You know, at this point I thought I understood the kind of show Doom Patrol was going to be. I had this expectation that it was going to be this zany story about these group of outcasts coming together to find their preverbal father figure and becoming a team/family fighting the weirdness of the world. To a degree that is what Doom Patrol is, but then episode four, “Cult Patrol”, drops and suddenly I’m not entirely what to make of this show. The introduction of a strange world ending cult sort of fits within the weirdness of this universe but also makes the stakes a little too high in a show that seemed a little more grounded in its weirdness. Well, as grounded as a show that includes a farting donkey, Nazi puppeteers (of course there are Nazis), and a town swallowing wormhole thingy could possibly be.
Here’s the thing, I don’t hate this save the world twist but it feels like a bit much for these characters. Their search for Chief should be the main focus as they learn more about each other and their would be father figure. Not like there’s a shortage of source material there. The Chief is clearly keeping secrets. Not telling Cliff that his daughter is still alive is a major eyebrow raiser and now we learned that he’s able to communicate with whatever is living inside Larry. One would think that these are important pieces of information to share with his “children”, but we’re rapidly learning that Chief has a lot of skeletons in his closet. For example, being burdened with the knowledge of some super cult that is raising a child that will destroy the world. Seems like something important to share with the universe maybe?
Speaking of this child… what the what?! The episode opens with a family of three celebrating the birthday of this would be world destroyer with cakes that have creepy eyes on them and the child growing each year with more and more tattoos. It seems that these tattoos are a book that will bring about the end of the world, of course, and once read it’s on. The father has some doubts on Elliot’s eighteenth birthday and it gets him killed by the mother. Moms, am I right? Enter the Doom Patrol to kidnap/rescue this boy and try and prevent the end of the world. Keyword here being try.
This plot almost seems to be a little too big for Doom Patrol, not to mention, how many of these DC Universe shows are going to involve a super powered child that can bring about the end of the world? Looking at you Raven! Titans focused the majority of its season exploring Raven and how she can bring about the end of the world by calling her father that it almost seems a bit redundant to introduce Elliot, a child who seems capable of the same thing. How many world-ending children are in this universe?! I was kind of hoping for a one-off episode here, almost like a side quest, but if these razor nuns reading the “book” and that creepy eye appearing in the sky is any indication it looks like this story is going to be here for a bit.
That’s not to say that this episode isn’t fun because it is. The pairing of Robotman and Crazy Jane continues to be my favorite aspect of the series. Brendan Fraser’s line delivery is tremendous and often some of the episode’s funniest moments. It is an absolute pleasure to see how much fun Diane Guerrero is having with all these split personalities. Watching her slip seamlessly from character to character really makes Jane the focus anytime she’s on screen because you never know what you’re going to get. Throw in the fact that Jane isn’t even her main personality and there is enough intrigue and mystery there to spin Jane off into her own series. And I would watch the hell out of it!
Robotman and Jane’s relationship is currently strained as they are transported to a snow globe (?!) trying to talk this crazy eye cult out of using Elliot to destroy the world. It’s difficult when Robotman views Jane as his surrogate daughter and she currently views him as a blood-soaked monster. One would think you would have to be on the same page to save the world. Killing all those Nazi puppet makers last week and being seen by Jane was not a good look for Cliff and now he might have alienated the one person he was closest to in the house. On top of that, they’re stuck in this freakin’ snow globe while the big eye in the sky, not a metaphor talking about that actual eye, is looking for…something.
Behind all this world ending stuff we still have Larry trying to understand this energy source inside him that apparently feeds off of torture. A weird thing to learn especially when it seems that this energy source appears to be the most heroic aspect of Negative Man. Cyborg is still struggling at finding his voice as a leader. I understand he’s trying some reverse phycology on Rita but his antics came across more as dismissive and antagonistic which I didn’t enjoy. Kip is a new interesting character that sort of has those Constantine vibes, but he seems like he’s better in small doses. What is missed is Alan Tudyk’s Mr. Nobody. Tudyk adds an acceptable element to all this bizarreness on screen with his narration. Something this episode could have used to ease the magnitude of this new development.
On the whole, “Cult Patrol” is a very entertaining episode it just seems like the stakes got too high too fast. We’ll see if this storyline is just for a couple of episodes or the backbone of the rest of the season. What did you think Geeklings? Are you excited about the possible end of the world scenario or would you rather see more grounded weird adventures? Sound off in the comments. As always, if you’d like to talk more Doom Patrol with yours truly you can find me on Twitter @iamgeek32. Until next week, stay weird everyone!