When you're reading comic books, you accept the truism that everyone has a dual identity. It doesn't matter if the person is a hero or villain, you can be certain that beneath that mask, there's another person.
NBC's The Cape
has been pretty good about giving a duality to its major characters. So it's no surprise that when Mena Suvari pops up on this week's episode "Dice" as Tracey Jerrod, she also has another identity.
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Fortune and Fate
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The story begins several years ago, as Peter Fleming (James Frain) and a scientist named Henry Jerrod (Kevin Kilner) are developing a device based on Jerrod's savant daughter. Young Tracey has the ability to predict probabilities and foresee the future. When she is introduced to her daddy's boss -- Fleming -- she recognizes him as the man who will kill her father, and she vows to kill Fleming.
Fast-forward to present day Palm City. Fleming is introducing the latest technology to emerge from the ARK Corporation. Based on neural networks, this quantum leap in technology can actually predict the future. And the name of the device? TRACE.
Needless to say, the young woman (Suvari) in the audience staring lasers through Fleming is probably Tracey Jerrod all grown up.
Meanwhile, Vince Faraday (David Lyons) -- a.k.a. The Cape -- is back to stalking his family. He's also asked Orwell (Summer Glau) to dig up the police files for the Circus of Crime. Though it initially looks as if he might be doing research on the circus, he hands off the files to Max (Keith David) and the gang.
Vince is not happy with their arrangement and begins to wax philosophical about whether his becoming The Cape was an accident or fate.
Roll of the Dice
The next time we see Fleming, he is hosting a gaming night for his investors. As he shoots at the craps table, the same beautiful young woman who was in the audience at the presentation comes up to him. She watches, predicting the rolls of the dice. He asks her to give him some good luck. She picks up the dice, blows on them, and walks away. Fleming rolls the six he needs to win, but the dice are rigged and explode.
Fleming escapes from the explosion unharmed. His doctor (Elliot Gould) says he's physically fine, but asks if he's seen his "old friend" lately. The doctor warns that in times of stress we want to lean on old friends. Is Fleming/Chess a split personality?
As Vince and Orwell look over the surveillance footage of the explosion, they notice the young woman gets through a highly secured area by "walking between the raindrops." She always seems to know exactly where to be to avoid being seen by people.
They track Tracey to her apartment and realize that she is after ARK's new device. Orwell also realizes that this device could be a huge weapon for ARK and Fleming and a big threat to The Cape. Tracey catches them in her apartment but escapes before Vince can stop her.
The Cape gives chase, and Tracey admits he is a blind spot she didn't see coming. ARK agents arrest her, but she seems pleased by this outcome. Orwell figures out that Tracey, like the ARK technology, is predicting outcomes and has plotted to kill Fleming at The Violin restaurant.
Fleming has a sit-down with Tracey at The Violin restaurant. He explains to her that he sees the world through the prism of strategy, like a game of ... "Chess?" Tracey asks. She clearly understands who he is, and reveals herself to be "Dice."
The revelation comes quickly to Fleming as he figures out who Dice/Tracey really is. The mechanizations of Dice's plan comes to fruition, like a giant game of Mousetrap. As a chandelier above Fleming crashes down, The Cape appears and saves Fleming's life.
Orwell and Vince figure that Dice wants to attack Fleming's ARK headquarters, but they're not sure how. The production launch for TRACE is the next night, and the place will be surrounded by security. While Dice may be able to slip in, it won't be so easy for The Cape.
The Cape on a Wire
Vince goes to Max and says he needs some help. He wants to learn how to walk a tightrope so he can walk to the ARK building from another building. The only hitch is that he'll be 40 stories up.
Max laughs and says it's not going to happen overnight, but Ruvi (Anil Kumar) and Raia (Izabella Miko) have an experiment they want to try. As Raia teaches Vince the art of tightrope walking, Ruvi hypnotizes Vince, teaching him to go into a trance-like state.
At the production launch the next night, Dice manages to slip past security. But Fleming confronts her. He asks her to join him, to share this success, but she vows to destroy Fleming, ARK and the TRACE device. Orwell discovers what Dice has planned: She has filled the elevators with gas tanks and plans to use a spark to detonate the entire floor.
After a harrowing tightrope walk, The Cape manages to arrive on the scene and warns everyone to leave. Dice escapes, but she is caught by Orwell. The Cape, not willing to let Fleming produce the TRACE technology, discovers that everything -- the prototypes, the plans, the research -- are all right there. He sets off the gas tanks and blows up the entire floor. But he saves Fleming's life again.
In the end, two important things happen. First, as the doctor predicted, the stress of the situation has caused Fleming to lean on an "old friend." Chess, his alter ego, has once more risen to the surface to take control.
Then we see Vince and Max discussing the difference between fate and destiny, and Max remembers when Rollo (Martin Klebba) first told him about discovering Vince in the tunnels, injured and with a cop badge on him. Max unrolls an old parchment and looks from it to the cape stored in his trunk. It seems, perhaps, that Vince's "accident" that led to becoming The Cape was really destiny.
Check out the best quotes from "Dice">>
It should be noted that in the press information for "Dice," NBC lists it as episode 103 (season 1, episode 3), instead of the fifth episode (105), which is the order it aired in. This would explain a lot about the character interactions between Vince and Max, as well as the despondent family still grieving over Vince's death.
(Image courtesy NBC)