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Doom Patrol Season 2 Premiere Review – Fun-Size, Tyme, and Pain

From L-R: Joivan Wade, Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, April Bowlby, Diane Guerrero, and Timothy Dalton reprise their roles with newcomer Abigail Shapiro for season 2 of DOOM PATROL.
DOOM PATROL: (Pictured from L-R) Cyborg, Negative Man, Robotman, Elasti-girl, Crazy Jane. and The Chief return in Season 2 with the mysterious Dorothy (played by Abigail Shapiro). Still photo courtesy of DC Universe, 2020. All rights reserved.

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Picking up from the season 1 cliffhanger, Doom Patrol dropped the first three episodes of its second season on June 25th.

After dealing with the threat of Mr. Nobody, everyone on the team (except Larry) is shrunk and must find a way to return to normal size.

What’s more is that Danny degrades to a sentient brick, and is unable to help, so Dorothy – Niles’ superpowered ape-like daughter – is exposed to the real world.

With potential dangers always lurking on the horizon, Niles must find a way to protect his daughter, while guiding the dysfunctional Doom Patrol.

 

“FUN-SIZE PATROL” (2 x 1)

The season premieres with a backstory of Dorothy’s tortured past, and how Niles, after discovering she’s his offspring from a relationship with a now-deceased primitive woman, took her in his care.

Dorothy’s powers are highlighted during the episode, and her potential to destroy the world is what motived Niles to hide her under Danny’s protection.

Also, Dorothy is forever an 11-year old girl and harbors an innocent worldview. Partly because Niles shielded her from the real world as she’s a danger to others if not kept in check.

Her powers are manifested by her emotions and imagination as she can conjure powerful imaginary friends whenever she is threatened.

This dilemma is slowly uncovered as each member of the Doom Patrol begin to acquaint themselves with Dorothy.

Dorothy (Abigail Shapiro) / DOOM PATROL

While most are wary of her, especially Jane – who is already disturbed by struggling with the 63 other personalities in her head and drug problems – can sense Dorothy’s imaginary friends.

On the other hand, Cliff reluctantly bonds with Dorothy during the episode, but inadvertently exposes her to dangerous situations.

This triggered Dorothy’s powers, and almost kills several members of the team, including her father.

Brendan Fraser, who plays Cliff, brings much-needed heart during this episode and steals the scene every time he cusses-out in childish frustration.

This works well as a counterpoint to the stoic demeanor of Niles as the father figure of the team, and Fraser constantly cuts the tension with great comedic timing.

It also complements the character of Dorothy well because, in some ways, both are child-like in their maturity, and they strike a nice balance with their scenes together.

Of course, there’s always going to be the dynamic between Cliff and Jane, who seem to have developed their co-dependent relationship even further.

Vic and Rita also establish a nice dynamic where Vic pushes her to embrace the potential of her abilities for heroic use.

Meanwhile, Larry, being the only one not shrunk in the aftermath of the battle with Mr. Nobody essentially becomes the caretaker of the group as he makes and serves them hilariously tiny pancakes in one scene.

The episode ends with Niles making a deal with the mysterious mystic Willoughby Kipling (guest star Mark Sheppard) by giving up his Talisman of Longevity, which has extended his life to superhuman levels, in exchange for a substance that was able to return him and his team to normal size.

This episode is capped off with a scene revealing that Niles is 139 years old, which Cliff, of course, makes fun of him for.

But Niles’ mortality looms over him, and Dorothy realizes that her father might be dying.

“TYME PATROL” (2 x 2)

As Niles loses his nigh immortality, he tries to make arrangements to protect his daughter by revealing the true reason he experimented with the members of the Doom Patrol.

Essentially, each of them was an attempt by Niles to have a contingency plan in extending his own life, so he can keep protecting his daughter, and by extension, the world from assured mutual destruction.

However, when everyone returned to normal size, each had their own personal agenda to deal with.

Roni Evers (right) opposite Vic Stone/Cyborg in season 2 episode 2 of Doom Patrol.

Vic goes off on his own to return to his hometown of Detroit, Michigan where he tries to reconnect with people by joining a PTSD support group.

There he meets Roni Evers (newcomer Karen Obilom), an ex-soldier who tries to shun Vic away because of his cyborg surveillance systems.

Vic has a meaningful scene with Roni in this episode where he struggles to handle a moral dilemma when a mugger attempts to attack Roni, whom she fends off easily.

Vic’s uncompromising sense of justice is challenged when he tries to get the would-be mugger arrested, but Roni disagrees with him and they have a heated argument on the effects of the broken criminal justice system on the poor, and how letting the mugger go would be better in the long run because he would only end up in a vicious cycle as a petty criminal.

The scene is powerful in a lot of ways because it shows two different perspectives in dealing with criminals, which is apropos to the current state in the U.S. with police brutality and the “Black Lives Matter” movement at the forefront of steering political and social change.

It’s also a nice touch by the showrunners to have two strong black leads (and different genders to boot) engage in this philosophical debate, which lends credibility to better the overall impact of the scene.

 

Meanwhile, back at the Doom Patrol Mansion, Niles hatches a plan to try extending his life by acquiring “Continuinium,” a substance with time-controlling properties, from the eccentric yet dangerous time-traveling being known as Doctor Tyme (guest star Brandon Perea)  – and yes, it’s spelled with a “Y” and they comedically address it in the episode.

Doctor Tyme (Brandon Perea) / DOOM PATROL

He reluctantly sends Cliff, Jane, and Rita to collect Dr. Tyme’s helmet, but they are dumbfounded when they discover that he is a 1980’s disco roller skate-loving lunatic who plays “Bad Girl” by Donna Summer on loop for an indeterminate amount of time.

Cliff loses his cool because of the song, and in a fit of annoyance, attempts to destroy the deejay turntables supplying music for the roller disco party.

Which receives an aggressive response from Dr. Tyme.

All hell breaks loose as Rita accidentally slays Dr. Tyme by knocking his “helmet” off his head, revealing it to be his actual brain.

As Cliff and Jane try to grab the brain, they are frozen in time reliving painful memories from their past and slowly spiral into insanity.

Rita, realizing her comrades were in danger, uses Dr. Tyme’s clock face to turn back time, and undo everything they’ve done.

Grateful yet angry upon reviving, Dr. Tyme sends the trio back to their original time, but they return empty-handed, much to the dismay of Niles.

This lack of payoff at the end essentially renders this mission as a comedic filler story arc for the heroes, but it doesn’t take away from the more impactful scenes despite generally being a silly misadventure.

The aftermath still provides a catalyst for each of the characters to come at odds with each other, and that helps in driving the narrative forward in a convincing way.

 

Meanwhile, Larry, who discovers the death of his eldest son in the last episode through a vision, visits his wake and reveals himself to his other son – who is now an old man.

His son is shocked that he is still alive, but Larry explains that he hid from the world because of the highly dangerous radiation emanating from his body.

Which implied that he was trying to protect his family. His son understands his explanation and invites Larry to reconnect with the rest of his family. But he is reluctant, and ultimately doesn’t do so.

Larry has a heartbreaking scene during the episode when he rummages through the barn of his deceased son, and finds clues about his disappearance, and how his son never gave up in trying to find him.

This causes Larry to go through profound emotional pain, which mysteriously attracts a flock of butterflies to him as the episode ends.

Essentially, Larry’s story arc is an ingeniously crafted plot device that serves both as a character backstory, and a setup for the next episode.

 

“PAIN PATROL” (2 x 3)

Following the events of Larry’s journey, he is revealed to have been captured by Red Jack (guest star Roger Floyd), a supernatural being who feeds on the pain of others.

Turns out, the butterflies from the previous episode are not only conduits of Red Jack’s powers, but also the souls of the people he has tortured and killed.

In a flashback scene, Red Jack is depicted as the historical Jack the Ripper of the DC Universe who encounters Niles as a child.

Since then, Red Jack was curious toward Niles because he showed no fear when he killed a woman in front of the young boy.

Red Jack (Roger Floyd) as he appears in season 2 episode 3 of Doom Patrol.

The main story arc features Niles and Rita attempting to recover Larry from Red Jack’s realm.

Capturing and torturing Larry, however, was a ploy to convince Niles to become his apprentice in inflicting pain toward others in exchange for immortality.

Niles, though tempted by the proposition, refuses and is subjected to torture as well.

In the end, however, Niles overcomes Red Jack’s powers and stabs him twice, seemingly killing him as he disintegrates into a flock of butterflies.

Larry and Rita’s backstories are also fleshed-out in flashback scenes, and comes full circle at the end of the episode when both realize their worth to each other as they share a meaningful embrace.

The trio escape, but not before releasing Red Jack’s collection of pinned butterflies on his walls.

 

Meanwhile, Cliff and Jane go on a side adventure to visit Cliff’s daughter to prove to himself that he’s a better father than Niles.

This story arc ends up becoming a comedic trope though because Jane goes into a coma where she and the other personalities within her mind hold an intervention for her before they arrive.

This leaves Cliff to clumsily try to reconnect with his estranged daughter. He, of course, fails epically but finds out he has a granddaughter on the way.

As for Jane, she is trapped by the other personalities in her mind by the end of the episode, and her fate is left uncertain.

Fraser and Diane Guerrero’s well-established comedic chops in their respective characters are always a joy to watch and the way their scenes are cut to disrupt the gruesomely violent main storyline keeps the episode from spiraling into an off-putting heavy drama.

At the same time, their individual character developments are given depth as each tries to overcome their personal demons by dealing with their trauma.

 

As for Vic’s story arc, he shares an intimate scene with Roni as they discover painful details about their respective pasts and bond over them.

However, when Vic seeks a second date Roni hesitantly agrees but sends Vic an e-mail detailing her committing manslaughter during her time in the army.

This doesn’t sit well with Vic and he leaves a distraught Roni seemingly heartbroken.

The overall theme of pain, and how each of the characters defines and deals with its various forms is a great avenue for exploring narrative and this episode, without a doubt, succeeds in doing so.

 

VERDICT:

This show exemplifies what makes superhero lore so profound and relatable because it takes fantastical characters and breaks them down to a human level.

Doom Patrol’s season 2 starts off with three gut-busting episodes filled with a great mix of action, comedy, drama, and a touch of bizarreness that promises a compelling narrative centered around the character of Dorothy who must traverse the world with the help of his father, and the family of disturbed heroes they happen to live with.


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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.

Love Life

Love Life Recap – Rejection Sucks (1×05)

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Love Life Episode 3 recap

Your past teaches you lessons that you can use in your future, but as we learn in episode 5 of Love Life, the original series from HBO Max, ignoring your past can cause you to make the same mistakes over and over.

This episode starts as all the others have, with the unknown narrator giving us some insight into Darby’s life, who according to her, has ignored her past.

Darby has decided to see a therapist but doesn’t seem very comfortable talking to someone she refers to as a “stranger.”  The therapist points out that being a stranger is kind of the whole point, you can talk to that person without judgement or history.

The therapist asks Darby to just start talking. Darby recounts a recent situation with her boyfriend talking her into buying a $2000 sofa that they neither needed or could afford. Rather than disagreeing with her boyfriend, Darby suggests that they buy the matching ottoman as well. When the therapist asks why and Darby explains how he has a way of talking her into things, the therapist comments that it sounds as if Darby was steamrolled into the purchase and asks why she didn’t express that to him.

Darby confesses that if she did, it would cause a fight and she feared he would reject her.

And so our story begins for this episode.

Rejection sucks, it really does. Everyone has experienced it in some form or other, but as Darby tells the therapist about her first times dealing with it, you see how it can affect one person more strongly than others, and that Darby doesn’t realize that she has felt rejected before this situation.

When Darby was 15 and being shuttled between the households of her divorced parents, she didn’t feel that she belonged anywhere. Darby decides to apply for a boarding school across the country, hoping her parents would stop her because she is so important to the family, but is disappointed to see that they allow her to go.

During her first Thanksgiving break, she is one of the few to stay on at the school because her parents have their own plans. Darby heads to the cafeteria to grab something to eat and sits with a group of gamers, who she doesn’t seem to have a lot in common with. While sitting there, Luke Ducharme walks in wearing a robe and bottoms,

The two begin talking and go off together to smoke some marijuana and kiss. A romantic montage begins showing the two together throughout the Thanksgiving break.

Once students return and classes begin, Darby tell her roommate about her time with Luke and is warned that he is a player. She denies any feelings for him and says they are keeping it casual, although Darby obviously feels more than she is letting on.

Darby starts to notice Luke pulling back and tries to stay close by joining the cast of the school musical Cats which he stars in. Luke uses the excuse that he is just busy.

Love Life Episode 3 recap

Credit: HBO Max/ Love Life

One day Darby comes back to her room and notices her roommate has hung a hair tie on the door handle, indicating no entry. A few minutes later, Luke comes out of the room.

Darby is upset but when her roommate comes out and finds her crying, she denies being upset over them hooking up and blurts out the excuse that she is upset due to a recent cancer diagnosis. Of course this is not true, but trying to save face is more important than the truth when you are young and hurt.

Fellow students, as well as the Dean begin to hear about the diagnosis and approach Darby extending their concerns and support.

Luke comes to Darby’s door and asks her to take a walk with him. Wearing a “Live Strong” bracelet, Luke tells Darby he is sorry and that he loves her.

It isn’t long before Darby is found out and embarrassed, drops out of the school.

Her parents come together to pick her up and take her home. They ask Darby why she lied, and she says that she just wants to go home and be with them, even if they don’t want her there, showing where her original feelings of rejections came from.

Darby’s father is shocked and tells her that of course they want her and love her. Her mother’s response is that Darby can be thankful that she wasn’t at the school long and those she met will probably not remember her.

Darby tell the therapist how embarrassed she was, the therapist responds that it sounds more than embarrassing, it sounds traumatizing.

The therapy session is ending and the therapist asks Darby to think about why she feels that she doesn’t deserve love so they can talk about that during the next week’s session.

The final scene shows Darby grocery shopping. The narrator lets us know that Darby did not return to therapy. Darby is wearing an engagement ring and Magnus from the last episode is there with her.

This episode of Love Life was heart wrenching. Anyone who has felt the pain of rejection can sympathize with Darby, hoping that in some future episode, she finds the love and happiness she obviously wants so badly.


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Love Life

Love Life Recap – The Struggle Is Real (Episode 1-4)

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Love Life Season 1-4 recap

Love Life, an original romantic comedy series being offered by the new streaming service HBO Max, focuses on Darby, a twenty-something who is looking for love, played by Anna Kendrick.

The show is sweet and, if you are a fan of romantic comedies, frustrating at times, but quite enjoyable. 

Each episode focuses on Darby’s love interest so fittingly, the episode titles are all the names of said love interest.

10 episodes in the first season and no plans for a second season being announced as of yet, maybe Darby will find her true love by the end of season one. Without knowing what the future holds for the series, hopeless romantics like myself will have to hope for the best.

Initially after watching the first episode entitled Augie Jeong, similarities to another HBO original from years ago, Sex and the City come to mind, but it deserves more credit than that.  Yes, it is about a girl in New York looking for love, but this series has a younger vibe to it and seems more innocent, where Sex and the City, and its characters, seemed more jaded.

Both series are narrated, but unlike Sex and the City where the infamous Carrie Bradshaw was the narrator of her story, Love Life is narrated by an at-this-time unknown woman with a British accent. Maybe we will find out who she is later.

Episode one tells us the story of Darby and her first real adult love, Augie, who meet at a bar.  Darby is working for Bradley Field at a museum as a tour guide. Augie is a sweet guy and you can understand why Darby falls for him and is so heartbroken when he tells her about a job offer he has received that is too good to pass up, so he will be leaving the city soon.  The two decide to try long-distance when they spend their last night together at Bradley’s wedding.

In the second episode, which takes place a year later, Augie is no longer in the picture and Darby meets up again with her old boss Bradley, who is now going through a divorce.  Although there is a substantial difference in their ages, Darby and Bradley begin dating, but throughout the episode you see Darby letting go of her dreams and becoming the hostess type that works best with Bradley.  Darby seems happy and her friends love to spend time with her at Bradley’s well-equipped apartment, but things quickly change when Bradley’s father passes. The couple, including an understandably upset Bradley, attend the wake at his family home.

Darby feels uncomfortable at the event and doesn’t seem to fit in, and that feeling increases when Bradley’s soon-to-be ex-wife Kate shows up and is obviously still a favorite of and very close with Bradley’s mother. Darby spends the day drinking, ending up with her head in a toilet, and later carrying her belongings from Bradley’s apartment to the train to return to her roommates.

The third episode takes place shortly after the break-up with Bradley. Darby’s roommate Sara convinces her to attend a roof-top party, giving Sara the excuse to miss her live-in boyfriend Jim’s family gathering. Sara leaves after a short time to go to Jim, but Darby decides to stay and meets Danny. Initially, he doesn’t make a very good impression on Darby, but after she injures her leg and he offers to administer some first aid, Darby and Danny begin to get to know each other.

Love Life Season 1-4 recap

Credit: Love Life/ Netflix

Darby notices that Danny has two phones, which they both joke is a classic indication of being a drug dealer, but his reasoning is more complicated.  Danny is keeping the old phone active because it contains voicemails from his ex that he doesn’t want to lose.

Although not prone to one-night stands, Darby has sex with Danny. She knows this is not going to be a relationship, and is fine with that, feeling a bit of freedom and no pressure. After, the two talk more about how hanging on to the old phone isn’t good for Danny and he decides to get rid of it and throws it out the window. Darby cheers him on until realizing that Danny was ok letting go of the phone because he thinks that she can be the replacement for his old girlfriend. Panicked, Darby quickly makes up a story about moving in two days and beats a hasty retreat.

A week later, Darby is working at her new museum job when Danny shows up and sees her.  He realizes that she lied to avoid his attentions and lets her know how she has hurt him. Although she feels bad about it, Darby acknowledges it is nice to know that she wasn’t the one who left.

Episode four is titled Magnus Lund and starts with Darby getting more used to the one-night stand. Her roommates see different men coming from Darby’s room in the morning, but one stands out.  Magnus Lund, a sous chef at a local restaurant, begins appearing more often. He charms not only Darby but her roommates as well. His career shows promise and seems to be following the same track as Darby’s, which is heading on an upward tick. Darby is now the assistant to Naomi, who takes up all of Darby’s time and causes her quite a bit of stress. But Darby is up for a promotion, Magnus meets her mother and brother and makes a great impression, and the two begin talking about their futures together. Magnus moves into the apartment with Darby and her friends.

Magnus seems perfect, although not the most responsible. Darby is continuing to work hard and finally finds out that she has gotten the promotion to Assistant Sales Associate. When she rushes home to tell Magnus the good news she finds out that he has lost his job and in the coming weeks shows he is not very interested in finding another.

Darby has finally had enough with Magnus not working and lets him know how she feels. He wakes her up the next morning dressed in a suit, advising that he is going out to find a new job, but later does not show up at home and is not answering calls or texts.

Concerned, Darby begins to go through Magnus’ things to try and get some hint as to where he could be and finds many past due bills and indications of a huge amount of debt and financial irresponsibility.

Magnus shows the next morning, looking a mess, saying that he went away to think and realizes how much Darby means to him, gets down on one knee and proposes.

Will Darby say yes? Can Magnus get his life straightened out? From all indications, the answer to that question would be no, but we shall see in the future episodes of Love Life.


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