The Doom Patrol are recovering from their battle against the Cult of the Unwritten Book. Cliff attempts to learn more about his daughter, while Cyborg receives a visit from his father who needs to repair him. Meanwhile, Crazy Jane continues her investigation in to The Chief’s original Doom Patrol team which leads her, Larry and Rita to a school for those gifted – and cursed – with superpowers. At the school, Larry learns a shocking secret about The Chief while Rita awkwardly reconnects with Steve Dayton – a former superhero known as Mento, who possesses incredible mental powers.
Yet all is not as it seems at the school, as each member of the Doom Patrol learns contradictory facts about the original Doom Patrol’s history and its battle against Mr. Nobody. With Rita forced to face her own past involvement with Mento, Larry and Crazy Jane confront their greatest fears. Can the Doom Patrol survive this latest challenge and uncover the mysteries of the Chief’s former team?
If you’re looking for an action-packed episode of Doom Patrol, this isn’t it. And that’s a very good thing indeed.
After the blowout of the Cult of the Unwritten Book storyline, this quiet and thought-provoking episode couldn’t be any better timed. It’s a perfect way to for the viewers to decompress, expanding the personal growth of the main characters while continuing to explore the mysteries that the team is facing. It’s still weird, wonderful, funny and tragic – which is how it should be – but with an introspective approach that feels natural.
In short, it’s a fantastic episode.
The truly astonishing thing about this episode from a fanboy perspective is that it rewrites the history of the Doom Patrol comics over the years, yet still manages to get so much right. A classic character like Mento being in a former incarnation of the team alongside seventies and eighties characters like Arani, Rhea and Josh Clay may make long-time readers balk initially. However, it works because the episode still gets them right. Josh and Arani in particular are so close to their comic book counterparts that any concerns about muddying the time scale makes no difference.
The same can be said for Mento, easily one of the most dysfunctional and repulsive members of the team in its history. His obsessive, abusive history with Rita in the comics is downplayed here. While that may seem like an easy out, it certainly doesn’t let him off the hook and allows for a very different story to play out with Rita – and one that benefits her character enormously, despite opening up some new troubles for her. It also gives April Bowlby another chance to stand out, delivering a measured performance that helps reinforce Rita as the unlikely sympathetic heart of the team.
The subplot of Cyborg and his father Silas adds another dimension to things too, reinforcing his place in the Doom Patrol’s dysfunctional family, while setting up Silas as a potential candidate to fill the Doc Magnus spot in the show. If the concept of Cliff potentially getting a new body leads in the direction it appears to be – something hinted at by the Easter egg of The Brain – then fans could be in for a real treat. Meanwhile, Cliff’s plight of struggling to reconnect with his daughter hits just the right emotional beats.
This is a far more subtle episode of the show than some may have wanted, but it delivers in so many ways. It’s visually striking and the music choices are perfect, with homages to Kubrick’s blood flood, Lou Reed and Perry Como. It entices the audience to keep watching just to see what they’re going to come up with next. When it dishes out a moment of hilarious insanity like the blundering Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, without sacrificing the reflective mood of the rest of the show, you know you’re in prime Doom Patrol territory. And with every character getting a moment to shine too, it becomes a stand-out episode.
If Doom Patrol continues to keep up this pace, it’s possible that it could become the new benchmark for superhero shows on TV. As it stands, this is a magnificent episode that captures the essence of the comics without being a slave to them.
Doom Patrol ep. 6 – Doom Patrol Patrol
Low on action, but pure Doom Patrol brilliance.