The Cape, Season 1 – The Lich: Did this show just jump a shark?

Ask Tim Kring how difficult it is to write a decent superhero show and manage to please any of the fickle audience that tunes into this genre of TV. Well at least Kring had a monumental hit with Heroes in its first season. 

Having missed a couple of episodes of The Cape, I tuned in to find myself in the tail-end of a two-part story about a facially disfigured maniac who had drugged Orwell and trussed her up in a wedding dress. Now, I’ve just watched an episode of Californication, and even that couldn’t hold a candle to the sleazy S&M fantasy that unfolded in The Cape.

Summer Glau in a grotty wedding dress, drugged to the eyeballs and forced to marry a delusional calling himself “The Lich” while his jealous nursemaid called her “a tramp”. There was just something creepy about this to watch, and not in an entertaining way. I’m pretty sure that’s not how the Summer Glau fanboys need to see her.

The episode itself was an incredibly tedious one to watch. Even when monumental plot developments are happening – like Farraday visiting his wife as The Cape – it all feels dark, brooding and tense. All the time. 

And while it was good to see that the show had tackled a two-parter, and given Orwell some decent screen time, I found myself mentally tuning out at points. Not enough James Frain in this episode, methinks. It could also be that the ‘baddies’ are universally unappealing. The Lich delivered his lines like he was stoned in places, and someone was kind enough to give him the cliched “I don’t feel pain” quality. Last seen in The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.

As I mentioned at the top of this review, I’ve missed a few episodes recently. One of the reasons for that is that I haven’t considered The Cape to be unmissable. And it seems to me that it’s got worse since the first four or five episodes. As of The Lich, I really don’t give a toss what happens to the characters anymore.

What’s really funny is that I’d assumed The Cape would be far superior to No Ordinary Family. It’s not. If anything, No Ordinary Family is relatively watchable compared to this brooding, second-rate fluff.

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