Doom Patrol season 1, episode 1 review: Pilot


A ravishing introduction to the origins of the superhero team of misfits, the Doom Patrol, in a seamless great opener.

Finally, the debut of the superhero drama, Doom Patrol, has arrived on the DC Universe streaming service. Ever since the introduction of the unusual set of misfits on the dark and edgy spin-off, Titans, we have been itching to get the chance of seeing the weird, scarred group of superheroes consisting of Clifford Steele/Robotman (Brendan Fraser), Larry Trainor/Negative Man (Matt Bomer), Rita Farr/Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby) and Kay Challis/Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), all led by Dr. Niles Caulder/The Chief (Timothy Dalton), who let all of his subjects stay at the Doom Manor under his roof (how quaint).

The Mind is the Limit

In post-war Paraguay, a narration which is told from the perspective of our series antagonist, Mr. Nobody, once known as Eric Morton (Alan Tudyk) ensues as he tells the story of how he came to be. As explained by Morton, he has been just a third-rate thug who underwent a strange procedure, which caused him to not only become a living shadow by splitting his atoms somehow in a theoretical albeit quite a psychic experiment in nature.

Doom Patrol and their Origins

The first member of the support group/superhero team, Doom Patrol, to be introduced is of course Clifford (Fraser), a racing car driver, as Mr. Nobody exclaims, “Somewhere in this abomination of goats and blows is a pale white a** pumping up and down.” Cliff, before his autonomous transformation, is having an affair with his daughter’s nanny, Giselle (Ashley Dougherty). Whereas, his wife Kate Steele (Katie Gunderson) hears of her daughter’s cries, Clara Steele (Sydney Kowalske) is being taken care of by Cliff as Giselle covers for him.

At the race during 1988, taking place at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Cliff prepares to have what is apparently the last race of his life. Before he boards his racing car, Cliff reunites with Kate before hissing him.

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“Crash and die, babe.”

“I love you too, hunnie.”

Whilst driving, he realizes that Bob, Cliff’s assistant that he is having an affair with Kate. Cliff then rams into a nearby car in a fury and eventually recovers before Dr. Caulder (Dalton) after he remembers the lighter sides of his marriage. Seven years on, Cliff discovers his original body was broken down beyond repair while his brain was transplanted into a robotic body. Rita (Bowlby) reveals this by showing his reflection in a mirror.

Larry (Bomer) and Rita’s own accidents are told and narrated by Mr. Nobody also. Larry, who is assisting Cliff with his recovery, shares his story of why he is wrapped in bandages like a Mummy or The Invisible Man. He is a respected Air Force pilot, who somehow got caught in negative energy, which gravely vaporized his entire body and had been irradiated by negatively charged particles. Whereas, Rita was a 50s actress who met her fateful day on a film shoot in Africa when she fell into a swamp and managed to inhale a toxic gas.

Crazy Jane and The Chief’s venture

In present day, Crazy Jane (Guerrero) takes a stroll back in Doom Manor irritating The Chief as she switches between her many alters, such as “Hammer Head” and “The Hangman’s Daughter.” There is a glimpse of “Silvia,” before Hammer Head becomes dominant and triggers Robotman. After Crazy Jane resurfaces, she decides to get the rest of the misfits out of Doom Manor and go into town.

First off, while this was not the most nonsensical and pristine of origin stories, each character’s story from Cliff to Larry and Rita were seamless. Everything was focal in Cliff’s point of view (except for the narrator).

Thanks in part to Jeremy Carver, who had written the pilot, he and director Glen Winter crafted a rather quirky premise and nailed the tone in terms of its general weirdness. More on that later.

While Fraser was the backbone of the story, the cast was enjoying their respective roles, which suit them well, especially Dalton’s The Chief, who was a great replacement for Bruno Bichir whose depiction of the great scientist was on the hammy side.

Despite a well told, interwoven, origin story, it was not quite the weirdness to Grant Morrison’s era, but since this is a series premiere it does seem to embrace the strange somewhat.

The vulgarity and profanity at times were unnecessary and took you out of the show at points, but were compounded by a heartfelt, emotional weight of Fraser’s character. Tonally, it was by far not your atypical super–duper action show, but is not quite psychedelic as it should aim for.

Pacing–wise, after 35 minutes, it took some time in order to reach current matters in terms of the overall main plot. However, at least, Carver allows you to be invested in each character.


  • Cliff Steele/Robotman was not caught in a racing car accident, but through a separate incident.
  • Larry Trainor/Negative Man has a secret that even he cannot keep in those bandages.
  • Crazy Jane may possibly be the replacement for Garfield “Gar” Logan AKA Beast Boy.
  • It seems as if the continuity between Titans and Doom Patrol may be in disarray as it remains to be seen whether they will address Beast Boy and the encounter with the other Titans.
  • The Chief has enemies, one of them, Mr. Nobody has plans for Doom Patrol though what else is our good doctor (or not so good) scientist hiding?

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Doom Patrol will return for another episode on Friday, Feb. 22, on DC Universe.