[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Director: Dermott Downs
Writer: Neil Reynolds
Starring: Brendan Fraser, April Bowlby, Matt Bomer, Diane Guerrero, Joivan Wade, Timothy Dalton, Alan Tudyk, Riley Shanahan, Matthew Zuk, Phillip Morris
Oh. You’re back. Whoop-de-doo. That must mean you enjoyed these circus freaks making fools out of themselves. Well don’t worry because the shit show continues, and this time we add one more with an extra side of donkey.
Doom Patrol episode 2 had the rare foresight to address any concern or uncertainty people may have had about the pilot. The music remained fantastic, and the effects got even better, including the amazing rendering of the inside of a goat’s esophagus. After catching a glimpse of Jane, fans might be wondering if we will visit all 64 of Jane’s personalities, and episode 2 addresses that. For fans like me who wanted a little more Larry, this show takes care of that too. For anyone that was wondering how Cyborg plays into all of this or where we are in DC continuity for this show, DC hears you and addresses it in this episode all with a little extra cynicism from Mr. Nobody.
Slowing down a bit, we see at least a dozen different powers from Crazy Jane, all with terrifically rendered effects. A particular personality to look forward to is Silver Tongue, who can turn the words they are saying into pieces of shrapnel and throw them at people at high speeds. Cyborg’s effects are best shown when seeing the through his cybernetic eye, but his cybernetic projections are nothing to scoff at. You won’t see the giant laser or hear “Booyah” right away, but I have a feeling we’ll get there as we watch the character grow.
Joivan Wade is definitely playing a younger version of Cyborg that has a better relationship with his father than most previous adaptations. It’s still not great, but when we first meet Victor and Silas Stone, they are almost a Nightwing-Oracle crime-fighting duo. There is going to be a lot of strain to come, but Phillip Morris and Joivan Wade are doing a great job with navigating this complicated father-son relationship.
The rest of the performances continue to amaze. Rita was probably the most forthcoming character in the pilot but stayed a lot more reserved in episode 2 which revealed some deep insecurities that I really appreciated. Larry on the other hand, who was very quiet and reserved in episode 2, was given more of the spotlight, which revealed some very very deep identity issues that I can’t wait to dive further into. Larry is definitely one of the most complex comic characters brought to the small screen, and as his relationship with Rebis, the being living inside of him, evolves, Larry will develop into one of the best characters on this show.
The show, quite frankly, rests on the shoulders of Brendan Fraser and Alan Tudyk. Mr. Nobody is the omniscient narrator. He knows he’s in a TV show and is aware of DC continuity. When he spoke directly to the “Grant Morrison fans out there,” I had to look around for second. The way he breaks the fourth wall isn’t like Deadpool or other characters that do it just for show. He lines are meant to make the audience feel a certain way, and they largely succeed. In many ways, Tudyk helps the viewer ask themselves what they like about the show, why they are rooting for these characters, and what keeps them motivated to continue watching. Luckily, the answer to the last question is Robotman. Robotman represents the potential that all of the characters have and the hero in all of us. He is the only one that sees the capacity to do good in each member of the Doom Patrol. Right now, its mostly focused in his misguided love for Jane, but he has hope that everyone will do the right thing, and it gives the viewers hope too. Doom Patrol episode 2 is the best second episode I could have imagined, and it makes me very confident in this show moving forward.
I have only the tiniest negative for episode two, and it’s that this episode was mostly set up. The pilot did contain a lot of flashbacks and origins, but it still told one complete, smaller story from start to finish. Episode two really can’t be watched on its own without feeling like everything discussed is meant to lead into episode 3.
Its likely that after the premiere of Doom Patrol viewers left with feelings of excitement, suspense, and a little bit of disbelief. Well episode two stares at those same viewers and says, “Fuck it, let’s go deeper.” Get ready because episode two brings more comedy, tragedy, secrets and sarcasm than anyone could ask for all wrapped up in a delightful narration by Alan Tudyk.