“Dumb Patrol” and Dumber Patrol. Doom Patrol has some stupid fun while also dealing with some serious issues.
Previously on Doom Patrol
S2E7 Review (Spoiler-Free)
With last week’s episode having its head in the skies, this week has us crashing down to earth.
Rita Farr (April Bowlby) is doing some navigation of her own by shadowing the Cloverton Beekeeper (Avis-Marie Barnes), the inspiration of her upcoming role. Though she is there for character study, she may learn something about the actress .
Back at Doom Manor, Vic (Joivan Wade) brings Roni (Karen Obilom) to introduce her to the “family,” and the two of them, plus a lost Larry (voice actor Matt Bomer, on-set performer Matthew Zuk) and newcomer Miranda (Diane Guerrero) find themselves facing one of humanity’s greatest problems: stupidity. That’s right, they form the Dumb Patrol.
How do the morons in the Manor fix stupid?
How is Miranda as a Primary?
What can Rita learn about herself to move on?
Where the hell is Cliff and how will he get home?
And what about Niles? What’s the Chief up to?
All these and more answered!
Solid performances are expected by this point from TV’s hottest ensemble, so let’s look at some standouts from the Doom Patrol.
Brendan Fraser and Riley Shanahan put in a great effort this week with Robotman, who is not having a good time. We really get a great mixture of physicality and emotion, and it is one of the many reason I try to make a point and give credit to the on-set performers.
Speaking of the on-set performers, Larry Trainor was such a joy to watch, as he was one of the “morons” of the episode. Matthew Zuk needs weekly credit as he helps punctuate the powerful lines of Matt Bomer. This week, the duo were more loose and playful, really making Larry a joy to watch.
Dorothy taking a backseat this episode robbed us of another entry in the Abigail Shapiro masterclass, but we are still able to get the other half of the Doom Dynamic Duo Patrol: Diane Guerrero. We get a good dose of Miranda this episode, which plays differently than Jane. Don’t worry, we still get some Jane and other personalities.
First of all, the amount of meta is this episode is amazing. I showed you one, no it’s up to you to find the rest.
Eric Dietel ad Tamara Becher-Wilkinson did a phenomenal job are delivering another classic Doom Patrol episode. They gifted us a great amount of fun and silly moments, when we follow the Dumb Patrol on their escapades, with great callbacks from this season, season one, and other DC shows. In addition to this storyline, we get a compelling, character study and a deep, dark, foreboding story. Big props to the Doom Patrol writers room (@RoomPatrol on twitter) for constantly churning out quality episodes.
Aesthetically, the episode is all over the place, which is beautiful. As you can guess, the most entertaining colors, framing, and mise-en-scène belongs to the morons and their journey to try and fix stupid. Rita’s journey is more simple and consistent with what we are used to seeing. Niles’ journey plays with an overwhelming color choice and still impressive CGI.
This episode is far from dumb, as it does an excellent job weaving weirdly fun elements, compelling dramatic beats, and loose story elements. The train keeps rollin’ for the Doom Patrol express.
Damn, it feels good to be a Doom fan. Every episode we get packs a punch and leaves us wanting more. What was great about this one was we really got a varied episode when it came to the tone of the episode.
Rita’s story was a more introspective, vulnerable story. With her visiting the beekeeper as prep for her role, the focus inevitably shifts on herself, and she opens up/vents about her mother and this mental block. In an effort to prepare for being someone else, she ended up having to, on the fly, shift to understand herself.
We find out what happens to Cliff; he pummels to Earth, landing in some random country town in the Midwest. Free from being lost in space, he is on war path. All he can think about is getting revenge on Niles, but his interactions with the folk around him and getting physically stuck, due to his limbs malfunctioning, leads to hysterical moments.
Speaking of Niles, he lands the space ship but not back home. Well, not the Doom Patrol home, he goes back to the home of Dorothy’s mom! He goes there to find his former lover (more specifically answers) With Dorothy asleep on the ship, there is no lighthearted or fun moments. This is Niles facing his own harsh realities that have some dark fucking vibes.
What’s happening with the crew at the Doom Manor is the complete opposite, with more ridiculous and wacky moments and some important story and character beats. Thanks to a random package that clearly says DO NOT OPEN multiple times (yeah, they opened up) Larry, Vic, and Roni are dumb, being affected by some weird organisms, called Scants, that feed off the stupidity of people. Miranda, the new primary, is there with them, and it’s interesting seeing her interact with the gang.
My viewing left me with the prevalent theme of “being grounded” or “landing on your feet.” It seems weird, but decisive action is taken by a lot of the characters or they are put in situations that lead them to do it. Here are two examples.
The most developed arc, by Farr, has been Rita’s story. Since discovering her mental block, she has hit a low point and has been hopeless floundering. Her undertaking of the play was meant to be proof that she can do something by herself, but even that was tainted by a nightmare of her mother taking credit for getting her the role too. In her conversations with the beekeeper, she opens up about her insecurities, and the beekeeper plays the therapist, giving surprisingly good insight. Rita gets a moment alone where she says the things she wanted to say to her mom, like the fact that she earned all those roles later in her career, but it doesn’t help her as much. She finally gets a moment of “redemption” on her walk home, where she stumbles upon a mugging in progress. She uses her elastic powers and disarms the mugger. Being a hero is the one thing her mother can’t take away from her. She’s landed on her feet.
Cliff landing on Earth, granted not on his feet, brought him back to a place of anger and fury. At the height of his hate and vengeance for Niles, Cliff finds himself stuck. No, not just emotionally, Cliff is physically stuck. His legs and arms can’t move while he is in the parking lot of what looks like a warehouse. He is in his own personal prison. He is approached by a “bro,” douchebag guy, who is fascinated with Cliff. In exchange for a couple “shoot out” videos, Cliff gets two phone calls: one to the Doom Manor that is unanswered, and one to his daughter that also is unanswered but goes to voicemail. He leaves a message for her, getting everything that he’s wanted to say off his chest. Once the douche bro leaves, Cliff falls over, but then he realizes that he can move again. It was like the emotional weight was lifted, and his body can move again. Being able to move past it helped, and, when he is home at the Manor, his daughter is waiting for him. Someone had mailed her the video tape of Niles confessing what he did to Cliff. She came to talk to Cliff, which is what he wanted.
The rest of the crew had moments of grounding too. After the whole dumb adventure is over, Vic and Roni address their status and at least get somewhat of a same page, and Larry gets some closure that his grandson has healed. Miranda wasn’t affected by the dumbness so, in that way, she was able to find her grounding in her first mission with the Doom Patrol. Jane is stuck in the Underground as the rest of her personalities are satisfied with Miranda’s leadership. She does have a moment, where she looks for a fellow personality and finds that her station is closed. Not all is well under Miranda, apparently, as Jane is done mopping and is back at it.
Niles’ “grounding” was probably the darkest one. In searching for Dorothy’s mother and answers, he is confronted by the Candlemaker during a vision. In hoping to find a way to help Dorothy, Niles has come to a more sinister conclusion. His transformation into the villain is underway.