Most of Doom Patrol season 2 has felt like a ticking time-bomb. Given the ending of episode 5, I think it’s fair to say that bomb has just exploded in a very messy and dramatic fashion.
The episode itself begins with Vic having a bad dream about losing control of his powers with Roni. As he awakens, he finds Cliff lifting the sofa trying to find an old tape. At the same time, Niles interviews Jane and together they decide to draw a new map of the Underground. As Baby Doll comes to the surface, she’s introduced to Dorothy for the first time.
Rita meanwhile heads off to visit Mickey Harris regarding an audition for an upcoming play. Caught off-guard, she improvises on the spot and delivers her monologue in the middle of the garden centre. Unfortunately the blocks she has in place cause her to stutter her lines. Having heard enough, Mickey thanks her while Rita cursing her luck believing she’s screwed up her chances.
Back home, she pours herself a drink to drown out her sorrows but Larry, having just spoken to his son Paul on the phone, decides to take her along with him. Together, they drive up to Alabama where Larry and his son finally embrace. As they stay for a barbecue, she discusses her squashed dreams with Toby, Paul’s grandson. However, midway through talking she receives a call from the theatre and it turns out she’s got the position.
Larry takes the opportunity to finally have a heart to heart with Paul where he admits to being gay. In return, Paul reveals that he never got over the anger he felt against Larry. This manifests itself in the authorities arriving from the Ministry Of Defense to come and get him. In the ensuing skirmish, Paul’s son is shot in the chest while Larry and Rita are forced to run away.
Meanwhile, Cliff finds the various upgrade plans from Niles and he excitedly questions whether he’s going to be enhanced in the future. These are years away from coming to fruition though and, sensing the Chief won’t make it that long, drives to Michigan with Vic to discuss the matter with his Father. He refuses to help though, prompting Cliff to act as his back-up while Vic visits Roni to apologize for his behaviour.
While they make love, Cliff daydreams about a cop show of “Steele and Stone” with him and Vic as the main heroes. As he snaps out of his daydream, he really does get a chance to put his skills to the test but this results in a severed finger and a lot of apologies!
Back at Doom Manor, Baby Doll meets Dorothy’s conjuring but she’s a bit too rough and he disappears. Dorothy clenches her teeth and warns Baby Doll about being so rough while down in The Underground Jane and Hammerhead discuss Baby Doll’s chances of survival on the surface.
Unfortunately this proves to be an ominous bout of foreshadowing as things go from bad to worse for Dorothy and Baby Doll. Their game gets completely out of control and the duo fight down in the basement. After locking Dorothy in the pipes and destroying one of her conjurings, Dorothy finally caves and makes her wish, blowing out the candle that materializes in her hand.
This creature causes havoc in The Underground and immediately attacks the various personalities. After knocking Hammerhead to the ground, it impales Baby Doll and throws her down despite her pleas and apologies. The conjuring disappears and The Underground is left reeling after what happened.
Doom Patrol has been a bit of a slow burn so far and after last week’s episode, Doom Patrol finally kicks into high gear and delivers a really compelling episode. The various characters have some good sub-plots here and it’s great to see Rita and Larry spending so much time together; they have good chemistry on-screen and their stories have very much mirrored some of the themes carried over from the first season.
By comparison, Vic and Cliff are a pair I never thought I’d want more of. Can we please get a spin-off of Steele and Stone?! This 70’s homage is definitely one of the highlights alongside that final reveal with Dorothy and it’s the perfect instance of comedy working alongside some of the darker drama. Quite what will happen next in this one though, remains to be seen.