I’ll take a moment here to echo my thoughts from last week’s review: ‘Doom Patrol’ somehow manages yet again to dodge the primary driving force of its over-arching plot line (that of locating the Chief and rescuing him from Mr. Nobody), but because it’s such an amazing study in its characters and their wants, needs, desires, and flaws, the show remains engaging as Hell and entertaining as all get out.
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: This episode is fairly easy to recap, even though it’s a very deep and heavy episode in terms of content and thought-provoking ideas. Picking up immediately from the last episode, Crazy Jane is still comatose; persona Karen has vacated the “light” and normally Jane would come back to the surface, but she does not reappear. The team has brought Jane back to the Manor, but they seem to be low on ideas for how to help Jane – until the negative energy pops out of Larry and connects Robotman’s brain with Jane’s, allowing Cliff (in human Cliff form, whoo Brendan Fraser!) to enter “the Underground,” the subconscious manifestation of Jane’s psyche.
Jane doesn’t want to return to the surface – it’s hard work being the personality “up top,” and she’s tired and seeking answers. Cliff is seeking something as well – redemption with Jane and perhaps some sort of absolution from the universe in general, now that he realizes and misses what he had with his family and how he squandered it. It’s an episode that focuses heavily on Cliff and Jane and their extremely strange relationship – which is exactly par for the course for the Doom Patrol.
- Remember last week when I said: “Diane Guerrero is the standout actress of the series, and her work as Crazy Jane and the plethora of personalities we’ve met so far has been phenomenal.” Apparently, last week’s episode was just the tip of the iceberg, as this week’s tale lets Guererro shine all the brighter. Her work on this series has been phenomenal to this point, effectively bringing to life one of the most challenging characters in the entire DC Universe.
- It was fun to see other actresses portray some different Jane personae in the Underground – as cool as it would have been to have Guerrero take on the task of being on-screen with several versions of herself at the same time, having other people bring some of the other incarnations of Jane/Kay’s subconscious to life was the better choice from a presentation standpoint.
- I’m admittedly intrigued by the “don’t worry about it” response from Rita and Cyborg when Cliff comes back out of Jane’s mind and asks what happened as he sees the mess in the Chief’s laboratory. A back-story we’ll get at some point in a future episode, I’m sure!
- It’s interesting to think that, with 64 different personalities and each one featuring a different super-power, Jane’s “superpower” seems to be the deceptively-simple ability of effectively managing the other 63. If you stop and think about it, this may truly make her the most powerful of them all – and it makes it very understandable to the viewer why she is so tired of being the one to be “on the surface” doing it every single day.
CLOSING THOUGHTS: This episode serves as a firm reminder that, while we the viewers may occasionally get caught up in the weird and the funny bits of the show, ‘Doom Patrol’ is routinely dealing with some pretty heavy and dark content matter on a routine basis. For me, it’s been a great blend of all of above facets melded together, and I’m hoping that the upcoming “home stretch” of the end of the first season keeps all this going while adding back in the plot-driving facet of the team’s search for the Chief.
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 Mr. Nobody
Joivan Wade as Victor Stone/Cyborg
‘Doom Patrol’ features new episodes on Fridays via the DC Universe streaming service.