'The Cape' finds its stride ... too late?

summer-glau-the-cape-320.jpgThe two-part story that concluded Monday (Feb. 21) on "The Cape" was maybe the show's strongest to date. We just wonder if it's going to matter in a couple months' time.

"The Lich" story, which concluded in Monday's episode, did a lot of things you would want from a first-year show at this stage: It broadened the scope of the action by incorporating some Palm City history. It made the stakes extremely high for two of its lead characters: Vince ( David Lyons) risked exposure by turning to Dana ( Jennifer Ferrin) for help on a case, and Orwell ( Summer Glau) was literally in a life-or-death situation.

It also gave some insight into Orwell's past -- her drugged-out haze might not be completely reliable, but at the very least it provided a lot more weight for the theory (which we've floated before) that Orwell is Peter Fleming's ( James Frain) daughter.

In short, it was a very strong little arc for the show. Not that many of you noticed.

The show's ratings have been trending downward pretty much since episode two. Last week's show, the start of "The Lich" two-parter, drew just a tick over 4 million viewers and a paltry 1.2 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic. Numbers like that got shows like "Lone Star" and "My Generation" canceled earlier in the season.

Early episodes of "The Cape" have grown about 20 percent through DVR viewing, but when a show's same-day ratings are that low, it's hard to make a case to keep it alive beyond this season, no matter what kind of creative strides it's making.

The show is scheduled to air next week, then move aside to make room for "The Event's" return on March 7. The fan in us would like to see "The Cape" stick around beyond next week's episode -- we like what we've seen of the series this winter and think there's potential for growth if it gets another chance. The ratings-watcher in us, though, isn't overly optimistic about that prospect.
Photo/Video credit: NBC