Doom Patrol – S2 Ep4 – Sex Patrol Review

Director: Omar Madha

Writers: Eric Dietel & Tanya Steele

Starring: Dianne Guerrero, April Bowlby, Joivan Wade, Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, Timothy Dalton, Abigail Shapiro, Devan Chandler Long, Alan Mingo Jr., Stephanie Czajkowski, Michael Tourek, Michael Shenefelt and Tracy Bonner. With Riley Shanahan and Matthew Zuk

Doom Patrol fans rejoice! Flex Mentallo, Maura Lee Karupt and the Dannyzens are back, and they couldn’t have come at a better time. Danny has cracked, Rita wants control over her stretching ability and who better to help her then the “Man of Muscle Mystery”?

Flex’s most recent adventure with the team was, quite literally, orgasmic, and his abilities in this field have potentially Earth shattering repercussions in this episode. His and Rita’s actions lead to the TV debut of Grant Morrison’s hilariously intriguing SeX Men. Erotic energy has gone wild, and only Kiss, Cuddles, and Torture can save the day from The Shadowy Mr Evans.

That was a very strange sentence, but once you watch the episode, everything will become clear.

24 Hour Party People

Now that three episodes from season two have aired, I’ve heard a few people say that the writers have toned down the weird a little, this year. “Sex Patrol” is a step right back down silly street, in the best way possible. There’s music, magic, bravery, and bonking in equal measure this week, and the wackiest guest heroes ever. I actually prefer the look of the TV SeX Men over their comic-book counterparts, and their mission is every bit as bonkers. The show really builds to quite a climax.

Once again, we also get a great look back into the pasts of some of the main Doom Patrollers. This time the spotlight falls on Rita, Dorothy and The Chief. We get to see Niles and Dorothy on Danny in the 60s, and discover a dark secret from Elasti-Woman’s past. All of it is brilliantly acted, beautifully directed, and deliciously demented.

Ladies Night

Abigail Shapiro, April Bowlby, and Devan Chandler Long shine in this episode. Young Abigail sings her heart out and acts her socks off, which I can imagine is no easy feat when wearing layers of cumbersome prosthetics on her face. The scene she shares with Devan, while setting up the house party, is absolutely brilliant. It’s heartwarming and inspirational, particularly in light of all the chaos that follows.

Another scene, this time between Rita and Dorothy, is every bit as poignant. At first glance, these ladies could not be more dissimilar, but underneath they’re both fragile, damaged, yet utterly sympathetic and lovable, despite their differences, and their awesome powers.

Diane Guerrero has some great character moments too, as we get to see her Scarlet Harlot, Hammerhead (as well as Stephanie Czajkowski’s version of the character), and the Painter (A.K.A. The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter) personas. Oh, and if you want to see the most creative way of dealing with a crying baby ever committed to film, then “Sex Patrol” is most definitely the episode for you!

Plus, we get some of the finest WTFs ever from Brendan Fraser, after he lets out his inner party animal, and when the sultry shenanigans take place. Priceless.

Conclusion

Dorothy’s relationship with her father is starting to crack, and her manipulative imaginary “friend” the Candlemaker’s influence is growing. I think that, when he inevitably breaks free, all hell is going to break loose.

I’m so going to be here for that!

Doom Patrol – S2 Ep3 – Pain Patrol Review

Director: Samira Radsi

Writers: Tom Farrell & Tamara Becher-Wilkinson

Starring: Dianne Guerrero, April Bowlby, Joivan Wade, Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, Timothy Dalton, Abigail Shapiro, Karen Obilom, Roger Floyd, Catherine Carlen and Bethany Anne Lind. With Riley Shanahan and Matthew Zuk

The themes of family, betrayal and redemption from episodes one and two continue in “Pain Patrol”, as do the revelations about hitherto unexplored events from the team’s past.

Oh… and another classic comic-book Doom Patrol villain makes his presence felt, as the swarms of butterflies from “Tyme Patrol” led me to suspect.

Seeing Red

That’s right Doom Pals, the dastardly Red Jack makes his TV debut in this episode. This colorful character, played deliciously maliciously by Roger Floyd not only has great historical significance, but strong ties to the Chief too. One word of warning, though… he’s not someone you want to fork with, and he throws ripping parties.

Long time comics fans may have suspected he’d be appearing after the end of “Tyme Patrol”, but as soon as I saw the butterflies on the promo material for the show (check out the top of this review) I knew we’d be receiving a visit from the crimson creepazoid.

Red Jack made his first appearance in Doom Patrol Vol. 2 #23 (June 1989).

Going Deeper Underground

While Niles, Rita and Larry face off against this week’s big bad, Cliff and Jane go on a road trip. I always try to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible, but hey… you’re Doom Patrol fans, so when I say that things don’t go according to plan, that really shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Right?

What may surprise you, though, are the further revelations from Jane’s inner psyche, and the personalities that dwell beneath the surface in this “Underground.” Many of Kay Challis’ buried personalities want their time in the “real world”, and take steps this week that really change the game.

Oh, Danny Boy

Dorothy has free reign of the house in this episode and she’s an absolute delight. While Herschel and Darling are visually terrifying and (allegedly) imaginary, they’re definitely her friends. The scenes with the Chief’s child, and the clearly strong bond between the two characters, are made all the more poignant, and bitter sweet, when we catch up with Cliff later in the episode.

Vic and Roni’s relationship also develops this week, and I’m anxious to see if her character has a similar journey to that of her comic-book counterpart. Karen Obilom’s great in the role, and she delivers both vulnerability and great strength at the same time.

Oh, and Danny has to split.

Danny The Street is one of the most original and intriguing characters in this show, and I can’t wait to see more of them. Getting to witness them as a small alleyway in London of the past was fantastic, and the fact that this show is showing a gender fluid, gay street’s history, as well as those of the members of the main roster, is brilliant.

Conclusion

Doom Patrol is one of the most imaginative, creative and original pieces of TV out there. The way the writers are honoring the comics, yet tailoring the stories to a modern audience (remember that many of these characters have been around for over six decades) is a source of great joy… at least for this mature comics fan.

Three episodes in and season two is off to a strong start; in terms of storytelling, performance and visuals. The one problem with getting three episodes in one hit though, is that it only leaves us with six more to enjoy.

I guess I’ll just have to binge season one again from the beginning when this one ends.

Doom Patrol – S2 Ep2 – Tyme Patrol Review

Director: Harry Jierjian

Writers: April Fitzsimmons & Neil Reynolds

Starring: Dianne Guerrero, April Bowlby, Joivan Wade, Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, Timothy Dalton, Abigail Shapiro, John Getz, Karen Obilom and Brandon Perea. With Riley Shanahan and Matthew Zuk

Yes, I meant to write tyme with a ‘y’.

While TV fans will be introduced to a whole new character in this episode, comics readers will already be familiar with this old Doom Patrol villain. The good news is he looks just like his comic-book counterpart, the not-so-good news (for some) is that his real name is Dr Jonathan Tyme in the show, whereas he was Percival Sutter in the original comics.

Believe it or not, this chronological criminal first appeared waaaaay back in Doom Patrol #92, which was published in 1964. His TV counterpart is a purple pain, and Brandon Perea gives audiences a really brain-busting performance.

Family Ties

As always, this episode is beautifully structured and has each member of the team facing different issues. After focusing on the miniaturised members of the team last time, Larry gets more of the spotlight in this episode. We found out in “Fun-Size Patrol” that one of his son’s had died, so we see him take a trip away from Doom Patrol manor in this episode.

If you’ve read my reviews for season one you already know how highly I rate Matt Bomer’s portrayal of Trainor, and he’s great again this week. Actually I need to give huge credit to Matthew Zuk and Riley Shanahan, who are the physical presences of Larry and Cliff respectively on-set, too. Matt Bomer plays Larry unmasked, and provides his voice, but it’s Matthew who gives the bandaged Larry Trainor’s physical performance. This is fascinating to watch, as anyone who didn’t know could easily believe that all this was the work of just one actor.

The side story with Larry is fantastic, and really pulls on the heart-strings. I have to say that the whole thing left me with butterflies, right up to the closing credits. The trouble is, it may have Larry seeing Red, before too long.

We’re Out Of Tyme!

Vic also gets some time in the spotlight, when he goes to a support group for amputees. A relationship is made there that I really hope we see more of in the rest of the season. Joivan Wade really shows the sensitive side of arguably the most physically powerful member of the ream. The introduction of Roni Evers, who’s male in the comics, is an incredibly creative piece of storytelling, particularly for comics fans. I’m sure we’ll see why, over the course of the season.

I love April Bowlby. There… I said it. Rita has grown so much since this show started. Now, with the Chief both physically and emotionally compromised, both from his deal with Willoughby and from his betrayal, she takes it upon herself to try and sort things out.

There’s no Tyme to waste, Rita… I think you need to get your skates on!

Identity Crisis

Robotman and Crazy Jane fans, fear not… your heroes are also very well represented in this episode.

Cliff Steele’s rage at the Chief keeps on growing, and Brendan Fraser’s emotional expletives are a constant source of joy. As with Matt Bomer and Matthew Zuk (maybe I should just call them the two Matts?) the synergy between Brendan’s voice acting and Riley Shanahan’s physical performance is truly magical. I love the way this team of actors works together.

Diane Guerrero’s Kay/Jane character really is intriguing. This week we go further into her past than we’ve ever gone before, and learn of a personality who may be key to healing her fragmented psyche, and helping poor little Dorothy at the same time.

Conclusion

Dizzying, Incredible, Scary, Crazy and Ominous… these are all words I could use to describe this episode. The writing team is dangling threads all over the place and I can’t wait to see what kind of tapestry they’ll reveal by season’s end. I loved seeing Danny reduced to a brick last week, and we see another completely new side of our favourite sentient street in this episode too.

Yes, this show’s more than a little bonkers… but, hey… that’s life all over.

Doom Patrol – S2 Ep1 – Fun-Size Patrol Review

Director: Christopher Manley

Writers: Jeremy Carver & Shoshana Sachi

Starring: Dianne Guerrero, April Bowlby, Joivan Wade, Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, Timothy Dalton, Stephanie Czajowski, Mark Sheppard, Abigail Shapiro, Julie McNiven & Michael J. Harney. With Riley Shanahan and Matthew Zuk

They’re back! 13 months after the season 1 finale, everyone’s favourite band of metahuman misfits have finally returned to entertain us. Holy F@9#… I’ve missed them, so much!

When we last saw the team they’d defeated the nefarious Mr. Nobody, but at great cost to themselves. The Chief had been exposed as the person behind the accidents that gave them their abilities, the ones that had made them all outcasts and misfits. To make matters worse, after escaping Nobody’s trap they returned home only to find themselves shrunk to the size of toys; which is how we find them at the beginning of this episode.

Oh, and they’ve brought Niles’ daughter with them, and if you thought the original gang was strange and powerful, young Dorothy could actually be the strangest, and most powerful Doom Patroller of them all.

There’s No Place Like Home

Dorothy, played by Abigail Shapiro, is a great addition to the cast. She’s sweet, she’s charming… and she’s downright terrifying. Her power-set is awesome, and you really don’t want to mess with her friends. Wow… this kid’s got some imagination.

Not only do we have a fresh new face in the show, but we get the very welcome appearance of Mark Sheppard’s Willoughby Kipling too. With the whole team angry at him for his betrayal, plus the fact that they’re all currently living on a toy racetrack, the Chief has to consider alternate means of regaining the team’s trust, and returning them all to full-size. When science fails, what other recourse is there?

Family Gatherings

As if things aren’t bad enough in the here and now, we also get more flashbacks to the past, mainly focused this week on Dorothy, Cliff and Larry. These bite-size chunks do so much to add layers of depth, understanding and sympathy to these characters. Abigail Shapiro, Brendan Fraser and Matt Bomer shine in these scenes, but that’s hardly a surprise.

As always Robot Man’s constant expletives, and almost permanent states of rage and bafflement, are a joy to witness. Wait until you see what he does to let of steam! Talk about not giving a tiny rat’s @$$!

Rita and Vic also share some great moments as Cyborg tries to help Elasti-Woman gain control of her powers. Who ever said that learning to be a hero was easy? Joivan Wade and April Bowlby are on top form.

Conclusion

Doom Patrol was undoubtedly one of the best new shows of 2019, and season 2 is off to a great start. The crazy and whimsy are back, but so is the depth, heart and raw emotion. From hilarious scenes of tiny heroes riding up and down from a table-top race track set in a mecano elevator, to moments of extreme violence and horror, this show comes at you from all sides, and with all guns blazing.

Crazy Jane, Cyborg, Robotman, Chief, Negative Man, Elasti-Woman, Willoughby… I’ve missed you. Dorothy, welcome to the family.