Doom Patrol: Penultimate Patrol

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Danny might be the smartest one of the bunch

 

Doom Patrol has been jumping around in their characters’ histories as the season has been going along, and now we see more of Eric Morden before he had his origin. It’s something of a prelude to the origin we saw in episode one, set in 1946 Chicago. He doesn’t come off looking too good after he loses his unusual job and has to deal with the domestic fallout. With one more episode after this, I guess “Penultimate Patrol” works for a title.

Back in the present, the team is following the map they got through Cyborg reactivating GRID at the end of last episode. They’re not sure what to expect, but finding Danny the Street in the middle of nowhere wasn’t it. Larry is welcomed back enthusiastically, and apparently Danny and Flex know each other. Flex tells Danny about Dolores, and Rita tries to respect the emotional moment but also find out what they need to know. As it turns out, Ernest the Beard Hunter is here, having come in search of the Chief but deciding to stay, much like the Bureau agent who became Maura Lee Karupt (still the best drag name ever). When Rita and Hammerhead threaten Ernest, Danny finally comes clean about knowing where the Chief is, and admits to not telling them before out of fear. I’d be scared of Mr. Nobody as well. Danny finally tells them where the Chief is, and Flex understands the cryptic words.

Silas wakes up and he and Victor share a moment in the hospital. Back at Danny, Flex explains about the concept of white space, and it’s odd enough to fit in with the Morrison canon. The team falls to bickering with each other about their general track record and lack of success with Mr. Nobody. And Stark said the Avengers took a while to get any traction… At any rate, Flex tries to get them where they are going, and the first attempt goes very wrong. Only Jane could look pissed off when that was happening. There’s a lot of confusion, apologies, and some pity for Cliff he doesn’t want.

Silas and Victor continue their talk, and Victor offers a lot of apologies. Silas counters with apologies of his own and a surprising announcement. Flex gets a second chance and focuses his power, sending them all off to… the worst days of each of their lives. They all are reliving a variation of the day they had their accidents/got their powers, and the taunting Mr. Nobody turns up to tempt them all. He makes an interesting offer that could give them each what they want, more or less. What I find interesting that no one ever comments on is wondering why Nobody is so desperate to keep them away from Niles? They all consider the offers, and I can see the appeal for this band of outcasts. They’ve all grown over the course of the season, and reject him. Jane takes the longest, and fights with herself along the way, but Mr. Nobody loses all of them. The best line is probably Nobody admitting how he’s been acting “this season” keeping up his breaking of the fourth wall.

Victor shares his memories of his own tragic days, and learns something shocking from Silas. Silas fills in the details of that day, and Victor learns some horrible things. Reeling from the newest horrible thing Silas did, Victor leaves to find his friends. Mr. Nobody gloats over the team being lost and alone in the white void we see him in most often. Rita takes matters into her own hands and pulls something unexpected, taking even the almost-all-knowing villain by surprise. It’s a great scene. Nobody tries to gear up for a big fight, and then he gets surprised by which Jane shows up for the conflict. Things spin in an unexpected direction as the team offers their sympathies, and then there’s another surprise that seems to end the conflict. They get their long-delayed reunion, and all’s well, right? Well considering there’s more of the episode left, and then another one after that…

The team is back at Doom Manor, all together, and even wearing versions of their comic book uniforms. Breakfast gets interrupted by alarms, and the team goes into action like real superheroes. Their literal walk in the park goes horribly wrong before the Chief’s eyes. Then it happens again, and again, and again. The Chief starts figuring out what’s going on, and tries to explain it to the team, but they’ve bought into the new reality. Things get even more confusing when someone who is already there shows up. Everything shifts around them, and they’re back where they were earlier, with Nobody making more sarcastic, fourth wall breaking comments. Mr. Nobody explains the price he wants from the Chief to let them all go. Finally, the Chief confesses to something that horrifies them all. It was a retcon from Morrison’s days on the Doom Patrol book that really turned me against it, and doesn’t work with this version of the team. But it’s a hell of an ending.

What I liked: The reunion with Danny was great, as was Flex’s mishap. I guess Flex wasn’t part of the main story, so Mr. Nobody kept him out of the events in white space? Rita taking over and surprising Nobody was fantastic.

What I didn’t: The second version of the character showing up near the end made no sense, because if they were in white space, how’d they get there? I really hate this retcon and am sorry to see it pop up here. It also doesn’t work for this version of the team and with what we’ve seen of some of the changes.

It was an up and down episode. I’ll give it a low 3 out of 5. I’m not sure how they’re going to get a full episode out of what comes after this.

 

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