Doom Patrol (2019) s01e02 – Donkey Patrol

So presumably someone at Warner Bros. watched the “Doom Patrol” pilot and thought it lacked a certain something. Whoever realized what it needed was Jovian Wade’s Cyborg deserves a bonus. Who even thought to ask if the character was available given the Justice League movie.

And it’s not like Wade’s great—he’s fine and amiable—or even a particularly likable character—he’s mostly a dick to everyone he meets—it’s just he’s got the exact right chemistry for what “Doom Patrol: The Show” needs. Wade also brings with him Phil Morris, who’s really good as his slightly shady dad who’s manipulating him—Wade learns during this episode—into his crimefighting career. Morris has big plans for Wade, who’s going to make it to the Justice League in five years.

Not the movie presumably.

Morris is great.

Also great this episode is April Bowlby, who is definitely able to pick up and carry the show just like I figured she’d need to do. The comedy just works better with Wade throwing a different kind of wrench in things. Also doing his part is Matthew Bomer, who has a great comedic sequence this episode when he tries to leave town only his electro-alien inhabitant says no.

Again, unclear if it’s really Bomer under the mask, but I at least saw some lips moving this time. There’s no way it’s not looped in though. He’s got to be muffled.

So if the new guy’s just what the show needs, if Bowlby and Bomer are doing all that heavy lifting, how are Brendan Fraser (voicing Robotman while Riley Shanahan does all the physical acting) and last episode’s de facto lead Diane Guerrero. Well…

Guerrero starts the episode really strong.

Then goes into a coma or something. She’s not talking. Once she starts talking again… it’s not great. It’s not terrible, but you do wonder who else they tested. As for Fraser and Shanahan? It’s almost like writers Neil Reynolds and Shoshana Sachi only wanted to give Robotman and Guerrero so much. There’s a big effects sequence when the rest of the Patrol go into a goat’s belly—just watch it—but maybe making the Robotman helmet move is really costly.

Shanahan’s physical performance is better here. Fraser’s just playing potty-mouth Fred Flintstone though.

Wait!

He didn’t play Fred Flintstone! Wow.

Okay. Well. He’s doing a rehearsal for it.

There are some really well-directed sequences—Dermott Downs—and some surprisingly great music—Kevin Kiner and Clint Mansell—so even with Alan Tudyk’s narration still being cheap “Rocky & Bullwinkle” and with some optics about Bomer’s closest sixties homosexuality, “Doom Patrol” is on the rise.

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