I’m going to be blunt. I wanted to watch and started to watch this show for Joivan Wade (love him! Huge crush and sure, I might be too old for those but this is my blog and I’ll tell you what I want to). I also want to reiterate, and I’ve said this on this blog before, I live and breath the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and much of the comics now because I Google to compare). Not a DC fan but I do loves my Batman. Val Kilmer as Batman. Michael Keaton as Batman. You know, Batman in the 90’s. I digress. I saw some previews and kept up with updates through Wade’s social media but I didn’t think much of the series because everything I saw confused me. Nothing, and I mean nothing, made any linear sense. I am on episode nine and yes, I’m still confused but I’ve learned that the show is not your typical superhero show. These characters aren’t really even super, The only superhero in the show, persay, is Vic Stone AKA Cyborg (played by Joivan Wade. lol) and that’s mainly because he’s not an official member of the Doom Patrol. He’s actually in the Justice League (if anyone remembers that terrible movie. Do better, DC!). Let’s rewind for a bit.
In the comics, the Doom Patrol is comprised of Niles Caulder AKA The Chief who is DC’s Charles Xavier in this series (Sidenote: Arnold Drake, creator of Doom Patrol believed that Stan Lee’s X-Men was stolen from the concept of the Doom Patrol), Cliff Steele AKA Robotman, Rita Farr, the movie star AKA Elasti-Girl and Larry Trainor, the military man, AKA Negative Man. Together, in this series along with Crazy Jane who has 60 some-odd personalities, these side show freaks/almost superheroes, who don’t really want to be superheroes, live in an therapy mansion where Niles acts as their therapist, trying to tap into their deepest fears and attempting to return them to some sense of normalcy. If you watch the series like I do, you know that this has not been working and Chief has been missing since like episode two or three and we still don’t really know why. If you are easily frustrated by a storyline that is not alway linear, this is not your show.
I want to tell you about my favorite episode so far, Jane’s Patrol. This episode just aired and it explores Jane’s brain. In this series, Crazy Jane is played by Diane Guerrero (Maritza from Orange is the New Black) and she is PHENOMENAL in this episode. Jane has the advantage, or so we think, of being able to change personalities, be a whole new person, but what happens when Jane herself no longer wants to live in the real world? She is what her personalities call a “primary” which means she is like the face of the body really, but Jane is tired and the surface world is not kind. The personalities get a taste of the surface every now and again but Jane has to live in it. In this episodes, she’s done.
I admire how the writers tackle depression, repression and mental illness all in one hour, which feels more like a mini movie. We get the essence of who these people were and who they want to do. I am most intrigued by Negative Man. Larry Trainor was an accomplished pilot who’s mission was to test a plane. The plane ventures out of orbit and an unknown space entity enters Trainor’s body. He now lives his life in a trench coat and bandages; however, this is the least of his concern. Trainor was hiding an even bigger secret. He was having an affair with one of his fellow pilots. He knew, and we learn this in flashbacks, that he was different since he was a little boy but being with his lover was the only time he felt somewhat normal. But society rears it’s ugly head and he starts to feel guilty in living this double life. That’s when his accident happens. Trainor is still trying to figure out what man he wants to be versus the man society tells him he should.
Which leads me to Cliff. Steele was a successful race car driver who was also a serial cheater. A car accident late one night kills his wife and almost takes his life until the Chief finds him and gives him his new robot body. Later in the series, Steele finds out that someone close to him, who he thought had died along with him and his wife, is actually alive. He grapples with his past A LOT and in a way, uses Jane as a way to start over. I think he believes that if he can keep Jane out of harms way and “fix her” that he can redeem himself as a man from the errors of the past. If you just see the previews with Jane in them, you know he has a ways to go with that.
Speaking of having a ways to go, Rita Farr (this is her stage name and not her real name) was a famous Hollywood actress in the early 20’s who, from the looks of it, was a pain to work with. While filming a scene in Africa, she falls through a dock into murky water and swallows some unknown glowing creature. Now, whenever she feels unsure, nervous or scared, she starts to “blob”. I think this is a great aliment for Farr because what is Hollywood all about? Looking good, projecting confidence and creating an allusion that everyone will love or fall in love with. But what is the back story of most of those stars we see in Hollywood? Fear, insecurities, doubts and uncertainty. Farr, on the outside, is beautiful, she projects the upmost confidence and is the perfect lady but underneath that front is a scared little girl yearning for acceptance, which is what she’s been searching for her whole life.
Searching…let’s end with my favorite actor in this present moment, Joivan Wade as Vic Stone AKA Cyborg. Stone has been programmed to be a superhero and now wants to venture out on his own to do this superhero thing on his own. So far, his dad has been pulling the strings and the puppet wants to be a real boy…or a real robotman-child. Stone got into an argument with his mom in her lab one night over him switching schools. His dad made the decision for him and he was not having it. In anger, he swiped some chemicals off the table and an explosion happened, killing his mom and severely injuring himself. To save his life, his dad kind of pulled a Frankenstein and created a whole new Vic complete with what he calls “grid” which is a computer system built into his new body. Stone is a young adult and wants to spread his wings and his father, being that this is the only child he has, wants to keep his some at his hip. Stone finds out that Chief, an old friend of his father, is missing and goes to help find him. Stone is a planner whereas his counterparts in this series are not. They want to find the Chief but they don’t really know what to do so Stone sort of takes Chief’s place. My favorite episode with Cyborg is when he finally hacks into himself and gets full grid access. He creates a dating profile and starts flirting with some girls around the country, but one of two things happen. Either they only want to date hime because he’s Cyborg or they no longer talk to him because of how he looks. It’s a hard pill to swallow to date a man who is half man, half machine. He’s the only glue these ‘heroes” have to defeat Mr. Nobody, who himself is half man, half-space….I think. I don’t have all the details to make heads or tails of Mr. Nobody.
DC, much like Disney, has their own streaming service called DC Universe. Go to their website and sign up to watch Doom Patrol and some other new shows they have coming down the pipeline.