Saturday, April 27, 2019

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - Larry and Cliff Travel to Visit Loved Ones From Their Pasts in 'Frances Patrol'

DC Universe's Doom Patrol - Episode 1.11 "Frances Patrol"

While Larry pays a visit to his lost love, John - both in real life and in the Dreamscape - Cliff travels with Rita down to Gator Country to reconnect with his daughter, Clara, after 30 years. Jane and Vic pursue the "Hero of the Beach" aka Flex Mentallo. But Vic's worried that his operating system (Grid) might have its own agenda.

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.

"Frances Patrol" was written by April Fitzsimmons and directed by Wayne Yip

Are the members of the Doom Patrol any closer to figuring out their own issues in order to mount a successful rescue of The Chief from Mr. Nobody? It's still very much up in the air even though the show is entering the home stretch of the season. There isn't any update given as to what happened to the Beard Hunter and what he found in his search for Niles. Plus, there is no progress to the clue Danny the Street left for the team. Instead, it's a whole bunch of personal drama as the team continues to reckon with their relationships from the past. That has always been a huge component of the show. The wackiness is only effective because the stories are grounded in character relationships. It's easy to invest in the drama happening with Larry accepting his sexuality and Cliff struggling to connect with his daughter. Meanwhile, Vic is questioning just how much he should trust his own operating system. It gives him a way to connect with Jane because they both have these voices inside of them that are fundamentally changing who they are. Jane accepts that she can't do anything to stop or change the personalities within her. She sees them as a part of who she is even though she also won't apologize for any of the actions taken by someone else who happens to be in control of her body. Vic sees Grid as a machine that is suddenly disrupting his own thoughts with the idea of strength being better even though it wasn't beneficial when it came to confronting the Beard Hunter. Vic is seeing how much he is changing. And yet, he's powerless at the moment because he has been taken by the Bureau of Normalcy. That's the other major threat from this season that has served as a way to prevent too much progress in the hunt for The Chief. It has been effective. Plus, it presents as a way to rally the troops against an enemy they can defeat before having to face the all-powerful metahuman who knows all of their deepest fears and insecurities. But the team is also working to overcome those issues. Rita wants to get back to who she was before she became Rita Farr the actress. The team may be confused when she refers to herself as Gertie. And yet, that connects her back to the innocence of who she was and who she has the potential of being once more. Elsewhere, Larry has become so connected to the Dreamscape and the alternate reality the spirit seems to be giving him with John. When the spirit connected Cliff to Jane, Larry spent that time in a hotel with John enjoying the simplicity of their lives together. It's the connection he has always loved and craved. And yet, he's not comfortable with it out in public. The world has changed so much since they first met. He was just on a genderqueer street who allowed him to be his true self. But he is still frightened about who might see him and condemn him for his sexual orientation. All of this is wrapped up in his personal feelings for John. His lover managed to move on after being rejected by Larry, who has never been willing to do so. Him letting go may be the best gift the spirit could give him that still opens the world up to new possibilities for the future. He may not like the spirit but he feels connected to it in a way that makes him feel understood. And finally, Cliff believes that he can return as Clara's dad if he simply appears as a hero instead of as the robot who abandoned her for 30 years. He already has the words to use to reach out to her knowing that he can't just fall back into the same person he used to be. But he is still frightened of that rejection. He too loves the memories of the past and the connection he hopes to share again one day. But he also sees the benefit of giving Clara the watch that symbolizes her love instead of taking credit for retrieving it from the alligator who killed her adoptive father. That too may represent progress for Cliff. It will still leave him depressed though because he fears this is a connection he may never get to experience again.