Saturday, May 18, 2019

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - The Team Enters a New Dimension to Rescue the Chief in 'Penultimate Patrol'

DC Universe's Doom Patrol - Episode 1.14 "Penultimate Patrol"

With the help of Flex and Danny the Street, the Doom Patrol enter the White Space to rescue the Chief from Mr. Nobody. But Nobody offers them a deal that's hard to resist.

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.

"Penultimate Patrol" was written by Chris Dingess and directed by Rebecca Rodriguez

This show has a wonderfully twisted sense of humor. It's very specific and yet incredibly universal as well. On one level, it is simply offering commentary on the conventional plot beats in a superhero story. On another level though, it's using that awareness to completely blow up the formula while having a roaring good time along the way. This show can be so outrageously wild - like the first attempt to enter the White Space. But it still has an immense sense of heart that carries the characters all the way through the crazy storylines. The big confrontation with Mr. Nobody could end in a very typical fight where the Doom Patrol finally have to work as a team to defeat their greatest foe and rescue their mentor. And yet, it's much more unexpected to see the team seemingly walk away with the lesson that it may be better to just talk instead of throwing punches and using their powers. The team has to prove that they aren't going to fall into the same traps as they did the first time they dealt with Mr. Nobody. They are more unified now thanks to his actions. He has helped them become a better team. He sees it as him doing the work that Niles was unable to do. He brought the team together so that they could function as a new and improved Doom Patrol. They have spent decades yearning for the lives that they lost because of their respective tragedies. And now, they give up the chance at a do-ever. Instead, they are determined to rescue the Chief because he helped them become the better people that they are today. They may have spent a lot of time in misery because of these accidents. They have now emerged on the other side. There are still major revelations that could absolutely send them spiraling once more. However, they are willing and able to get the upper hand on Mr. Nobody. Now, he is the one whose tragic backstory and motivation is being explored and exploited. Cliff, Larry, Jane and Rita aren't going to fall into his trap. Instead, Dr. Harrison appears and dissects the delusional personality that has been tormenting them for this entire season. Sure, it presents as an ending that may seem a little too neat and easy. But that's also the point. Things have never really gone according to plan for the team this season. They have constantly been making mistakes and trying to live with the consequences. Their lives have completely imploded by facing their fears and actually living their lives. They are no longer in stasis refusing to move forward. Sure, Flex and Danny the Street may be afraid to join the team in the White Space to fight Mr. Nobody. They understand the threat this villain poses. However, they are willing to help the team despite the loses they have suffered through all of this as well. This is a personal mission for the Doom Patrol. They see the Chief as the person who brought them all together. He made them a team. And now, Mr. Nobody is torturing them in order to get to the Chief. He wants Niles to admit the truth. That too may seem like a very easy objective. He wants everyone to suffer. That's what the reveal that Niles was responsible for the various accidents that created these heroes does. It completely uproots their understanding of how they came to these very specific circumstances. The reality in which they are the new Doom Patrol with the Chief at the helm is a nice thought but too good to be true. Instead, it may just orchestrate how the team isn't as unified or skilled as they think they are. They die over and over again. It takes too long for the Chief to understand that Nobody is still behind all of this. It's chaos just to completely turn the narrative around once more. But again, it's very effective and shows how all of this is a battle of minds and wills instead of one determined by who can throw the best punch. That's a very exciting place to be in heading into the finale where the team will have to choose whether or not Niles is still worthy of being saved and if Nobody still has to be defeated.