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Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol Review – ‘Who You Gonna Call?’ Sex Busters? (2×04)

Rita (April Bowlby) and Flex Mentallo (Devan Long) almost cause an apocalyptic event in this week's episode, "Sex Patrol." / DOOM PATROL, 2020 All rights reserved c/o DC Universe
Rita and Flex Mentallo play pivotal roles in "Sex Patrol" (2 x 4) of DOOM PATROL. c/o DC Universe / HBO Max. 2020

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After a hide-and-seek game gone awry between Dorothy and her imaginary friends in the last episode, Danny the Street (or rather the brick that’s left of them) is accidentally broken in half.

The Doom Patrol along with the help of the Dannyzens throw a party to help heal Danny back to its old self, but Rita and Flex Mentallo accidentally summon a sinister sex demon, named Shadowy Mr. Evans, who nearly causes another apocalypse.

Good thing the SeX Men (a shockingly real comic-book team, by the way) are on watch and swoop in to help save the day.

If that doesn’t sound bizarre enough to get hooked, I don’t know what will.

Guest-starring the SeX-Men: Kiss (Michael Tourek) and Torture (Tracey Bonner) in their Ghost Busters-inspired costumes. c/o “Sex Patrol” / DOOM PATROL.

 

Despite the goofy and outrageous theme around sex in the episode, each character from the main cast has their moment to shine, which still gives viewers that signature heart within the chaos charm that Doom Patrol typically delivers.

The impetus that drives the narrative is the relationship between Niles and Dorothy – as she’s ridden with guilt at the beginning of the episode because she hurt her friend Danny.

When she’s exposed to the realities of being a 100-year old girl trapped in an 11-year old body, however, Dorothy begins to question the authority of not only her father Niles but also the nature of Danny shielding her from the world.

Her rebellious outbursts are met with empathy by Danny but prompt a firm authoritative albeit misguided reaction from Niles, and the hints of Dorothy’s powers potentially causing catastrophe is accented by her emotional reactions toward Niles, Danny, and the rest of her new friends.

She is equally innocent and a menacing threat at the same time, which is bad news especially to Niles.

In contrast, Dorothy shines in sweet and tender moments in this episode, particularly during shared scenes with Rita who puts lipstick on her for the first time, and Flex Mentallo who gives her confidence by gently urging her to help however she can in preparing for Danny’s party.

Though the most heartfelt scene she shares in the episode is definitely when Niles plays the piano to the tune of “Pure Imagination” by Gene Wilder as Dorothy sings to kickstart the party in front of everyone in attendance.

Cliff / Robotman provides comedic breath to the situation per usual but is still rooted in emotional distress.

After wallowing in despair from his disappointing visit with his daughter in Florida, Niles –surprisingly, of all people– inputs Cliff’s nutrient tank with methylenedioxymethamphetamine, AKA ecstacy, so he can get out of his depressed state and enjoy the party.

Cliff, sure enough, has the time of his life as he danced and hugged with friends and strangers alike through the night. In one hilarious scene, he even dances with the shadow of the sex demon that almost destroyed the world.

Meanwhile, Larry sort of takes a backseat in this episode as he reluctantly maneuvers his way to the party, wanting to participate at first, but ultimately isolating himself due to fear of being intimate, and accidentally killing someone. The way Larry awkwardly flirts at the party is something most people can relate to, and it’s easy to sympathize and root for him because of all he’s suffered in the name of love.

The same goes for Cyborg, who understandably, has an understated appearance in this episode as he has a heart to heart talk with Maura Lee Karupt regarding his encounter with Roni.

But then he becomes the undeserved target of Jane’s Scarlet Harlot persona flirting with him, then ditching him right away for the party.

Jane, in the meantime, shuffles from different personas throughout the episode as several of them seek to be the primary, but Jane seizes her spot again as her heroic side comes through to save the day.

 

The main crux of the episode, however, involves Rita and Flex Mentallo when they seclude themselves from the party.

Rita, seeing Flex’s proficient ability to control the muscles of his body at will, seeks advice in hopes of controlling her own powers.

Flex agrees and they have an impromptu training session in Rita’s room where she asks Flex to sexually stimulate her via a special muscle flex first seen in season 1 to comedic effect, so she can “empty her mind” during the exercise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r0pHXZDgJA

(Above YouTube video is the aforementioned scene during Season 1 Episode 14 “Penultimate Patrol.”)

 

It works, and Rita discovers a traumatic mental block that’s been limiting her self-control, and comes to terms with it.

The unfortunate side-effect soon becomes apparent though as Rita’s magnitude of sexual pleasure attracts Shadowy Mr. Evans who crashes the party and summons “sex ghosts” that haunt Doom Manor as he summons the vaguely defined “erotic apocalypse.”

The demon is thwarted with the appearance of the Ghostbuster-like team of the SeX Men – consisting of Kiss, Torture, and Cuddles (guest star Michael Shenefelt) – who clumsily assist the Doom Patrol in stopping Shadowy Mr. Evans.

The MVP award goes to Jane in the end, as she steps up in the last minute to literally shove an apocalypse-inducing baby back into the (uhmm) let’s just say… “nether regions” of the sex demon.

Capping off an episode that truly takes a wondrously perverted, yet somehow simultaneously heart-warming story.

VERDICT: 8.5/10

Though the team is accustomed to dealing with apocalyptic events at this point, this particular instance is quite bizarre yet humorous in tone. One never feels that the stakes are actually high, but the outrageous premise of the situation amidst a celebration of sexuality and LGBTQ undertones increases the overall appeal of this installment. It may be off-putting at times, but the topic of sex is never an easy one to handle, but Doom Patrol does a decent job at balancing crude humor within a story that tugs at the core of human struggles.


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Lorenz Bacani is a pop-culture enthusiast who's trying to watch as many good comic-book movies and TV shows as superhumanly possible. He received a bachelor's degree in Journalism and New Media at California Baptist University. Wrote for a news tabloid, worked for a couple of non-profits, and dabbled in some photography (mostly for Instagram purposes). He is probably currently binge-watching an old TV show for nostalgia.

Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol Review — Finale Ends With Major Cliffhangers (2 x 09)

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The Doom Patrol assembles to face the Candlemaker in season finale.

Doom Patrol concluded its shortened season 2 with the finale episode “Wax Patrol.” Following Dorothy’s coming of age, the Candlemaker’s powers manifest itself into the world and wreak havoc at the carnival where the rest of the team must come together if they hope to stop yet another doomsday.

This time, however, the team falls short as the Candlemaker’s powers proved too much for the team to handle.

Each member of the team had to face the toxic versions of their personal imaginary friend from their childhood.

Plus, Miranda’s tragic backstory is highlighted as it’s revealed that a sinister persona has taken over as Primary.

Miranda’s Tragic Love Story

The episode opens with a flashback of Miranda’s backstory and how she fell in love with a man named John, a street guitarist, who wooed her when she was working at a local diner during the 1970s.

Miranda is hesitant to get intimate with him at first, understandably so due to the traumatic sexual abuse she suffered through, but eventually, they fall in love and seem to have developed a healthy relationship — her first time with another man.

But once John gets a corporate job, he proceeds to brown-nose to his superiors by holding a swinger-sex party which ends in Miranda reluctantly participating and ultimately being raped by one of John’s friends. This triggers Miranda who tried to make it work but was only reminded of being raped by her father.

This causes her to fade back into the Underground and the Crazy Jane persona emerges and verbally assaults everyone participating in the sex party. It’s a well-delivered and compelling monologue from Diane Guerrero that tackles rape culture and toxic masculinity quite poignantly.

At the end of the episode, however, it’s revealed that the “Daddy” persona from the Well has taken the form of Miranda, who Jane discovers is dead at the bottom of the well.

Daddy as Miranda then confronts Kay, who was investigating the disappearances of her other personas, and reveals himself to her and the aftermath is left as a cliffhanger.

Jane’s backstory, though a bit distracting at first, has become quite compelling and how it resolves in the following season will be an interesting development.

The Team Gets Waxed

With several members of the team stuck in their personal turmoils, the Doom Patrol gets off on a rocky start against their latest doomsday event.

Cliff is worried about what to wear to his daughter’s wedding. Cyborg is heartbroken over Roni and listens to a sad love song on repeat (Haven’t we all?).

Rita loses confidence in her powers, again. Jane is well… not herself, to say the least.

Surprisingly, Larry has the healthiest mental condition on the team at this point and proceeds to lead the charge toward the Candlemaker.

Cliff, disappointed in himself after making amends with her daughter in the last episode, is heartbroken to tell her he can’t make her wedding.

Cyborg is picked up by Rita and tells him to basically buck up for Dorothy’s sake.

Jane AKA Miranda just goes with whatever because as she says, “I’m new.” (You sure are you evil little… @#%!?)

Anyway…

Upon arriving at the carnival where Dorothy is at, they find a beat down Kipling who runs away from his imaginary friend, a Punch and Judy puppet.

The team soon confronts each of their imaginary friends from childhood and everyone one of them is a befitting adversary that breaks them down.

Cyborg faces the Cowboy version of his father, who serves only to affirm him.

Rita deals with a paper cut-out doll model from a magazine with her mother’s eyes whose approval she promptly tries to get.

Cliff fights Jesus Christ himself (from Cliff’s time during Bible summer camp), only this version has a southern accent with the “Bro” lingo and super strength.

Larry and Jane don’t seem to have any imaginary friends. Larry, because he’s so high strung, and Jane because well… her personalities are basically imaginary friends.

In the end, everyone is waxed by the imaginary friends (except Cliff who gets blown to pieces by Jesus), which leaves Dorothy and Niles as the only ones left to stop the Candlemaker.

That is, until Slava, Dorothy’s mother comes in spirit form and basically tells her daughter to fight back.

The End?

Dorothy after hearing her father’s desperate plea conjures a gigantic trident-like weapon and cryptically tells Niles “I know what to do now”

The season ends as the Candlemaker grabs Dorothy into a huge flaming portal.

The Doom Patrol definitely took a big “L” during this finale, and it’s a bit of a shame because the ending definitely feels rushed.

Still, the show managed to set up a lot of potentially compelling storylines to follow through with once season 3 eventually returns.

VERDICT: 6.5/10

There’s a lot of great scenes and dialogue throughout the episode but every moment just feels a tad bit rushed, which is understandable because this season was cut one episode short.

However, the mysteries surrounding Dorothy and the Candlemaker, as well as Crazy Jane’s increasingly compelling backstory, should be enough to keep fans interested.


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Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol Review – Daddy-Daughter Doomsday (2 x 08)

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In Doom Patrol’s season 2 penultimate episode “Dad Patrol,” the team spends quality time dealing with deep-seated daddy issues.

Niles take Dorothy to the fair before almost surrendering her to Kipling, Cliff reconnects & bonds with his estranged daughter Clara, Jane drags Larry to a traumatic site from her past that’s connected to her abusive father. Meanwhile, Rita and Victor go play superhero.

The biggest revelation from last week’s Doom Patrol was that Niles and Kipling had a plan to deal with Dorothy before her powers got out of hand. That plan fell through this week, however, when Niles took too long saying his farewells to his daughter.

Dorothy Comes Of Age

In a story arc filled with sweet moments between father and daughter, Niles gave Dorothy an entire day dedicated to doing whatever she wanted. Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t have been worse.

As the day went on, Dorothy matured into a woman (for her standards anyway) as she had her first period in over 100 years – at a gas station convenience store no less – when the nicest store clerk in the world helped Dorothy through her first “red dragon,” as the kind woman gently put it.

Dorothy mistakenly keeps this secret from Niles, and unbeknownst to herself, it signals her coming-of-age and the powers from the Candlemaker imbued in her uncontrollably activates. She becomes haunted by images of her dead mother urging her “it’s time.” And by the end of the episode, everything around her begins to melt like candle wax. This signals a catastrophic event, according to Kipling and his weird circle of friends at least, and a paranoid occult rabbit that seemed pessimistic about the whole situation. Niles is stricken with his sickness at the most crucial moment as well, and is left powerless against her daughter.

This arc basically sets up the next episode (which is also the premature finale of this season due to COVID-19) when it seems Dorothy will be the main source of conflict that the rest of the team must unite for to save the day.

Clara & Cliff Steele The Show

Yet again, the most hilarious part of a Doom Patrol episode is one which features the Robotman AKA Cliff Steele. This time, he teams up with his daughter Clara, who reveals she’s getting married to a lady named Mel, and is also pregnant with a boy! Cliff is more excited for the latter news, but gets invited to the wedding after the two bond for an entire day.

Cliff serves her sausages (one of which was almost the frozen finger he kept in episode 5) and pancakes, does a full tune-up of her car, and even offers to do her laundry. Cliff was really making up for lost time, and during this episode, he finally gets to show how great a father he can be, and it seems to have worked as Clara was receptive of her robot father’s jokes and advice.

Eventually, she calls him “dad” which Cliff reacts giddily to, and says that nothing will stop him from coming to the wedding (except maybe for another cataclysmic event, but a robot can dream).

Robotman has been sensational this season, and seeing what he does in the season finale will surely set up an intriguing story arc for Cliff if Doom Patrol is officially renewed for a third season, which is more than likely given the quality of the show.

Jane Falls Into The Well

As chaos and turmoil begin happening in the Underground (the shared space manifested by Jane’s collective psyche), Jane finds her status as the Primary persona in jeopardy over the looming return of the increasingly dependable Miranda.

This prompts Jane to take action as she urges Larry to accompany her to her childhood home in order to retrieve a stuffed toy that’s hidden at the bottom of the well to prove her worth as the Primary. As revealed in the episode, the well is the device of torture and punishment used by Jane’s abusive father when she was younger, and is a place of fear by even the most powerful of Jane’s multiple personalities.

She successfully regains the stuffed toy and along with it a letter penned by Miranda that’s intended for their abusive father. Jane reads it and acknowledges Miranda’s strength of character and pledges to fall in line with the other personalities under Miranda’s leadership.

In a shocking twist, however, Jane’s hunch is proven correct when Miranda acts treacherously, and pushes Jane into the subconscious representation of “The Well” in the Underground. In it, Jane finds the “dead” personas of Baby Doll, Flaming Katy, Scarlet Harlot and Lucy Fugue floating unconscious. Jane herself begins to drown as the scene fades to black, leaving her fate unknown, at least until next week’s finale.

Jane’s whole saga in the Underground has been more of a point of emphasis for her character this season, and the reveal that Miranda is more malicious than she seems is an interesting twist. It will certainly be interesting how the show will resolve this problem, or if it will trickle over into the next season as a potential plot point to explore.

Beekeper & Borg, Spin-Off?

Both Rita and Vic are pushed into the sidelines once again in this episode as they’re plot line simply involves them going to Detriot to do some “superhero work” after Rita gains confidence as her beekeeper incident of stopping a mugger gets reported on the local newspaper.

Before she and Vic go to Detroit, Rita daydreams about herself and Cyborg in a spy-thriller like television show called “Beekeper & Borg.” The scene is hilarious as she and Vic look simultaneously stunning and ridiculous, which fits quite well into the Doom Patrol charm.

The duo’s story arc, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired as it ends up being pointless filler that involves Roni, who is now cured of her terminal disease because of the Uma Jelly she stole in the last episode, murdering the CEO of the tech company that experimented on her.

VERDICT: 8.5/10

Overall the episode is still great, but the under-utilization of Victor and Rita’s characters in recent episodes has taken its toll and their overall appeal has been flat relative to their past showings.


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Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol Review – Scants Keep A Good Patrol Down (2 x 07)

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Promotional images c/o DC Universe from Doom Patrol episode "Dumb Patrol"

This week’s Doom Patrol episode, “Dumb Patrol,” introduces bad idea parasites called Scants that turn their victims stupid and almost kill Larry, Vic, and Roni.

However, thanks to Kipling who –returns to educate the team about the weird creatures– and Jane/Miranda’s fast thinking and immunity to the parasites, the team lives to fight another day. Proving that a little knowledge in the face of utter stupidity can go a long way.

Elsewhere, Cliff crash lands on Earth, Rita goes bee-keeping, and Niles revisits sacred ground. Also, the Beard Hunter (Tommy Snider) and the Scant Queen (Jhemma Ziegler) make guest appearances.

Robotman Crashes In The Middle of Nowhere

Following Cliff’s ejection from Niles’ spaceship in the previous episode, he crashes back to Earth with no means of transportation or communication to get help from the rest of the team. He tries hitchhiking, but who would want to pick up a stranger, let alone a robot in a leather jacket?

Besides, Cliff wasn’t in the best mood at that moment as he was cursing and threatening to kill Niles under his breath. He eventually finds a man who lets him use his phone in exchange for hilarious shout-out videos to his friends on social media. Unable to reach his team still, he decides to walk all the way back to Doom Manor where his daughter surprisingly appears waiting for him.

Cliff returns to his comedic form in this episode after last week’s dramatic shift and drops a bunch of F-bombs in the process (See Doom Patrol’s Instagram running tally on this). He’s the most honest and introspective character in the show and his charm turns almost every bad situation he’s in into comedy gold.

The Scants And Their Queen

When a large box that says “DO NOT OPEN” arrives at Doom Manor, the team of course unwittingly opens it and finds the white blank canvas painting where Mr. Nobody and the Beard Hunter were trapped in during season 1. They find that the painting itself is blank, but are unaware that it has been infested with bad idea-inducing parasites called Scants.

They become infected, and almost immediately start doing idiotic things (like Cyborg trying to perform surgery on Roni), which attracts the attention of Kipling who informs them via an old-timey slide show about the parasitic creatures. They then find out that the only way to beat the Scants is to kill their Queen, who is hiding in the painting.

They go into the painting and find the Beard Hunter, who is also infected, who “hides” himself by painting only the front half of his body in white to blend in with the canvas. As a funny meta-reference to explain Mr. Nobody’s absence, Beard Hunter tells the team he got a gig on some “DC animated bullshit,” which alludes to Mr. Nobody actor, Alan Tudyk, voicing the Joker on Harley Quinn.

They are eventually captured by the Scants and brought to their Queen to be harvested for an essence called “Idyat” from their brains which is turned into “Uma Jelly.” The process would have eventually left them to suffer dysentery and die slow and painful deaths. Fortunately, Miranda’s immunity to the Scants proved useful as she successfully kills the queen and cures everyone else of their stupidity.

As the main story arc of this episode, it showcases a light-hearted if not silly premise yet upholds the overall signature comedic tone that Doom Patrol has cultivated. It’s a refreshing watch after the mostly drama-heavy installment from the previous episode, and it works well in setting up numerous individual character story arcs as well.

The Scants themselves were an afterthought in terms of detail and served as a clever plot device to draw out hilarious scenes that would have otherwise been out of place or out of character.

Particularly, Larry and Victor, who are usually playing a “straight man” role that other characters play off of in comedy tropes. During this episode, they are both dumbed down and act strangely, which is far from the norm. In contrast, Jane/Miranda, who is usually the character who causes the most chaos, is the voice of reason for a change, and ultimately sets the team straight.

Rita And The Beekeeper

Rita is relegated to background storyline during this episode as she shadows the real beekeeper (guest star Avis-Marie Barnes) she’s portraying in the town’s upcoming play. The two share both hilarious and heartfelt moments while discussing their respective mother-daughter relationships while drinking beer. The storyline ends when the beekeeper suggests that Rita vents her frustrated feelings toward her mother to an alternate outlet, in this case, the beekeeper’s swarm of bees.

It works to some extent for Rita because as she’s walking home she witnesses a mugging in progress, and is able to stop it by easily using her powers in the heat of the moment, which is a sign that the mental block she’s been experiencing for the past few episodes has began to lift.

Niles Gets Colder

Niles goes back to the secluded area in the frozen Northern Yukon Territory where he met Dorothy’s mother to find some kind of clue or spiritual advice from its hallowed grounds. However, he only ends up met face-to-face with the spirit of the Candlemaker who threatens to kill him next and reveals horrific details about Dorothy’s birth and why she was bestowed with the Candlemaker’s power.

Niles reacts horrifically to the news and summons Kipling to make drastic arrangements against Dorothy that they have previously discussed – implying that Niles always had a backup plan in case he’s unable to control Dorothy.

The most unintentionally absurd part about Niles’ side story is that he was able to traverse the cold wasteland in an electric wheelchair whereas the last time he was there, he and his colleagues all nearly perished. It’s a minor detail that ultimately doesn’t affect the narrative, but it’s a glaring plot hole, to say the least. Then again, this is a comic-book superhero show, so screw logic, right?

Ultimately, Niles’ arc sets him up to do some dark and disturbing things again, which is always a great way to trigger plotlines that bring the rest of the Doom Patrol together in the end.

VERDICT: 9/10


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