blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Doom Patrol (2019) s01e04 – Cult Patrol

No way, Willoughby Kipling (Mark Sheppard) is a real comic book “Doom Patrol” character. Is he a desperate Constantine rip-off in the comic or just in the show? I seriously thought they had to really quick come up with a character when they couldn’t make the Constantine cameo work. Like I thought it was seriously they couldn’t decide whether to let Matt Ryan be on the show.

Same they didn’t push for it.

Sheppard’s a disappointment. He’s not all-bad, he’s just lackluster. The character is buffoonish. So if it’s accurate, it’s “Doom Patrol” writer and character creator Grant Morrison having a piss at Alan Moore and managing to cover himself in his own stream like usual, and if it’s inaccurate, writers Marcus Dalzine and Chris Dingess are just doing a bad job.

Doesn’t really matter because the episode’s still pretty effective and walks back last episode’s walk back of April Bowlby’s agency. She spends this episode disinterested in helping Sheppard stop the apocalypse—involving teen sacrifice Ted Sutherland, who’s pretty good in a role where it doesn’t matter but Sutherland is good, which helps Bowlby because he’s what inspires her to become a hero. She’s got a pretty cool hero moment; it comes with a lot less asterisks than the rest of the team’s heroic displays. Joivan Wade gets a fairly big set piece where he bonds with Sheppard in a fight against a bunch of inter-dimensional cultists trying to get to Sutherland.

It’s appropriately amusing. The show’s hitting a lot of solid character development moments, it’s just also still got some liabilities.

Matt Bomer’s around trying to get his electric spirit under control enough to help with Diane Guerrero and Brendan Fraser and Riley Shanahan as Robotman go into the alternate dimension. There they face off with these live action Muppet types. Maybe not Muppets, but if Henson Company made a fantasy TV series with live action actors in it in the late eighties. However you’d accurately describe it, it’s a delight.

Fraser and Guerrero are in a funk because Fraser killed a bunch of Nazis last episode and doesn’t feel bad about it. It’s eh. Neither of them are really good enough for it to matter and their cliffhanger is awesome so it’s fine. Better than last episode, not as good as the one before, but better than the pilot for sure. “Doom Patrol”’s rocky.

Glad it’s got a solid effects budget.

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