Review: DOOM PATROL 2×06 – “SPACE PATROL”
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Director: Kristen Windell
Writer: Neil Reynolds
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Doom Patrol 2×06 – “Space Patrol“: Larry is tasked with handling Niles’ old research team when the ageless aeronauts return from space. As Niles and Cliff set out to find a missing Dorothy, a funeral in The Underground occupies Jane’s mind. Meanwhile, Vic discovers a curious connection between Roni and S.T.A.R. Labs, and Rita finds that her role in an upcoming community theater production hits too close to home.
Last episode, we saw a confrontation between Dorothy and Jane that resulted in the death of two of Jane’s personalities and one of Dorothy’s imaginary friends. This encounter has left Jane in a catatonic state, while Dorothy is missing.
Meanwhile, a group of astronauts called the “Pioneers of the Uncharted” show up on the Doom Patrol’s doorstep. I get the feeling that the Pioneers are a nod to another DC property, the Challengers of the Unknown. The similarity in team names is apparent as well as a similar individual names. Two of the pioneers are named “Zip” and “Specs”, which are not dissimilar to the Challengers named “Ace”, “Rocky”, or “Red”. Also, the space suits worn by the Pioneers are very reminiscent of the yellow and red uniforms that the Challengers adopted in 1965.
However, one of the astronauts has a name familiar to long-time readers of Doom Patrol comics: Valentina Vostok. In the comics she was part of the replacement Doom Patrol that arose when most of the original team were believed to be dead. Like Larry, she had a Negative being inside her, and went by the name of Negative Woman.
Like her comic book counterpart, Valentina has a Negative being, unlike in the comics, she does not have to wear the same bandages as Larry. It turns out that she has accepted that she and her negative being’s shared existence. Once she made peace with that, she gained the ability to keep her radioactivity from emitting through her skin.
I like this idea. It shows that there is hope for Larry if he can eventually come to terms with his negative being. It seems that there is much that Larry has to work through to get to that point. However, it shows that there is a light at the end of the tunnel – a goal to aim for. Perhaps Larry will eventually follow Valentina’s example.
Dorothy steals the Pioneers’ space ship and runs away into outer space. The Chief and Robotman follow after her, leading to a touching moment between Cliff and Dorothy. Cliff seems to be able to give a chance to give Dorothy some of the fatherly advice and concern that he never got to give his own daughter. He seems to starting to show some affection for Dorothy.
Cliff even expresses his willingness to the Chief to stick around and do his part to give Dorothy a happy home environment. The Chief expresses his gratitude for this, but immediately undercuts it by blowing Cliff out of the space ship’s air lock.
Rita also attends the first readthrough of her new play, only to find out that the play is about the how Doom Patrol saved the town of Cloverton last season. Rita has an interesting conversation with the actress who has been cast as “the blob lady”. This actress makes some observations about her role, not realizing who she is talking to. To Rita’s dismay, some of these observations seem unnervingly insightful to Rita’s actual motivations.
There was also an interesting bit of irony in Rita’s reaction to her co-star. After their talk, Rita says to herself, “Well! I have found my nemesis”. It would seem she is talking about her co-star, but their conversation seems to imply that maybe Rita’s greatest enemy is herself. Rita needs to face the uncomfortable fact that the only person holding her back from being happy is herself.
Vic finds out a bit of information. Having hacked into the government’s files about Roni, he finds that she her former cybernetic parts included mixed STAR Labes and Caulder Robotics tech. Silas Stone indicated that he considers mixing his tech with the Chief’s robotics tech would be an abomination. Could it be that he feels this way because they’ve tried it before? Is this another secret that might come back to haunt the team?
Space Patrol seems to have a fair bit more drama and less comedy than most Doom Patrol episodes. This isn’t really much of a negative, as the serious part of this show are damn awesome as. But I was slightly disappointed not to get that one or two moments of absolutely inspired absurdity that most Doom Patrol episodes have. There were some random bits of silliness like Zip and Specs playfully swatting each other on the but. And the slight downplay on the humorous side of the show is balanced out by a ramping up of its dramatic side.
While Space Patrol isn’t quite as outrageously funny as most other episodes, it is still a great episode of the best show currently on TV. As long as Doom Patrol keeps putting out episodes this well written and performed, It will remain my favourite show.