Following the shocking conclusion of last week’s episode, Dorothy has run away from home. It’s up to the unlikely pair of Cliff Steele and Niles Caulder to go get her. Meanwhile, Doom Manor gets some unexpected visitors and Rita tries to return to the stage.
Let me get this out of the way up top: this was my favorite episode of the season so far. There’s a lot going on in this episode, but Doom Patrol‘s writers do a phenomenal job of keeping everything concise. This is one of those episodes where it feels like everyone gets a moment to shine and the show is all the better for it. However, there are a few things in particular that make this episode one of the series’ standout entries.
Though her screen time this week is limited, April Bowlby crushes once again as Rita Farr. Her disappointment at finding out what kind of show she’s in is palpable, but her dedication to her craft gives Rita some interesting levels in this episode. It’s also interesting to see the repercussion of the team’s actions reaching all the way back to the series’ pilot episode. I can’t wait to see how this subplot plays out.
Likewise, Diane Guerrero gets to show Jane’s more insecure side here. The funeral procession scene is beautifully shot and wisely keeps Jane at the forefront. While there are still some questions regarding how exactly the Underground “works,” this episode leans into those very questions. There’s a lot more talk about the conceptual nature of the Underground and how every one of the personalities has its own function in the world. The wax imagery used in Jane’s makeup in the real world is also very effective, giving us some bizarre visuals without having to go too far into special effects territory.
The score for this episode is particularly good. I’ve given Kevin Kliner and Clint Mansell props in previous reviews, but this episode’s music gave me a little bit of everything that I love about this show’s music cues. There are some appropriately gothic and epic moments, but the spacebound nature of the story also gave the duo an excuse to give us some eerie and kooky cues straight out of a 1950s science fiction movie. It’s great. Aiding in the throwback feel are some interesting design choices. From the rickety look of the spaceship to the uniforms of the Pioneers, this feels like the ’50s collided with present day, which suits the story splendidly.
Mariana Klaveno gives an interesting and measured performance, wonderfully showcasing the exact kind of zen and inner peace that has eluded Larry since his accident all those years ago. For his own part, Matt Bomer’s vocal performance perfectly balances the anger and the frustration Larry has with a tempered sense of hope.
Also, the scenes shared between Robotman and Dorothy are handled very well. Brendan Fraser once again brings out Cliff’s softer side, which makes his angry journey through the first half of the season feel much more like it really was leading somewhere. Abigail Shapiro also manages to make Dorothy seem repentant, rather than bratty. Considering the fact that Cliff and the Chief have literally chased her to the stars to bring her home, that’s an important balance to have, as it keeps the character of Dorothy likable.
Cliff’s decision to bring the finger home from last week feels like an odd leap, but that’s Cliff for you. This will no doubt lead to something down the line, but it did feel like a strange beat.
The end of this week’s episode leaves plenty of questions as to what happens next and what a certain character’s motivations are. It’s kind of a bummer that it was slightly spoiled by last week’s episode preview, but it still left me feeling very excited for “Dumb Patrol!”