All season long we’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for things to come together for the inhabitants of Doom Manor. We’ve watched them struggle with their inner demons for thirteen episodes. We’ve watched them wrestle with self-worth, identity issues, daddy issues, guilt, a freakin’ alligator, and after thirteen mostly uneven episodes, the group has come together to form a new Doom Patrol. A group ready to go rescue their leader from the grasp of an evil villain with the help of a man who can make people orgasm by flexing. At this point, things like that should no longer surprise us. Doom Patrol loves to highlight weirdness for the sake of weirdness, and Flex Mentallo most definitely fits that mold and his weirdness actually serves a purpose too as he helps bridge the gap to the White Space, the gaps between comic panels, where the Chief is being held captive. But what if Mr. Nobody isn’t the only villain of this season?
I’ve found it kind of curious how this season of Doom Patrol seems to sort of ignore the “Doom Patrol” episode of Titans. My memory could be a bit fuzzy here but I got the distinct impression that Chief was a bit of a shady character in Titans or at the very least someone who maybe didn’t have the Doom Patrol’s best interests at heart. Of course, that episode was used to kind of introduce us to these characters before the full season of Doom Patrol. Outside of that, there has been little to no mention of these events. It’s like Beast Boy was never there and just kind of replaced with Crazy Jane? So when “Penultimate Patrol” ends with the Chief confessing that he was directly involved with all of the accidents that made the group what they are, I wasn’t very surprised. I’ve been questioning this guy since we first met him in Titans. The continuity between that episode of Titans and this entire season don’t really match up, and that’s a bit frustrating.
I know this is supposed to be a pivotal moment of the series but it kind of fell flat as it seemed we already had that information. Same thing with what happened with Cyborg and his father. Cyborg went from not trusting his father, to nearly killing him, to trusting him only to find out that he shouldn’t have trusted him at all. It all just seemed like a waste of time and makes it look like Cyborg is easy to manipulate. Whenever a character has to question whether one parent is telling the truth about the death of another parent chances are that parent is hiding something. In this case, Cyborg’s dad thought it would be better for his son to shoulder the burden of thinking he flat out killed his mother instead of learning the truth that Chief thought she was too old to waste the Cyborg tech on. That’s some real father of the year stuff right there.
These complaints just fall in line with a number of my complaints throughout this first season. There have been some great episodes, especially towards the end of the season, but for the most part, there has been a lot of unevenness and character work that seems to go nowhere. Despite all that, I still found “Penultimate Patrol” to be a mostly entertaining episode. I loved that we brought back Danny the Street and the Beard Hunter and how both those random/weird episodes came together to serve a purpose. The pursuit of Chief has been at the core of the season and the group finally came together with the intentions of actually finding him. No more getting sidetracked by weird cults or hidden mind cities.
Reminding us of the group’s adventures this season, while recounting their win/loss record, was a nice touch and made a lot of those episodes resonate a little better. While not perfect, it at least gave them purpose and showed how the Doom Patrol is still a long ways away from “making the playoffs’ but it’s not going to stop them from trying to track down their leader… who is kind of an untrustworthy Dr. Frankenstein type jerk? Maybe.
The season finale will explore just how Niles created the powers that now live within the Doom Patrol and whether or not they will forgive him. Something tells me that’s going to be a tough sell. Especially with Jane who already has had one failed father figure and Cliff who lost his whole family to be an outdated robot man. Watching the group overcome Mr. Nobody’s attempts to mentally destroy them by placing them within the days that everything changed was fun to watch and showed that these characters have progressed quite a bit. Even if the rest of the episode fell flat for a penultimate episode.
What did you think Geeklings? Were you surprised to hear that Chief was responsible for everything that’s happened to the Doom Patrol? Were you proud to see the group overcome Mr. Nobody’s promises? Did you get pumped when Cyborg “booyah’ed”? Sound off in the comments with all your thoughts. If you’d like to talk more Doom Patrol with yours truly then you can find me over on Twitter @iamgeek32. I’ll be back next week with the review for the season finale. I’m really curious about how they wrap this thing up. In the meantime, stay weird everyone!