Fun Size Patrol
One of the bigger surprises to come from the superhero circuit last year was Doom Patrol. Channeling that inner quirkiness and managing to carve a pretty unique slice of superhero pie, the various residents of Doom Manor certainly left quite the impression. With Mr Negative dealt with and plenty of loose ends still left to be tied up, HBO Max’s latest acquisition wastes little time getting right to the heart of the drama again.
Episode 1 of Doom Patrol Season 2 begins in London 1927 with a circus introducing a disfigured girl called Dorothy. She weeps in her cage before conjuring forth a monstrous creation. Unfortunately she has trouble controlling it and it slaughters everyone in attendance. As another voice comes through, asking her to make a wish, the one person who survives this attack happens to be Niles Caulder.
We then skip forward to Doom Manor where Dorothy lives with Robotman, Crazy Jane and the others. Hopeful for the future, she contemplates whether they can be a family. For now though, they have bigger fish to fry as Larry attempts to perfect his experiments given the Chief and the others remain shrunk and living on the tabletop village.
Within The Underground Jane’s various personalities begin to stir too, especially Hammerhead. Unfortunately Jane struggles to control those other personalities who leave a sign reading “Time For A Change.”
When she awakens, Dorothy greets Jane and tells her she too has voices inside her head. Hers though are called Darling and Herschel. Before she can dwell further however, the Chief breaks up their conversation and tries to reassure Jane, telling her he’ll be there for her. Unfortunately there’s too much damage done to their relationship for this to be fixed quickly, and she scoffs at his gesture.
As Larry starts fixing up various miniature items for the group, Rita receives training from Vic regarding using and controlling her powers. Interspersed around these segments though are some flashbacks, as we cut back to California 1961 to see Larry disappoint his son. This theme of disappointment continues with Cliff racing around a Scalextric but seeing flashes of when he crashed his car.
Things are sour between the Chief and the others following what he’s done in the past, with Dorothy the only one who seems to be happy. In private, Niles conjures forth Willoughby and begs him for help to make them all normal size again.
Unfortunately this means he’ll have to give up a necklace and his painting to do so – which he declines. However, Dorothy has gone missing prompting the group to band together and try to find her.
It turns out she’s run off to feed the rats but when the group get there, they find a Mother rat eating one of its own disfigured offspring. “The weakest is cast out,” Jane says, wide-eyed and shocked. Unfortunately this heightened stress causes Dorothy to conjure that same monstrous deer we saw earlier, along with several of her friends too including a giant spider and that same voice telling her to “Make wish”. As Niles threatens to put Dorothy away for good, the conjurings fade.
After this incident, Willoughby and Niles discuss what transpired and he begrudgingly hands over the necklace, which works as all the misfits grow to their normal height again. Vic however, stays true to his promise and leaves the Manor while Rita starts to hone her abilities.
As the episode closes out, Dorothy speaks to the voices in her bed and tells the “Make Wish” creature she won’t make her wish yet, but perhaps sometime in the future.
With the same bad blood between the characters, Doom Patrol wastes no time getting right to the thick of action and settling into a consistent role. The quirky bits of humour and the nice visual effects to accompany this is a welcome inclusion while Dorothy looks like she’s going to play a key role in the future. There’s also the subject of Jane too and seeing the Underground start to turn on her could pose some serious issues going forward.
For now though, Doom Patrol settles back into its role nicely and it’ll be interesting to see where the rest of the season will go from here.