Blu-ray Review: Doom Patrol: The Complete Second Season
Written by: Various
Starring: Diane Guerrero, April Bowlby, Joivan Wade, Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, Timothy Dalton
Reviewed by: Eric Joseph
Thanks go to WB for the free review copy.
“DC’s strangest group of Super Heroes are back again to save the world – that is if they can find a way to grow up…both figuratively and literally. Following the defeat of Mr. Nobody, the DOOM PATROL now find themselves mini-sized and stranded on Cliff’s toy race car track. Here they begin to deal with their feelings of betrayal with Niles Caulder aka The Chief, while confronting their own personal baggage. As each Super Hero faces the challenge of moving beyond trauma and failure, they must come together to protect the newest family member, Niles’ daughter, whose powers remain a mysterious but real threat to bringing on the end of the world.”
In the case of Doom Patrol, it’s hard to figure out where to start when it comes to dishing out compliments. Being arguably the best show birthed by the DC Universe streaming service (and now continuing on HBO Max), it’s thoroughly impressed this critic over the course of two seasons. Granted the show’s sophomore outing boasts a smaller episode count, it’s nonetheless wonderfully weird, emotionally gripping, and superbly imaginative.
With the threat posed by Mr. Nobody behind them, our favorite ragtag group of misfits now face down a different sort of threat: that existing within the headspace of Niles Caulder’s daughter, Dorothy. Though she may be sweet herself, the girl’s mind is capable of unleashing the Candlemaker, a being who has the potential to end the world.
In addition to that, each member of the team also walk their own path of personal growth. Larry Trainor and Cliff Steele reacquaint themselves with their respective families; Rita Farr gets back in touch with her theatrical roots as she journeys down her own road to redemption; Crazy Jane fights it out with her other personas for the position of “primary”; and Victor Stone opens himself up to the realm of dating. Personally, Jane and Vic’s threads appealed to me most, but there’s a lot of compelling stuff, no matter on whom the narrative focuses.
Like I said, there’s so much in the way of positives to discuss that I’m hard-pressed to narrow the field. But I will say that “Sex Patrol” has to be my favorite episode of season 2, if not the entire series. To me, it perfectly encapsulates just how weird this show can get. (The Sex Men? Shadowy Mr. Evans? Just wait until you see them for yourself.)
Additionally, the “Steele and Stone” skit seen in a subsequent episode was also a major highlight. Basically, it’s Cliff daydreaming that he and Cyborg are on a ’70s cop show, and it’s quite hilarious. Red Jack, an otherworldly villain who pops up in the second or third episode, was also one of the high points, at least in my view.
Although this first “negative” I’m going to discuss isn’t an actual detriment to the second season, I can’t help saying the cliffhanger provided had to be quite possibly the biggest punch to the gut of the sort forced by COVID-19. As you know, there was nary a production left untouched by the pandemic, and this series was no exception. Fortunately, the creative minds had a feeling a shutdown was coming, so they reworked the ninth episode’s cliffhanger (there were originally supposed to be ten installments) in order to assure that the season would end in a compelling manner that made sense. And while they did achieve just that, this meant all hanging plot threads will have to be wrapped up at the beginning of season 3.
However, if there’s anything truly negative to say, it’s that yet another DC Universe series is given the shaft in the bonus features department. While this may not be the bare bones affair that was Swamp Thing‘s home video release, all we’re given are two featurettes, those being “Doom Patrol: The Magic of Makeup” and “Doom Patrol Season 2: Come Visit Georgia PSA.” The former is actually pretty decent for a nine-minute viewing, but the latter is merely the production designer discussing his involvement for only two minutes. We should have gotten more. Here’s hoping future Doom Patrol and Titans releases have more meat, so to speak.
Despite the first season being slightly more superior, Doom Patrol: The Complete Second Season is highly recommended for the mature DC fan. I can’t wait to see what the third season has in store, so this Blu-ray will do a nice job of filling the void until then. And if you haven’t seen this show at all, go ahead and pick up both seasons. You won’t regret it.