Previously in Doom Patrol, it seemed like the characters had found a sense of peace in themselves, but really, they’ve only found peace with Niles’ death. Episode five, ‘Dada Patrol,’ sets up the show to deal with the characters’ struggles with themselves.
Jane (Diane Guerrero) walks in on the therapy persona Dr. Harrison (Catherine Carlen), discussing Kay Challis’ desire to “go up.” Being the dominant personality is not something she’s done for some time, choosing to have Jane be her primary host. Jane encourages the behavior, but Dr. Harrison implies that it is enough of a concern about whether it’s suitable for the whole Underground. As Jane has made a point of saying, it’s always supposed to be about the girl.
At the same time, Cliff (Brendan Fraser) is looking at social media posts of his grandson while taking medication off of pop-up advertisements. Simultaneously, Victor (Jovian Wade) talks to his father Silas (Philip Morris) about his problems with finding out who he is and whether he wants to be Cyborg. Rather than pressuring Vic to make a decision, Silas turns GRID back on and leaves Victor an opportunity to make his own decision.
Vic’s whole relationship with his father has been controlling, so to see Vic not only given a choice but also encouraged to choose for himself whether or not to be a hero was a huge step in their relationship and Vic’s journey.
Vic stops in to check on Cliff, only to find him trying to click pop-up ads and taking mysterious pills, supposedly to improve his growing issues with his body.
Larry (Matt Bomer) has Rita (April Bowlby) look at his lump from the last episode, but the pair discovers that his tumor is traveling around his body, so it must be something not of this world. The relationship between the two is endearing, as they carry a deep love for one another and share a sibling level of love and care.
In typical Laura De Mille (Michelle Gomez) fashion, Laura bangs on the door of Larry’s room, demanding a team meeting. When the group gathers, she reveals that she would like them to find The Sisterhood of DaDa, who recently escaped from the Ant Farm, and sent postcards to them about something called The Eternal Flagellation.
Assuming that because the Sisterhood knew her according to the silent film from the previous episode, Laura asks the Doom Patrol to kill them. The Doom Patrol refuses, so instead, she asks them to infiltrate them, and if they succeed, she will leave.
Ever sarcastic, they enthusiastically agree in hopes of being left alone. What is great about the show is that it never turns the characters away from who they are in favor of the plot. Everything they do always reflects who they are, and this constantly improves the show.
On the bus ride to the Dada, Cliff had taken way more pills than he should’ve, and begins to trip out and bother Larry while he is driving. Vic scolds him for taking too many drugs, and Jane giggles, encouraging his antics.
Rita, choosing to stay behind to hang out with Laura, discusses their hang-ups about who they are. They watch the video of the two of them where Laura turns from a cat to a person, and they question whether they can both be time travelers. They commiserate about their lack of guidance in their goals and drink Martinis while dancing and messing around. The two women’s bond is beautiful, but Gomez plays De Mille with a sense of sinisterness that makes it difficult to trust her motives.
The team arrives at their destination, and Cliff runs into the forest with Vic, Jane following. In the forest, the fog is thick. Cliff begins to hallucinate an ice cream truck, walking towards it only to be sucked into a portal.
All of the characters become asked the questions they fear the most by obscure figures. Cliff appears to have been pulled into a blank dimension where a woman in a box who speaks Japanese asks Cliff what he is. The question directly affects him as it points out whether he is more a man or a robot and whether it even matters if his body is failing.
Vic is confronted by a man who reveals himself to be called Lloyd and is half human half bicycle creature who asks Vic, why are you? Vic is unsure of the question because he is uncertain of his motivation in life. The hints to racial oppression are also called into question, and whether or not Vic can be considered oppressed as a Black man. Lloyd implies that Vic is given a “pass” in his Blackness because he is already another form of other, as a cyborg. The connection between his status as a cyborg doesn’t erase his Blackness, and it would be nice to acknowledge this and build it into his modern character. It would be nice to see a conversation about colorism worked into this conversation as well, as Lloyd is connecting the two thought processes of superior or inferior blackness
Jane’s encounter is the focus of the forest trip. She gets answers out of Shelley Byron (Wynn Everett), who reveals herself as the physical version of the Fog. Jane attempts to infiltrate the group, but Shelley shows that she has been conversing with Kay and offers the ability to let Jane have her thoughts if she joins.
This brings up the question of ‘Who are you?’ for Jane to think about and whether she represents Kay Challis or is her own person. The other personalities show up trying to take away Jane and the girl, but it’s unclear if they are trying to protect themselves or protect Kay.
Still, back at the bus, Larry starts hearing and seeing things and is confronted by his son Paul (Fletcher Hammond), who he is estranged from, and begins to chase after him as Paul mumbles nonsense.
Eventually, Shelley Byron allows them to leave her Fog, warning them to learn from what she’s taught them. Only Larry’s visions were proven to be accurate as Paul is still in his lap. They bring him back to the mansion, only for Laura to question whether they learned anything, and Cliff says ‘They got their asses handed to them.’
Having Paul return is a bit unclear and calls into question whether or not Laura has good intentions since this Sisterhood kidnapped him. How he will fit into the following episodes will be interesting as the writers had nicely tied up Larry’s storyline with his family last season.
After a night of drinking with Laura, who says Rita is not capable of being a time traveler, Rita attempts to travel in Laura’s machine, which works after the missing part, courtesy of Rita, is reattached.
Overall, the episode was very intense in the subject matter, especially after the fun of last week’s episode, but it was handled with grace. Laura’s character is entertaining to watch with the Doom Patrol, and she has nestled into the team nicely. Whether or not this will stay is still up in the air.
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