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This week The Cape introduced a new feature: The Celebrity Guest Villain. Back in the 60’s, the old Batman show used to hire well-known actors to play the weekly bad guy, and it was one of the most entertaining running gags on the show. Now The Cape has hired its first recognizable face for a villain: Meena Suvari as “Dice”. Hopefully the producers will make this a regular event, because fleshing out the cast with some extra talent will help, and the show certainly needs someone more interesting for The Cape to fight than his regular nemesis Chess.
The show takes another tiny step into the super-powered world this week by introducing a villain who’s so good at mathematics that she can predict the future and, as some scenes imply, she can even alter the outcome of events she doesn’t even witness. There is a bunch of expo-babble about savants and quantum physics to justify this. Of course math doesn’t work that way, but in order to watch this episode, you just have to accept it and move on.
Dice is out to avenge her father’s murder by using her deadly quantum calculus to kill Chess. As previously established, Chess is a completely incompetent criminal mastermind. Three times in this episode he almost dies, twice getting saved by The Cape. As we saw in last week’s episode, Chess just never seems to have his army of henchmen around when it’s dramaturgically convenient for him to be in danger.
Also part of this week’s story is that Chess, AKA Peter Fleming has created a device that mimics Dice’s powers, and will let him predict the future. Let me just repeat that: CHESS BUILDS A DEVICE THAT LETS HIM PREDICT THE FUTURE. You’d think that a supervillain would use the ability to predict the future to engage in some sort of villainous scheme, like conquering the world, robbing Fort Knox, or destroying that meddling do-gooder The Cape. Instead, the show treats this as casually as if he’d just designed a new kind of MP3 player. One would think he might hoard this power to himself instead of mass-producing it. At the very least, he might use it to thwart the person who keeps trying to assassinate him.
Elliot Gould has a cameo in this episode. Good for him; he has a resume a mile long, and this won’t kill his career. He plays Peter Fleming’s doctor, but I suspect that we’ll have a dramatic reveal in some upcoming episode where he turns out to be Chess and Orwell’s father. In Mr. Gould’s scene we hear some subtle implications about Fleming’s “Old Friend” which, I fear, is foreshadowing about Fleming having a cliche evil twin, or split personality.
This is the first time that The Cape has fought a villainess. Because “It’s Wrong To Hit A Girl”, his female sidekick has to be the one who subdues Dice at the end of the episode. I don’t mind watching Summer Glau and Meena Suvari catfight in slinky cocktail dresses (With handcuffs), but there are definitely some issues with sexism to be worked out on the show.
Speaking of Summer Glau saving the day, the writers make absolutely no attempt to explain why Dice can’t predict what The Cape and Orwell will do. This, combined with Chess refusing to use his precognition device, creates several massive plot holes that plague the episode.
The overall pace of the show is plodding. There are mountains of exposition and flashbacks, which are needed because the show has such an unintelligible backstory. Viewers just jumping into The Cape now are sure to be lost unless they are constantly reminded about Vince’s (Flimsy) motivation for not revealing himself to his wife and son, or why he doesn’t just let Chess die. The lumbering speed of this episode wasn’t helped by the lengthy sequence of The Cape running in slow-motion on his way to save Fleming.
Sadly, this is still one of the better episodes of The Cape.
Read our review of next week's episode Goggles & Hicks.