Doom Patrol “Hair Patrol” Review- Gross, Weird, & Going Nowhere

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DC Universe Doom Patrol

I like to believe I’m a very tolerant person when it comes to my television viewing experience. I can handle a lot of things. Deadly Class gave us the worst chainsaw scene since Scarface and I handled it like a champ. Game of Thrones tests my ability to love fictional characters even though I know harm will befall them, and I’m willing to get hurt again and again. Better Call Saul brings us Saul Goodman and it breaks my heart and I can’t wait for next season. I’ve been the ringer and keep coming back for more, but I have to say this week’s Doom Patrol, “Hair Patrol”, tested my limits, and it had nothing to do with James Bond having a love scene with a Neanderthal woman. No, that’s the type of weird that is kind of in line with this DC Universe show. I do draw the line with characters who eat hair out of drains though. Can’t do it. It’s repulsive and goes over the line of weird to disgusting, and no I’m not being dramatic (maybe a little), I’m serious. This broke me and kind of encompasses my relationship with this entire series thus far.

Much like last week’s “Jane Patrol” we have an episode that is willing to explore a character in depth providing some answers about the Chief. Maybe. I’m not entirely sure if I’m being honest. The majority of his story was a flashback that took place in the early 1900s as he searched for immortality and worked for a government agency that sought out oddities. That would eventually change to the department of normalcy because reasons. After breaking his leg and being held captive by this Neanderthal creature the Chief falls in love with her and spends a blissful year up in the snowy mountains together. It’s a strange story that doesn’t really explain much of anything other than the fact that Chief becomes protective of these oddities and leaves his lady love alone so she won’t be terminated by the department of normalcy. There is no explanation given to how she can lead to immortality or how the Chief hasn’t aged a day since the 1900s.

Of course, this flashback is all a plan from Mr. Nobody to hurt Chief as he tries to gain the same information but I found the whole thing ineffective and strange. I get that the Chief wants to help oddities like the Doom Patrol and I get that he’s shady and secretive, but this… this didn’t’ humanize him at all for me. It all seemed very selfish and convoluted and felt like a misdirect. Here’s an hour of characterization with no real characterization given. I feel like I still have zero clarity on who the Chief is or why I should care about him. With this being a central plot point of the series, I feel like I should be more invested but I only care about the Chief being found because the show is telling me.

DC Universe Doom Patrol

Then factor in that the department of normalcy is also looking for Chief, probably because of his 1900 love affair, and have hired a man to find him whose superpower is knowledge through eating facial hair. It’s gross. It’s weird. And it did nothing to further this story. At all. All it gave us was more bickering between Cyborg and Rita, where Cyborg continues to treat her like trash, as well as Cyborg program problems. Nothing new. The same run around which is getting tiring.  Just because you throw in a character who eats hair from drains doesn’t make this any more interesting or add any depth of growth to the story. At this point, I’m quickly becoming over the whole thing.

Doom Patrol is losing its luster. The weirdness isn’t refreshing anymore and almost a plot device to cover up the fact that this story is going nowhere. Cyborg has essentially turned into a chauvinist with the way he continuously treats Rita as a lesser human being. The Chief… I can’t figure this guy out. Larry’s progress continues to be a mystery. And we now have a character who eats drain hair. I’m becoming less and less tolerant per episode. Such a bummer considering how exciting this series felt when it debuted.

What about you Geeklings? How are you feeling about Doom Patrol? Are you all in or hoping for some sort of growth/story progression? If you’ve got thoughts or feelings sound off in the comments. If you’d like to talk more Doom Patrol with yours truly you can find me on Twitter @iageek32. Let’s have ourselves a good ole fashion therapy session. I’ll see you all next week with a brand new episode review. Stay weird my friends!

6 COMMENTS

  1. I thought the episode was excellent. Kept the funny idiosyncratic tone while pushing into gross out territory with beard Hunter while telling an at least interesting early tale of the Chief’s history. I didn’t get the impression that this episode was intended to give us everything we needed to know about who the chief is or why he has done what’s occurred up to this point so I didn’t feel nearly as let down.

    • Obviously no need to post tgis one:
      You chose not to include my post in your comments section, bit presumably you have watched the final episode, so, do you get it now?
      about The Chief?

      • Sorry Antoine, I’m just seeing these now. As for the Chief, I understood what you were saying as well as what the show was trying to convey, I just thought it could have been done better. The Chief was almost too mysterious to the point where there seemed to be no hint to the fact that this was something that existed. I know mine is a bit of a unpopular opinion but as good as Doom Patrol was, I think it def needs to improve especially when it comes down to character work. There was a lot of uneven character development and the Chief is certainly apart of that. Sorry for the late response. Thanks for reading!

  2. Have you read the Doom Patrol graphic series? If not, I really think you should, your library would have it. You could probably read it on Hoopla.

    The Chief is not just secretive, it is much more than that. He may also be in a wheel chair but has very little in common with the Patrick Stewart kindly wheelchair bound « chief » who altruistically protects mutants.

    Without too many spoilers, I’ll just say this : the Chief does not want to « protect oddities », he is not altruistic, he is not really Jane’s kindly father or anyone’s friend. Cliff is a good guy, genuinely and he genuinely cares for Jane and Rita et al. Even the negative energy in Larry is actually quite « good ». Not the Chief. Even in the older series before Grant Morrison with Arani, no writer ever tried to « humanize » the Chief. (Arani was very far from a beloved wife).

    The show-runners here are changing a lot from the comics, but they are really staying true to the spirit of Doom Patrol. Nothing is as it is. They are definitely trying to make you love and to humanize Jane, Rita, Larry and Cyborg, no surprises there, those are the real “good guys”, but you need to be a bit more fluid when considering the Chief. Heck even Mr Nobody is more humanized in the show than the Chief, and it is the same in the comics!

    ( on a side note, I miss Mr. Nobody’s gang, those were really humanized and loveable super-villains right there! but maybe they will be added later on)

    Think about it. Why does Cyborg’s father hate the Chief so much but yet still kinda considers him a friend?There are many complicated reasons why he may hate and can not trust the Chief! And these reasons are probably valid. But think about it, you don’t know ANY of these reasons. And you may NEVER know them.

    The Doom Patrol was never Xmen or mutant x or any of these angst-ridden comics when everything is hashed out and in your face like the obvious rivalry and macho competition between wolverine and cyclops. Good guys are always good, bad guys always bad. ot in the Doom Patrol.

    Cliff is not a man. He is a robot. And the topic of his humanity is central to the Doom Patrol series. Jane is not called Crazy Jane as a fun title or so she can have many outfit. The personalities are not about cool powers. Most of her personalities don’t even have powers. She really is a victim, and she really is crazy.
    These are not super heroes. Just powerful weirdos. Stop thinking about this show as a super hero show.

    All the writers of Doom Patrol wrote comics like novelists, in the sense that they always let the reader know that they as the authors will always know much more than you, the reader( the viewer). Most comic books writers forget that. Think about it! What do you NOT know about Peter Parker or Clark Kent? Nothing. Those writers hand it all to you.

    You will never « know everything that you need to know » about ANY character in the Doom Patrol.

    The only problem with Niles Caulder in the show, is not that they don’t humanize him enough, that part is dead on. The problem is his beard, or lack thereof. Niles Caulder had a large full beard. Always. Timothy Dalton has just a bit more than a five o’clock shadow. Come on Timothy grow a real beard!

    Apart from that, he’s played (to perfection of course!) by no less than Timothy Dalton. Go and rewatch the older episodes, and really watch Timothy Dalton’s acting. What is your spidey sense telling you? Not what you hear and see, what does your gut tell you?

    Just keep watching. It took me a few episodes to adapt to the changes from the comic in the show, but now I am hooked. I hope this show makes it to 4+ seasons, because there is so much material in the Doom Patrol and not just from Grant Morrison, many of the other series writers were brilliant! And the show runners are doing a wonderful job. The actors are all top notch as well!

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