Last week, I commented that Doom Patrol‘s episode that week wasn’t as weird as I had come to expect. It still delivered a powerful story but gator fighting in Florida and Larry Trainor sharing dream visions with his long-lost boyfriend doesn’t come close to rats seeking revenge, evangelical cockroaches and an entire town being literally pulled out of a donkey. I speculated that we’d be back to true form soon enough… and boy was I right.
What “Frances Patrol” lacked in mind-bending weirdness, “Cyborg Patrol” makes up for and then some. This proves ironic, given that the story is based around one of those most cliched of superhero storylines – the team having to rescue one of their own from the clutches of the bad guys.
Yes, the Bureau of Normalcy has Cyborg locked up inside The Ant Farm – the secret lair where they experiment upon the extra-normal, para-natural and just plain weird. This would be troubling enough for Victor Stone were it not for one other complication – Grid, the artificial intelligence who monitors his systems, has somehow regenerated inside Victor’s head after Cyborg transferred him into another computer.
Cyborg spends most of the episode being tormented by visions from his past and Jovian Wade does a phenomenal job of capturing Cyborg’s angst. Vic’s paranoia and uncertainty that anything he remembers is real team up with his fears of becoming completely mechanical for a one-two punch of true terror, combining existential dread and body horror. The whole thing, it should be noted, is far darker and more disturbing than anything Titans managed on its best week.
The rest of the cast get their moments to shine during the rescue mission, with Matt Bomer getting perhaps the strongest material as Larry Trainor – who was once held in the Ant Farm – has to overcome his fears regarding the place in order to go back and rescue his friend. Brendan Fraser and April Bowlby also get some utterly hilarious moments and I shan’t spoil how Crazy Jane contributes to the the insanity.
The best moment of the episode, however, belongs to the special effects team. I won’t say what happens. I won’t say where it happens. But there is one moment in the episode that is the perfect marriage of weird ideas, insane CGI and a sequence that must be seen to be believed. Suffice it to say the whole thing is cinematic and looks better suited to a movie than a television series.
With three episodes left in its first season, I have no clue where Doom Patrol is heading or how it is going to resolve its season-long storyline. I may assume too much in thinking that they might resolve anything. Either way, I hope there’s a season 2 forthcoming because I haven’t enjoyed a superhero show this much in a long time.
Doom Patrol – Episode 12, “Cyborg Patrol”, airs Friday, May 3, on DC Universe.
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.