Doom Patrol – Season 2 Episode 4 (2020) TV Review

No sniggering at the back, this is serious stuff from Doom Patrol

Synopsis

When the Dannyzens throw a massive party at Doom Manor to resuscitate Danny the Brick, Dorothy longs to join the festivities and experience life as a grown-up. As the party rages on, Rita asks Flex Mentallo (guest star Devan Chandler Long) to help unleash her full potential – which has some dangerously racy consequences.

Warning: This review contains Medium spoilers, with some reveals from the prior season and broad elements of the episode discussed.


It’s fair to say that this is the episode that has got the Doom Patrol fandom the hottest under the collar. Yes, sex sells and this was billed from the start as the salacious section of the series. But it also got people excited for the return of the semi team member Flex Mentallo and Maura Lee Karupt (Alan Mingo Jr.), along with the high-camp extravaganza that is The Dannyzens getting down to party and the possibility of Danny The Brick healing back into Danny The Street. There was the promise of Diane Guerrero getting to sing “Fever”, but that didn’t transpire and will be discussed later.

Of the things that did happen, it was relatively as per the trailer. Flex, Maura, and the Dannyzens turn up at Doom Manor to have a party to fix Danny. The Chief welcomes them in, Rita acts as the glamorous host (in the process kicking up a closer relationship with Flex), Larry sulks, Cliff mumbles, and Jane is busy with her other personalities still being in conflict with her. Then Dorothy kicks things off by singing World of Imagination from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, in a moment of pure innocent wonderfulness, and Danny is able to manifest Peeping Tom’s Perpetual Cabaret inside the Mansion. So far, so Doom Patrol.

Things then go rather sideways at the infusion of the SeX Men plot from the comics. This was originally a superheroes parody, but that doesn’t really translate in the show so it’s more of a wacky backdrop for the character development scenes. It starts with Rita, trying to gain more control of her powers, asking Flex to repeat the incident from Season One where he gave everyone on Danny The Street an orgasm. This is done in a very Rita way, with her lying on top of her bed and Flex keeping his nose to the wall, like a true gentleman, and localising the effect of the flex just onto her.

All this attracts the attention of The Shadowy Mr. Evans, somewhere in Tibet, a sex demon who turns up to feast on all the sex energy and bring around the sexpocalypse. (Well, it is Thursday so it’s about time.) Thus the Sex-Men (specifically agents Kiss, Cuddle, and Torture) turn up and try to save the day, looking like Ghostbusters on the way to a BDSM rave. Whilst this doesn’t cover half the plot from the comic (which was pretty crazy and way too sex-horror heavy for a TV show to handle), the visuals are a great example of translating comic visuals.

Away from… well, whatever Rita and Flex may or may not have going on… the rest of the episode belongs to the fellas. Vic got one of the best scenes, taking love and life advice from Maura, which was skilfully written so as to bypass the “magical gay friend” trope and be an elder giving positive advice to a youngster still new to the whole relationship thing. It was touching and heartfelt, addressing both characters’ situations as metaphors for more realistic issues the viewer might have. And as a counter-tone to the emotion and sincerity , Cliff got off his tits on Ecstasy, so we got to see Robotman raving his nut off. Trust me when I say the trailer doesn’t prepare you for a six-foot tall, glowstick-adorned automaton yelling “Just a robot, doing the robot!” like a fresher on their first night in Ibiza.

Jane was mostly background for this episode, although Dr Harrison manifested for exposition duties and some actually-funny sex jokes. This was annoying, as a lot of the promo material that had been doing the rounds was Scarlet Harlot doing karaoke in the Perpetual Cabaret. Instead, Scarlet wandered around and was a bit confusingly adventurous with the Dannyzens, rather than doing the anticipated call-back to Larry Trainor/Matt Bomer’s amazing rendition of “People Like Us” in season one. Bad Show Runners, No Biscuit! Do not make your audience lose trust in your expectation management skills. And, “No”, it appearing on the Blu-Ray won’t make up for it, as that decision significantly short-changed that personality’s dramatic potential in that episode.

There was also further development for Dorothy, beyond her positively magical musical moment, but beyond saying it was realistically gauged and showed how little things can cause huge problems, that’s all you are getting in this review. It also goes without saying that the Dannyzens were perfect as ever, being on the right side of fun-freaky and gender/sexuality/sex positivity and acceptance so that anyone can feel they would have a good time with them. Hopefully, we’ll see more of them soon, and it’ll be a waste if Flex doesn’t become more of a permanent feature.

Great moments, great concepts, but not as cohesive as previous episodes.

★★★★

The Raggedyman

Doom Patrol is airing weekly on dcuniverse.com and HBOmax.com

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