“You can do whatever the fuck you want. Birthday party entertainer. Trash compactor. Your options are endless, but also less than five.”
–Crazy Jane, to Robotman.

Doom Patrol returned at the end of June. We’ve got reviews of the first three episodes to review and discuss: “Fun-Size Patrol, “Tyme Patrol,” and “Pain Patrol.”

Title: Doom Patrol: “Fun-Size Patrol,” “Tyme Patrol,” and “Pain Patrol”

Cast and Crew

Directors: Chris Manley, Harry Jierjian, Samira Radsi
Writers: Jeremy Carver, Shoshana Sachi, April Fitzsimmons, Neil Reynolds, Tamara Becher, Tom Farrell

Cast:
Riley Shanahan/Brandon Fraser as Cliff Steele / Robotman
April Bowlby as Rita Farr / Elasti-Woman
Matt Bomer Matthew Zuk as Larry Trainor / Negative Man
Diane Guerrero as Kay Challis/ Crazy Jane
Timothy Dalton as Dr. Niles Caulder / The Chief
Joivan Wade as Victor Stone / Cyborg
Abigail Shapiro as Dorothy Spinner
Karen Obilom as Roni Evers
Roger Floyd as Red Jack
Bethany Anne Lind as Clara Steele
Julie McNiven as Sheryl Trainor
Dan Martin/ Brandon Perea as Dr. Jonathan Tyme
Catherine Carlen as The Signalman
Leela Owen as Kay Challis / Young Miranda
Michael Harney as RJ Steele
Stephanie Czajkowski as Hammerhead
Mark Ashworth as Ringmaster
Katie Gunderson as Kate Steele
Vanessa Cater as Darling-Come-Home
Brian T. Stevenson as Herschel (voice)
Zele Avradopoulos as Bearded Lady
Sarah Borne as Baby Doll
Hannah Alline as Pretty Polly
John Schmedes as Gary Trainor
Carson Minniear as Young Gary Trainor
Roberta Setzu as Elena Challis
Quinn Boza as DJ

Premise

Negative Man looks after the rest of the Doom Patrol, who remain miniaturized after the events of the first season’s finale, and living on a table-top Tiny Town with Caulder’s daughter, Dorothy. Caulder can save them, but the price he must pay is high.

Even restored, the Patrol can expect no rest, with villains such as Dr. Tyme and Jack the Ripper to encounter, alongside the principals’ own personal darknesses and all-to-human desires. And then there’s the matter of Dorothy, a pleasant little girl with the face of an ape and the power to destroy a world.

High Points

The show retains what made the show’s first season so successful: no matter how bizarre the circumstances, the characters remain psychologically real and interesting. The first season emphasized self-discovery. This one appears to be focusing on developing and defining family and other close relationships. Larry’s reunion with his family and Victor’s attempts at a relationship have been convincingly handled, for all the comic-book tropes that accompany them.

Low Point

The first two episodes come out running, though the show stumbles a bit in the third. Cliff’s intentions make perfect sense, but his approach doesn’t, even for him. As for the main plot, must every single pop-hero take on Jack the Ripper? And if the Doom Patrol had to meet him, could the twist be a little less like the one used when Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise defeated him?

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 The Second Season continues to mine existing comic-book material and then follow the show’s beautifully deranged directions. Originality would rate higher, save for issues identified in the Low Point.

Effects: 5/6 The effects are excellent, particularly the range of visuals required in the first episode. A few of the CGI creations look and move like CGI. I can overlook that in Dorothy’s imaginary friends, because of their magical nature. The butterfly flight at the conclusion of “Pain Patrol” seems a little off.

Acting: 6/6 Doom Patrol remains one of the craziest, but also one of the best-acted shows on television.

Story: 5/6 The first two episodes, in particular, feature some strong storytelling. The writers should take care to not have things happen so clearly because of story-arc requirements.

Production: 6/6

Emotional Response: 5/6 I am glad we’re getting a second season, and some new directions.

Overall: 5/6

In total the first three episodes of Doom Patrol, Season Two, receive 35/42