And this, ladies, germs, zombie butts, is what is called an hour of television. Or, well, forty-two minutes of television. “Doom Patrol” once again knocks it out of the park, but then the ball ricochets and pings around the ballpark, going out of the park and then pinging back in and out until the cliffhanger.
The perfectly done cliffhanger.
Fame Patrol gives the characters an impossible episode to endure. While the supervillain either did or didn’t come back in the form of Charity Cervantes, last seen a few seasons ago when Michelle Gomez first showed up (I think in a season finale tag, right?), the Doom Patrol’s got more personal problems going on.
Everybody hates Robotman (Brendan Fraser speaks, Riley Shanahan steps) for giving up his immortality because Cervantes’s cult told him he could see his grandson grow up. Mind you… the episode opens revealing Cervantes has killed everyone but the Doom Patrol in her awakening, including her cult. It turns out to be a great episode for Fraser and Abi Monterey, who’s gotten back to her surrogate family when they need her the most—they’re all rapidly aging and will be dying soon.
She takes on Fraser as a project while her new friend, played by Madeline Zima, tries to help Diane Guerrero. Guerrero is experiencing rapid aging while being unable to connect with her other personalities. She’s also upset about the world ending, maybe. It’s an excellent episode for Zima and Guerrero, too. There’s potentially a pin in it for later, but I’m hopeful “Doom Patrol” won’t do the characters dirty.
While Zima doesn’t share too much with Guerrero, she’s experiencing profound loss on a couple levels similar to Guerrero’s. The aforementioned dead cultists included her father, a space warlord (Zima’s a space cop), and her creator (Lima’s a comic book character). She’s very confused and in a lot of pain. The episode gives Zima and Monterey a lot of space to flex in their performances, even though they’re the supporting players in their scenes. The script—credit to Tamara Becher-Wilkinson—is simply exquisite in the character interactions. Perfect music from Kevin Kiner and Clint Mansell, especially for the Zima and Guerrero scenes.
Matt Bomer (voicing, with Matthew Zuk doing the bodywork) goes off to his room to mope—after making the very deft observation, Cervantes seems more like one of the team than their nemesis—only for Sendhil Ramamurthy to show up, looking for help in his disintegrated state. It’s a nice plot arc; not quite the weight of the other two, but nice. Ramamurthy and Bomer are great together. Or Ramamurthy and Zak. Or is it just Ramamurthy because he’s acting opposite someone who’s not responding? Or do Zuk and Shanahan read the lines while they’re shooting?
The last grouping is April Bowlby, Gomez, and Joivan Wade. Like I said, if Wade doesn’t have a dedicated guest star to play with, they don’t have anywhere to put him. Part of the plot will involve his (magically induced) obliviousness. He and Bowlby do get a nice scene together where she gets to play mentor again.
But Bowlby, Gomez, and Wade have the broadest plot strokes. Bowlby can’t stand Cervantes and wants to nuke her from orbit before she has a chance to time monster out on everyone (again). Gomez thinks there’s something weird about Cervantes no one else can see. And then Wade’s just along for the ride.
It ends up being, of course, a fantastic ride.
Excellent direction from Bosede Williams. “Doom Patrol”’s not slowing down. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Maybe some man-eating zombie butts. One can only hope.