Thursday, August 6, 2020

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - The Past Haunts Cliff, Rita and Vic as Dorothy Prepares for Battle in 'Wax Patrol'

DC Universe & HBO Max's Doom Patrol - Episode 2.09 "Wax Patrol"

Before they can save the world from The Candlemaker, the Doom Patrol must first confront their childhood imaginary friends. Meanwhile, Jane reflects on the first time that Miranda became primary, and Dorothy must make a fateful choice.

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 finale of DC Universe & HBO Max's Doom Patrol.

"Wax Patrol" was written by Chris Dingess & Tanya Steele and directed by Christopher Manley

The Candlemaker was positioned as the ominous big bad for the drama's second season. It was always going to be hard to follow up on Mr. Nobody because of how delightful and absurd Alan Tudyk was in the role. The Candlemaker was mostly just a nefarious and sinister voice that Dorothy constantly heard though. The show didn't have the time to make it into a resounding storyline that brought everything together. The pandemic shutting down production is absolutely responsible for that. It means the season ends on the cliffhanger of Dorothy going off to battle the Candlemaker by herself after her new friends are consumed by wax. It just makes for a strange makeshift finale. Cliff, Rita and Vic are having conversations with their childhood imaginary friends. The show has to introduce that concept here and explain why these relationships were once important to them. Vic needed someone to always sign off on his actions being the right ones. Rita needed the aspiration to achieve her acting goals. Cliff needed a distraction from his broken home. Larry never had an imaginary friend. That explanation almost plays as the show recognizing it didn't have the time to feature too many of these divergent stories. Instead, he and Kipling get less screen time and present the concept that this is all building to a wax-based conclusion. None of this is particularly bad. It's apparent that the show is introducing all of these concepts to further highlight the ongoing character struggles for the core team. It's simply awkward because this is the forced ending for the season. Building to that conclusion with Dorothy also seems rushed though. She spends the majority of this hour rocking back and forth trying to remain strong enough to fend off the voice in her head. She is unaware of the terror going on outside in the fair. And then, her mother appears and suddenly Dorothy knows exactly what she has to do. She can immediately will things into existence and head into this fateful battle with the monster who has plagued her with years. Again, this is all essentially an allegory for growing up and the challenges a person faces as an adult. Dorothy's childhood has lasted longer than most. And yet, no one can avoid the inevitable. Niles wants her to be his little girl forever. He sought out immortality because he had to always be around to protect her. But now, he is helpless on the ground. He put a plan in motion to kill her before she could destroy the world. That failed. He calls out for her to be strong. He will protect her no matter what. However, she has a destiny. One that remains frustratingly cryptic to the audience. That's a problem that extends beyond this being the last episode for now. The show always adds so much texture and personality to the proceedings. Dorothy has been a rather repetitive character. That story hasn't particularly evolved across these nine episodes. Now, it feels like it is going somewhere. It puts more urgency into the situation. But it's also much more compelling to spend time with Jane as she explores the memories of Miranda. Kay's various personalities want to protect her no matter what. Miranda was positioned as that savior for a long time. She thought she knew how to best move forward. Instead, she found herself at the will of a man who wanted to take from her once more. Jane's strength was necessary in that moment in order to thrive. She has faced a number of struggles over time. However, she has the necessary resolve and spirit to address the past while fighting to save the future. Meanwhile, a shocking twist reveals that the Miranda in charge is something new altogether. That too is a cliffhanger tease. It establishes that there remains so much twists inside Jane's mind. No one fully knows what's going on in there. That's exciting. Her struggles connect with Dorothy as well. They have had parallel journeys of importance this season. The other characters have had their specific arcs as well. However, Jane and Dorothy were the true pieces of thematic significance. Jane's was absolutely more successful even though it too ends in ambiguity. Jane questioned her role in the Underground and if she was truly protecting Kay. She could have been accepting her own sense of importance instead of doing what's best for the whole collective of personalities. She has a renewed sense of energy right as everything may be destroyed. That is great storytelling that leaves me incredibly hopeful for more. This season had more struggles than the first. But it's focus on a weird and peculiar world makes it very captivating no matter what.