Doom Patrol: Cyborg Patrol

cyborg

We’re going to stick with the plan, right Karen? Karen? Oh, hell…

The group has been through a lot, and seen enough to doubt themselves. But with the progress they have been making, some faster than others, they are beginning to function better. In “Cyborg Patrol,” they actually act like superheroes, setting out to do something instead of sort of falling into some absurd situation. Their friend is in trouble, and the Patrol has to try and save Cyborg from the Ant Farm.

The episode opens with Bureau of Normalcy operative Darren Jones being called before his superiors for his recent failures. After a lot of references to the events in “Danny Patrol,” Jones reveals his big coup from last episode: capturing Cyborg. The bosses have some mixed reactions, but Jones presses his case and they decide to go with it. Cyborg is not exactly enjoying their hospitality, and the comments of the agents testing him don’t make him feel any better.

Gathered in the living room, the team does a lot of information swapping and updating. Larry tells them about the Bureau, identified through the patch he kept that Jane identified. Cliff wants to mount a rescue, which is good of him since he and Cyborg don’t seem to get along at all. Larry is dead set against this, which leads to more comments about missing and needing the Chief. Larry wants to contact Silas, which everyone else knows Cyborg wouldn’t want. Jane and Rita share Victor’s concerns about GRID, which the two men didn’t know. Their meeting gets interrupted by a pounding on the door, which turns out to be Silas. Even with the privacy protocols allegedly engaged, Stone was monitoring things about his son, and picked up on the alarm when Cyborg off-loaded GRID. At first, Silas doesn’t believe their stories of Vic’s concerns about GRID, then he’s doubtful about the nanites, but Rita presses him hard on these points. Silas isn’t pleased to hear that Cyborg is at the Ant Farm.

Cyborg tries everything he can think of to escape his cell at the farm, and his abilities seen greatly reduced. His next door neighbor engages him in some surreal conversation, which doesn’t do much to make Victor feel any better. One thing the neighbor mentions is “Secret Hearts.” Here, it’s a soap opera, but it was also a romance anthology DC Comics printed for a while. Cyborg then gets another surprise as he learns he’s not as alone as he thought, and that’s not a good thing. Silas and the team argue about a lot of things having to do with Victor, and it becomes clear that Silas doesn’t know as much as he likes to think he does. Cyborg gets some bad video flashbacks of a terrible event in his life, and is psychologically tortured.

Silas tries to call in various favors, and doesn’t get anywhere. Silas comes up with an idea, and one by one, the team reluctantly agree, with Rita being the last holdout, and really not happy with any of this. Cyborg is having trouble with the voices in his head, and gets even more worried when someone else starts hearing them, too. The Bureau looks on as Cyborg doesn’t prove to be the wonder they were hoping for, and Darren Jones wonders if he’s made a mistake. Silas leads the team to a special entrance to the Ant Farm, and the Negative Spirit gets restless. After they get inside, they almost immediately regret it, as the entry process is far from the Bureau’s “Normal” name. After a lot of screaming and a Star Wars joke, they get in, and their cover lasts for about thirty seconds. The Bureau is well-prepared for the Patrol, and even the Negative Spirit gets captured. Jones, apparently, has seen Ghostbusters. The team gets even more pissed off when they find out this mission wasn’t what it seemed like at all. Silas is brought to Victor, who also isn’t pleased when he learns the news.

The team is split up and taken to various foes. Larry and the Spirit deal with their former acquaintance Forsythe, who is very pleased to see them again. Jane meets up with the agent she fought as Victor was captured last time, and the man holds a grudge. Cliff gets an indifferent lab tech who criticizes the work Chief did on his body, which is entertaining on several fronts. Vic rages at Silas for betraying the team, and we start getting hints of what’s really going on. A flashback shows us some of the planning, and accounts for Rita’s absence so far. Rita emerges from hiding, in a scene that had its roots in the comics, and begins the work of freeing the team. Cliff gets some vengeance against annoying tech girl, courtesy of Rita’s working some controls. They free Larry, who grabs the Spirit, and they start making their way though the base. Unfortunately, things never stick to plan with the group, and Jane, entire deck worth of wild cards that she is, goes through some changes that could screw everything up. The team gets back together, but the first part of their plan is already shot. Cyborg and Silas argue about some of the plan while Rita isn’t pleased at Jane’s divergences, and alarms ring out everywhere.

The team goes to save Victor, but Cliff makes a good observation. They add something to their to do list, which I’d argue was the right thing. They go in search of Victor, who we see still arguing a lot with Silas. The team scores a few victories, but then runs into Jones and his soldiers. Jones recognizes Rita, and tells a really disturbing story that shows how far from normal this place and people really are. The confrontation between the team and Jones gets interrupted by the strangest stampede I’ve ever seen. News of what’s going on gets back to one of the Generals in charge, and he takes drastic action.

Cyborg gets a lot more flashbacks, courtesy of his inner torturer, and confronts Silas about what he’s seen. Victor gets pushed too far, and things don’t go well for Silas. This is when we see who has been pulling a lot of these strings, and it’s really no surprise. Victor gets even more tortured, realizing what’s happened, and is shocked at what he’s done. The team finds him like that and all stop, staring. I suspect next episode is going to be very complicated and dramatic.

What I liked: The team actually acted like both heroes and a team. The plan was decent, and a nice nod to the comic books. Cliff’s scenes were funny, the poor guy just can’t catch a break. Jane’s going off the rails made sense, and was fun to watch. I don’t know how you’d really plan for someone who is often someone else, with completely different abilities. Larry both acted like a hero and actually helped the Spirit, which is a big step for him. Rita was entertaining.

What I didn’t: The final scene was grim and rough to watch. The big stampede felt gratuitously weird.

It was a good episode. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.

 

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