Saturday, April 13, 2019

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - Jane Deals with Her Multiple Personalities in Her Pursuit of Answers in 'Jane Patrol'

DC Universe's Doom Patrol - Episode 1.09 "Jane Patrol"

As a result of the team's previous group therapy session, Jane retreats to The Underground, a treacherous place deep within her own mind space. There, she encounters the various facets of her many personas and journeys to discover the dark traumas of her past.

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.

"Jane Patrol" was written by Marcus Dalzine and directed by Harry Jierjian

This easily could have been one of the most logistically difficult episodes produced for this season. Jane descends into the Underground to confront all of her other personalities and further examine the trauma that led to the split in the first place. The audience has seen Diane Guerrero embody so many of these personalities already. The show obviously has a few that it goes to for convenience and to keep everything simple for the time being. Jane is the dominant personality while others come out when their specific superpowers are needed at any given moment in time. But here, it becomes clear that it's an ongoing struggle for control as well as a conflict that threatens the core identity of all the personalities. Jane has never wanted to explore the Underground before. She hasn't gone searching for answers as to what made her into this person. The show is still being a little cryptic in that way as well. It's left to the audience to infer that she was sexually abused by her father throughout her entire childhood. The memory that Penny escapes to for comfort is actually just the picture that a young Kay would be constructing in her puzzle before her father came in at night. The hour doesn't come out and say every traumatic thing that happened in this relationship and how it broke her in this significant way. Instead, it's just a battle for control. Jane doesn't want to be the personality in charge. She is depressed by the world and everything that is happening in Doom Manor. Karen only pops out and causes havoc when none of the other personalities want to be in control. That's what has led to Jane's body being an empty vessel and causing her friends to worry about her. They don't know how to help. Only Larry's spirit can form a connection with Cliff's brain to send him into the Underground as well. It's meaningful that Jane has a friend while she is navigating this conflict. Sure, it's a clear invasion of her private space. He doesn't belong here. The other personalities are sure to point that out and punish him. He is also confused because some personalities look like Jane while others don't. That's the way the creative team chose to cut down on costs in this particular hour. It would be so complicated to see Guerrero embodying all of these characters. Instead, she only has to play three of them here - Jane, Karen and Driver 8. Those are the personalities that present as her. The others are played by new actresses who simply have to be inspired by the work that Guerrero has done or play into the broad tropes that define their newcomers. Penny is the only one really connected to the plot who helps Cliff along his journey. She doesn't want to see Jane destroyed in her pursuit of answers. Apparently, there was a previous dominant personality who felt the same urge. Miranda was completely destroyed because she went to the well and saw the creation of this monster. Jane is only empowered because Cliff is there to remind her that this is all in her head. She may be paranoid about the whispers from her father and the abuse he has caused. But she stands up to the creature when it presents itself out of the well. That is just a momentary victory though. It's enough to bring Jane back to the surface and willing to serve as the personality in charge. However, there isn't a simple solution to deal with this trauma. It will linger - especially now that Jane is more aware of exactly what happened. That may mean even more of her memories are perceived as dark and traumatic. That could change up the entire ecosystem of the Underground which is bound to have consequences for her other personalities.