Danny the Brick needs the gang’s help, which leads to possibly the Doom Patrol’s most important mission yet: it’s time to party.
Let’s get the negative out of the way first, since this episode generally delivers a much-needed dose of silliness and fun. “Sex Patrol” occasionally feels more than a little overstuffed (gross pun completely unintended). There’s a lot going on at all times, which can lead to some of the episode feeling slightly undercooked. In particular, the big threat at the end of the episode feels a bit rushed, as is the explanation of how it’ll work.
It culminates in a hilarious lightshow, but the manner in which the villain is introduced and disposed of feels too quick. The SeX-Men are entertaining characters, but they likewise get shoved to the side in favor of the multiple plots going on at once. This overstuffed final act also robs the audience of more shenanigans involving Cliff and a particular shadow monster, which could have been a great deal of fun. Overall, this is a solid episode that unfortunately feels like it has three episodes worth of plot shoved into it.
However, the majority of the episode is still a strong showing for the cast. Of particular note are returning guest stars Alan Mingo Jr. as Maura Lee Karupt and Devan Long as Flex Mentallo. Long gives Flex a lovable “aw shucks” vibe that goes a long way toward selling the most ridiculous powerset in comics. In particular, Flex’s scene with Dorothy Spinner is one of the highlights of the episode. The dialogue is corny in a way that totally works for the no-nonsense Flex. The reason it doesn’t make you wince is because Devon long plays Flex like he believes 100% of his own cutesy platitudes.
There’s a great balance at work that brings this character to life on the screen. It’s also fun to see the different ways that the show can visualize Flex’s abilities. From smaller flexes to little gestures, there really does seem to be a flex for every occasion.
Alan Mingo Jr. is absolutely lovely as Maura Lee Karupt. While Mingo’s performance last season was wonderful to behold, Miss Karupt has continued to grow into a confident and powerful woman. As she said last season, she is “fabulosity incarnate.” She’s the kind of character that you want to hear giving speeches, and this episode gives Maura Lee several moments to shine. Through Mingo Jr.’s performance, Maura Lee is nurturing, strong-willed, hilarious, and energetic all at once.
Even watching this episode during quarantine, Maura Lee’s speech about how we all need to party had me ready to hop up and dance. Meanwhile, her more emotional moments — particularly her scene with Cyborg — ring completely true. In just a few short appearances, Maura Lee Karupt has become such a well-rounded character that is so easy to love. It’s no wonder all of the Dannyzens have such respect for her.
One way in which this episode improved upon the preceding installments of this season is its treatment of Cliff Steele, Robotman. While Cliff has been going through some stuff, his constant attitude was beginning to feel a little grating. The Chief gives Cliff a way to unwind in this episode that must have been a blast and a half for Robotman’s suit actor, Riley Shanahan. We get to see a much wider (and more hilarious) range of motion from the big guy, which is a joy to watch.
In fact, this episode is full of smaller character moments that remind us of the history shared between everyone on the team. Flex hugging Larry, Larry casually telling Cliff to shut up, things like that. It’s a reminder that this team is ultimately a family, whether they want to acknowledge it or not.
The plot gets fully stupid toward the end of the episode, but in mostly fun ways. The running gag of nobody being impressed by Cyborg was a lot of fun, while the visuals toward the end are completely bizarre, even by Doom Patrol standards. There’s a lot to love in this episode, even though there may occasionally be too much in this episode.
While “Sex Patrol” didn’t turn out to be the emotional slam dunk that was last season’s Danny-centric episode, it didn’t exactly set out to do that. Instead, “Sex Patrol” delivers a hilarious (albeit occasionally overstuffed) romp with some lovely character beats sprinkled throughout. Also, it gave me Negative Man dancing the Batusi, so it’s really hard to find too much fault in this hour of television.
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