Stars: David Lyons, Keith David, Summer Glau, James Frain, Jennifer Ferrin, Ryan Wynott, Vinnie Jones, Martin Klebba, Izabella Miko, Anil Kumar, Elliott Gould, Grant Bowler
Writers: Tom Wheeler & William Wheeler
Director: David Straiton
Network: NBC, Mondays @ 9 PM
Airdate: February 28, 2011
It’s impossible to blame the makers of THE CAPE for the distinctly not-final feel of the series finale, “Razer” (spelling is correct). They weren’t expecting their order to get cut from thirteen to ten, let alone having the aired order pared down to nine. As a result, “Razer” sets up some major questions that creator Tom Wheeler may later answer in interviews, but which we’ll never see dramatized.
The title of “Razer” refers to an Australian explosives expert (Grant Bowler, who was Coot the werewolf on TRUE BLOOD) who is brought in by Scales (Vinnie Jones) to blow up the carnival when Max (Keith David) refuses Scales’ attempt at a shakedown. Since it is learned that neither Scales nor anyone else knows what Razer looks like, apart from a facial scar, our heroes kidnap the real Razer and have Vince (David Lyons) impersonate him. Alas, it’s hard to keep a villain like Razer in a cage for any amount of time, and when he shows up at Scales’ dock headquarters, it seems that Vince may be tortured to death – but it’s Max to the rescue, in the guise of the Cape (which is usually Vince’s province).
Meanwhile, Peter Fleming (James Frain) worries that he’s losing control to his alter ego Chess, necessitating a visit from his psychiatrist (Elliott Gould) – who gets Chess to emerge and then confides a secret that must be kept from Peter (and the audience). Orwell (Summer Glau) is having a meltdown of her own.
The upshot is that the standalone elements here – a gleefully blustery face-off between Fleming and Scales, star Lyons getting to speak with his own Australian accent, Max in full hero mode – are thoroughly enjoyable. However, due to the fact that there will be no more CAPE, we don’t know what Max is actually grooming Vince for, why Orwell is having a breakdown, what it is that Chess and the shrink are keeping from Fleming, and all sorts of other narrative issues that have plenty of potential.
THE CAPE overall has been uneven, but it has a sense of playfulness showmanship that has kept it watchable and often even charming. The literal family dynamics (Vince pining for his wife and son and vice-versa) tended to slow things down, but the other elements were often wonderful to behold. Frain’s quizzical delivery, Glau’s glamour, David’s savoring of Max’s pronouncements and the swirl of the cape, followed by disappearance in a puff of smoke, are all the kinds of things that give a show worthy life. Sure, THE CAPE had times it could have been better, but mostly it was fun while it lasted.
CLICK HERE for ASSIGNMENT X’s exclusive interview with THE CAPE star SUMMER GLAU
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