Doom Patrol (2019) s01e03 – Puppet Patrol

Try as it might, this episode doesn’t lose all the second episode gains over the pilot. It does seemingly revolt against them—facing off team mom April Bowlby with serious superhero Joivan Wade but have it be all about how she’s just too negative and, like, needs to get with the team spirit stuff. Maybe do some cheers. And it’s all they’ve got, Wade and Bowlby, who are pretty much the only reliable actors “Patrol”’s got. Especially after this episode.

They’re stranded in a motel where they can argue and ostensibly character develop—if they’re trying to play up some kind of romantic thing, there are going to be numerous hurdles but it’d be a big swing if they try it (last episode didn’t exactly imply it but there was some passive energy in that department). The rest of the team—Diane Guerrero, Matt Bomer, and Brendan Fraser and Riley Shanahan as Robotman—is in Paraguay looking for Alan Tudyk, who was last seen there eighty years earlier or so. We saw Tudyk arrive there in flashback—speaking of Tudyk, he’s not narrating this episode; Wade does the opening recap but the narration only made it two episodes.

Wonder what that note from the focus group says.

Anyway.

Robotman and company—Robotman predated Hellboy, right, has there ever been any discussion of their similar personality types—infiltrate Nazi scientist Julian Richings’s superpowers clinic (amusing but not good enough bit part for Alec Mapa as a guy who’s been saving up for some powers and now it’s finally time). There’s some character revelations, some wanton destruction, and a really convenient Dr. Manhattan chamber for Bomer to play around in as he tries to get rid of the electrical being living inside him….

It’s Bomer’s episode. He gets all the flashbacks, covering him being terrible to both lover (Kyle Clements) and suffering wife (Julie McNiven). Bomer’s not good. The material’s not good, but Bomer’s also not good. He exceeds the range required for muffled Invisible Man guy. Not so with the dramatic. It’s not well-written, it’s not well-directed, but Bomer also can’t do it.

The character—not taking the more asshole moves in the flashback into account—gets empathy, but Bomer’s performance doesn’t get the requisite sympathy. He’s just not good enough.

If you’re good with Nazi jokes… there’s a great puppet show?

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