In this episode, there’s a scene where Diane Guerrero and April Bowlby are sitting in some lounge chairs on a pretty lake and talking about how they’re coping with the revelations of the traumas Timothy Dalton put them through. They’re at the pretty lake because Bowlby has an extended panic attack and has reverted into mostly liquid form. She’s in a large bag, tied together, on the chair. So Bowlby’s just voice acting. She’s great.
Guerrero’s not great in that particular “Doom Patrol” way where I try to will her acting to be better. It never works, but it felt good to have that sensation back again.
The episode opens in a flashback to the forties, very nonchalantly introducing the Brain and Monsieur Mallah. No CGI required for the Brain, just a trashcan and some lights, but Monsieur Mallah (a French ape) looks excellent. They’re plotting against Dalton, and their plan involves having alien mercenary Stephen Murphy assassinate a target at a resort. He’s just supposed to go there and wait for the target to arrive.
The target’s Bowlby, and she doesn’t arrive for decades. Not until she’s stressed out from Dalton giving her added responsibilities and then the disaster of the town play. But it also takes Joivan Wade getting in trouble with dad Phil Morris for giving his girlfriend another chance instead of having her arrested for terrorism; Morris has shut down most of Wade’s superpowers. So he’s bored and willing to take Bowlby on the trip.
Guerrero only goes because her little kid version (Skye Roberts) wants her to relax and thinks a trip would do her good. It’s a very interesting scene, with lots of foreshadowing for the character development. Roberts is better than Guerrero, which is actually surprising because Roberts’s part has been really nonverbal until now on the show. And Roberts gets emphasis later on, for a particularly affecting third act sequence.
They can’t bring Matt Bomer along because he’s out in space on a field trip with his alien symbiote. Last episode, it seemed like Bomer might be leaving the show or at least taking a timeout to keep the acting budget down, but he’s got a whole subplot.
But they can convince Brendan Fraser & Riley Shanahan’s Robotman to come along. Fraser’s been visiting his daughter (Bethany Anne Lind), her wife (Walnette Marie Santiago), and their new baby. He’s very amusingly annoying the hell out of them as the doting grandad. So they’re happy to send him off on a trip.
When they get to the resort, which is desolate and apparently only still in business because Murphy’s never checked out, they quickly start bickering and arguing. Wade’s trying to overcompensate, Fraser’s pissed, Guerrero’s confused, and Bowlby’s jello. It makes for a good “Doom Patrol” with a great cliffhanger.
Murphy’s a good guest war, with Billy Boyd stealing most of the scenes as his lackey. It’s a strong episode for Fraser in particular; he’s got a lot of different kinds of scenes. And, of course, Shanahan. Lots of good movement work from Shanahan.
This show’s a treasure.