Ooh Child, things aren’t gonna get easier because play time is over! Doom Patrol is back with a brand new episode, “Finger Patrol.”
Previously on Doom Patrol
S2E5 Review (Spoiler-Free)
Feeling isolated and alone, Dorothy (Abigail Shapiro) finally finds a friend in Baby Doll, one of Jane‘s personalities (Diane Guerrero), and the two have a play date. Cliff (Brendan Fraser/Riley Shanahan) uncovers a plan Niles (Timothy Dalton) is working on to give him human-like upgrades. Vic (Joivan Wade) decides he wants to win Roni (Karen Obilom) back and needs to think of a plan. Rita (April Bowlby), seeing an ad for a community theater production, goes to audition but blows the opportunity. To shake it off, she accompanies Larry (Matt Bomer/Matthew Zuk), who goes to spend more time with his family and learn about the life he left behind.
What does Cliff think about the potential of an upgrade?
Will Vic be able to win back Roni and put her past aside?
What does the life of the Trainor family look like?
What could possibly go wrong with play time?
All these and more answered!
Another week, another solid entry into the Doom Patrol master class of acting. Even though I may not mention each member by name, they all put in the work and elevate the show.
Before diving into the key players, some praise needs to be given to Obilom and Jon Getz (Paul Trainor). As Roni, Obilom has done a great job over the last few episode setting the foundation for her character and the personal barriers she’s put up. In this episode, we get to see more of that and how she controls who are let in and how it is done, if possible. Getz has been knocking it out of the park as Larry’s second child, now an old man and patriarchy of his own family. There is a intricate range of emotions he works through, and it shows how much of a veteran he is in his craft.
Now, back to the Doom Patrol.
The breakout star of this season, Shapiro, continues to steal the show as Dorothy. Watching a character grow in front of you is always intriguing, and Shapiro is delivering the nuances of growing pains and fear of adulthood. It is fun seeing her play off of the more childish Baby Doll.
Speaking of Baby Doll, to say Guerrero is putting in a solid performance is an understatement and borderline insult at this point. She is the series MVP. Every week, she gives us an Orphan Black turned up to 11. Even if you want to ignore the other 63 personalities, watching Guerrero’s approach to Jane showcases an intricate characterization and strategic choices.
A personal favorite of the show, which is very well-documented at this point, is Matt Bomer and Matthew Zuk. Seeing these two in sync is such a delight and makes you really appreciate the small details. In one scene, Larry is looking at an artifact of his past, and the moment speaks volumes. The pauses in the speech as Larry puts together the information he’s received compliments the slow movements of his fingers as he examines the item. The results are tremendous.
This episode really made me appreciate the use of lighting in this show. This helps bring a well-deserved attention to detail. In particular, the strong use of natural lighting and shadows in Doom Manor. I love scenes in the Manor because most things going on are operating in a darker room surrounded by light creeping through the windows. Most of the time throughout this episode, either the characters operate in shadows or the occasional light piercing from the outside, or they work in a scene that is bright and completely lit, making the characters stand out. It also really highlights the distinct color palette of the show. The combination of Jane/Baby Doll and Dorothy also give us some fun visuals to watch, but I won’t spoil that for you!
After four episodes of ramping up, this episode evens out and goes on a nice Doom Patrol Cruise Control. When to comes to the writing, Chris Dingess and Shoshana Sachi teamed up to pen this episode, and the duo did a tremendous job of giving us a “breather.” Don’t get me wrong, there are crazy things that happen in the third act, but, in this episode, we are given time to settle in with these characters. Intimate, personal moments lead to rewarding conclusions or painful outcomes. Which happens to who? If only, you knew . . .
To be completely honest, I can’t see Doom Patrol having a bad episode. The way I see this episode is that part of a roller coaster, after a bunch of loops and spirals, where you go back up a hill only to fall down again. This is that moment of unnerving calm before things ramp up again.
I want to start this off by saying that “Steele & Stone” is something I never knew I wanted in my life, and now it’s ALL I want in my life. The bad 70s montages and old school cop show aesthetic was phenomenal. Honestly, I would watch a whole show.
Now, with the rest of the episode, we get some scenarios where the relationship of a parent and a child are examined and resolved, whether positively or negatively.
Rita, who has confronted her mental block, is desperately trying to deal with it. Uncovering the factoid of her mother sleeping to get Rita a role, Rita is determined to prove mother wrong. We get this very surreal moment of Rita having to perform a monologue in front of a community theater director at a gardening store. It’s a strange situation, and you can tell Rita is thrown off, but it’s also a very real moment. She works her way through a monologue that (of course) centers around a character address their mother. As she goes through the speech, she gets flashes of the memory repeating. It causes her to mess up the impromptu audition, and, having failed, Rita recoils. After tagging along with Larry on his exploits, we see her drinking, constantly, and bits of the old Rita begin to ooze out. She tells Larry’s great-grandkid not to let his dad destroy his dreams and complains about her situation. It isn’t until she gets a phone call from the director that, due to illness, a role opened up for Rita. There you have it! Rita has booked a gig without her mother’s help (the most important aspect of it). It’s the small victories.
Speaking of Larry, his exploration of the Trainor family comes to an end (as we know it) in this episode. In helping the family clear out old boxes of things, he meets his grandson and great-grandson. Larry continues to get a glimpse of the life he left behind and see the legacy that he created. We also see more bonding between him and his son, Paul, and it’s heartwarming. The great thing about this series in regards to Larry is that we continually get opportunities to see the man vulnerable and unraveled. In season one, it was the closure of his love, John, and, in this season, it’s the closure of his family. In helping his family clean out the house, Larry is face-to-face with artifacts of his past. He finds out that his wife had moved in with her sons, and he learns that she was the driving force behind the “Larry is alive” theory. Later, Larry gets a box from his son that has his old stuff and finds a token from John. Larry finally tells his family, (mainly Paul) that he is gay. Paul then admits that he was happy with the idea of Larry being dead, and we find out that Paul called the Department of Defense on him, hoping to subdue and neutralize Larry. Larry is able to escape, but not before an impending crossfire accidentally wounds his grandchild. The Trainor parent-children relationship was resolved but in a negative way.
But one relationship that we must wait for a resolution is the relationship between Niles and Dorothy. The whole season, one thing that has been repeatedly drilled into Dorothy’s head is that she can NEVER EVER make a wish. This time, understandly, Dorothy is pushed to the end. In her play time with Baby Doll, some bad things happened to her. The Wendigo she is able to conjure, I want to say its name is Manny? I honestly couldn’t make out the name. Anyway, Manny is the last thing Dorothy has of her mother, and she shares this friend with Baby Doll, who proceeds to hit it. Dorothy is furious because she asked Baby Doll to be polite and doesn’t want to play with her anymore. Later that night, Baby Doll sees how attached Niles is to Dorothy and gets jealous so she tells Dorothy that Niles is a bad man. This is another instance of Dorothy’s innocence being stripped away from her. The two get into a fight, play “tag,” and end up in the basement of the Manor. Dorothy is hiding in a furnace grate, it looks like, and the two get into another fight. Baby Doll closes the door with telekinesis and turns on the furnace, which is behind Dorothy at a distance. Dorothy is scared, rightfully so, and summons Manny to fight off Baby Doll and escape. Baby Doll summons the “human torch” personality of Kate, who burns up Manny. Candlemaker tells Dorothy that Manny is dead, and Dorothy breaks the one rule from her father: making a wish. By the way, this scene is amazing, Candlemaker gets into the Underground and wrecks shit. He kills Baby Doll, and it’s tough to watch but builds so much tension. Dorothy has finally grown up and made her own decision. I, for one, cannot wait to see how this all plays out.