Doom Patrol season 1, episode 3 review: Puppet Patrol


The best part about Doom Patrol is that it can forge its own way, which makes the storytelling more compelling and fun for its audience. Spoilers ahead.

With Doom Patrol’s third episode (“Puppet Patrol”) on the DC Universe streaming service, the show continues to build on its brand of quirkiness and fun. This group of “doomed” heroes finds itself on the road to Paraguay for this episode, and this particular road trip does not disappoint.

Who and why

This episode of Doom Patrol finally revealed a little bit more about the collective enemy that has taken The Chief/Niles Caulder. Of course, Mr. Nobody/Eric Morden is the main villain of this season, but he is not the only one. Cyborg/Vic Stone uncovers a larger supervillain team known as “The Brotherhood of Evil,” which has been working together since the 1930’s.

The Brotherhood includes Von Fuchs, who found a willing partner/investor for his experiments in the Nazis during World War II. A few years later (1948), Von Fuchs was able to create Mr. Nobody in his meta-chamber in Paraguay.

The reason why the Brotherhood has focused its attention on The Chief is finally explained, as well. Through the staged puppet show of Fuchtopia, it is shown that Caulder shot Von Fuchs and Mr. Nobody just after Morden’s transformation. The Chief also stole something of “great value” to Von Fuchs.

That thing of value is not revealed, but Von Fuchs was still able to attain his greatest accomplishment: the creation of Mr. Nobody. And this success is just the beginning of Von Fuchs’ metaphysical experiments, as he can now take regular human beings and turn them into “metas” (basically, give them superpowers).

The writing in this episode is smart and clever, especially in its use of the puppets to reveal the backstory. Not only is the show making all of this exposition more interesting for the audience, but the puppet show itself is staged as some kind of pitch to customers of Fuchtopia – this is how we got here, this is what we can provide to our customers. It’s a fun way to get out loads of information.

Metahuman experiments

Much like the third season of DC’s excellent animated show Young JusticeDoom Patrol deals with the creation of metahumans. Super powers can be purchased in Fuchtopia; for a time, they even accepted discounts like “Groupon” for the thriftier super-consumer.

Von Fuchs even makes reference to super powers like “flight” or “super strength” being simple and cheap to purchase, as he can sell even bigger powers that come from other dimensions. It’s kind of cool that two of Superman’s main powers (flying and strength) are treated as low-end power options.

Doom Patrol creates this world in which power can be so much more fantastic. Superman is all-around powerful, the Flash is fast, Green Lantern has his ring, and Aquaman rules the seas. All of those superpowers are impressive, but Doom Patrol deals with metahumans that go beyond.

The heroes and villains of this corner of the DC universe have powers that are undefined and maybe even a bit off-beat. It is another way that Doom Patrol finds its own voice in comic book storytelling. The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has its ups and downs, but for this show (and Titans to an extent), there is an exploration of the unfamiliar.

Cyborg as leader

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Doom Patrol gives a better introduction to the Cyborg character than its counterpart in the DCEU. When introduced in the second episode, Stone is five years into being a hero and already working the streets of Detroit. Meanwhile, Cyborg’s big screen counterpart in Justice League (2017) is still unsure of his role in the world and sort of hiding himself.

In this third episode, Cyborg accesses video surveillance of the explosion that likely caused his transformation and the death of his mother. Yet clearly, Cyborg feels something is amiss, as he wants to “authenticate” his memories with the surveillance (and even make sure that the video has not been altered). So clearly, there is more to his origin story still coming.

Even Rita/Elast-Girl points out to Cyborg that he had no reason to bring them along on this trip to find the Chief, as Cyborg is already a full-fledged superhero in his own right. But Victor is as unsure and afraid as the rest of his cohorts, and that is why he dragged them along.

For Cyborg, his future as a hero is not that clear. His journey may not involve the Justice League, as his father intends. Vic’s future plans may be better off with a more familial team like the Doom Patrol (or maybe even the Titans), because Cyborg isn’t ready for world level threats.

Vic wants to do the right thing, but make his own choices. It’s a cool and complicated take on someone who has superhuman abilities thrust upon him, but also the added tragedy of losing his mother in the process.

Final score – 8/10

Next. Doom Patrol season 1, episode 2 review. dark

This episode unfolds more of the story and the eventual showdown between the Doom Patrol and Mr. Nobody. And to boot, the ending has an interesting tag with another Fuchtopia customer (Steve) becoming a version of DC’s “Animal Vegetable Mineral Man.”

Hopefully, it won’t be the last we see of Steve. But even as a one-off moment, it was a pretty cool special effects shot. Plus, it fit perfectly with this unconventional superhero show.