blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Doom Patrol (2019) s03e07 – Bird Patrol

Wow, late forties Communist paranoia doesn’t age well. It’s okay for a plot point, but showcasing how Michelle Gomez goes down the rabbit hole does an incredible job setting up her villain arc. It’s the big reveal on her; she’s just an American numbskull. Though the character’s Scottish, so she’s a Scot affecting American idiocy. It’s kind of great? It’s not dramatic at all; basically, she’s just going to be a betrayer, and we’ll get to watch that realization play out on people’s faces, but there’s only one related action set-piece, and it’s the cliffhanger. Otherwise, it’s all just watching Gomez hurt people. One after the other, as it becomes more and more evident, she’s lost her humanity to fear and hate.

Not sure how the show’s going to explain Gomez getting her memory back in the present as the audience learns about it through the flashbacks–well, linear flashbacks but April Bowlby’s ostensibly experiencing it in real-time though not as much this episode. Gomez is the star in the flashbacks, with Bowlby now just one of the Sisterhood of Dada.

The show’s actually getting through the Sisterhood of Dada stuff really fast. The subplots are all still dawdling—nicely dawdling, but still—and the Dada stuff is racing. Especially given this episode’s cliffhanger. We get one big reveal, then another, then another, then the cliffhanger.

The subplots have Brendan Fraser and Riley Shanahan back at daughter Bethany Anne Lind’s to babysit, even though it’s clear his malfunctions are continuing. Matt Bomer’s actually got a big early episode revelation with his giant zit subplot. And then Bomer’s the one in the present interacting with Gomez the most when she’s still cool. Diane Guerrero’s got more internal drama with Skye Roberts and company. It’s the most forced subplot, maybe because Guerrero doesn’t engage with anyone out in the world about it.

The most significant subplot is Joivan Wade, who’s going through with a synthetic skin treatment. Through either luck or contrivance, when dad Phil Morris (who doesn’t appear but Karen Obilom does have a lovely scene, albeit remotely) turned Wade into Cyborg, he made it easy to uninstall all the mechanicals and replace them with artificial skin. Okay, maybe not the biggest subplot, but the most dramatic. Wade losing his tech is more impactful (so far) than Fraser being inept at playing grandpa, Guerrero’s turmoil, and then Bomer’s thing.

Lots of good acting—Gomez, Bowlby, the flashback guest stars.

Though I did think the season had thirteen episodes, and it’s got ten, which means we’re heading into the wrap-up, and I didn’t realize it. Still, the show’s in excellent shape.

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