In terms of ambition, scale, and execution, I’m not sure there’s anything better than Ezekiel Patrol. Writers Tamara Becher, Jeremy Carver, Shoshana Sachi, director Dermott Downs, the cast—they set a new bar. With Ezekiel, even though it’s from Grant Morrison, “Doom Patrol” has just fulfilled the concept of Vertigo TV. It’s sophisticated… okay, not suspense. Sophisticated superheroes.
The episode starts with a truly magnificent recap narrated by Alan Tudyk, which makes perfect since since he’s a cosmic narrator and whatnot; it’s not even Tudyk’s delivery, which is fine but not great, it’s the writing. It’s specific to each cast member and it seems like it can’t all be from the comic. But if it somehow is from the comic… I mean, bravo Grant Morrison. It happens.
After the recap and the resolution of the outstanding reveal, which shakes the foundations of the series to its very core and we still don’t understand all the fallout—the cast once again gets split and forced to confront themselves and each other. Some are more self-destructive than others, some are more empathetic than others, some are more uplifted than others—Matt Bomer’s arc with the Negative Spirit seems too good to be true, versus April Bowlby discovering the real world—despite being something she can tolerate if necessary—is really shitty.
Meanwhile Robotman (Brendan Fraser and Riley Shanahan—maybe my trepidation about being a big Fraser in “Doom Patrol” fan is because it seems to overshadow Shanahan’s movement work) and Diane Guerrero form a quizzically symbiotic relationship. Guerrero manages to get a lot of sympathy this episode, just because the storytelling is so good.
Alimi Ballard shows up, including for some flashbacks with Timothy Dalton. Ballard’s not great. It’s too bad. It seems like he could be great, then it falls apart. Doesn’t matter, everything else is great. Like guest star Curtis Armstrong. He’s great. Tommy Snider’s great. Charmin Lee’s great (she’s Vic’s mom in flashbacks). Dalton’s great.
And then there’s Phil Morris.
Morris isn’t the “hero” of “Doom Patrol: Season One”—it’s Bowlby because of course it’s Bowlby, she’s phenomenal—but his performance in the show is singular. I thought it was great before. Morris doubles it this episode. So good.
Great music from Kevin Kiner, great photography from Magdalena Górka. The special effects are excellent. Everything about it is excellent.
It’s been a long time since something’s had such a good first season close as “Doom Patrol.”
I can’t wait for what’s next.
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