Thursday, June 25, 2020

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - Rita, Jane and Cliff Go On a Dangerous Mission Despite Warnings from Niles in 'Tyme Patrol'

DC Universe & HBO Max's Doom Patrol - Episode 2.02 "Tyme Patrol"

Cliff, Jane and Rita pursue Dr. Tyme - and his time-altering space mineral - in their reluctant quest to help Niles and Dorothy. At a support group, Vic meets Roni, a feisty military vet who challenges his beliefs. And Larry comes face-to-face with his past at a funeral.

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 next episode of DC Universe & HBO Max's Doom Patrol.

"Tyme Patrol" was written by April Fitzsimmons & Neil Reynolds and directed by Harry Jierjian

The Doom Patrol fought to rescue Niles from Mr. Nobody in the first season. They did so because they viewed him as the father figure who brought a sense of order and stability to their lives. In actuality, he was the one responsible for the accidents that made them the disfigured but powerful individuals they are today. He did so because he was selfishly pursuing immortality. He prioritizes being a father above everything else. He argues that he did everything in order to live longer than his daughter. He believes that Dorothy could end the world. He views her in that sinister light. But he is also incredibly protective of her. He doesn't want anything bad to happen to her. And yet, her life is still terrifying. Any bad thought can quickly lead to destruction. All it takes is the suspicion that not everything is all right. She has come to view her father as the only reliable and stable individual in her life. That is setting up the inevitability that Niles will die and the Doom Patrol will have to care for her this season. That may be too obvious at this point. However, that is how the story currently establishes itself. Niles had to trade away the magical artifact that kept him from aging. And now, everyone worries that he is decaying rapidly. He has already lived for over 130 years. He has defied the odds. This is the first time the Doom Patrol has actually talked about that. They always needed him for support. But now, they are horrified by what he rationalized in order to achieve his ultimate goals. Cliff may be nothing more than a rebellious teenager at this point. He lashes out against Niles by doing whatever he says not to do. He only agrees to embark on Rita's quest to retrieve an alien substance beyond the realms of time and space because Niles doesn't want the team to go. Rita and Jane are motivated because they still need Niles. They view him as someone with the scientific mind necessary to improve and understand what is going on in their lives. Meanwhile, Larry and Vic have their own sense of agency. They go off on their own adventures where they may receive clarity but it's mostly just an excuse to involve some heavy personal drama for both of them. It's obvious that Roni is going to be a romantic interest for Vic the moment she appears. Vic only acknowledges her physical attributes and not the words she is saying during this meeting. He has endured a trauma and has taken the steps to cope with that. However, he has grown used to one version of justice. Roni operates from a place of knowing just how complicated the world is. People are complex creatures who don't all respond from the same set of consequences. It's a discussion about crime and punishment that is interesting if a little forced to create conflict between them. This story overall is tangential. The same goes for Larry. He reconnects with his surviving son. He realizes his other child was obsessed with proving that he was still alive after the accident. It was true but he didn't live long enough to see it. Larry is pushed in the right direction of making amends and stepping up as a true father and man of character. But the hour still ends on the cliffhanger of something strange and mysterious happening to him because of butterflies. It's strange and unusual. The first season had the narrative backbone of rescuing Niles. This season doesn't have that immediate sense of urgency. The individual characters are on their own personal journeys of introspection. That isn't inherently bad. It just also comes with the frequent proclamations of just how apocalyptic Dorothy actually is. The show depicts the massacre that happened in London. She has been lethal since a young age. Niles wants to protect her. He may not be able to. Meanwhile, she just wants to have normal bonding experiences with her father. He isn't there for her. Rita can be. That may prove that not everything has to be such high stakes all the time. The show will always be weird and unexpected. It can be heartfelt too. This hour just feels a little more disjointed and unfocused than the show has been in the past. A lot of time is spent on the adventure to steal Dr. Tyme's helmet only for it to end on a dire note that could immediately be undone. It basically proves that the team is still dysfunctional despite the victories they had last year.