“Doom Patrol” has been having a fine season to this point; fine enough, one hopes they’re prepared for a non-renewal, but the series hasn’t been sublime. Every so often, “Doom Patrol” has a way of being sublime, where the story’s quirkiness, the characters’ humanity, and the Kevin Kiner and Clint Mansell music is just right, and the show transcends.
Hasn’t happened this season until now. And it’s not even with the regular cast or—until the finale—part of the season arc. There’s a reveal at the end to tie things together (but not too much of a reveal, of course) and raise the show’s aim for the season. It sure seems like they’re going to have one heck of a season arc.
Anyway. This episode features the return of Abi Monterey as Chief’s daughter, Dorothy. Is it as in Oz? I can’t remember. Chief was (will be?) played by Timothy Dalton in seasons one and two. He doesn’t come back this episode for a cameo, though we do hear—in the opening recap from Monterey—she’s seen him, spent a hundred years hanging out, and now she’s found peace with his death.
And him spending most of her life treating her like an apocalypse child just because she can conjure her invincible, sometimes uncontrollable imaginary monster friends into reality. So, they’ve got some unresolved baggage since he left the mortal coil.
Monterey departed “Doom Patrol” at the start of Season Three, after they resolved her leftover season arc from Season Two (Covid prematurely ended it), heading off with The Dead Boy Detectives in a back door pilot for another HBO Max/Vertigo show. When “Dead” went to pilot, however, Monterey (and the “Patrol” actors) weren’t part of it. So it’s nice to have her back.
For much of the episode, it again feels like a back-door pilot, but this time for Monterey, guest star Madeline Zima, and possibly returning guest star Alan Mingo Jr.
Monterey’s been hanging out in Danny the Street, who’s still providing a welcoming, safe space for those in need, but the world outside’s shitty, so Danny’s getting more and more to capacity. They’re set up as a campground where Monterey can mope in her Airstream, and Mingo can belt out a song whenever necessary.
As Mingo returns from a day out in the world full of shitty little bigots—specifically shitty little white skater bigots—a bunch of metal bugs invades Danny. Mingo’s character is a drag queen who knows a lot about the world not being the way it seems like it should. So Mingo and Monterey are having a heart-to-heart (well, more like Mingo’s trying to have one) as the bugs take out their friends.
Wait, I forgot. The episode opens with an animated comic sequence: Monterey reading her favorite comic, Space Case.
Okay. The bugs turn the people into space zombies right out of the comic; Monterey realizes it and, in a panic, apparently brings the hero (Space Case) out into the real world, where Zima plays her.
So it’s Monterey, Mingo, and Zima battling a bunch of space zombies; only Zima doesn’t know how to deal with the threat without destroying them. And the people they were before the bug bite, leading to a “real world” hero arc for Zima.
Further complicating matters is Zima’s comic book nemesis also showing up, played by Tyler Mane. They’ve got a lengthy backstory, which Monterey summarizes, and it becomes clearer why she’s such a fan of the comic.
It’s a mic drop great episode. Great performances from Monterey and Mingo, excellent writing (credit to Tom Farrell). Kristin Windell’s direction is strong too. “Doom Patrol”’s so good. I can’t wait to see where it all goes this season.