the villain to give him his body back, but his faith is unfounded. Ock crushes the robot almost to the point of destruction but Miles intervenes at the last second to save Peter’s consciousness, his fate unknown… to be continued.
This was a fun episode that features some impressive action and good character moments. Every week I’m enjoying it more and more and I’m glad you’re here for the ride! What did you think? Sound off below and let’s make this comment section… SUPERIOR!