Warning: Full spoilers will follow…
A donkey and a gaping hole has turned Cloverton, Ohio to ruin and the Doom Patrol, now leaderless, are unsure of what to do next. “Donkey Patrol” builds upon the momentum in the pilot without missing a beat and it introduces Cyborg to the fold to round out the core group.
Man, Machine or both?
Doom Patrol introducing Cyborg was an interesting, but risky choice given his connections to the Justice League and Teen Titans. It paid off huge because Joivan Wade’s Victor Stone/Cyborg is a revelation. His scenes with Robotman are fantastic and they are great foils for one another. Cliff’s still struggling in his new robotic skin and Vic’s been living as a technopath for 5 years at this point.
Wade gave the character a more grounded and funnier personality that balances out the gang’s collective trauma. Hacking the ATM by asking a thug if he wants to be “Bruce Wayne-rich” is just too good. It’s a huge feather in the show’s cap by nailing this character.
So done with it!
Rita and Larry initially sit this out as they both want nothing to do with it. “I’m a Golden Globe nominee!” she hisses once the gang realizes that Elasti-Woman can dive into the donkey to find the Chief. Larry tries to skip town but the spirit that he’s containing fights against his wishes to hilarious results. April Bowlby and Matt Bomer are a blast together because both of their characters want nothing to do with the hero gig. Mr. Nobody’s hallucinations that Rita, Vic and Larry experience uncovers a lot about their latent insecurities and the more dramatic beats where Larry strips the bandages to reveal the man beneath it is heart-wrenching.
Nobody puts Baby Doll in a corner…
Diane Guerrero continues to be the show’s biggest find as Crazy Jane and seeing another one of her many personas is excellent. Baby Doll comes out and she’s the sweetest thing ever! Cyborg even lets her in on a secret that shades The Flash (“He’s not that fast”), but it turns sour when Flaming Katy surfaces and goes off on Cliff and Vic. Cliff tries to figure out what makes Jane tick and some interrogation videos with her and the Chief shines a light on her unpredictable psyche. Silver Tongue’s a walking onomatopoeia.
Doom Patrol handles this kind of mental illness with grace and it doesn’t exploit it to serve the story and the father/daughter relationship between her and Cliff grows even more as a result.
- I love how the show acknowledges ARGUS and STAR Labs in Cyborg’s GUI
- Phil Morris playing Cyborg’s father is a neat bit of legacy casting (Martian Manhunter on Smallville)
- Mr. Nobody shouting out the “Grant Morrison fans and Reddit trolls with DC subscriptions” is meta AF!
- This feels like a two-parter pilot and one has to wonder if DC Universe ditching the Netflix all-at-once model is worth it?
Doom Patrol finds its voice and it’s just the second episode and this is arguably the best thing DC has right now. Its character-driven approach meshes well with the bonkers, yet grounded mood. Things are taking shape very nicely and I’m stoked for more.
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