blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Doom Patrol (2019) s01e06 – Doom Patrol Patrol

I failed to appreciate how nice it was to have Diane Guerrero not playing her regular character, Jane. Or Hammerhead. Hammerhead is the tough one. Guerrero’s not good at either of them. She’s also not good as the Babydoll one. She’s good as the blue-eyed one, nothing else.

Especially not when everyone else in “Doom Patrol” is starting to settle nicely into their roles. Though Brendan Frasier’s “performance” hinges on his ability to swear with the right inflection, but his audio gets processed anyway so… it’s like the Matt Bomer in the Invisible Man mask. Is he really doing it?

Riley Shanahan’s good in the physical Robotman performance this episode. Phil Morris shows up to run some upgrades on son Cyborg (Joivan Wade) and he ends up talking to Robotman about his bad design. Again, excellent performance from Morris, which sort of elevates the whole thing. Wade’s got a better handle on this material too. All the males awkwardly bond and well. Good character development.

While Morris is upgrading Wade, Guerrero has taken Bomer and April Bowlby to track down the “Doom Patrol,” who turn out to be a fifties or sixties superhero group with some connection to Timothy Dalton. They find now retired heroes Will Kemp, Jasmine Kaur, and maybe Lesa Wilson (it’s like they budgeted the episode and said only two of them get to talk) teaching school at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

Kidding! Grant Morrison wouldn’t be that obvious. It’s not like Alan Moore ever wrote X-Men.

Alimi Ballard—who’s always been flat in the guest spots I’ve seen since “Numbers”—turns in a really nice performance as the school’s headmaster and Dalton’s man on the ground. Only things aren’t what they seem with the mutants… sorry, sorry, metahumans… or their professors.

Some eventually excellent material for Bowlby even if she does get some absurd dialogue about the sixty years she’s spent as a literal hermit. Ditto Bomer but it doesn’t matter for Bomer. It gets in the way of Bowlby, which is a mistake.

Also is a mistake is playing her off Kemp, who’s exceptionally flat.

There’s some iffy stuff in the end song montage–Just a Perfect Day, I forgot to mention the Bowie and Bolan in previous ones; the music’s mostly great.

But the content’s iffy. Especially Guerrero’s should be hard but is instead quizzically soft cliffhanger. She’s got a lot of character reveals to work through but the whole point of her character is not to do actual character development.

Otherwise, solid episode.

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