“LEGO figures can’t be choosers, Calder!” Spoilers for Doom Patrol season 2, episodes 1-3 follow.
After defeating Mister Nobody, the titular heroes faced unforeseen consequences of their victory in Doom Patrol season 2.
They are now stuck as the size of cockroaches. After weeks of attempting to return to normal size through science, they have one place left to turn, magic.
While stuck at this size though, the group must come to get used to having The Chief’s hidden daughter, Dorothy, around at all times. Here’s all that went down in the first three episodes of Doom Patrol season 2.
Fun Size Patrol
Over and over again during the first season of Doom Patrol, the series very much established that it was something that contained very disparate tones. One moment, the show could be absolutely ridiculous and gut-bustingly hilarious. The next, it could pack an incredibly dark and twisted emotional punch. These are two tones that often do not work together for various reasons, but when they work well together, the results are usually phenomenal. That was the case for the first season at least, but sometimes, in a show’s sophomore season, it loses what made it great in the first place. Luckily, this isn’t the case for the premiere episode of Doom Patrol season 2.
From the get, it was clear that the show was going to very much be a continuation of where the first season left off, both story-wise and tone-wise. Story-wise, it picks up only a few weeks after Mister Nobody’s defeat and the team, minus Larry, are still incredibly tiny. If you haven’t watched the first season of Doom Patrol in a while and forgot exactly what happened, this is a bit jarring at first, but it’s easy to get used to. It also makes some fun, and hilarious, moments throughout the episode, as well as a particularly dark, messed up moment toward the end.
Speaking of dark though, this episode never once forgot that said tone was also a staple of Doom Patrol. Everyone loves to talk about how weirdly funny the show often is, which is true, but the show is incredibly dark as well and the first scene with Dorothy as circus freak reminds you of that immediately. And then, throughout the rest of the episode, it continues to juggle the dark, serious tone used for emotional resonance and its sense of humor incredibly well. It’s a balancing act and this premiere episode pulls it off well.
The first episode also goes a long way in setting up the themes that will seemingly be present throughout the season. It goes out of its way, not in a particularly jarring way though, to show flashbacks of both Cliff and Larry dealing with various forms of fatherhood, which goes hand in hand with The Chief being a father to Dorothy. So, if that’s any indication, parenthood will be a main theme for this season moving forward. The other themes touched upon here, and will definitely be brought up later, are those of addiction and, unsurprisingly, trauma. And, if any of these is handled as well as anything in the first season, then these will be handled well too.
And, to any arachnophobes (like this writer) out there, there’s a giant spider in this season. He’s mostly friendly, but still, he’s a giant spider.
Only Doom Patrol could pull off an episode with a basically immortal man going to his estranged son’s funeral and a disco with people from all eras of history, led by a guy with a clock for a head. Only Doom Patrol. Seriously though, the combination of these two things sounds like it will inevitably lead to disaster, but it absolutely doesn’t. In fact, it leads to an incredibly poignant episode.
The theme of parenthood that was presented in the premiere continues on very heavily in this episode, as it rightfully should. The Chief would do anything to Dorothy, Cliff is still grieving the life missed with his daughter, and now, Larry is grieving the loss of his son. The deep, emotional baggage that each of these men carry is incredibly interesting to behold and this episode lays it all out to bear, especially in regards to Larry.
As shown in the premiere, he loved his sons, but he wasn’t a good dad. This could’ve been for many reasons, one of the main ones more than likely him taking out his anger regarding his inability to be his true self on his kids, but that’s no excuse for being a poor parent. What this episode does is really put that into perspective incredibly well by having him attend his son’s funeral and the wake afterward. These scenes are quiet and impactful in their ability just to sit with Larry’s regrets, which are palpable despite never seeing Larry’s face. It’s all carried in his body language, which is thanks to Matthew Zuk’s excellent physical performance.
The other themes of trauma and addiction rear their heads too amongst Cyborg and Jane’s arcs. Cyborg has the chance to start to confront some of the trauma that he has incurred, but that’s all it is, just a start. But, that’s ok though as it’s still early in the season and it sets him on the path to allow him to grow. In his story though, there’s another thematic element presented that, while well-intentioned, came off incredibly ham-fisted into this episode. It felt out of place in this episode and wasn’t executed particularly well either, with it being just and “shot, reverse-shot” scene.
Didn’t I mention a disco though? Why, of course it was mentioned because Doom Patrol isn’t all doom and gloom, it’s also patently ridiculous at the same time. The disco scenes are ridiculous and funny and everything you expect an episode of Doom Patrol to contain. Plus, the team somehow managed to make a dude with a clock for his head look completely believable within this universe. It shouldn’t work, but it does, which is pretty much the unofficial slogan for Doom Patrol.
Jack the Ripper, meet the Doom Patrol. Well, not exactly Jack the Ripper, but the interdimensional being named Red Jack that feeds on pain that people assumed was Jack the Ripper, meet the Doom Patrol. Any shock at what Doom Patrol is willing to do should really evaporate after that last sentence.
With the Doom Patrol fending off a being like Red Jack, one might expect that this would be one of the best Doom Patrol episodes yet. It has the insanity the show is known for, dark undertones, and the perfect villain to really begin to explore the certain themes set-up over the past two episodes. However, that isn’t what happens in this episode. Rather, the Doom Patrol is split into four different segments, each with their own stories to accompany them and, because of that, this is the weakest episode of the season so far.
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The best part of this episode is basically everything having to do with Red Jack. It contains every bit of insanity that most episodes of Doom Patrol contain, but instead of being humorous, this episode takes it in a much different direction. Rather, it becomes a part of the horror genre, which is absolutely fitting when featuring a creature that feeds off of pain. So much of the Red Jack parts of the episode are unsettling in the best of ways. There’s just not enough of this portion of the episode though.
The episode doesn’t lack humor though as Cliff readily handles that, as well as Jane slightly. Jane is off having an intervention with her psyche, so she is more serious in this episode as well, but she has her humorous moments too. But Cliff really is the humorous anchor here. Even in the more serious moments for the character, there’s still parts that will make you laugh pretty hard.
Where the episode falls quite flat is with Cyborg and Dorothy’s stories. Dorothy’s is just a game of hide-and-go seek that seems to be just set-up for a future episode with Danny the Street and that’s about it.
As for Cyborg, the idea of him getting into a romantic relationship with someone is an interesting development. Someone with similar trauma, even better. However, with how said relationship is executed in this episode, it’s easily the weakest part. It feels more akin to a CW-style relationship which absolutely doesn’t fit Doom Patrol at all. Even with the two bonding over their traumas, it feels like an incredibly shallow relationship that is written to be unnecessarily dramatic by the end of the episode. The idea was a smart one, it just ended up not being executed all that well.
Doom Patrol season 2 kicks off with a bang, offering us extremely strong first and second episodes and a third episode that occasionally comes close to them.
What did you think of the Doom Patrol season 2 premiere? Are you looking forward to seeing how Doom Patrol season 2 rolls on? Let us know in the comments below!