Review: Doom Patrol 1×03 – “Puppet Patrol”

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Director: Rachel Talalay

Writers: Tamara Becher-Wilkinson, Tom Farrell

Starring: Brendan Fraser, April Bowlby, Matt Bomer, Diane Guerrero, Joivan Wade, Timothy Dalton, Alan Tudyk, Riley Shanahan, Matthew Zuk, Phillip Morris

 

Summary

Well, when the going gets tough, you know what they say: Road Trip!  That’s right all aboard the Magic School Bus to Paraguay, but no matter how far these freaks drive, there’s no escaping personal demons!

Positives

Is the Doom Patrol really hell-bent on finding the Chief, or are they just fleeing any sense of accountability?  As the team heads to Paraguay to track down Niles Caulder, each member is confronted with that very question, and the results make for great television.  Jane remains the glue holding these misfits together.  Guerrero gives an excellent performance no matter which personality she’s portraying and absolutely owns every scene she’s in.  She owns who she is 100% of the time, and that’s something all of the other characters need to learn.  When give the opportunity to become one personality, Jane refuses because she knows all 64 personalities are who she is, and that’s beautiful.

Jane may be the glue, but Larry’s the star of the show.  Larry may have finally decided to work out some rules with Rebis, but that doesn’t mean Rebis want to cooperate.  Before he can work out his differences with the 5th dimensional being living inside of him, however, Larry has to come to terms with his past.  Despite his fame as a young superstar pilot, Larry was living a double life and wasn’t honest in either of them.  Viewers get to watch as Larry tragically relives that past decades later through painful flashbacks.  Anyone who has experience with any kind of family tragedy is going to connect with this show.  Doom Patrol gets each emotional beat correct.

Its quite ironic that the show’s most authentic character is the least human.  Robotman’s story arc continues to be heart-wrenching and hilarious at the same time.  For someone who doesn’t feel, Robotman emotes surprisingly well.  The way he thinks about his daughter is enough to bring anyone to tears, and yet he swears like a trucker.  I have never heard a TV character say “Fuck” more authentically then Cliff Steele and he does it 20 times an episode.  No one could ever know what its like to live through Cliff’s accident, but Robotman knows the human experience as well as any of us.  Also, the punk rock shirts are a nice touch.

Whether or not Cyborg wants to admit it, Mr. Nobody got into his head, and now Vic doesn’t know who to trust.  We don’t see much of his struggle in this episode, but his “hot shot hero” facade lowers a bit, giving some vulnerability to the character.  He pushes the story along, which is an important role.  As always, the soundtrack and special effects are phenomenal.  Janes powers continue to inspire wonder and laughter each time one appears, and Rebis makes some great appearances throughout the episode and I can’t wait to see how Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man shows up later in the series.

Negatives

This is a much heavier issue than the other two, so viewers may not be expecting that but it comes across as necessary in this instance.  Also, when Robotman isn’t driving the show forward, the pacing slows down a bit.  He’s the core character of the show and certain character pairings can’t match up.

 

Verdict

Episode one introduced viewers to the Doom Patrol.  Episode two went deeper into their personalities and pasts, but episode three gives viewers a look at their inner demons.  These characters all have a lot of growth ahead of them, everyone should hop aboard the school bus for the ride as they try to answer the key question: We’re all missing something aren’t we?

 

 

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Ari Bard

I am currently a Sophomore at Case Western Reserve University studying mechanical engineering. I have been in love with DC since I saw the animated series and movies in the early 2000s. I started reading comics regularly at the start of Rebirth. My favorite character is Martian Manhunter.