Six episodes in and Doom Patrol continues to deliver strong emotional episodes with compelling predicaments for our band of misfits. In this week’s episode Jane (Diane Guerrero), Larry (Matt Bomer), and Rita (April Bowlby) visit a school where the original Doom Patrol retired. Meanwhile, Cliff (Brendan Fraser) and Vic (Joivan Wade) bond at Doom Manor while Vic’s father repairs his systems. This episode balances the two settings well, providing more time with the group on a field trip but giving the perfect dramatic breaks as we cut back to Cliff and Vic.
This episode also has a third narrative in the form of flashbacks regarding Rita Farr. These play a pivotal role in the developing story with the original Doom Patrol and provide more insight into Rita as a character. It’s impressive that this series has been able to achieve character focused episodes throughout while still maintaining a solid amount of development for each character who isn’t the focus of the episode. “Doom Patrol Patrol” is no exception, giving a lot more time for Rita to shine than we’ve seen in any singular episode so far.
This episode also brings a lot of character growth for Rita, featuring a rather big personal decision that shows how her outlook has evolved. Rita isn’t the only character to see personal growth in this episode, though. As with a lot of the episodes this season, “Doom Patrol Patrol” puts our heroes in a situation that challenges each of them mentally and it’s just as compelling as ever to see how they deal with it.
The plot structure of this episode is also one of my favorites so far. The big thing with this episode (which I won’t spoil) is a lot more subtle than it has been in previous entries, but it works wonders for the payoff. The last twenty minutes had me applauding the thought and effort put into it. Though I said this episode was more subtly, it still maintains the absolute ridiculous tone this series premiered with and it continues to thrive in its absurdity. It remains laugh out loud funny and the character interaction is as strong as ever. We’ve seen everyone go through a lot at this point, and seeing the way they treat each other change with them makes sense and keeps things interesting.
While we don’t get much closer to our heroes end goal it doesn’t feel like a waste of time. We get strong character exploration and growth, and also even more information about The Chief’s past. The show has a tendency to answer current questions with past events, and also uses knowledge of the past to propel the plot forward. It’s a really clever and effective storytelling technique that leaves a lot of mystery left while giving the right amount to keep you invested and guessing.
As always the technical aspects are a treat. Exceptional cinematography, great editing, superb set design, standout costumes, a dramatic score, and fantastic special and practical effects pull everything together nicely. The slow-burn of this episode is fantastic with a sequence at around twenty minutes left that solidifies this as one of the best episodes this season.
Overall “Doom Patrol Patrol” is another standout episode in a series of standout episodes. At this point, it’s getting really difficult to rank each episode of the season, and I pity my brain for when I’ve got to inevitably attempt to put together a ranking come seasons end. If you’re reading this but not watching, I strongly encourage you to do so.