DC Recap Round-Up, SUPPLEMENTAL: Season wrap up on DOOM PATROL and Summer Programming!

3 Jun

Welcome back! While we didn’t have time to cover this series in a proper way during the season, I thought it would be nice to take a brief look into probably my favorite new series of 2019: DC Universe’s Doom Patrol! I briefly mentioned on this column after watching the first few episodes that it was worth checking out, and now that the series is done, has my opinion changed? Well, yes it has…to definitely worth checking out.

What has surprised me is how nice the balance has been between the solid character development and the constant absurdity thrown at them. This is a show that pivots on insane comedic turns like an apocalypse-speechifying cockroach and then delivers us some beautiful emotional depth like one character coming to terms with their closeted homosexuality. And the absurdity seems to always be a surprise when it comes, making every episode a game of “so they can’t top a donkey that has a pocket dimension inside of it, right?”, and sees that hand with “we’ll beat that and raise you a gender-queer sentient street”. Yeah, a sentient gender-queer street, which is an insane thing to read on paper, but executed marvelously here.

Like a lot of the recent comic book adaptations, Doom Patrol takes a lot of concepts built up in its comics, particularly the seminal run from then budding writer Grant Morrison, and interprets them into its first season arc of our misfit heroes dealing with fourth-wall destroying bad guy Mr. Nobody. But while that quest to retrieve their beloved Chief makes up the majority of the season, there’s plenty of time to examine our misfit protagonists, who have now had to venture out into the real world after decades in the Chief’s care. They grow as a group and as singular people, coming to some kind of resolution to their issues that maybe isn’t final, but as least is a step in the right direction. Of course, as we learn by the end of the season they still got some things to deal with that go back to their very beginnings.

As of this writing, the show hasn’t been renewed for another season of episodes, and I really hope it does. It’s been the best comic book adjacent show of this year, if not one of the best.

SPOILERS ahead for those of you who’ve seen the whole season…

The great thing about the show has been its ability to really surprise with each new episode. I’ve mentioned the sentient street, the cockroach, a farting donkey, and somehow that seems quaint in comparison to things that happen later in the season, like butts with teeth, or a man flexing a muscle and accidentally making everyone in the vicinity of him climax. Add to that a villain who takes control of the story to often horrifying effect, such as his almost fatal manipulation of Cyborg. It’s a show as unpredictable as the book that inspired it.

It’s not all been gloom and doom in a show called Doom Patrol, offering one of the more triumphant hours of television this year with “Danny Patrol”, about said sentient gender-queer street and the positivity it brings to people searching for themselves. But even the gloom is potent stuff, such as “Jane Patrol”, where we go into Crazy Jane’s subconscious, knows as “The Underground”, and learn where all her powered personalities stem from. There are even curveballs to what would be expected origin stories, such as the stem of Rita Farr’s (Elasti-Woman) guilt, which is not a tale of abuse like with Jane or worse like in other TV shows, but by not helping someone less fortunate when they needed it. And for all the Chief’s machinations in making our heroes who they are, he still feels guilt in that process.

Mr. Nobody is just as damaged as his adversaries, and even though he gets revenge on the Chief by making him reveal how he’s responsible for making the Doom Patrol in the first place, it’s his fleeting sense of success in that which leads to his defeat. Mind you, I doubt anyone watching would have thought that said failure would come from him aligning with a talking apocalyptic cockroach and a rat driven to revenge by Nobody, but somehow the Doom Patrol used this to take Nobody out of the picture for now. But there’s still the issue of what the Chief did to them, recovering the Chief’s daughter Dorothy, and where do they go from here. Hopefully, if we get another round with the Doom Patrol, it’ll be a fun weird ride.

SPOILERS over.

—-

So, while the Recap Round-Up is taking a break until October or so, that doesn’t mean you’ll be without DC TV related recapping content for the summertime. Which brings us to the DC Recap Summer Session, which will cover 3 shows featuring DC characters. Those shows include the first season of the 1970’s Wonder Woman, the short lived Constantine, and the new DC Universe original, Swamp Thing! Expect the first installment to drop at the beginning of June.

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