Thursday, June 25, 2020

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - Niles Tries to Do Right by the Doom Patrol While Also Protecting His Daughter in 'Fun Size Patrol'

DC Universe & HBO Max's Doom Patrol - Episode 2.01 "Fun Size Patrol"

Niles, Jane, Cliff, Rita, Vic and Dorothy are still trapped in miniature-size. Dorothy tries to befriend both Cliff and Jane. Rita asks Vic for help in using her elastic abilities for good, while Jane hides out in the Underground and Niles tries everything to earn forgiveness for his past deeds. In the end though, Niles sacrifices something very precious, by making a bargain with Willoughby Kipling to help the team and keep his daughter safe - and the world safe from her imaginary friends.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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 premiere of DC Universe & HBO Max's Doom Patrol.

"Fun Size Patrol" was written by Jeremy Carver & Shoshana Sachi and directed by Christopher Manley

The heroes that comprise the Doom Patrol are broken and dysfunctional. They all believe they are incapable of saving the world because of their insecurities from their past traumas and mistakes. They view themselves as freaks who must be hidden away from society. They can't possibly be the saviors who are capable of having any sense of normalcy. Niles Caulder brought them together as a way of proving that their unique powers were incredible and endearing. That motivated all of them to take action after he was taken by Mr. Nobody. In actuality though, Niles was simply using the Doom Patrol as experiments so that he could find a way to become immortal and look after his daughter for however long she lives. He is incredibly protective of her. He will do anything to keep Dorothy safe. In doing so, he believes that he is saving the world from the monstrosity of her own powers. This premiere begins to explain just how dangerous she could actually be. She presents as an innocent child who is mocked solely because of her appearance. Niles saved her once. But he also locked her away for ninety years. He did so knowing that he couldn't be the parent she needed just yet. It also means the Doom Patrol has to deal with a child now as well. They no longer trust Niles the same way they did before. They just all happen to be stuck in the same circumstance of being miniaturized following their fateful confrontation with Mr. Nobody. They were victorious in that fight. He is now trapped in the blank space. That victory was resounding and brought clarity to the lives of these heroes. But that can only go so far in helping their psyches. They still feel crippled by their internal feelings of agency. Rita wants to be a hero now. And yet, her delicate sense of self worth can quickly send her spiraling into a pile of mush. She still doesn't have complete control over her body. She wants to shut off the voices that say she doesn't matter. She wants to help her friends as well. But there is only so much that others can do. It ultimately has to be each person to put in the work to be emotionally healthy and stable. The dysfunction of this team almost ended the world on several occasions during the first season. Mr. Nobody needed them to confront certain aspects of their pasts just so they would be suitable enough to battle him. They had to endure and face these traumas. That has been terrifying and eye-opening to them though. Jane doesn't want to engage with the world anymore. Her various identities need her to serve as the focal point and dominant personality. A change has to come. She just refuses to embrace that or even engage with the basic thought. She would rather drift away with the drugs she found because that's better than trying to help the damaged girl she used to be all those years ago. She was brutalized by her father. She has formed friendships with the team. But she remains isolated as well. Meanwhile, Larry fears that his inability to love his children lead to tragic lives for them. His behavior ensured that they grew up doubting who he was and how he actually felt about them. He has lost one son already. He may not be able to face all the consequences of his past actions. He wants to step up and face the unknown. That's difficult though. He has to be there for his friends here. They are facing an immediate problem. It's one that can only be fixed through magic not science. Niles has to make a deal with Willoughby Kipling. In doing so though, he may only cement his fate as a mortal man. He is trying to rebuke the natural order of the world. He wants to outlive his daughter to always keep her safe. Children have to bury their parents though. That is a fundamental reality of life. It scares Dorothy. Any time she feels an emotion, it lets out one of her imaginary friends. Depending on how she feels at any given moment, the world could come to an end because that temptation is scary and real to her. The stakes are high immediately. It's a premise that could grow tiring after awhile because it centers around a kid having extreme reactions. And yet, this premiere continues the same spirit that was such a winning formula in the first season even though it continues to assert that these characters are broken despite the major improvements they have already made in their lives. They were heroic for a bit. But now, reality is sinking in as they have time to process the horrors that have also been apparent in their lives - like Vic realizing his father chose to save him instead of his mother while also being terrified that Mr. Nobody could escape and cause even more havoc one day.