Thursday, September 23, 2021

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - Death Comes for the Team Unless Larry and Dorothy Can Figure Out How to Save Them in 'Dead Patrol'

HBO Max's Doom Patrol - Episode 3.03 "Dead Patrol"

After waking up in the tunnel of souls, the Doom Patrol must confront their own personal purgatories. Back at the manor, Dorothy and Larry consult a highly specialized detective agency to help reach their friends.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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 HBO Max's Doom Patrol.

"Dead Patrol" was written by Jeremy Carver & Steve Yockey and directed by Christopher Manley

The Doom Patrol has escaped death on numerous occasions. In fact, Niles was once driven solely by his quest for immortality. He needed to live longer than his daughter in order to keep her safe and protected. He was afraid of what she was capable of doing. Of course, she's stronger than anyone ever realized. She's a teenager learning her place in the world. It's a mystery to her as well. It's one plagued by its own set of problems. She has grappled with them and learned to grow. She has buried her family. That's part of the circle of life. It's tragic. But this world is strange too. It's alarming when she returns to the manor to see Larry propping up the bodies of their dead friends in the hopes they may still be alive. In reality, they were each killed by the aliens during their vacation. It all feels like they are playing a part in something they don't entirely understand quite yet. The show isn't being entirely forthcoming with the grand mystery and narrative propulsion of this season. That makes it unique in comparison to the previous two. It can also make it more difficult for the audience to invest in the various stakes. Instead, it is mostly driven by the character stories. That works as well. The show has made plenty of those investments. Of course, it still wants them to all find peace and learn how to move forward in their lives with confidence. They are still traumatized by so much. That fuels the fear they have in every single action. That fear may have ultimately gotten them killed. When they were called to action, they were cowards who were unprepared to do anything. They died. Their souls aren't lost for good though. Larry and Dorothy do have a way to bring them back. Danny can reach out to the Dead Boy Detective Agency. They provide the Doom Patrol with the tools to understand what's happening in this limbo and lead the mission. They also serve as a way to offer better connection to Dorothy. She obviously loves the Doom Patrol. She will do anything to save them. And yet, it's also nice and meaningful for her to be around people her own age. Of course, the boys are dead. They've been that way for many years. But they still act as teenagers scared of taking risks and putting themselves out there in a way that makes them vulnerable. Larry can pick up on the romantic longing between Edwin and Charles. It's not something they are capable of talking about right now. It's mostly just a tease of what could be. It's a way to suggest something more without having to actually deliver on that. But it also makes all of this internal questioning understandable. The Doom Patrol often feel lost in their lives. That's not a unique characteristic to them. Plenty of people struggle in finding their place in the world. That extends to the supernatural and the afterlife too. Cliff, Jane and Vic are each given the opportunity to move on to their happy, peaceful existence. They are welcomed by familiar faces meant to help guide them along this path. Those interactions offer clarity to Jane and Vic. Jane finds newfound strength from her abuelita. She reminds her of just how special Kay is and how important it is to grow despite the hardships that continue to come their way. Vic's mother is happy to witness his humanity and compassion. That wasn't removed from him in his transformation to Cyborg. That should provide him with the same joy as he has as a hero. Meanwhile, Cliff is annoyed that his father professes to be better than him. Of course, that's how Cliff interprets the situation. It's always a competition in which he believes he is failing. It still motivates him to take his health more seriously. He can't jeopardize his life when he has worked so hard to be redeemed in the eyes of his daughter. Rita is the only one who doesn't follow the process of this environment. She never loses consciousness to be processed. Instead, she is aware of this grim experience. That opens more questions to the proceedings. She knows someone is out there who looks exactly like her. That person is making things happen. She is inspiring others to make grand sacrifices for her. That may only worsen Rita's inferiority complex. That's especially true considering that mystery woman just saunters down the stairs to make tea after this entire mission is done. It's not strange or unusual. Plenty of weird things happen at Doom Manor. Her presence can hopefully provide more clarity as to what all is going on at the moment. This feeling of loss can drive a couple of episodes. Plus, it's easy to see the character development occur along the way leading up to these big developments. But the show also must follow through on that ambition. It's set the stage in an engaging way. Now, it's time for everything to explode. Death was just a tease. Now, it's time for the big display of what this world is capable of throwing at the Doom Patrol.