Saturday, March 2, 2019

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - Larry, Cliff and Jane Are Tempted by an Offer for Better Lives in 'Puppet Patrol'

DC Universe's Doom Patrol - Episode 1.03 "Puppet Patrol"

Following their only lead in the search for Niles Caulder, the Doom Patrol set out for Paraguay where they discover Dr. Von Fuchs, the Nazi doctor who transformed Eric Morden into Mr. Nobody, and learn the connection between Niles and the two villains.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of DC Universe's Doom Patrol.

"Puppet Patrol" was written by Tamara Becher-Wilkinson & Tom Farrell and directed by Rachel Talalay

Doom Patrol is such an outrageous, crazy and meta show. However, it also packs such a powerful emotional punch. That is so shocking for a show that also features a Nazi doctor making villains into super-villains at a place called "Fuchtopia." But it's still completely true. This is the first episode that doesn't feature any narration from Alan Tudyk as Mr. Nobody. That proves that that device isn't necessary in order to pull all of the narrative pieces together. But it's also significant for the characters after their own minds were invaded by Nobody. They are all plagued with doubts about their pasts and the fears that Nobody exploited and made them relive. The members of the Doom Patrol are all struggling in their own way. They have a unified mission at the moment in trying to find the Chief. They follow a lead to Paraguay to interview the Nazi doctor that turned Eric Morden into Mr. Nobody. Niles Caulder played a role in the creation of this malicious villain as well. He was there that day which helped place everyone on the trajectory that led to the present day. The Chief conducted his own experiments in the names of helping people. But he never lost sight of the humanity on the other side of the experiment. He didn't want to create individuals with the most incredible powers. Some may even argue that he didn't even really help the Doom Patrol with their very real emotional turmoil and baggage. However, he allowed them to live their own lives with the choices available to them. And now, they don't have that consistency and stability in their lives. They are forced to confront all of the ugly truths about the past. That's what makes it such a desirable offer when Fuchtopia claims they have the tools to make them better people. It's an enticing idea because the potential of something better than their individual disfigurements has to be better. Larry isn't an active part of the battle that eventually erupts at the facility. Instead, he is in the chamber that made Mr. Nobody in the hopes that he can become the man he once was again. In the 1960s, he was an American hero. He was struggling to balance his sexual identity with the traditional ideals of caring for a wife and two kids. After his accident, Cheryl pushed him away. It was much more devastating when Larry wanted John to leave. Larry saw just how destructive and dangerous he had become. He may never be able to make a meaningful recovery. In the present, he is still wrapped up in bandages all the time. He has no control over the entity that exists within him and is likely keeping him alive. If the two were ever to separate, there is every indication that Larry would die. And yet, he's still desperate to feel comfortable in his own body. That's how everyone on the team feels. He is devastated when Cliff and Jane pull him out of this reality. He was himself again. He has no idea how to control the thing that can make him a hero once more. Jane's advice is to simply offer respect and understanding. There doesn't need to be control over it. It can be its own being. That's how she handles her many different personalities. They are all willing to help their one body survive. But she too is tempted with the offer to be in control. Cliff and Larry are understandably confused as to why she didn't just teleport them to Paraguay at the start of this journey. She only lets her personalities come out when they want to. They don't really work in coordination. She fears that control because it could rip all of this apart for her. She has already been traumatized too much by the experiments done to her. And Cliff literally has no idea just how powerful he has become. He can't feel anything. He only expresses horror about the bloodshed he has caused after the fight is over. He wants to reach out to his daughter again. But the monster he has become would be absolutely terrifying to her because there are no guarantees that his horrifying impulses won't lead to any more devastation. Everyone is questioning the nature of their reality. They are all plagued with doubts without any additional pushing from the antagonists they encounter along the way.