Left to Right: Dorothy Spinner and Niles Caulder
Credit: 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

‘Doom Patrol’ Season 2 Episode 8 Review: “Dad Patrol”

Like Dad Patrol, Like Daughter Patrol. This week’s episode explores the different father-daughter dynamics among the ranks of the Doom Patrol.

Previously on Doom Patrol 

Season 2

Episodes 1, 2, and 3 – Fun Size Patrol, Tyme Patrol, and Pain Patrol

Episode 4 – Sex Patrol

Episode 5 – Finger Patrol

Episode 6 – Space Patrol

Episode 7 – Dumb Patrol

S2E8 Review (Spoiler-Free)

Determined to prove her worth in The Underground, Jane (Diane Guerrero) brings Larry (voice actor Matt Bomer, on-set performer Matthew Zuk) to rural Arkansas to revisit her childhood home to retrieve an important item for Kay. This leads her to confront a past she (or any of her personalities) have been eager to do.  

Cliff (voice actor Brendan Fraser, on-set performer Riley Shanahan) has been visited by his daughter, Clara (Bethany Anne Lind), and the two spend time together, as he gets the opportunity to do something he’s always wanted to do, bond with his daughter.  

Rita Farr (April Bowlby) is enamored with her recent escapade of being the superhero, “The Beekeeper,” and she shares her delight with  Vic (Joivan Wade). But he ends up having something bigger on his plate that will change the scope of everything he’s been working on.

Finally, Niles (Timothy Dalton) is left with no other choice, regarding his daughter, so he decides to organize a special day for  Dorothy (Abigail Shapiro). Meanwhile, Dorothy is growing, and there is nothing she can do about it.  

What will Jane’s trip to Arkansas lead to?

Will Cliff be able to connect with his daughter after all this time?

What will Niles do to our sweet Dorothy? And how is she doing through all this?

All these and more answered!

 

Left to Right: Cliff talking to his pregnant daughter, Clara, in front of a car in a garage.
Credit: 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

The Cast

Repetitive statement about how every member of the cast is talented and great. 

Abigail Sharpio is a bundle of sunshine and joy, and I will never get enough of her. The more Dorothy I get in an episode has a direct correlation to how much I enjoy that week’s Doom Patrol. I am obsessed with this show, and I was in love with the first season. I honestly didn’t think it could love the show more, but be still my Dorothy.  

Shocked to see who I write about next? You shouldn’t be by now. Diane Guerrero is on fire. She keeps making Jane more and more interesting as time goes on. We really got to see more emotional depth with that specific personality this week, as Jane was vulnerable and open. Bravo. Also, a shout out to the two actresses that play Kay, Skye Roberts as young Kay and Leela Owen as teenage Kay/Miranda, because they put in some great work this week.   

Brendan Fraser was such a joy to watch. Ugh, happy Cliff is my favorite version. Hearing Fraser upbeat and positive made me nostalgic for his Hollywood heyday. He has such a great positive spirit to him when he is having fun, and this episode allowed for that. Riley Shanahan probably put in some of his best work in “Dad Patrol,” as his choices and decisions helped sell the overall tone and mood of Cliff. Cliff’s daughter, Clara, had significant screen time this episode, and actress Bethany Anne Lind took full advantage, putting in a solid performance.    

I need to give credit to Timothy Dalton this week. With him being such an established, veteran actor, a solid performance is expected every time. This week though, his efforts as an open and vulnerable Niles was beautiful to watch. Cheers.

 

Left to Right: Larry Trainor and Jane in rural Kansas.
Credit: 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Vision

Writers Tom Farrell and April Fitzsimmons had a delicate task this week, when it came to the subject matter. As should be expected by now with any of the members of the Room Patrol, the two knocked it out of the part. The humor we did get throughout the episode was rooted in organic, human connection, and the different storylines were handled with care. 

A downside to the structure of Doom Patrol, granted with all ensemble pieces, is that some people fall through the cracks. Though they had some meaningful moments, Vic and Rita seemed to suffer the most. It wasn’t because their story was bad (it was really good), but, relative to the other ones, it felt inferior. There really is no way to go about it; the writing team is handling it the best way they can.

 

Cyborg talking to a federal agent.
Credit: 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Takeaway

“Dad Patrol” gives us a heartfelt episode that really connects on a personal, intimate level. It continues delivering the high quality one can expect out of Doom Patrol while serving as a great penultimate episode for the season.

 

Dorothy holding a giant teddy bear at the fair.
Credit: 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Reflection (SPOILERS)

What a great episode. I really love this show, and it continues to give me more and more joy every time I watch it. 

What I appreciated the most about this week is the present theme of dads (I know, it’s called “Dad Patrol” for a reason). We get three different perspectives of what a dad can be like, and it provides a compelling juxtaposition.

We get one story that includes a terrible dad, which of course is Jane’s. Her storyline, which focuses on her trying to find Kay’s childhood toy, is rooted in finding meaning to herself and purpose. In this quest, she is forced to relive the terrible things Kay had to go through growing, focused solely around the well. We see that Kay, when she is being punished, is ordered by her father to sit in the bucket of the well. She is then lowered to the bottom and left there to suffer, which leads her to lose her favorite plush toy. This is a constant thing that happens to her, from being a young girl to the teenage years, when Miranda starts to come into the picture. Jane goes back to her childhood home to climb down the well and find the stuffed animal for Kay. We get a flashback showing that a Miranda-led Kay had found the toy but decided to leave it behind in the well. She made the decision to rebel and run away from her father. This growth was done, in spite of her father’s mistreatment.

We also get a storyline where Cliff spends the day with his daughter, who’s decided to come to Doom Manor. Clara has finally decided to open up the door, slightly, for Cliff to come back in, which is anxious to burst through. He is gitty, trying to catch up on everything and do everything he can to make up for lost time. Clara almost gets lost in all the hub-bub, and she finally, over pancakes, talks to Cliff about a serious issue. Clara is pregnant and engaged to her partner, Mel (a woman), but Clara is having doubts/cold feet about going through with the marriage. She feels like she wants to run away and claims it’s a Steele quality. Cliff is finally able to be a father to her and gives her great advice (in his own special way) about how what she’s feeling isn’t uncommon, but she has to put in the work. They continue to bond, which is such a treat. The day ends with her having to leave, but she does something special by giving Cliff a wedding invitation. He is ecstatic, and we get to see a father-daughter relationship that was non-existent but slightly rebuilt. Nothing will stop him from going to the wedding (until you read the next paragraph).

Our last dad storyline is probably the most prominent one: Niles and Dorothy. As we learned from last episode, Niles has given up on trying to control her and is planning to do the unthinkable to save the world from his daughter. What he decides to do is give Dorothy one last day to have an amazing time and truly enjoy herself (some sort of repayment for all the years he kept her hidden). While this is going on, Dorothy gets her period when she’s in a gas station convenience store. Scared and alone in the bathroom, the cashier (a woman) comes in to check on her and tells her about how her period is a sign that she’s becoming a woman and it’s natural. The cashier makes a comment on how dads never want their girls to grow up so Dorothy decides not to tell Niles about the incident. After this, the father and daughter end up going to a local fair (Dorothy’s pick) and have a great time. We get some many beautiful moments between the two, and you can really see the love. She goes and plays games and goes into a funhouse, but, during the whole time, she starts to get visions of her mother trying to give her boots. Finally, she’s confronted by Candlemaker, who tells her she cannot hide from adulthood anymore and that is time for him to be released upon the world. Nile is confronted by Willoughby Kipling, who’s been aiding him in the whole process, and the Chief admits he is not ready to give up on Dorothy. As they bicker, Candlemaker has been released, and now they must deal with the consequences. I’ve had many issues with Niles these past few episodes, but this one helped him win some points back with me (for now). In the end, he is a father that loves his daughter and wants to protect her. Now, he has to deal with the consequences of the world around him.

About Bassam Kaado

Bassam Kaado is a NJ writer that dabbles in screenplays, comic books, poetry, and articles covering various aspect of entertainment. In addition, he is an actor, rapper, and director. You can following Bassam @bkaado on Twitter and Instagram.

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