Thursday, October 14, 2021

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - Rita's Trip Back in Time Revitalizes Her as She Finds Love and Purpose in New Friendships in '1917 Patrol'

HBO Max's Doom Patrol - Episode 3.06 "1917 Patrol"

Plunged back in time, Rita attempts to navigate the Bureau of Normalcy with help from an oddly familiar group. Meanwhile, Jane gives Kay her first taste of freedom, while Larry finds closure with his son.

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.

"1917 Patrol" was written by April Fitzsimmons and directed by Omar Madha

In losing her memories, Rita may become the best possible version of herself. She has strived to be a hero in the past. She never felt confident enough in herself to keep her abilities functioning no matter what. She believed she found the path that laid out her destiny. All it took was a machine that could send her back in time. Through the journey, she agonizes over the lack of agency she has had in life. She was never in control of the decisions being made. That placed a burden on everything she was trying to do. It was always infused with that history which turned out to be a significant detriment to her psyche. All of that is stripped away. With that pain no longer present, she suddenly feels a sense of freedom. It's tragic because she remembers nothing about herself. And yet, she finds the beauty of love in 1917 too. This wasn't some destination in time she needed to escape to for a specific purpose. She just wanted to prove herself as a time traveler. This is something she believed she needed to do. It holds no larger meaning than that. After the mind wipe, she questions what her life was like before this moment. She wonders why she got into the machine and traveled back to this point in time. Her new friends are just grateful that she is there with them. She finds a new batch of weird roommates to reside with. It's not all that different from life at Doom Manor. She cares for these metahumans. She believes she has found herself with the Sisterhood of Dada. They provide the only clue as to where she should be. Of course, it's completely coincidental that she has a note in her pocket pointing her to Laura and the Sisterhood. She lands in the Bureau of Normalcy as a result. As everyone should remember, this isn't a pleasant place to be. They hunt anyone who doesn't conform to their version of the status quo. Larry is upset with his son for being a part of the organization. Rita faces discrimination in this workplace. But she also finds the ability to be free and unburdened. That came at first from the memory loss. It was only confirmed upon being with people who understood her plight and wanted to remain secure in this life no matter what. They are still terrified of what the world can do to them. They still yearn for something better. They have to believe something better is out there. Rita doesn't even have to know her past in order to accept the peace and beauty that is found in this present. She has long been searching for that clarity. She finally achieves it here. She doesn't even recognize it. Of course, the audience is aware of these actions probably setting the stage for all that's to come with Laura and the Sisterhood in the future. Rita resists the demand to conform. She pushes back. In doing so, she loses her composure. But she is surrounded by loving support. They are willing to stand by her and love her. She has had those qualities at Doom Manor before. This is still something new. She finds herself as part of a team. One that may have to stage a prison break in order to thrive outside of this confined reality. That too is scary. It may be the necessary step for whatever comes next. Rita thrives because she took this risk. Everyone else on the team is struggling because they can barely reckon with who they've become. Jane feels a sense of freedom and growth as well. Kay goes to the surface again. She does fine in the outside world. Several personalities are concerned about what this means. Jane sees it as nothing but the best for the person they have all been charged with protecting. Meanwhile, Vic sees that he is only valued as Cyborg and not as a man. He wants to take back his identity. It's not in response to the choices his father made. It's practicing self-love and confidence. It's the choice he wants to embrace for a potentially better future. He could only find this clarity through dying and coming back to life. That's the lesson Cliff declares as he goes down an internet rabbit hole. It doesn't work out so well for him. He continues to be a mess. In fact, this hour does suffer a little bit because it doesn't just get to focus entirely on Rita as her journey is much more specific than the others at Doom Manor. However, value can still be found in each of these plot points. They reveal new things about the overall narrative while never losing sight of the personal developments that set the stage for all this growth to occur across several years.