I’m very jealous of the folks who are going to marathon “Doom Patrol” without a break between seasons two and three. This episode is last season’s finale, only delayed because of Rona. It took me a while to catch back up. I didn’t forget the big things, but I did forget the community theater production of Our Town was actually Our Town Patrol. And April Bowlby would be mocking herself and her friends to regain some sense of professional accomplishment.
But the dramatic resolve in the first scenes—wrapping up the show’s game of chicken with the network, while well-acted and compelling, lack the resonance they’d have if I were still nail-biting over the turns of events.
However, it’s “Doom Patrol,” so pretty quickly, the acting and angst take over, and there’s no time to dawdle. There’s a lot going on. Not to mention Diane Guerrero’s cliffhanger doesn’t finish until most of the way through the episode. It’s probably the actual A-plot. The rest of the episode, which has the team regrouping and reacting to their battle against Abi Monterey’s imaginary but real monster demon at the mansion, is the calm after the storm. Especially since Guerrero’s arc is big stakes every second, as the Underground in her mind gets more hostile and anyone surviving seems more and more impossible.
In the mansion, Brendan Fraser’s trying to get his metal body back into shape enough he can visit his daughter. There’s a lot of good voice acting from Fraser this episode, but not a lot for Riley Shanahan to do in the suit. Not so much easing into the new season but easing out of the previous, including some potential character departures. Matt Bomer’s only got so long he can put off his promise to the alien being inside him, which involves them going off solo. Only Bomer’s worried about Bowlby, and he’s also bonding (a little) with Monterey.
Meanwhile, Joivan Wade’s trying to fix Fraser & Shanahan while fretting on girlfriend-turned-justified-villain Karen Obilom. Dad Phil Morris stops by to offer some sage advice; it’s only a scene, but it’s enough to remind of Morris’s incredible performance on the show.
And everyone’s really pissed off at Timothy Dalton, with Fraser & Shanahan finally getting to have it out with him once and for all. While everyone also takes Monterey’s feelings into account.
A lot is going on, as always with “Doom Patrol,” and by the second half of the episode, the show’s on a very firm footing. Once the music hits its sublime—Clint Mansell and Kevin Kiner’s scoring is so good—the show doesn’t really need it, and it’s just extra, the way it’s supposed to be, like the episode isn’t making up for lost time.
Best acting in the episode is Bowlby, who’s the protagonist of most of the mansion plot. Then there’s some great Fraser voice work. Bomer’s real good. Dalton’s got a hilarious bit in the epilogue. Monterey seems like she’s going to get more than she does. Same with Guerrero, who shares a lot with the other personas in the Underground.
There are also a couple big surprises at the end of the episode, forecasting season three.
“Doom Patrol” is back.