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The Cape: Razer

I was all set to write off this penultimate episode of The Cape.

“Razer” was tired. Its execution of the “hero switches places with the villain” trope was trite. The gang war plot and characters introduced through it seemed like bad Dick Tracy strips. The characterization of its principal characters was too nebulous. Guest star Elliot Gould was stilted. I was a tad bored.

And then the final scene hit me from the left lane, steered Orwell firmly into typical Summer Glau heroine territory, and induced a twinge of sadness in my heart, that we’ll likely never see this pay off.


The cold open was unusually dark for this show–Dana and Trip were caught in the crossfire as gang members fired on ARK police. Neither were hurt, but Vince was mobilized into action.


Our main plot spun from there, as the enmity between Scales and Fleming which fueled the earlier incident led to a meeting which saw the two of them come to an understanding. It also saw Fleming fend off the exhortations of his more murderous alter ego, coming to him as an overpowering voice in his head.

Rollo was caught in the middle as well, beaten offscreen by Scales’ thugs. The newly crowned godfather wanted Trolley Park for hismself and was willing to go through Max to take it. There was dissention within the Carnival: Vince warned Max to stand his ground, while Ruvi, the hypnotist, wanted no part in a war.

Meanwhile, Orwell just sat around, played solitaire, and then stormed out of Vince’s lair, not to be seen again until the end.

Vince’s plan to aid Max was to replace a bomber flown in from Australia for the purpose of dealing with the Carnival. It worked for a while, except it totally didn’t, David Lyons’ Australian accent wasn’t great, and he came off like Hawaii Five-0’s Alex O’Loughlin with a really bad fake scar.


Meanwhile, Peter Fleming saw his doctor, played by Elliot Gould, once again. I’m confused here–when we see the guy, he’s acting as a general practitioner, but then he starts dealing with Fleming’s split personality, so…it makes no sense. However, I should be used to that. After all, this is The Cape. In any event, Dr. Elliot Gould convinced Fleming to let him talk to Chess, then he proceeded to make some sort of secret agreement with the villain. James Frain, at the very least, was excellent as always.

I wasn’t really surprised that it took the better part of the episode for Scales to realize there was a rat in his midst. Still, he only came to that conlusion, nagging conclusions aside, after the real Razer escaped from his cage at the Carnival. (Seriously, why would you give a bombmaker a piece of gum? Stupid hot acrobat, stupid.)

With Vince captured, it was up to Max to step into the role of the Cape and rescue him, which he did in fairly impressive fashion. Still, Vince was able to get Scales and the ARK rep he injured back in his eponymous episode on video meeting together, evidence Orwell could leak.

Except Orwell wasn’t quite herself. On the other end of the phone, she’s dressed in white, in the middle of her room–freshly painted white–and speaking in an eerie monotone. Which means Orwell’s gone River.


What worked in this episode? Vinnie Jones. He can take the worst dialogue, which this show routinely features, and shine it up well enough. Scales is a fun character, and Jones’ legitimate hardness balances its more cartoonish aspects.

What didn’t? Well, the episode wasn’t as fast as previous eps, so it was easier to notice giant leaps in logic. It’s hard to reconcile the seemingly aware Peter Fleming of the first couple of episodes with the fractured personality now explicitly revealed here. Either way, Fleming is bad and Chess is worse, so it doesn’t make much difference. Fortunately, James Frain makes it all shine.

Max apparently has a plan for Vince, codenamed “Devereaux” or some such. Again, it’s hard to square up his callous disregard for Vince in his first appearance with the flashback from “Dice” hinting that he knew Vince’s appearance was a sign of fate before even talking to him. There’s a lot happening between the margins here, but The Cape isn’t known for doing subtlety very well, when it tries. (“The Lich” was a notable and actually pretty good exception, working pretty well with its doubled length.)


And then there’s Vince. It takes Rollo to convince him he should take responsibility for Palm City, instead of just pursuing his Vendetta against Peter Fleming. (He cites the Cape comics, sadly underrepresented of late.) It’s a necessary step in the evolution of the character, but the show never quite developed him well, and David Lyons is pretty light compared to the heavyweights surrounding him in Keith David and James Frain.

The other new bad guy introduced here, Poker Face, was also pretty bad. I invoked Dick Tracy earlier, and this guy–with a comically deformed right eye–seems like a reject from that rogues gallery. His constant need to keep it moisturized also reminded me of Lady Cassandra from Doctor Who. (I can’t say I didn’t identify with him in some way–I also suffer from a condition leaving me with a chronically dry right eye.)

But that ending twist piqued my interest once more. I was surprised to see the writers follow up on the white door from last episode so soon, and excited for what’s to come–except it’s all a big tease. I guess next time, we’ll get one more taste of what could have been.

F13’s rating: 2.5/5

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