Doom Patrol 02×06 “Space Patrol” (Review)

Jul 16, 2020

Spoilers Ahead

Doom Patrol Goes To Space in an Episode Which Mainly Explores The Ramifications of Dorothy’s Actions

Last week’s episode ended with quite the cliffhanger and looks set to have lasting ramifications throughout the rest of Doom Patrol Season 2. While the rest of the Doom Patrol has managed to get their lives back on track, Dorothy’s arc is the reverse and everything had been building up to the moment when all hell broke loose last episode. For about 100 years, Dorothy showed restraint, obeyed her father, and kept her imaginary creatures under control. Recently, however, the villainous creature known as the Candlemaker has tempted Dorothy until she finally said yes in last week’s episodes. The consequence: Baby Doll is dead. This episode does not dismiss or diminish Dorothy’s actions. This is the real world where actions have suitable consequences. Dorothy’s actions have major, real consequences so “Space Patrol” shines a light on them taking the Doom Patrol to weird and wonderful places including space! They become a focal point of the episode which many character storylines revolve around or are at least connected to.

The Direct Consequences of Dorothy’s Actions

The Underground in Chaos

Dorothy’s actions have big consequences. Her murder of Baby Doll has thrown the Underground into chaos. The host body is in a coma and they are all struggling to decide what to do. Jane’s position in the Underground could not be worse with everyone angry at her for sticking with the Doom Patrol. She has failed her duty to protect Kay, the helpless girl who created all these personalities to shelter herself mentally from real life. To make matters worse or better depending on how you look at it, Miranda has reappeared at Baby Doll’s funeral to become the prime personality once again. However you look at it, this is a major turning point for the character which Dorothy’s actions have brought on, and is sure to majorly impact the season going forward.

Jane has tried to be a better person and work with her family on the outside but her staying on with the Doom Patrol has only hurt her family on the inside. It is ironic that trying to do the right thing has had the opposite of the intended effect. Doom Patrol continues to excel at character drama. The lesson is that we have to live with our choices no matter where they lead us.

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To Space

Another consequence, a quite unexpected one, is that Doom Patrol goes to space. Normally going to space is often regarded as the last resort and even lazy when shows or films are running out of other options e.g. potentially the Fast and Furious franchise. However, Doom Patrol is not like other shows. Even at its weirdest, there is a reason for everything. Going to space may feel bizarre out of context but actually makes sense within the context of the show. Bearing in mind Dorothy’s guilt and her immense power, going to space makes sense if Dorothy wants to close herself off from the world. That is not the end of the story though as Niles and Cliff stage a rescue mission.

This is a successful attempt to build on Cliff’s character arc as he is trying to take his destiny into his own hands and perhaps become a better person. Cliff may not be the fondest of Dorothy but he helps the Chief and even bonds with his daughter in the process. Like most characters in the show, Cliff was at his lowest during the first few episodes of Season 2 but he has gradually been built back up again. This episode certainly sees him at his kindest and even most heroic. If only things could be so simple with Dorothy but the show continues to hammer the point home that actions have consequences. Dorothy will not be going back to the manor but to somewhere else entirely. Just as things were getting better, the Chief once again messes it all up. He is a complicated character with blurred morals who will go to any lengths to achieve his aims.

The Past and The Future

In these latest episodes, Doom Patrol has been looking to the future. Nevertheless, this episode acknowledges the past and its importance while not dwelling on such matters. Instead of using the past as a crux, “Space Patrol” refers to the past as a way to highlight and explore the world that the show has built up. The space ship which Dorothy uses to escape has just previously landed at the manor carrying astronauts from one of Niles Caulder’s experiments decades ago with the Bureau of Normalcy. The play which Rita has signed up for is a recreation of the events in Season 1 at the town where the donkey appeared. To move forward with his girlfriend, Victor is investigating the past in order to prevent her from dying because of poisons leaking inside her body. Cyborg has to find out about the past and Star Labs’s involvement in all this. These references to the past, both big and small, build up Doom Patrol’s world. Furthermore, they give it depth by exploring new characters within it and how they react to events in a compelling way.

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Conclusion

While “Space Patrol” may not be quite as quirky as other Doom Patrol episodes, it still is a must-watch episode as it marks a turning point for the season after Dorothy’s actions last episode. Dorothy’s murder of Baby Doll has real consequences. Jane’s body is stuck in a coma while chaos ensues in the Underground. Niles and Cliff leave the manor to venture to space, and the show leaves things without a happy ending. In spite of everything going on, the show never forgets how to properly handle its characters and their arcs throughout this season. The Doom Patrol members have climbed out of the metaphorical abyss and they are trying to be better people but there are still hurdles in their way. Just like in the real world, life is never easy. More than ever, the world that Doom Patrol has built up shows in this episode with callbacks to Season 1 and a more thorough dive into the Chief’s exploits with the Bureau of Normalcy. The only real let down in this episode is how low budget space feels but that is to be expected. It takes ambition to go to space in a show and there is always the constraint of the budget.

Overall, “Space Patrol” takes Doom Patrol to space in yet another fantastic episode which even with everything going on, places its characters first and their journey back from the metaphorical abyss.

Rating: 8.5/10.0

Pros:

  • Spins out of last week’s episode and Dorothy’s actions have real consequences
  • Effective character arcs
  • Worldbuilding with history
  • Compelling new characters

Cons:

  • Not quite as quirky as other episodes
  • Being in space feels distinctly low budget

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