Fun Size Patrol – | Review Score – 4/5
Tyme Patrol – | Review Score – 4/5
Pain Patrol – | Review Score – 4/5
Sex Patrol – | Review Score – 4/5
Finger Patrol – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Space Patrol – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Dumb Patrol – | Review Score – 4/5
Wax Patrol – | Review Score – 3/5
Last year’s Doom Patrol served up one of the more refreshing slices of superhero drama. It was quirky, well written and managed to offer something a bit different from the usual superhero action. With 15 episodes to play with and plenty of character drama, Doom Patrol had a lot of time on its hands to flesh all of its players out.
Adding the enigmatic Mr Nobody was a stroke of genius too and everything came together to produce a fun, unique series.
Back for a second season and with a run-time slashed in half, Doom Patrol returns for a disappointingly average second season. Despite some nice ideas and a couple of well placed jokes and gags, Doom Patrol fails to match up to its predecessor. Some of that comes from the main antagonistic threat while the cliffhanger ending does little to help either.
Let’s backtrack for a second though. The story this time picks up some time after the first season but remains consistent with the overarching narrative. Mr Nobody is stuck in a painting and his threat has passed. However, the Doom Patrol find themselves shrunk and forced to rely on Larry for food.
Joining the gang this season is Dorothy, a new face at the mansion who happens to conjure forth imaginary beings in her mind, including an ominous booming voice she struggles to control called Candle Maker.
As the season progresses, the usual character arcs branch out and see each of our many players given a different sub-plot. Larry continues to search for a way to make amends with his family. Rita heads back to her acting roots and starts to embrace her powers.
Vic meanwhile heads back home and winds up romantically involved with a girl called Roni. Rounding out this quartet is Cliff, who continues to walk around with a big chip on his shoulder and desperate to see his daughter again.
All of these stories remain backdrops to the main conflict though which emanates from Niles Caulder and his relationship with Dorothy. This serves as the catalyst for the main drama of the series which is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. The spark that eventually ignites that happens to be Jane.
With trouble brewing in the Underground, all the different faces band together to try and usurp Jane from the surface. An incident involving Babydoll sets off a chain of events that see our characters band together once more to stop the world from ending.
Only, all of this finishes with an almighty cliffhanger that leaves huge question marks over the direction of the series going forward.
Stylistically, Doom Patrol does well to carry over a lot of the same tropes and ideas that were very much a part of the first season. There’s a whole episode about a sex party that culminates in a Ghostbuster-esque parody team arriving to save the day. Another time Cliff and Vic team up together in Detroit. This inevitably sees Cliff daydreaming as a Starsky and Hutch parody montage elevates the humour.
Alongside this humour are some pretty interesting ideas for a lot of the characters but the arcs feel well-worn by now and rely on the same issues found in the first season. Cliff and Larry still have familial problems. Jane continues to have issues with the Underground and Rita struggles to embrace her powers.
Vic is arguably the only one who has the more original angle but it’s ironically the weakest. His romance with Roni feels colder than the metal encasing his skin. There’s little in the way of spark here and the way this is all wrapped up in the penultimate episode fails to hit the sweet spot needed to make this a more compelling angle.
That’s ultimately the message of this second season and some of this comes as a result of the weak antagonist the gang have to fight. I won’t spoil anything here but suffice to say they pale in comparison to Mr Nobody.
Overall then Doom Patrol retains some of the same characteristics seen last year but with none of the shine that made that one so endearing. It’s always hard to follow-up a successful season like that but the cliffhanger ending feels underwhelming and a disappointing choice after 8 episodes of build-up.
All in all, Doom Patrol has some strong points but it’s held back by some questionable writing and a lacklustre antagonist. If this is renewed for a third season, let’s hope the show doubles down on what made it so enjoyable to begin with.