Doom Patrol “Donkey Patrol” Review
It might be safe to say that DC has already found a winner in Doom Patrol. The pilot episode played to a very different beat than the Titans premiere, and felt so much more like something that jumps right out of a comic book. If you needed a story with characters who give you heart without drama? Then right now this is the show for you. If we’re being honest with ourselves, there was plenty of room to be skeptical about this show, but it was a great feeling to go through two episodes and have that wash away.
This season really hit the ground running in the second episode. Little time was wasted for us to get our introduction to the DCU version of Cyborg. As a big fan of this character, it took some time to adjust to this change in his origins. The accident didn’t happen the same way, his relationship with his father is a bit different, and he even has a few abilities that youhaven’t seen him use before. It even took some time to get used to the fact that Cyborg wasn’t as self-loathing as his comic counterpart. What we are more used to is this kid being haunted by what he became, and resentful at the father who turned him into a machine. What we got here was to a lesser degree. If I were to give them credit for this version of Cyborg then I would say that they did think outside the box with the way that he could fit into the story of Doom Patrol. As someone who is more of an oddity than most notable heroes, he was in his element along with other people who could understand what it means to get that second chance at life by becoming something different.
Following the events of Mr. Nobody’s capture of Niles Caulder and the destruction of Cloverton, Ohio, it was anyone’s wonder how this obscure team could pull together to fix this situation. While this team was quick to jump into the role of heroes, it was anyone’s guess how they could possibly make a difference against a threat like this. The destruction of Cloverton happened, and then the big focus shifted towards emphasizing the kind of characters they really are. If they aren’t heroes, then what are they? Rita and Larry were the best representation of this as the two who shared the least control over what they can do. They were two people simply content with letting the world turn without them until Cliff stepped into their lives. How they reacted to these big changes was natural since there is only so much to do in the face of that kind of defeat. There was only so much to do in general when this was the time for decisions to be made about becoming more than their flaws. The reluctance of Cliff to accept this was the driving force of this episode. Even as a robot with limited mobility, he was still the one person ready to rise to the occasion where the others wanted to put their heads in the sand. If he wasn’t your favorite character before, surely he might be now when it comes to characters with strong ambitions. The only character who could challenge that is Cyborg.
For the second episode, it was also smart that they decided this was the best time to dig a bit deeper into the exploration of what Crazy Jane is. Not everything is clear about where these 64 personalities came from or how to understand their connections, but we know so much more than we did before. They are giving us just a little at a time, and just enough to keep you coming back for more to this mystery. I mean, the powers she has already displayed were pretty awesome. I was also a bit taken back by the quality of effects that went into making it visually appealing.
While what we have seen from Mr. Nobody is obscure at best, it was exciting to see what kind of threat he brings to the table as the big villain. He is quite dangerous as someone who has no clear definition in what he is capable of. We know that he can drain the insanity from others, but that is just the tip of the iceberg compared to what he achieves in this other universe. Of course this does make his reach limited, but that is someone you can easily fear for simply not being able to be defeated by conventional means. The CGI for Mr. Nobody is the only thing I have mixed feelings about. You realize that it does take some work to make someone look as ribbon-like as him, but still you are left wondering what if a different approach was taken to the effects used for him. With that said, whoever decided on this guy doing the narration for a majority of the episode was brilliant. It was entertaining, carried some dark humor, but above all fit the odd theme to this show.
Doom Patrol “Donkey Patrol” was a true test of the waters for this team’s ability to become something other than the circus attraction. Each and every one of them only needed a push to realize that they can do more, and right now it is a slow crawl, as it should be. This show is as much a personal journey as it is the makings of hero.