Sunday, April 21, 2019

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - Niles Meets a Powerful and Unique Woman Who Immediately Changes His Life in 'Hair Patrol'

DC Universe's Doom Patrol - Episode 1.10 "Hair Patrol"

Vic and Rita find the mansion infiltrated by Ernest Franklin, a dangerous man called The Beard Hunter, who's been activated by the Bureau of Normalcy to find Niles Caulder. Meanwhile, we learn the tragic love story between Caulder and an immortal woman named Slava that started Niles on the path towards the man we know today.

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.

"Hair Patrol" was written by Eric Dietel and directed by Salli Richardson-Whitfield

The season has presented Niles Caulder as a man who presents as different things to different people. Everyone has a different understanding of the man known as the Chief. The Doom Patrol are searching for him out of clarity and stability. They believe they need him in their lives in order to understand everything that has been happening to them and how to overcome their own issues. They have been spiraling without him in their lives. They are so focused on this core mission. They are willing to pursue any idea no matter how odd it may seem. Along the way though, people are telling them that they don't know who Niles Caulder really is. He's a man who has kept numerous secrets. As such, he has sometimes presented as a mystery that needs to be solved instead of a character with a real purpose in the narrative. Here though, the show introduces more of his own backstory and personal motivation. Sure, it may just be the latest instance of Mr. Nobody crafting the perfect narrative of the story he is trying to tell. He is a corrosive threat to the memories that Niles holds in his brain. The Chief is unwilling to give Nobody the satisfaction of breaking him. But there also has to be some larger point to the torture. This is the overarching story of the season. It still feels underdeveloped at this point because the conflict with Mr. Nobody presents as him being all-powerful without really wanting something specific. He can tease the futures and fears of the Doom Patrol. He can manipulate them into do his bidding. Only now is it becoming clear that Niles has something that Nobody wants. Niles refusing to hand over that information may prove that he loves something more than the Doom Patrol. He may be willing to put them in harm's way in order to protect this massive secret. That's an intriguing idea that should absolutely be fleshed out more with the members of the team actually listening in and understanding the man they know as the Chief. They still hold onto the belief that things will be better with him leading the charge. They wish to remain private with all of their ongoing struggles. Rita and Vic no longer think it's strange when a man shows up at Doom Manor to consume Niles' hair in order to track him down. It's just gross and proves how weird this show can be. But that lead may only further tease strangeness and how it could potentially bring everyone back together. The team is still broken at the moment. As such, it's much more compelling to spend time in the past exploring Niles' backstory and what set him on this path. He worked for the Bureau of Normalcy as an explorer trying to understand the world. He was injured and abandoned in the woods during one of the missions. He was rescued by the creature he was tasked with hunting down. Through his recovery, he was transformed from a man who saw his superiority over this primitive being to becoming in awe of her and her ability to survive. They grow incredibly close. It leads to them being sexually entangled. But it's also a profound mystery that connects to the terrifying attacks that have happened in this region. The Bureau comes back after several years with new orders. That forces Niles to leave this peaceful life and rejoin society. He does so as a changed man because he knows he has to work from within in order to protect the beauty of those misunderstood by the world. He will protect these secrets even though he also keeps them from the team who have been trying to help him throughout this entire season.