“I want to go home. I want to find my family!”
“We are your family! You have nothing without us!”
“You’re wrong. I have hope.”
– Del & Lia, Cloak and Dagger
Season 2, Episode 7, “Vikingtown Sound”
This is from what is currently the latest episode of the show, and it begins what is the latest addition to my favorite scenes. It’s a moment where the protagonists of the show, having been brought very low by their nefarious enemies, are able to rise again, springing into action like angels of justice and mercy, striking down evil in the defense of its victims. They kick butt and I love it!
But it hinges around this moment between minor characters, a girl and one of her captors.
Del is among a group of girls who have been taken from their lives, literally robbed of all hope, and kept as sexual slaves. Their physical necessities, meaning food, water, shelter, etc., are all provided, but… well, they are sexual slaves, sold for the use of any foul creep that can pay. They even suffer the indignity of maintaining their own slave pen, the rooms in which they are repeatedly violated. If they resist or try to escape, they’re drugged, beaten, locked up, killed, whatever gets the job done. So they bear it, and just go through the motions of lingering life.
But with only one or two keepers, that wouldn’t be enough to hold all of them, certainly not without driving them to do desperate things which would draw unwanted attention. So, what really holds Del and the others prisoner are the lies their keepers, including Lia, tell them. They tell them that they are unloved and worthless, that no one is looking for them. They tell them that they would have nothing if they even managed to get out. They tell them that their families, those that might care, would never take them back. They tell them that, however bad it might be for them where they are, they could never have hope for something better. When a group of girls bound for the brothel are rescued, they cover it up by telling Del and the others that these girls were killed for trying to escape.
Lies, lies, and more lies. That’s what truly imprisons them.
And all the lies are directed towards killing their hope, suffocating the last spark, ember, and light within their souls. It’s effective, because where hope breeds defiance, despair breeds submission. That is the way it has always been, from the lowest of abuses to the grandest of conquests: people surrender when they lose hope.
Hope is a fire which inspires action, resistance, a refusal to accept things as they are. Even if that hope is of nothing more than dying on one’s feet.
Despair is constantly whispering in our ear, “Give up, give up, there is nothing you can do, nothing to be gained, give up, give up, give up.”
Hope is the one thing that oppressors cannot allow their subjects to have.
Thus, the above quote, because a single light of truth has found Del. It’s not much, but enough to break the chains of lies around her. She realizes she is loved, that someone is looking for her, she does have somewhere else she can go, namely home, to her real family, and she does not need her captors!
The truth sets her free because it ignites hope, and with that hope comes her defiance.
Even if she truly has nothing else without what her captors allow her to have, she still has hope.
This single moment, where Del finds light in the darkness, is the beginning of the end of her slavery.
And it makes the butt-kicking which follows all the more satisfying.