The first two-part episode of The Cape premiered…and the results were slightly better than expected. There’s still throwaways storylines, mostly involving Dana Faraday (Jennifer Ferrin), but there was an abundance of excellent guest-stars that made it worthwhile. While Vince (David Lyons) continues to be lackluster kudos has to go out to the writers for including more focus on Max (Keith David) and the inhabitants of the carnival.
This week sees Max and Rollo (Martin Klebba) requiring Vince’s help when a woman they once knew seemingly returns from the dead. As Palm City’s Founder’s Day parade draws near it seems someone named The Lich wants to destroy those who took away his birthright. In investigating The Lich, Orwell (Summer Glau) ends up meeting Conrad Chandler (Glenn Fitzgerald), the man who feels Peter Fleming (James Frain) took his inheritance. By the end Vince will have to learn about Orwell’s kidnapping and save her life.
I didn’t understand the story very well but I had a lot of fun with all the special guest stars and the more complex acting and story. Mind you Vince is still the blandest character ever but watching characters like Rollo get a story was fantastic. Martin Klebba hasn’t had any need to exercise his acting but watching his tender interactions with the young woman returned from the dead was incredibly sweet and needed in this episode. Aside from him it was all about Orwell as she befriends the mild-mannered Conrad Chandler who feels betrayed and abandoned in a mental hospital. Fitzgerald was a surprise in this role, having only seen him in smaller comedies and such, so it was fantastic to watch him slowly go insane especially as he turned the tragedy of the Lindberg baby on its ear, “he had twenty months with the people he loved.” Moments like this showed the writers can put in solid acting and writing when they want to. Other than Fitzgerald there were small appearances from Ileana Douglas and Tom Noonan. Noonan is a welcome addition whenever he appears but in the opening scene he was incredibly creepy, hopefully we’ll get even more of that next week.
Unfortunately this episode proved how unnecessary the story of Vince Faraday is because he didn’t have a whole lot to do, a running trend of late. He mainly just talked a lot, both in and out of costume, and developed some bizarre alliance with the traitor Marty (Dorian Missick). That’s all well and good but why isn’t he doing some of the investigative stuff like Orwell? There’s a real disconnect growing between the two with both seeming to go on separate missions before coming together at the end. It’d be nice to see Vince do a lot more than just look menacing. Also, how does no one in Vince’s social network recognize his voice? It’s bad enough his own son doesn’t realize it’s him, but his supposedly best friend doesn’t find him familiar? Speaking of the Faraday’s we get another throwaway/abandoned plot with Dana involving some mild flirtation with her boss. It’s safe to say Dana has resorted to being the Lois Lane of this show, if Lois Lane spent the entire series crying and talking about how hard her life is.
Overall, a big step up in the writing and acting but still presents the show as “Everybody Else BUT The Cape.” At this point I think the writers know they have an unlikable and bland leading man so their trying to work around him. Either way I’m actually interested to see how The Lich: Part Two turns out.