“Doom Patrol” has a standard plot structure for most episodes. With another show, I’d call it concerning, but with “Doom Patrol,” the show’s able to utilize and achieve with that structure, so it’s a have-at-it situation. Especially since they’re constantly reminding each other they’re not a team; why expect team dynamics.
The structure is a split-up one, where each member goes off on their own personal adventure. While they’re all separate, they’re all full of anger, danger, and sorrow. The split-up structure is familiar from comics when you’d have regular pairings of team members. So, for instance, Robotman and Jane go to save a nuclear power plant while Negative Man and Cyborg go to do something else. I never read Doom Patrol so I’m not sure how the split-up structure worked there, but in the show, instead of pairings, everyone’s on their own. Except for April Bowlby and Michelle Gomez, who sit around the mansion getting hammered on gin and making bad decisions.
This episode’s mission involves Gomez’s newly discovered old gang (from the 1920s, the Sisterhood of Dada—some great jokes about Dada throughout) trying to bring about the end of the world. Maybe. The team—minus Bowlby—goes out to see if they can get some answers, only to discover the Sisterhood’s got the upper hand. One thing about the season I’m underwhelmed about—through future streamers aren’t going to care—is how it’s a sequel to the first season, not the second. The Sisterhood were some of the prisoners the team freed at the end of season one. They just haven’t been mentioned until now, a season and a few episodes later.
It’s a slight peeve and doesn’t affect the episode’s quality. Brendan Fraser and Riley Shanahan have the most physically and comedically involved adventure because Robotman gets super-high, leading to hilarious dialogue for Fraser and some excellent bodywork from Shanahan. It’s Shanahan’s most impressive episode this season. But the writing is also just fantastic (Shoshana Sachi gets the credit). Not just when they’re on mission or when Fraser’s tripping balls, but also when Fraser’s playing on the internet. It’s all great.
Diane Guerrero’s adventure involves her and little girl inside her Skye Roberts interacting with the outside world again. Or at least outside elements, which leverages Guerrero’s effectiveness as protector. She’s funny when she’s bantering with Fraser; she’s sincere with trying to protect Roberts. Here, Guerrero and Roberts both find themselves seduced—appropriately, I’m just flexing on the vocabulary—by guest star Wynn Everett. Guerrero and Roberts’s arc this season is by far the most affecting, even though Guerrero’s the least capable regular cast member.
Jovian Wade’s got a Black man in America arc with a little dad issues with Phil Morris thrown in. It’s good. Morris only appears in a FaceTime call where no one thought about how he was sitting in relation to the camera, but Rona, right? While all of the arcs feel interrupted, only Wade’s feels like it won’t get explored later, which is too bad. I’m probably wrong, though. “Doom Patrol” consistently pleasantly surprises.
Matt Bomer’s got the smallest arc, involving his missing extraterrestrial symbiote, old man son John Getz, and a giant, moving zit. It’s good but set up.
Meanwhile, Bowlby and Gomez are back at the mansion talking about time travel, revealing all their secrets—which is incredible—and, again, making some bad and predictably drunk decisions.
It’s nice having someone opposite Bowlby who’s always making an excellent acting move. Gomez can keep up with Bowlby, something no one else really can, not when Bowlby lets loose.
“Doom Patrol” is, as ever, fantastic.