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Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol Review – Dealing With Loss In Space (2 x 06)

Cliff Steele and Niles Caulder in "Space Patrol" episode, Doom Patrol season 2. Photo c/o DC Universe, 2020.

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In the latest Doom Patrol (“Space Patrol”), Cliff and Niles chase Dorothy to the moon! Larry meets a kindred (negative) spirit, Jane is comatose, Victor hacks and Rita acts.

This episode ends with a few revelations and a shocking twist ending that will undoubtedly be interesting to watch unfold in the coming episode (and waiting a week for it will be absolute torture!).

Oh, and Cliff decides to show the severed finger from the previous episode to Niles so he can install it on him to regain his sense of touch somehow – it ends up in a freezer.

Last time on Doom Patrol, Jane’s Baby Doll and Sun Daddy personas fell victim to the wrath of Dorothy’s Candlemaker wish after Jane, in a fit of rage, killed Manny. In the aftermath, Dorothy feels guilty about her actions and fears that Niles will be angry with her if he finds out.

She decides to run away from home and ends up stealing the space ship of the Pioneers of the Uncharted, a group of astronauts Niles sent out into space in 1955 for research purposes, who just happened to find their way back to Earth after 60-some odd years.

PIONEERS OF THE UNCHARTED

“Space Patrol” guest stars the Pioneers of the Uncharted (L-R): Valentina Vostok, Zip, and Specs. Image c/o DC Universe.

A possible nod to the Jack Kirby comic “Challengers of the Unknown,” the Pioneers are Zip (Derek Evans), Specs (Jason Burkey), and Valentina Vostok / Negative Woman (Mariana Klaveno).

Although they mostly served as plot devices and absurdist comic relief (particularly Zip and Specs) during the episode, they’re arrival sets a number of scenarios in motion for the team to deal with. Aside from providing the means for Dorothy to escape to the moon, Larry finds out that Valentina actually possesses the same powers of a Negative Spirit as he does.

She, however, is not scarred, burned, or dangerously radioactive like Larry because she reveals that she has achieved “infinite harmony” with her spirit – a task she had completed in five years upon receiving her powers, and Larry has failed miserably at.

Larry is dumbfounded and finds out he could not “harmonize” with his spirit to regain a stable human form because he’s been torturing himself and the spirit with his deeply-seated emotional scars. At the end of the episode, he vows to try and “fix” himself and achieve the same result as Valentina did. He realizes in order to do this he must make peace with his estranged family, and more importantly with himself.

Meanwhile, Valentina reveals that part of the reason she came back to Earth was to bury Zip and Specs, who have only been kept alive by immortal alien body and mind-controlling spores, which explains their wacky catchphrase-laden, homo-erotic behavior before ultimately succumbing to Earth’s atmospheric conditions.

Afterward, Valentina makes an outstandingly profound commentary about the human experience and existential crisis that basically says that despite what she has seen in her vast travels in space, Earth is still the most beautiful thing in the universe because it breeds suffering, and through that suffering, we can find meaning in our otherwise meaningless existence.

This is the kind of writing that Doom Patrol effortlessly weaves into the narrative of the show, and coming from an immortal space-traveling Russian woman is just the unexpectedly perfect messenger to deliver the lines.

Dorothy, Cliff, and Niles’ Lunar Escape

Dorothy wears a spacesuit on the moon in “Space Patrol.” Image c/o DC Universe.

Dorothy runs away to the moon so she can stay away from people because she’s scared she might hurt her friends again or destroy the world and disappoint her father Niles.

A truly sad reaction coming from her character, but luckily Niles and Cliff are able to go after her because Niles keeps an old half-magical, half-scientific spaceship around in his garage. Unfortunately, Niles is unable to go after her himself because they ran out of space suits somehow(?).

So it’s up to Cliff, who isn’t affected by the vacuum of space or need oxygen to try and reason with Dorothy to come back.

The result is a genuine heart-warming scene between Cliff, the robot with no heart and can’t feel things, and Dorothy. (A great reference to the Wizard of Oz going on here)

Cliff is at his best in comedic scenes, but to have him take on a dramatic tone in this episode shines a new light on the character that simply permeates and comes through with resounding emotional gravity (pun intended). Cliff after searching the moon for Dorothy finds her building a gravesite for Manny and simply talks to her while consoling her and shares his experiences with his own daughter and the people he has lost in his life.

I can not begin to put into words the great delivery of lines between the two characters, and how much of a tear-jerker watching them together was. The biggest heart of the show belongs to the character who literally does not have one, and to have him connect with the troubled Dorothy is simply brilliant.

Just when all seemed to end on a good note though, Niles ends the episode with a twist by ejecting Cliff into outer space for no apparent reason!

Considering Cliff had just retrieved Dorothy on his behalf and had a moment of true bonding with her, this was totally a d**k move.

Niles has always done things for a reason, and this may very well end up being one of those convoluted plots he’s always hatching, but it’s hard to fathom what this will accomplish.

I can only imagine what Cliff will do to Niles if he manages to return to Earth somehow.

Inside Jane’s Candle-Waxed Head

Jane covered in candle wax after the Candlemaker attacks “The Underground” in her mind. Image c/o DC Universe.

After the”deaths” of two of Jane’s personas from Dorothy’s Candlemaker wish, she goes into a coma where she and the remaining personas in her head are dealing with the shock from the attack. The personas take a vote and decide to hold a funeral for the fallen personas and throw them down The Well where Daddy and Miranda are buried.

Jane argues that they are mere “constructs” in their own head, and should not hastily dispose of the fallen personas.

But Miranda, who has been missing for years, suddenly emerges from The Well claiming she had recovered and urges her fellow personas to proceed with the burial and unceremoniously takes the “primary” persona role from Jane toward the end of the episode.

The implications going forward of Miranda steering her actions is an interesting development because she does not have the same knowledge and camaraderie with the rest of the Doom Patrol as Jane did, and as Niles pointed out, she may never be the same again after the damage Dorothy and the Candlemaker did to her psyche.

Cyborg Hacks and Rita Acts

Vic and Rita take a backseat in this episode where they simply go into their individual story arcs.

Vic hacks the U.S. military’s secrets on behalf of his girlfriend Roni, then he confronts his father about his company selling weapons to them and indirectly being responsible for the damage it has caused to Roni’s body while she served in the Army’s black ops. The whole arc doesn’t really add much to the episode apart from some mildly funny sexual tension scenes and sex jokes that Victor and Roni have while engaging in pillow talk.

Rita’s arc is much to the same vain, but hers is more tied to her trauma from seeking her mother’s approval, which still haunts her emotionally.

She gets a part as the “beekeeper” in the Cloverton Players acting troupe in their play called “Our Town!” which is a loose adaptation of the events following season 1’s “Donkey Patrol” episode. There she meets Isabel Feathers (Charity Cervantes), a fellow actress who is playing a character based on Rita herself, and she and Isabel discuss the character (named “Blob Lady”) as Isabel details the character flaws she is using to play the part, Rita hilariously has to suffer through hearing them and has a moment of self-awareness. She then declares she has found her “nemesis” in Isabel.

VERDICT: 8.0 / 10

“Space Patrol” doesn’t have the same bursts of comedy that makes Doom Patrol great to watch, but the switch to a more dramatic tone, particularly with Cliff and Dorothy, simply works and delivers a powerful episode overall.


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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 – 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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Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol Review – Baby Doll’s Day Out (2 x 05)

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Cliff tries to play hero with Cyborg this week but things take unexpected turns.

Niles urges Jane’s Baby Doll persona to have some playtime with Dorothy, Rita goes with Larry to visit his son, while Cliff and Victor go on a heroic misadventure.

Doom Patrol always hints at cleverly hidden layers or two with its episode titles and in the latest installment, “Finger Patrol,” there are a few ways that fingers come into play.

First, someone “gives the finger” (obscene gesture) that results in grave consequences, then there’s the sexual act when the appendage may or may not have been used, and finally, someone actually loses a finger – completely severed and blood-gushing from hand type situation. Also, there was finger food involved.

‘Steele and Stone’: Buddy Cops

Still from Cliff’s dream sequence in “Finger Patrol” episode of DOOM PATROL Season 2.

 

After Niles gives Cliff, what he calls “false hope,” about regaining his sense of touch via future upgrades. Cliff approaches Vic to convince Silas Stone, Vic’s father, to take on the challenge and possibly speed-up the process, but Silas refuses – citing ethical dilemmas and risks in achieving the task.

Cliff remains grateful for the gesture, however, and tries to return the favor to Vic by assisting him with his relationship problem with Roni. Because of Cliff’s failed experiences in his own past love life, he gives Vic surprisingly good advice that actually works! Even though Cliff sacrifices a perfectly good submarine sandwich to make his point.

The highlight of their pairing in this episode though happens when Cliff is left alone with his thoughts as Vic goes off to woo Roni.

While waiting in Vic’s car, Cliff imagines a 1980’s style buddy cop comedy show he coins “Steele and Stone” (referencing his and Vic’s last names) where the two of them are shown in classic buddy cop tropes during a montage of hilarious action scenes. At one point, Niles even makes a cameo as the “police chief,” whom the duo ignore.

After this dream sequence, he sees two guys attempting to steal a nearby car. Still pumped from the imaginary heroism in his mind, he gets overzealous on the two suspects and accidentally severs a finger on one of the thieves’ hands by closing the door of the nearly stolen car with excessive force as they attempted to escape.

Then for some odd reason, Cliff decides to pick up the severed, bloody finger and puts in his pocket. What he’ll do with it remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Vic and Roni reconcile and make love again.

The redundant double beat of having two robot superheroes in the show has been a point of ridicule by some fans, and the show ingeniously addresses this by embracing the pairing instead of side-stepping the issue. Thus far, it has yielded some hilariously entertaining scenes as well as some deeply heartfelt camaraderie and understanding between the two characters.

This episode is no exception as Cliff and Vic exude genuine charming chemistry because they act as foils to one another.

Larry and Rita Revisited

Larry and Rita in “Finger Patrol.” c/o comicbook.com, all rights reserved/ DOOM PATROL / DC Universe.

 

Arguably two of the most damaged members of the Doom Patrol are incidentally the most captivating character studies in the series. Larry and Rita’s friendship stands above all others because theirs is a bond genuinely forged over a long period of time. Essentially, an epitomized form of platonic love and respect. This episode dives deep into each of their deep-seated traumas and culminates into both literal and metaphorical escapes from being trapped by a loved one’s betrayal.

For Rita, after discovering a memory from the previous episode where her mother exchanged sexual favors to talent agents, so Rita can get gigs as a child actress haunt her during this episode when she tries to land an audition. The memory flashed into her mind in the middle of a monologue, which causes her to freeze and shakes her confidence. She overcomes her doubts eventually when she saves Larry’s great-grandson from gunfire that would have killed the child and comes to terms with the actions of her mother, which she rationalizes as simply her twisted way of protecting her and ensuring she does well in life.

For Larry, the emotional pain he caused his family, particularly toward his late son and wife reared its ugly head through the wrath of his youngest son. After getting invited by his son back to the farm and having their cathartic father-son moment, and finally even admitting to his family about his struggles as a closet homosexual.

In spite of all the supposed emotional healing, however, Larry’s son betrays him by giving him up to the government. Despite this, Larry escapes with Rita thanks to the Negative Spirit, but not without the cost of Larry’s grandson’s life, who now leaves behind his own son. The ironic twist bears its full weight on Larry’s son as he has effectively done to his own grandson what Larry did to him – forced to grow up without a father.

While certainly not the most exciting pairing in the episode, Rita and Larry’s somber experiences lay new groundwork for future narratives to explore in each character.

Dorothy and Baby Doll’s Playtime Ends Tragically

Jane / Baby Doll and Dorothy have a tumultuous day together in the “Finger Patrol” episode. Images c/o DC Universe.

 

While the episode begins with Baby Doll and Dorothy essentially discovering they’re each other’s new “BFF,” their initially wholesome and jovial playtime escalates into a dark quarrel between two immature super-powered beings who end up severely damaging each other in their petty attempts to prove their superiority.

Niles’ good-hearted and well-meaning intentions to provide childhood-like companionship to both Baby Doll and Dorothy, which both of them missed out on, essentially backfires and has likely caused more harm than good.

Baby Doll, a powerful telekinetic, and Dorothy, whose powers are only limited by her imagination, is sure to be a dangerous combination when pitted against one another. Which this episode, sure enough, proved to be exactly the case.

Which is a shame because they seemed to be just what each other needed in terms of emotional security blankets.

In the end, Baby Doll kills Dorothy’s first and oldest imaginary friend, which prompts Dorothy to summon the Candlemaker, her all-powerful imaginary friend, who retaliates by entering Jane’s mind and killing the Baby Doll persona in The Underground.

The aftermath of their battle serves as the cliffhanger for the next episode, and the consequences could mean difficult times ahead for the Doom Patrol!

VERDICT: 9.0/10.0


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