Doom Patrol 02×07 “Dumb Patrol” (Review)

Jul 23, 2020

Doom Patrol
HBO Max

Season 2, Episode 7 “Dumb Patrol”

Spoilers Ahead

Fun, A Shocking Revelation, and Easter Eggs Abound in An Episode Finding the Doom Patrol at their Dumbest yet

This season of Doom Patrol has been quite eventful taking characters on a rollercoaster ride from highs to lows and taking them outside their comfort zone. Last episode was no exception. While it may not have been quite as weird as other episodes, “Space Patrol” saw the Chief confronted with his own daughter’s threat to the world and the stakes could not be higher. The episode ended on a huge cliffhanger. With Cliff pushed out into the vacuum of space, Niles set off in the ship to places unknown.

Despite all the other characters dealing with the own issues, Dorothy’s character arc is by far the most important as her relationship with the Candlemaker is sure to have major ramifications for the rest of the season. “Dumb Patrol” picks up after last week’s episode. A shocking revelation concerning Dorothy awaits in an episode embracing the inherent weirdness of the source material and bringing fun to Doom Patrol.

The Chief is Faced with a Shocking Revelation

Faced with his daughter’s immense power, the Chief realises that he needs to protect the world from her. In this episode, Niles returns to the place where he found himself over a century ago in the search for answers about Dorothy and the Candlemaker. Unfortunately, the answers he founds are shocking and upend his previous beliefs. The shocking revelation is that the Candlemaker was in fact created not by Dorothy but by her mother’s ancestors. The Chief must now do everything to save the world from the Candlemaker even if that means colluding with Kipling unknown to Dorothy and probably to do something that would be against Dorothy’s wishes. Whilst brief, this storyline in “Dumb Patrol” is perhaps the most important as it pushes the Dorothy and the Candlemaker storyline forward which will certainly have major ramifications set to be explored in future episodes.

The Dumbest Team Up in Doom Patrol History

Over the course of the show, the Doom Patrol members have done some pretty dumb things but none quite so dumb as in this episode. Creatures known as scants find their way to Doom Manor and infect the Doom Patrol putting all sorts of bad ideas in their heads. This scant storyline sees the team at their dumbest and is packed with easter eggs. The Beard Hunter appears again and there is even a reference to the Harley Quinn show about Alan Tudyk who plays characters on both shows. Miranda is also given her grand introduction having taken over after the debacle with Baby Doll. She is, for reasons unknown, not infected and the only level headed person during all the chaos.

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While the storyline gets the team together and is fun, it lacks the depth of previous episodes. It feels merely like a break from the drama and it ignores character development and leaves no lasting impact after the team defeats the scants. Doom Patrol Season 2 has been all about character arcs and actions having consequences so this diversion off course is disappointing, to say the least.

The Path to Recovery For Cliff and Rita

The two remaining characters are Cliff and Rita. They have both been struggling with their issues in recent episodes and trying to be better people. In this episode, Rita has to overcome her issues with her mother and how she feels like an imposter for not earning her early acting roles.

Cliff is on a literal road back to Doom Manor as this week’s episode picks up right after the last one with Cliff hurtling through the atmosphere and finally landing by a road. Cliff’s storyline contains another neat Easter egg/call back to Season 1 with a sign advertising a best selling book called “My Side” by Animal Vegetable Mineral Man who now goes by Denise. The sign also contains Kite Man’s now-famous quotation “Hell Yeah” which is clearly another reference to the Harley Quinn show. Cliff’s storyline is at times too self-indulgent, putting foul-mouthed Robotman in humorous situations. However, it finds its way back home quite literally setting up a reconciliation between Cliff and his daughter that is sure to play out in future episodes.

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Rita’s storyline never loses its focus managing to balance Rita’s present, as she is going to play a beekeeper, with her past. The storyline involving Rita’s mother may not have been warranted (indeed there was not even a hint of it in previous episodes) but credit goes to the writers for executing it well and managing to make Rita’s issues relevant in the present.

Conclusion

“Dumb Patrol” sees Doom Patrol take a break from the drama trading it in for fun and over the top weirdness. The balance of levity and doom and gloom has shifted towards the former’s side. The scant storyline takes up a lot of the episode and while it has its moments, it ultimately lacks the depth seen in previous episodes. However, there are other storylines in the episode worth mentioning. Both Cliff’s and Rita’s storylines find the characters on the road to recovery. The shock revelation concerning the Candlemaker’s origin very importantly pushes Dorothy’s storyline forward and that alone makes this episode worth watching. Another highlight of the episode is the many easter eggs and references to past events in Doom Patrol history as the show has taken pains to build up a world of its own which while similar differs in many ways from ours.

Overall, “Dumb Patrol” feels mostly like a fun excursion and nothing more but Doom Patrol’s strengths still manage to shine through in its characters and its world. “Dumb Patrol” may not address all this season’s mysteries but it still provides the necessary framework for many storylines, including Dorothy’s, to be explored in future episodes.

Pros:

  • Niles’s shocking discovery pushes the Candlemaker storyline forward
  • Fun excursion with the scants gets a lot of the team together
  • The episode sets up Cliff reconciling with his daughter
  • Rita has to work through her issues concerning her mother
  • Easter eggs and references to past events

Cons:

  • The scant storyline ignores character development and has no major ramifications
  • The episode is the most fun one yet but lacks the depth of previous episodes

Rating: 7.0/10.0

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