Willoughby Kipling conscripts the Doom Patrol into helping him avert the end of the world by stopping a nihilistic cult.
This week Doom Patrol tries its hand at slightly more long-form storytelling. “Cult Patrol” is the first in a multi-episode arc which continues next week and see’s the series attempt some more complex storytelling.
The results are an interesting mix as the series takes its foot of the gas but equally injects a lot more nuance to its production. Before reviewing this episode I actually made sure to watch it multiple times because it was instantly obvious one watch wouldn’t be enough.
That very fact is something I feel this show isn’t being praised for enough. Given that we live in a culture where we absorb and move on it’s truly amazing to see a show with so much re-watch value. I’ll be the first to admit some of my favourite shows I don’t go back to very often but this is a series I most certainly will revisit.
Back to the story of “Cult Patrol” the opening scene does an amazing job of setting the tone for the episode. That twisted sense of humour carries really well throughout the episode. Mark Sheppard as Willoughby Kipling is an excellent addition to the cast.
At times Kipling felt like a knock-off version of John Constantine but by the end of the episode he had well and truly earns his place. There was something chaotic about him which really with the tone. The whole series is filled with desperate elements which are trying to cooperate with each other, in some cases that could be disastrous but here it works perfectly alongside the characters.
Rita is given some great moments in this episode. April Bowlby has been knocking it out of the park each week. Here the cracks of humanity continue to grow and I felt immensely proud seeing her talk Elliot down from suicide. The fact the moment was followed up with her chastising him for almost ruining her good moment was so perfectly in character.
As with the previous episodes there are some great character moments for all of the leads. We see more of Cyborg trying to lead the team and be the hero, Jane is typically against it but then we learn that Jane isn’t in control of herself.
I really liked the additional plot point whereby she was so shocked by Cliff’s actions in the previous episodes that Jane is “taking a break” for a while. Likewise we see some more of how Cliff see’s Jane and perceives himself in his robot body.
Larry takes a little bit of a back seat after last week but there is still plenty for him to do. The brief scene featuring a video of the energy inside him talking with The Chief certainly sets up some interesting developments for the future.
The episodes cliffhanger does rely on some slightly questionable CGI but given the budget of the series it’s aiming big and I truly admire that.
Whilst “Cult Patrol” might not live up to the previous episode it is still an incredibly solid entry in the series. There are so many subtle references and story beats that repeated watches make this episode well worth mining for more.
On the next episode…
Doom Patrol stars Brendan Fraser as Cliff Steele, Matt Bomer as Larry Trainor, Diana Guerrero as Crazy Jane, Alan Tudyk as Mr. Nobody, April Bowlby as Rita Farr, Jovian Wade as Vic Stone and Timothy Dalton as Niles Caulder.
The series comes from Berlanti Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television. The one-hour drama is written Jeremy Carver (Supernatural, Being Human) and will by executive produced by Carver alongside by Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns and Sarah Schechter.