CYBORG: Hey, Larry! You okay?
LARRY: Not since the early 60s, no.
CYBORG: *heh* This is Ronnie
LARRY: Hey.
RONNIE: Hello.
CYBORG: Well, just keep doing… whatever. We’re looking for Niles. Know where he is?
LARRY: Space.
RONNIE: As in, outer?
LARRY: Mmm hmm.

CYBORG: Any idea when he’ll be back?

Doom Patrol’s second season comes to a premature ending, as the strangest show on television continues to prove it’s also one of the best.

But keep the kids away. Far away.

Title: The Doom Patrol: “Dumb Patrol,” “Dad Patrol,” and “Wax Patrol”

Cast and Crew

Directors: Jessica Lowrey, Amanda Row, Chris Manley
Writers: Tamara Becher, Eric Dietel, Tom Farrell, April Fitzsimmons, Chris Dingess, Tanya Steele
Diane Guerrero as Kay Challis/ Crazy Jane
Riley Shanahan/Brandon Fraser as Cliff Steele / Robotman
April Bowlby as Rita Farr / Elasti-Woman
Matt Bomer / Matthew Zuk as Larry Trainor / Negative Man
Timothy Dalton as Dr. Niles Caulder / The Chief
Joivan Wade as Victor Stone / Cyborg
Abigail Shapiro as Dorothy Spinner
Samantha Marie Ware as Miranda
Carter Jenkins Johnny Bills
Karen Obilom as Roni Evers
Tommy Snider as Ernest Franklin / The Beard Hunter
Bethany Anne Lind as Clara Steele
Skye Roberts as Kay Challis
David A MacDonald as Daddy
Leela Owen as Young Miranda
Fletcher Hammond as Young Paul Trainor
Cory Scott Allen as Bob
Irene Ziegler as Micki Harris
Avis-Marie Barnes as Beekeeper
Jhemma Ziegler as Scant Queen
Mark Sheppard as Willoughby Kipling
Pisay Pao as Slava
Alan Mingo Jr. as Morris Wilson / Maura Lee Karupt
Phil Morris as Silas Stone / Doctor Cowboy
Leela Owen as Young Kay Challis / Young Miranda
Lana Jean Turner as Young Rita Farr
Greyson Chadwick as Rita’s Mother
Joshua Mikel as not-Jesus
Kayla Ibarra as Tilly
Donna Jay Fulks as Mademoiselle Roxy (voice)
Lex Lang as Candlemaker (voice)
Jackie Goldston as The Secretary
Kayli Joy Cooper as Rhiannon
Kellen Boyle as douchebag who annoys Cliff
Stephanie Czajkowski as Hammerhead
Vanessa Cater as Darling-Come-Home
Sarah Borne as Baby Doll
Hannah Alline as Pretty Polly
Shay Mack as Driller Bill
Chelsea Alana Rivera as Silver Tongue

Premise

Past experiences and family relationships continue to haunt the Doom Patrol and Jane’s personalities stage a revolution, as a threat to the continued existence of earth takes shape.

As a bonus, we encounter some pesky critters who thrive on people’s dumb decisions.

Finally, Dorothy gets her first period. The experience will prove more troublesome than usual.

High Points

We have a number of strong, family-related (though not family-friendly) storylines, including Cliff’s potential reconciliation with his daughter, and the interrupted journey that he must undergo.

Diane Guerrero remains a standout among an exceptional cast, and Jane’s life story proves compelling, disturbing, and ultimately, hopeful. Her childhood makes for profoundly uncomfortable viewing. Jane’s 60s/70s past, meanwhile, makes perfect, deliberate use of cliché, to the point where people who lived through the era might experience flashbacks. Of course, the writers take us somewhere interesting, and not entirely expected.

Low Points

I cannot really blame the show for this one, but I must mention it.

The showmakers intended one more episode, but their plans were foiled by the current pandemic. While they apparently did some revision, we still get a terrifying cliffhanger conclusion, with no good idea of when we’ll see the resolution. As of today, we don’t even know if there will be a third season.

The handling of Negative Man in “Wax Patrol” consequently requires some explanation, but I reserve judgment on that point. I suspect they fully intended to explain things in what would have been the finale. We can only hope some version of that intended story will be the premiere of Season Three.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 I’ve never seen Drop Dead Fred, but I’m aware that pitting people’s imaginary friends against them is not original. In literature, we have the example of Margaret Laurence, who uses the protagonist’s imaginary friends to explore her character in the early chapters of The Diviners. Nevertheless, the show does something fairly original with the approach. Tropes such as the creepy fairground and the echoes, in Jane’s past, of Ringu work as well, though they are not original.

Effects: 6/6 The show’s production and effects remain top-notch. One exception would be the Scants of “Dumb Patrol” but, clearly, they’re supposed to look, well, dumb.

Acting: 6/6

Story: 5/6

Production: 6/6

Emotional Response: 6/6

Overall: 5/6

In total, episodes 7-9 of Doom Patrol, Season Two, receive 38/42

Notes

-The FBI refer to the Titans as the “Pee-wee Justice League.”

-“Dumb Patrol” may feature the most occurrences of the F-word in a TV series since Trailer Park Boys or, possibly, The Wire.

Lingering Question (Apart from the obvious—will we see a resolution?)

Is the climax of the Miranda and Johnny plot a case of the show having its cake and (so to speak) eating it, too? We’re forced, at least, to reconcile the condemnation of sexual manipulation with a beautifully-staged depiction of it. It recalls how those old Hollywood Bible epics would roll out the scenes of Sinful Excess in order to draw audiences demonstrate that it’s not a Godly way to live.

Maybe that’s part of the point.

Uh, discuss….?