With “Finger Patrol” The Doom Patrol Series Finally Gets Moving
As we noted in our review of the premiere episodes of Doom Patrol, on DC Universe and HBO Max, the series halted the narrative to really focus in on the emotional state of the characters. In the first season of the show, the various misfits of Doom Manor went on adventures here and there, including saving all of existence from a death cult. This season, they’ve focused mostly on where the characters are in their emotional journeys after a huge revelation about their father figure, Timothy Dalton’s Niles Caulder, also known as the Chief. However, this is still a comic book show, and with “Finger Patrol” things are finally speeding up on the second season of Doom Patrol.
There are three main stories in “Finger Patrol” and one has a very classic Doom Patrol bit of absurdity. The other two are heartbreaking in very different ways. This episode marks the halfway point in the season, with four episodes before it and four after. So, this means that the final episodes on season 2 will likely be fast-paced and see our characters reuniting as a team. However, before that happens there are likely to be deep divisions that must first be overcome. Because unlike with Alan Tudyk’s Mr. Nobody (who has yet to show up this year), the big bad is coming from inside the house!
Doom Patrol spins a lot of plates in the air with “Finger Patrol,” telling more complicated stories about the characters. Also, there is no driving “mission” for the team as of yet. Leaving these characters aimless works with varying degrees of success. Spoilers ahead.
“Finger Patrol” Brings Back Familiar Doom Patrol Antagonists
Image via Warner Bros. Television
Last year, the saga of Larry Trainor was perhaps the series’ most emotional tale. Along with him being a closeted gay man in the 1960s, he couldn’t control the being inside of him (the Negative Spirit). Also, he was pursed by the Bureau of Normalcy, which imprisoned metahumans for being aberrations and indecent. Well, those a-holes are back.
After coming to terms with who he is and reaching an accord with the Negative Spirit, Larry seemed ready to move on. However, he reconnects with his children, now old men. His younger son commits suicide in part because he believed his father was still alive. There Matthews Bomer and Zuk’s Trainor comes face-to-face with his son, Paul, played by John Getz. In “Finger Patrol,” Larry goes to his son’s house to meet the rest of the family. While there, he comes out to his son, bonds with his great-grandson, and finally starts to feel comfortable. Then the other shoe drops.
Paul, who joined the military to honor his “late” father, called the Bureau of Normalcy on Larry and April Bowlby’s Rita Farr. Angry at being abandoned by his father, he wants to have them locked up where they “belong.” Larry releases the Negative Spirit who easily dispatches the agents. Yet, a few get some shots off. Rita, who is trying to learn to control her powers and act (one of those aimless stories that don’t work so well) is able to protect the great-grandson. Yet, Larry’s grandson is shot, it appears fatally. They escape unhurt, but the emotional damage to Larry will be devastating.
Doom Patrol Absurdity and the Meaning of “Finger Patrol”
Image via Warner Bros. Television
While Larry’s story in “Finger Patrol” is very heavy, there is some classic Doom Patrol nonsense in this episode. Jovian Wade’s Cyborg and Riley Shanahan’ and Brendan Fraser’s Robotman team up for a road trip to Detroit. Of the residents of Doom Manor, Robotman took Chief’s betrayal the hardest. In order to make this up to him, the Chief starts to design an upgraded body for him. Specifically, the Chief wants to give Robotman what he desperately wants: the ability to feel again.
Yet, Robotman doesn’t trust the Chief, so Cyborg takes him to meet with Silas Stone, played by Phil Morris. That trip proves to be unfruitful, but it does give Robotman and Cyborg some time to bond. After giving Cyborg some surprisingly good romantic advice, Robotman daydreams about fighting crime side-by-side with Cyborg in the style of a 1970s cop show. The whole sequence is hilarious, full of costumes, corny action, and classic old-time TV hijinks.
We also figure out why the episode is called “Finger Patrol.” One of the Chief’s designs for Cliff was a human finger somehow grafted on to his metal hand. While waiting for Cyborg to, uh, reconnect with his girlfriend Roni, played by Karen Obilom, Robotman sees a crime in progress. Inspired by Cyborg, who had a career in Detroit as a crimefighter before moving into Doom Manor, Cliff confronts them. Of course, things go horribly wrong. He accidentally severs one of the thieves’ fingers…which he proceeds to keep just in case Chief can use it. It’s gross, ridiculous, and fun all at the same time.
Dorothy V. Baby Doll: the Dawn of the Big Bad
Image via Warner Bros. Television
The last story is the biggest deal, because it pits the two most powerful members of the team against one another. Abigail Shapiro’s Dorothy makes friends with Baby Doll, one of the many personalities of Diane Guerrero’s Crazy Jane. Baby Doll is an untiring child, and at first Dorothy and she get along famously. Yet, eventually Dorothy tires of her, and they start fighting as children are wont to do. Though, in this case, the children have godlike powers.
Dorothy can summon “imaginary friends” into the real world, including a horned animal her mother controlled in the first season. Baby Doll’s powers are unknown, but she’s definitely devious. She traps Dorothy in the basement while they are fighting. Dorothy summons her horned animal imaginary friend, and Flaming Katy kills it. Baby Doll then locks Dorothy in a furnace. Scared and angry, Dorothy “makes a wish” which summons the Candlemaker, who is able to enter the Underground in Jane’s mind and kill both Baby Doll and Flaming Katy.
This is the most interesting bit of “Finger Patrol,” because it has huge ramifications for the future of Doom Patrol. Can Jane’s personalities truly be killed? Will Jane (or, at least, Hammerhead) be out for blood pitting her against the Chief, who is Dorothy’s father? How is Candlemaker able to enter the Underground? These questions will be what the final episodes of Doom Patrol season 2 will likely focus on.
What did you think of “Finger Patrol” and how it pits the rest of the Doom Patrol against the Chief and Dorothy? What do you think will happen? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments below.
Featured image via Warner Bros. Television
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.