Sunday, April 7, 2019

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - Larry and Vic Embark on a Mission to Find Themselves and Protect Society's Outsiders in 'Danny Patrol'

DC Universe's Doom Patrol - Episode 1.08 "Danny Patrol"

A sentient, gender-queer, teleporting street named Danny who's being hunted by a secret government agency, the Bureau of Normalcy, needs help from Niles - but gets Vic and Larry instead. Meanwhile, Cliff and Rita track down Karen, one of Jane's personalities, who's a hopeless romantic with the power to compel people to fulfill her wishes.

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.

"Danny Patrol" was written by Tom Farrell and directed by Dermott Downs

At this point in the season, no one in the audience or the characters themselves should be surprised by just how insane and surreal this particular world can be. This season has featured talking cockroaches and rats, the apocalypse starting with a giant eye in the sky and a donkey that serves as a portal to another dimension. This is an out-there show. And yet, it's so phenomenal to see just how relatable it can be as well. This hour depicts a fight in extreme and absurd terms but serves as a powerful allegory to just how cold and hateful the real world can be. Larry and Vic meet a talking, genderqueer street named Danny who can also teleport and protect the citizens who live with them. They offer a sanctuary to those who may be outcasts in society. It's horrifying to see the Bureau of Normalcy continually hunting down Danny as well. The Bureau of Normalcy seems so boring and inessential. And yet, its policies are being shaped through a heteronormative worldview that can be absolutely soul crushing to anyone who strives to be different. The Bureau doesn't represent what the world is. The agent in charge is a white man continually trying to tell people who they should be in society. They can't stray from that path. Otherwise, they will be labeled as a freak and degenerate. The one agent of color took on the mission to explore Danny. The street allowed him to embrace his inner drag queen. He got to live his truth. It is absolutely beautiful too. That may have incentivized the hunt against Danny. But the street understands the importance of their mission. They have to protect the people here. The party may have to keep going no matter what in order to keep Danny's spirit alive. They reach out to Niles and get stuck with Larry and Vic instead. But those are the two individuals who can actually learn something from this whole experience that is enriching to their individual lives. Plus, they simply inspire the citizens to take action. Larry and Vic aren't the saviors who push the Bureau out of town and get the hunt to stop. Instead, the people who live here choose to stand up against these perpetual bullies to tell them that they are proud of who they are and won't let anyone try to destroy their place in society. This may be a perfect little piece of the world. It's unfortunate this can't be spread so that more people can fill their lives with love like this. But it's inspiring to watch as Larry feels like he truly belongs for the first time in awhile. He isn't shunned because of his outward appearance. The citizens here welcome him and Vic. Larry may still be a coward who chooses to run away from the fight at hand. But the fight may also just translate to getting up on stage and performing in order to honor the traditions of this place. When he is up on that stage, he is transformed and empowered. It's a joyous performance. He may be in his former skin again but this isn't the same Larry who flew missions for the government. Now, he's the person who is also inspired to stop running from the Bureau. He understands that he can stand in defiance to what they are trying to do even though he still doesn't comprehend so much about his life and his connection to the spirit. Sure, it's a somewhat cruel trick for that whole performance to just be in his head. But he does eventually get up on the stage. He is just whisked back to Doom Manor before it concludes because he and Vic have to refocus on the mission to find Niles. Of course, they will more than likely be distracted by whatever is currently going on with Jane. Group therapy broke her in a major way. Now, the one personality who only comes out when Jane is extremely depressed is here. It's fun to see that as a rom-com lover named Karen who needs people to fall into those tropes with her. She may be able to control Rita and a helpless family but she can't sway Cliff. That's important. But it also sends the audience down to her inner railroad station of personalities. That should lead to a fun but horrifying exploration.