Review: Doom Patrol 1×08 – “Danny Patrol”

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

Director: Dermott Downs

Writer: Tom Farrell

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Matt Bomer, April Bowlby, Diane Guerrero, Joivan Wade, Shiquita James, Timothy Dalton, Alan Tudyk, Riley Shanahan, Matthew Zuk, Jon Briddell, Brent Bailey, Judy Kain, Lindsay Ayliffe

 

Summary

The next lead in the search for Niles Caulder takes Cyborg and Larry to Danny Street, wherever that is.  Meanwhile Rita and Cliff have to face Jane’s most dangerous personality yet: Karen.

Positives

Doom Patrol continues to be a phenomenally unique and important show that is, unfortunately, limited by existing only on the DC Universe service right now.  More people need to see a show like this that is so unafraid to be itself, something that very much echos the theme of this weeks episode.  Writer Tom Farrell, director Dermott Downs, and the rest of the cast do a great job following up last weeks powerful episode around mental health with another important episode about identity and being true to yourself, even if that means not being normal.

The story opens with a government agent infiltrating a bustling street in the middle of nowhere.  Absurdism is a tricky thing to master, and Doom Patrol absolutely has.  By finding humor through the most ridiculous situations and then turning that humor into an opportunity to speak about something significant.  A sentient street is the perfect opportunity to talk about being atypical and the importance of owning who you are.  Cyborg and Cliff are two individuals who haven’t come to terms with that yet, and that is made very clear in the first scene.

Make no mistake, however, because this show very much focuses on Larry Trainor.  He has been struggling for the past few episodes to come to terms with himself as a gay man and how that impacts his outlook on the country he’s sworn to protect and serve.  Karen is a very interesting personality for Jane.  All of the personalities she’s had thus far have owned their situation and owned who they were.  Karen, on the other hand, is perpetually in denial.  Her love spell is the ultimate way to make her reality the reality.  Doug and his family are considered beneficiaries instead of victims, even though Karen is taking control of other people’s lives.  In many ways, it is a true villain persona for Jane because she only cares about herself.

Once we meet Danny the Street, we see how truly special this episode is.  Danny is a catalyst for an important message because they are not only a fabulous individual with a great sense of humor, they are also a place where anyone can confidently be themselves.  This is illuminated during an amazing scene where Cyborg just isn’t understanding who or what Danny the Street is, and Morally Corrupt gives him hell for being a robot who doesn’t understand what its like to be non-binary.  It’s an example of an amazing sense of humor that also hits hard.  It’s only fitting that the foe of this episode is the Bureau of Normalcy.  That’s just another clever example of how the show is able to make commentary from the simplest elements.  This episode is about how overrated being normal is but also how difficult it is sometimes to be comfortable in your own skin.  It’s certainly not a new message but definitely one we need to hear more often.

Negatives

Once again there are no negatives.  Like the previous episode, this one contains a beautiful message told with impeccable variety and balance.

 

Verdict

Doom Patrol continues to be a truly unique show that sets itself apart by refusing to be limited to any one genre.

 

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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.