Doom Patrol’s ninth episode, ‘Evil Patrol,’ takes on the task of the emotional aftermath of last week’s episode. Rather than denying what they have been hiding about themselves, the team chooses to embrace the parts of themselves that they have been hiding from. Unfortunately, Rita (April Bowlby) has other plans for the group.
Leaving off where “Subconscious Patrol” ended, Rita Farr and Madame Rouge (Michelle Gomez) standoff, both finally only the same playing field of understanding not only their histories but their histories together. Rita demands accountability from Rouge for her involvement in Rita’s lover’s death, but instead, Rouge transforms into a bird flying in search of the Brotherhood of Evil.
The episode is a bit short-handed, considering “the eternal flagellation” should’ve been handled a bit more seriously for how it was built up. There is a lot of emotional fallout, but the physicality expected from a superhero show is lacking. Any drama of the fights is lost in the plot, which is not all that surprising for a show like this one. This episode is filler, and while it’s necessary for continuity it doesn’t serve as the most engaging material.
Following the previous episode, Larry (Matt Bomer) has embraced the parasitic space larva as his new surrogate baby, embracing the extension of himself that he has been rejecting. However, his dreams of having the larva taken from a show that Larry is still grappling with his feelings of inadequacy.
Larry’s relationship with the larva is an exciting extension of the Negative Spirit who left him at the beginning of season three. The larva shares the same shade of blue, and for all the audience knows, Larry is growing a new spirit, which serves as a metaphor for accepting the parts of himself he doesn’t always embrace. As a representative, the larva is adorable, and it is hard not to enjoy Larry in a Tommy Bahama shirt and a chest swaddle.
Vic (Jovian Wade) Stone is recovering from his synthetic skin surgery, taking the advice of his subconscious, and finally trying to live life as a real man and not a soldier. His father, Silas(Phil Morris), admits that he chose to turn Vic into a cyborg rather than have him live life identified as a black man. Narrative-wise it’s good to see this part of Vic’s identity acknowledged and not just grouped into the other. It isn’t a surprise that his arc was going to bring this up after the events of “Dada Patrol.”
Jane (Diane Guerrero) and her original personality Kay Challis deal with the rest of the personalities disappearing. Kay seems to have learned from the flagellation that she feels independent enough to be on her own. As she goes to the surface, she leaves Jane on her own.
Rita attempts to bond the group together to track down Rouge and the Brotherhood of Evil. Still, she is disappointed to see that everyone but Cliff (Brendan Fraser) has undergone a significant transformation since the flagellation. This portrayal falls flat for me. Since Rita was one of the main orchestrators of this scenario, why is she so surprised that it worked?
Even Cliff eventually ditches out of the revenge plans when his daughter Clara visits, showing he learned something too.
Meanwhile, Rouge successfully locates The Brotherhood of Evil in a retirement community in Boca Raton. A call back to the retirement mentions in “Vacay Patrol” this season feels so cohesive in the little details that every single thread that ties together becomes even more impressive. Rouge entering the retirement community of Mallah(Jonathan Lipow) and The Brain and seeing it decked out like Margaritaville was peak humor for the episode, especially in how the pair come off as a homosexual couple who have gotten bored of one another.
Rouge attempts to convince them to leave retirement, but they insist she proves herself first, especially after being gone for so long. This season has been hinting towards the Brotherhood of Evil all season, and so far, the chemistry and screen performance isn’t too evil but still humorous and enjoyable.
Rita, partially attempting to gain Cliff back to her cause and partially with good intention, plants the seed that maybe Clara is not who she says she is, considering Rouge is a shapeshifter. Much to the surprise of everyone, it is not Clara who is the imposter, but baby Rory!
As obscure and off the wall as expected, Rory transforms into Rouge’s head on a baby body running around attacking the group; eventually, Rita and Vic take turns smacking her around with frying pans. Unfortunately, Rouge gets the upper hand and electrocutes and kidnaps Cliff. Once she does, Kay retreats down below, and Jane takes her spot, but she is just as petrified as Kay and seems incapable of helping.
Setting out to rescue Cliff, the group gets into an argument upon realizing that Rita does not care for them or Cliff anymore, only about revenge against Rouge. Flashing back to Boca Raton, The Brain reveals that he intends to take Cliff’s body so that he can have the freedom and mobility he has. It’s an exciting arc, especially as Cliff has been increasingly unhappy with his body.
Rouge assumes that this means she will be let back into the group, but Mallah drugs her taking her and Cliff’s brain to an undisclosed area. It’s an interesting choice to have. The other bad guys abandon Rouge, but it sets up the question of who’s side Rouge will end up on for next week’s finale.
The episode ends with Kay being chased down by something in her subconscious, revealing she has a super-sonic scream that unfortunately causes the bus transporting the group to flip over.
Next week is the season finale, and this week’s episode has left many questions as to who will survive, especially with Cliff currently bodiless and the team in a flipped-over bus. The episode did fall a little flat in the delivery of the revenge plotline between Rouge and Rita, but it makes sense as an episode meant to lead into a finale.
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