Saturday, May 25, 2019

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - The Team Confronts a New Trio of Villains to Save Danny in 'Ezekiel Patrol'

DC Universe's Doom Patrol - Episode 1.15 "Ezekiel Patrol"

In the wake of the Chief's revelation, the Doom Patrol go their separate ways. But when Mr. Nobody hatches a new plan, the team must reunite to help the Chief with a new unexpected (and weird) threat to the world.

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 season finale of DC Universe's Doom Patrol.

"Ezekiel Patrol" was written by Tamara Beecher-Wilkinson, Jeremy Carver & Shoshana Sachi and directed by Dermott Downs

This has been such a profoundly strange show. And yet, it has been the most effective season of a superhero story on television in a long time. This was a fantastic season. This show has always known exactly what it is and has executed that vision in a strong and entertaining way. It combines absurdist humor with searing and grounded character emotion with perfect precision. This finale is absolutely unconventional. The show understands that it isn't a story that ends with a typical fight between good and evil. The penultimate hour showed the Doom Patrol coming together as an effective team to rescue the Chief from Mr. Nobody. It felt like they had finally defeated the big bad of the season. Instead, it ended on the devastating note of Niles Caulder confessing that he was responsible for turning the team into the abnormal people they are today. Now, that statement may be a little misleading because he didn't cause the various accidents that disfigured the members of the team. However, he nurtured their resolves all while experimenting on their abilities to stay alive for decades without aging. That's what he has truly been searching for during this entire experience with the team. He has been chasing after immortality. That has been his ultimate ambition. He kept the truth from the team. And now, they are defeated once more. Even in the best of circumstances, the members of the team are incredibly fragile with their sense of self and confidence in their skills. It's a victory to Larry when he can stay conscious for twenty seconds after the Negative Spirit leaves his body. To Jane, she values finding a way to numb the various voices and traumas going on in her head. The first half of this finale is the show at its dysfunctional best. It incorporates flashbacks to show how Niles truly came to be in these characters' lives. But it's absolutely potent to watch as Silas Stone debates him on the merits of compassion and which of them is actually doing so with their crazy experiments. Silas saved his son out of love. Niles helped the team out of self-preservation. He then explains that he has a daughter who needs protecting because she is so dangerous. She has been locked away on Danny the Street for a long time. When she appears here, she is nothing more than a child. Niles sought immortality in order to survive long enough to protect her for as long as she should live. And yet, that's a very abstract idea. Instead, the team rallies to save Danny from Mr. Nobody. This is also such an amusing finale when it comes to Nobody getting exactly what he wanted. He aspired to take away everything that Niles loved. That was his core purpose and driving action this season. He enjoyed messing with the heads of the Doom Patrol. And now, he's depressed because he lacks that clear motivation after making Niles a nobody as well. That's when he is inspired to take action by Ezekiel the Cockroach and Admiral Whiskers. That is so strange and unusual. It means the season closes with a giant cockroach and rat destroying a sentient, genderqueer street. The Doom Patrol's big plan to save everyone is to actually be consumed by the cockroach knowing that the radiation exposure won't kill it. But it's still so outrageous to see all of this play out according to how easy it is manipulate a cockroach with a god complex and a rat who seeks vengeance for the death of his mother. When Nobody has power, he wields it very effectively to bend the world to his will. And yet, he's blind to what the Doom Patrol is actually doing because he's not safe in the cockroach when this dimension is broken. That leaves him and the Beard Hunter trapped in the white space. Everyone else is save. They are just tiny now. That's a unique way to close the season. It's patently absurd but so moving as well because this season has made the audience invest in these characters. They walk away with the understanding that they are stronger as a team and feel a unifying purpose when they are together despite the lies Niles has long told them. That's been such a rewarding journey.