It may just be time to add another streaming service to your list. If you’re a fan of quirky comedy blended pretty seamlessly with comic-book action, sci-fi style plots, and surprisingly human moments through it all, then ‘Doom Patrol’ on the DC Universe streaming platform is for you.
WARNING: Spoilers for this episode of ‘Doom Patrol’ lie ahead, obviously. If you haven’t seen the episode and don’t wish for any of its content to be spoiled for you, the time to turn back is NOW!
RECAP: With the surprisingly intense ending of last episode, it makes sense that the action here picks up right where it left off last time. The town of Cloverton, Ohio has been completely destroyed, and both Crazy Jane and The Chief were swallowed up with the town by the vortex that opened when the donkey farted. (Seriously, if you can’t follow that last sentence and feel okay with what’s happening, this show probably isn’t for you).
The team, as they were in the first episode, is quite fractured in terms of how they want to progress moving forward. Larry and Rita immediately return to Doom Manor, wanting nothing more to do with the situation, and resume their talks of leaving the Manor completely and relocating elsewhere. Larry even goes so far as to head to the bus station in the next town over and buy a ticket to Montana, but the energy being living inside of him physically won’t let him leave town, knocking Larry out every time he goes to board a bus until he gives up and heads back to the Manor.
Meanwhile, Cliff is scouring the ruins of Cloverton for some sort of sign that The Chief and Jane might still be alive. He has found the goat, but it’s just too darn fast for him and always gets away – until the beast is caught by Cyborg, who has traveled from Detroit to check up on his acquaintance The Chief. We’re given the fairly standard “flashback” background info on Cyborg, and many DC fans are familiar with the basics of the character from his recent cinematic ‘Justice League’ appearance.
To the surprise of Cyborg and Robotman, the donkey belches up an unconscious Jane. The duo take Jane and the Donkey back to the Manor, where the ambitious plan is hatched to have Rita “melt” and squeeze her, eyeball-first, into the donkey’s mouth so that she can learn more about the inter-dimensional portal that obviously exists in it’s throat. While Cliff attends to Jane inside the Manor, things get a bit kooky(er) outside with the donkey, and the animal swallows not only Rita but also Larry and Cyborg, forcing them to all go on a trippy voyage of self-awareness and self-doubt via personal flashbacks and “what ifs” at the hands of the villainous Mr. Nobody. they do manage to escape, with the help of Larry’s tagalong energy being, but without The Chief, and with an ominous warning from Mr. Nobody that he’ll be seeing them again soon…
- In seeing preview for this episode, I was initially concerned about the inclusion of Cyborg, but the character did fit into the story line fairly naturally, which was good to see. It’s obviously a bit strange seeing a “TV version” of the character so close to having recently seen a movie version of him, but if it can work for Superman appearing on the ‘Supergirl’ TV show and pretty much every episode of ‘The Flash,’ then it can work here too, I suppose.
- We get lots more character-depth and back-story info for Rita and Larry this episode – who have still yet to be referenced by their “superhero” names of Elastigirl and Negative Man on-screen – but still have been provided with only nebulous information on Crazy Jane and The Chief. Is it coincidence that these are the two characters that were first taken into the Donkeyverse?
- The show continues to impress overall with its visual aesthetics; a few moments, like Rita’s blobbly trip down the donkey’s throat, are a little cheap-ish on the CGI, but the practical effects all look well above average, and the sets and backdrops for the various scenes are all well-embellished, which is a nice touch.
CLOSING THOUGHTS: I think it’s fairly clear where my opinions lie on this show through two episodes. It’s absurdly entertaining and infinitely watchable. DC has a true “underground” hit on their hands so far – here’s hoping the strong showing continues through the rest of the Patrol’s first season!
PRINCIPAL CAST FEATURED IN THIS EPISODE:
Timothy Dalton as The Chief
Brendan Fraser as Cliff Steele/Robotman
Diane Guerrero as Crazy Jane
April Bowlby as Rita Farr/Elastigirl
Matt Bomer as Larry Trainor/Negative Man
Alan Tudyk as Mt. Nobody
Joivan Wade as Victor Stone/Cyborg
‘Doom Patrol’ features new episodes on Fridays via the DC Universe streaming service.