The new episode of Doom Patrol, “Dad Patrol,” is warm, funny, sad, and sheds new light on the characters. Weird ending, though.
Cliff and Niles both spend time with their daughters, Jane (it’s Jane again) learns some uncomfortable truths, and Rita and Vic finally team up to play superhero, but for all the wrong reasons.
The Underground and all its inhabitants have always seemed like they were too real to be gone forever. Even with the deaths of BabyDoll and Flaming Katy, the foundations of the mental construct were solid. So when the mysterious disappearance of two other members is perceived to be evidence that the original person, Kay, is getting better, it’s bittersweet.
Jane is happy with the idea that the trauma that created all the personas may finally get processed in a healthy way, it reminds her that she’s not as immortal as she thought. If the greater good served if none of the personalities exist?
It may all be moot, because at the end of the episode Miranda betrays Jane and shoves her into The Well, where she finds the floating bodies of the disappeared personas, presumably killed by Miranda.
Vic and Rita investigate the murder of a CEO of a large corporation, who just happens to be a man involved with the experiments performed on Roni, which means Vic has a big conflict of interest. He’s given evidence that puts Roni at the scene of the crime, and when the UMA Jelly is discovered, its clear she was the killer.
Meanwhile, Rita is daydreaming about she and Vic as a crime fighting duo, and we get another hilarious montage of the two as a 40s-era detective team, looking like a stylish version of Sherlock and Watson. It’s absurdly hilarious, all the more so because we get it right after news of Roni’s crime.
Eventually, Vic and Roni have a confrontation and Vic lets her go, as the only force he can use against her would be lethal. Rita has a moment where she has the chance to fight and prove herself but fails to act. The actual conflict is minimal but the impact is felt, as both characters have failed to do something that’s been building since the beginning of the season.
Niles and Cliff get in some solid fathering for their very different daughters. Cliff spends the day with his now adult daughter Clara (Bethaney Anne Lind), catching up on the 30 years he’s missed, while Niles lets Dorothy do whatever she wants, as it’s pretty clear he intends for this to be her last day.
For the first time in a very long time, Cliff Steele, Robotman to some, has a genuinely good day. He makes his daughter pancakes, learns about her pregnancy and fiancé, and generally bonds. Sure, he may have accidentally cooked a finger along with her sausages, but he took it out before he served it to her so it’s fine. He even gets invited to her wedding, capping off the best day Cliff could have asked for, and one he certainly deserved.
Niles, on the other hand, is miserable. In fact, I’d say he has his worst day in about 100 years. He tries his best to make the day special for Dorothy, and in some ways he does, but in the end he fails at nearly everything he sets out to do. Dorothy, still conflicted about her role, comes to a crossroads when she gets her first period. Thankfully there’s a store clerk who notices Dorothy’s issue and helps her through it in a way that Niles surely couldn’t have. But apparently this was some kind of trigger, because Dorothy almost immediately starts having visions about her inevitable destiny to unleash the CandleMaker on the world. And when Niles finally gives the go-ahead for Kipling to do what he must, it’s apparently too late, because Dorothy as reached adolescence.
The timing seems a little too convenient, giving a tasty episode a sour garnish for a finish. Even the ending scene of Jane drowning in The Well and people running from their lives as the CandleMaker makes his entrance is overshadowed by the really weird way it’s all happened. But hey, weird is what this show does best.