Immediately we are introduced to the loving family, Vince’s police occupation, and Chess, the masked killer on the streets. We also learn that Orwell serves as the Eyes Only (Dark Angel anyone?) of the city. Orwell knows information such as which cops are dirty and somehow has eyes everywhere. This is a fast, big bang opening. Within moments we have laid out for us the premise, a gruesome murder, the characters.
But there is more. Ark, owned by Peter Flemming, is set to privatize the city’s police. Not clear on how this could ever work (legally and practically–wouldn’t it make his company above the law?). It seems like a conflict of interest to me, but no one seems to be all that troubled by it. Vince even signs up for it early in hopes of some extra time off and better benefits. But no sooner dose he accept, than he gets an email from Orwell to inform him of Ark’s true activities. It turns out they are involved in the police chief who we saw murdered. Vince decides to investigate. He calls his friend and fellow cop, Marty, over to investigate Ark’s newest train shipment where he discovers the substance that killed the chief hidden in toy dolls. He is caught and drugged by official-military-looking men (who Marty seems to know as he says “I got this”).
When Vince wakes up, he finds that Marty is clearly party to his kidnapping. In comes Chess (who sounds suspiciously like Peter Flemming, the Head of Ark), who threatens Vince’s wife and son (Dana and Trip). Sure enough, he reveals himself as Flemming, a classic evil mastermind mistake. Never reveal yourself because you never know when it will come back to bite you. (What’s up with his eyes?) The plan? They will make it look like Vince is Chess, fastening the mask on his head so he cannot remove it. He is forced to run from the police and hide because he cannot get the mask off. (In true TV form, no matter how many bullets are fired at him, he does not get hit.) The chase is highly publicized, with Dana and Trip watching on TV as he hides under a train car that gets blown up. He is presumed dead, but in fact he managed to escape underground.
Flemming’s plan works and he gets full support for Ark to take over the police force.
Meanwhile, a semi-conscious Vince is dragged away and awakens in…a circus. Naturally. He gets the particularly rude awakening of a punch in the face. The circus folk hate cops and want something from him, though what exactly is unclear. When they find that he’s unhelpful, they decide to kill him. He quickly gives up a master key for Ark to prove he has a use. He had Ark’s passwords, since he’d just been hired by them. Satisfied, they let him live and use his information and the key to go on a robbing spree. Tonally, this show is all over the place. circus folk using raccoons to steal money, dressing up as grandmas for another heist. Not that the mixed in comedy is bad, it’s just a bit surprising.
Vince calls Dana just to hear her voice, but he knows he can’t talk or people will look for him and threaten his family. But even though he can’t contact his family, he intends to find a way to be with them eventually. He decides his best course of action is to take ark down. Max, the circus master offers the help him in exchange for help robbing Ark.
Vince secretly attends his own funeral, which has a surprisingly large showing considering his supposed identity as Chess. Or perhaps that is why it is such a large showing? It only makes him more determined when he sees how sad his wife and child are. It also gives him an idea…his son loves the comic hero the Cape and he’s found a cape, so naturally…he’ll become the Cape! Well, if the bad guy can be named Chess, he can be named the Cape. Max is reluctant at first, but Vince gets under his skin and manages to get him to agree. Max warns though, he does nothing halfway, so he will have to “give up his soul” to do it. His training consists mostly of mastering circus tricks and illusions as well as fighting with a midget. No joke there. It takes him about 12 rounds to beat him. What does that say about police training? Vince does get a fancy, specially made cape though. Apparently he did not see the Incredibles. (“No Capes!”)
He’s ready. Or supposed to be, though he seems to be having some issues right off when he goes after Scales, a thug working with Chess. Vince ends up dumped in the water wrapped in chains. No problem though, this is a fairly standard magic trick so he should know how to get out of it. Right? The answer is yes, though he seems to cut it a little close. He manages to remember his training and shrug off the chains and goes after more crime fighting. But, he spots someone sneaking pictures and chooses to chases after them instead of stay with the bad guys (that’s silly). It’s Orwell, it turns out. And it’s…a girl (yay Summer Glau!). Naturally she takes him to her lair, which is pretty awesome–it makes me wonder why she was sneaking around in the shadow taking pictures, if that is how she gathers her intel, how has she not been caught? She identifies him immediately as Vince using her super equipment (she’s like Chloe from Smallville). She wants to help him. He needs to be the symbol, the visible face. Together they can take the city back.
Max has been discovered by Chess meanwhile and he’s caught. He’s not as much of an escape artist, despite what he taught Vince, it seems. Actually, he is, doing a funky contortionist thing to get himself out of the chair he is tied to. Though he does get shot in the process. Vince is called for the rescue. The midget manages to take out Scales. It seems that Vince arrives too late to save max, but they do have a quick heart to heart where Max says his desire to show his son that one man can make a difference is what makes a hero. Even Max seems unclear on the fact that he’s supposed to be dead, since he opens his eyes again and sits up.
Chess/Flemming turns out to be a better fighter than expected seeing as he doesn’t seem to have much in the way of muscles and he clearly has the upper hand in his battle against Vince. Luckily, Orwell has jammed all cell phones in the area so he cannot set the explosives he wanted to. Unfortunately, Chess gets away, but at least they don’t blow anything up as planned.
Vince, still in costume, takes the time to show himself to his son. He tells Trip that his father was framed and he will make sure to bring the guilty to justice. He also tells him not to lose hope. Then he does a cool disappearing trick for good measure. On the one hand this is a nice gesture for Trip but without showing himself to Dana too, she won’t believe him when he says he saw the Cape.
One week later, Vince is shopping for some clothes when some men come in to rob the store and he whips out the cape to stop them. This seems relatively tame compared to the fight at the dock. It seems like an unnecessary piece after such a consistently solid hour.
Flemming, it turns out, is not satisfied with just the police force. He wants to take over the prison system too. But there is a big opponent to this move, Patrick Portman. Well, it is clear who the next likely target is. Cut to a man doing a weird experiment (the man turns out to be a new villain, Cain).
Flemming is awoken by a breech in security, which is Vince as the Cape. Chess pretends to be innocent, but clearly Vince knows better. (See, don’t tell anyone your true identity, even if you think they are about to die.) Despite seeing through Flemming, he still gets stabbed when Cain shows up. Flemming is all “I’m disappointed in how easy it was to get you”. He dives out the window just in time and luckily Orwell shows up to help him escape (in yet another fancy car). They are almost caught by cain (who has managed to get all the way to the ground too) when he reaches into the car to grab her but she manages to pull away. She does notice a rather prominent, square tattoo on his hand that says the tower.
Max, it seems, has survived. Surprise! Vince directs Orwell to take him there because he’s dying of Cain’s poison. Orwell is furios with his breaking and entering stunt and doesn’t bother staying once she drops him off (she doesn’t want anyone else to find out who she is). Max’s solution to helping him is leeches and poison. Isn’t that the old school unhelpful way of healing people? Vince gets yet another reprimand for getting cocky.
Dana remembers old times with Vince and in comes Marty and his wife for drinks. They pretend to be there as friends but Marty tells her that Vince is confirmed to be Chess. She seems to believe it and Trip, listening in from another room starts crying. (Marty’s wife scolds him for ruining the night. She does not seem to be in on the ruse.)
Not to worry Cape fans, Vince survives! (Because for a moment there you were really believing that he was going to die.) I guess it’s nice to see he isn’t one of those invincible superheroes who easily defeats the bad guys. Vince wants the cape back but Max refuses to return it. “You can’t afford mistakes.” Instead, Max bought him some tickets to get him and his family away. He wants them to change their identities and hide. Vince stalks away angrily with the promise that he (Max) has no idea what he (Vince) is capable of.
Vince goes to pick up a copy of the Cape comic and then sneaks into…some rundown place that I guess will be his new home. It reminds me of the ninja turtles lair, with the personal generator for lights and underground location. All we need is pizza. He works with paper notes to keep tracking of things.
By contrast, Flemming has one of those fancy computers we all wish existed in real life. You know, the kind that projects 3D images that you can manipulate by waving your hands at it. He’s working on some folder called Siren, which I presume is really Operation Kill Portman (or something even bigger?). Sure enough, Cain is moving in on Portman, but Orwell shows up pretending to be someone he was meant to interview with.
Dana and Trip are having troubles at home. She can’t get a job with Vince’s last name so she resorts to her maiden name, which only upsets Trip more. She remembers them adoring trip as a baby, which is cute. I’m glad we get to see them as a couple, instead of just being shown how sad they are to have lost each other. (Too often shows want us to care about the loss of a relationship we never knew). The flashback is all about how important the Fariday last name is, how much history it has.
Vince can apparently create some strange contraptions. I didn’t know that was something the police were trained for. It is meant to be something like a batting cage but throwing knives at him instead of balls. I’m not sure how he doesn’t see this to be a bad idea and sure enough he almost gets killed in the process. He then researches how to build up an immunity to poison, which seems to exposing yourself to small doses of it over time. Max peeks in on his progress with that proud papa face. Vince cuts himself a mask (I don’t know why he didn’t have one before) and though it wouldn’t win project runway, it fits pretty well considering.
He takes to the streets to find out where Cain is, but the thug he beats up on the street is too scared to talk. Vince says he’ll make everyone think he talked anyway so he might as well. The guy suggests meeting at some bar instead and he agrees (set up?) Orwell shows up with some information about Cain. Cain had a tattoo that indicated he is part of a secret society of killers called Tarot. Being not so smart, Vince shows up at the bar and even shows his face to the man which seems even less intelligent. Sure enough, the guy is only about to speak when we get a hint of Cain leaving and the entire bar keels over from being poisoned. A card is left there, the same card Orwell showed him.
Portman is about to drink from his alcohol and Vince warns him not to drink. Portman received a tarot card under his door too. he is ready to give up, he’s been scared. Vince promises him that he will have help standing up to Flemming.
Dana attempts to go by her husband’s name but they turn her down before she’s even had an interview. She points out that her husband never had a trial so he’s never been proven guilty. her gusto gets her the job.
Orwell and Vince discuss Cain’s history. He gets into Ark’s security files with Marti’s password since Marti never changes it. They hang up and Max announces his entrance by throwing a knife at him that he catches. Max gives him back the cape because he didn’t walk away. Vince says his family is his strength not his weakness. As long as Vince is believed dead, his family is safe. Max says not to forget himself. (Max reminds me of a lesser Morgan Freeman.)
Flemming and Portman are seated together to talk. Orwell shows up in a different wig and pretends to be a food critic to get a table. Meanwhile Vince beheads a statue that he thinks is Cain. Whoops. Cain is actually in the kitchen injecting poison into the chicken. he then comes out to serve Orwell some wine. he recognizes her but she plays it like they are strangers. He wants her to come into the kitchen as his guest, which means he will likely kill her. He grabs a knife, she goes for a tazer. They disarm each other but he manages another knife before she can get another weapon of her own. Luckily, she knows how to use basic metal objects and in comes the cape to rescue her. Orwell runs out and takes Portman’s food away before he can eat while the boys fight it out in the kitchen. This time the Cape seems to be on the winning side. Flemming is called into the kitchen to find Cain tied up and unconscious. He sees the Cape for a moment before he disappears. Flemming seems mostly pleased by the new challenge.
When it is time for the vote, Portman denies Flemming control of the jails. Victory!
Ultimately, i don’t know if I loved the show, but I do love Summer Glau so I am definitely planning to keep watching.