‘Cloak & Dagger’ showrunner Joe Pokaski is making his directorial debut with the May 9 episode. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Joe about how this episode will impact Tandy going forward, the season 2 finale, and more.
Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger season 2 has been a stellar showcase of storytelling. Showrunner Joe Pokaski will be directing the May 9 episode of the Freeform series. In the episode, Adina is pushed to a dangerous edge as she looks to get answers and closure for her two boys. Meanwhile, Tyrone comes in contact with a mysterious figure on his search for Tandy.
Joe talked EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about what it was like to direct an episode for the first time, the biggest challenge he faced, and whether he’d do it again. He also discussed what’s ahead for Tandy now that she’s under Andre’s clutches, the evolution of Andre as this season’s villain, and more. Plus, he teased the final minutes of the season 2 finale will be unlike anything you’d ever expect. Check out our Q&A below.
You are directing this May 9 episode. What made you want to direct? Is this something that you’ve always had in mind or was it just the right episode for you?
Joe Pokaski: It’s kind of always been on my list of things I need to do. A lot of much of my job is communicating with directors and making sure they have what they need, so in the back of my head, I felt like I was kind of ignorant to exactly what they need and what their process was. I wanted to put myself through it. But I also think it was kind of the subject material. We had decided to go down a dark road and have Olivia [Holt] hold our hands as we kind of explore the world of human trafficking. And this episode, obviously, it gets to a place that gets sensitive. As we started breaking the story, I started worrying about someone else communicating with Olivia instead of me, just kind of being able to look her in the eye and making sure she was OK and that she was able to do what she needed to do while still practicing self-care. So, the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was probably best that I step in and do that with her. I asked Marvel, and they understood it entirely and supported me which was great. That was the one where I stepped in, and I thought it would probably be good for me to kind of communicate this visually myself.
Going from showrunner to director, what was the biggest challenge for you, even just technically?
Joe Pokaski: For some reason, the other responsibilities didn’t go away. I mean, the good news is I’m usually on set for the episodes I write. So, the advantage was there wasn’t a middle person. I could talk right to my DP and say let’s set up for this, or kind of communicate with the actors without playing a game of telephone. There was some efficiency there, but also, I was editing episodes 5 and 6 while kind of rewriting episode 10, so it was a bit of a time suck. But I think for the most part, the advantages outweighed the disadvantages. There are people on the crew who I knew, and I knew socially, but I didn’t understand how important they were, where they fit into the puzzle until I really got into the trenches. It was great to bond with the crew, to really get in there with the actors and kind of learn more about their day to day process, which I thought made for a better product, not only for episode 7, but 8, 9, and 10 as well.
Is directing something that you want to maybe do again?
Joe Pokaski: Yes, I loved it. I thought it was great. I think it’s important, particularly if you are the human being who’s telling your director that this schedule needs to be shot, or asking your director to do certain things. The more you understand about what they need, the better.
Last week’s episode featured alternate realities for Tandy and each one was different but her fate with Tyrone still intertwined regardless of the reality. Where do we go from here? What can you sort of tease about the new episode and how it’s going to propel everything forward more?
Joe Pokaski: I mean, I think we’ve tried as best we can within a superhero fiction frame to tell the story of what some of these women must go through. Every hat in the world should be taken off to Olivia Holt and committing to what Tandy does this year. Tandy starts the season rolling her eyes at an abuse group, and then kind of minimizing what victims of trauma have to go through, and even victim blaming herself with her mom. Then she becomes a victim. Last week’s episode, as you said, kind of broke her down. So now she’s going through that process. So, what we want to do as kind of the last bit of putting Tandy through hell is putting her into this weird hierarchy that a lot of women find themselves in. I feel like a lot of us think it’s a choice, and the more we learned about what women go through, it’s not. So, I think this is Olivia and Tandy understanding it’s not a choice, and then kind of helping fight her way out of this impossible situation. Meanwhile, Tyrone, in classic Cloak and Dagger fashion, has told her maybe he’s better off without her. Then, she disappeared, so he just kind of raises hell and high water to get her back at the same time.
Last week really brought Andre into the forefront as the real villain. What can you tease about how that’s sort of going to evolve as the show moves ahead and towards the finale? Because he’s unlike any villain that I’ve ever seen.
Joe Pokaski: Listen, he’s scary. I think part of the reason he’s scary is that you like him when you first meet him. In the same way that Tandy can see people’s hopes and Tyrone can understand people’s fears, Andre takes advantage of your despair. I think there are people like that. I think there are people like that in very high positions right now. There are people in this world that will take advantage of the darkness you have, of the insecurities you have, and there’s something scary about that because I think that can happen to any of us. I think we all have metaphoric records that we keep shrink wrapped or certain buttons we push, and Andre is learning to kind of take advantage of that and is learning how powerful that can be.
Will Brigid be in the picture as well in trying to get Tandy back?
Joe Pokaski: I think Brigid starts off in the episode setting Tyrone in a direction, and then Mayhem weirdly finds a way to kind of effect Tyrone from inside. There are some great moments. We get another episode where Emma Lahana does not say a word and is brilliant.
We’ve got 10 episodes total this season. Is there anything you can tease about the finale?
Joe Pokaski: I’m so excited about our finale. I tried to save a lot of pennies so we could really just end up big. We were able to kind of get some of the stunt people who are involved with Daredevil for some of our bigger fight sequences. Tandy and Tyrone really leave it all on the field emotionally. I have no idea what the audience will react to the last 3 minutes, but it should blow them away in a big way.