As a comic book fan, it’s hard not to believe that we’re living in a bit of a golden age. It seems that TV and movies are picking up new comic properties left and right not only opening the doors to new fans who needed that extra push to get to their local comic book store, but also allowing lesser-known comic series to get the attention they so rightly deserve. Not everything is Captain America, Batman, or Iron Man and a lot of casual fans don’t know that. For every big superhero comic, there are hundreds of creator-owned projects that you probably have never even heard of. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see books like Preacher, Y the Last Man, and The Boys get these full-season pickups. Some of these stories are bananas and show audiences that comic books are more than just “pow” “bam” and “whack” panels.
Doom Patrol fits into the comic books could be more than just superheroes mold. Hell, Doom Patrol created a new category where the story could exist in the same universe as superheroes but have very little to do with them. Those first couple of episodes were completely refreshing and a much need breathe of fresh air for the DC Universe. Far too often DC properties tend to be a bit on the dark side and here was a show that contained a farting donkey. There were multiple times this season where I had to step back and ask myself, “what in the actual hell am I watching?!” And for the most part that played into the fun of the series. Doom Patrol clearly didn’t take itself seriously but it certainly cared about the characters within this universe. At the end of the day, these episodes weren’t about farting donkeys or gigantic eyes in the sky but the characters who were dealing with them. The weirdness was supposed to be the window dressing for some serious character development, but it didn’t always land that way.
I would argue that these last four to five episodes of Doom Patrol have been some of the shows best. They were a little more grounded. A little more focused and paid off on a lot of the random weirdness throughout this first season. That’s not to say these last few episodes weren’t weird. They were. Very, very weird, but the weirdness wasn’t as distracting as it had become. Episodes that dealt with the beard hunter or everything with the cult took away from the character the show wanted to focus on. Often times progression would be made only to take a few steps back because the latest weird of the week took precedent. It was frustrating because the potential was all there. The foundation had been laid, Doom Patrol just needed to trust itself a bit more. Somewhere along these last four to five episodes, Doom Patrol learned how to be a show that focused on character with a bunch of weird crap happening all over the place opposed to being a show where weird crap was constantly happening with one-dimensional characters who dealt with said crap.
This season finale isn’t perfect. There are some pretty apparent flaws within the story structure that have plagued this entire first season. Chief’s hunt for immortality and reasoning for creating each member of the Doom Patrol isn’t very hashed out. One of my biggest questions all season is why any of these characters haven’t aged? The implication that because they have powers they don’t age is a bit of a cop out and sort of lame. As is the reason why the Chief is looking to live forever. All of a sudden we find out that he has a metahuman daughter who is incredibly powerful and being hidden by Danny the Street, and the reason why he needs to live forever is so he can take care of her. The whole thing seems kind out of left field and with very little build up. Like, surprise Chief’s been hiding a daughter all season. For a big reveal, it came across pretty flat.
Outside of that, the rest of the episode saw the Doom Patrol put together the pieces of their puzzles and come together. Not for Chief, but for themselves. It was a nice way of seeing the show cash in on all the positive character work they put in this season. Not everything was solved, I would argue that the show still isn’t entirely sure what to do with Rita but it was great seeing her be a bit more confident and contributing to the group. On the whole, the Doom Patrol has come a long way from just being a group of outcasts living in a big house together. They might even be becoming, dare I say it, a family.
Oh, and there was a giant rat and roach trying to destroy Danny the Street who happened to be trapped in a painting. It wouldn’t be Doom Patrol without something weird and over the top. The call back to the roach and the rat inside Cliff’s head were tremendous. Any time a rat gets subtitles with words like “tight” or “sup” it’s hard to go wrong.
Doom Patrol’s first season ends with the promise of potential. It seems that the show has put together the formula of how to be character driven and bonkers weird at the same time. I’m looking forward to a second season because even despite all its missteps there’s a charm to this series that can’t be missed. Plus, there is literally nothing else on television like it. Like, at all. That within itself is enough for me.