In a season that has been predominantly filled with episodes that focus heavily on furthering the narrative or offering deeper understandings of its characters, this week’s episode of Doom Patrol, titled “Dumb Patrol,” could very well be its first filler. It does still offer a fun, albeit fairly inconsequential, romp, but with only two episodes left it brings up the thought that things might be losing momentum in the weeks leading up to the season finale. There’s still time to get the ship back on course, but there is still the concern that this might be the pattern for the remaining episodes.
“Dumb Patrol” kicks off as a mysterious crate arrives at Doom Manor. Scrawled on the crate are very explicit instructions to not open it. As you can probably guess, our ever-vigilant heroes open it and it’s not long before things start to immediately go wrong. The team, except for Rita (April Bowlby) and Cliff (Brendan Fraser), are then infected with Scants, microscopic organisms that fill their head with bad ideas. They are then made powerless to their idiotic impulses. It’s not long until the silly antics ensue and it’s honestly a great bit of fun.
We get to see Larry (Matt Bomer) and Jane (Diane Guerrero), in her Flit persona, clumsily travel to the hospital where Larry’s grandson is recovering from his gunshot wounds and repeatedly almost getting caught by the Bureau of Normalcy who seem to be perpetually on Larry’s tail. Seeing these usually bright characters act dim and unaware of the consequences of their actions garners plenty of laughs and Larry and Flit have a great sequence of attempting to navigate the hospital with poor results.
Vic (Joivan Wade) and Roni (Karen Obilom) are easily the most fun to watch this episode. Vic brought Roni along to the manor for the first time to show her how he lives so, of course, she’s immediately dragged into a ridiculous madcap adventure. Their relationship continues to grow and it has become one of my favorite developments this season. Things then become even more enjoyable to watch once they’re infected with their bad ideas and become one of those incredibly annoying, overly affectionate couples that I so often scoff at. It’s clear that Joivan Wade and Karen Obilom are having a blast and their chemistry, even in this state, is incredibly endearing. I love seeing them have moments together and this episode is no different.
Along for the ride is the always-amusing Willoughby Kipling (Mark Sheppard). He shows up mainly to spout some exposition about the Doom Patrol’s current predicament and how they can reverse it which requires them to kill the Scant Queen. But he is soon infected with Scants as well. It is just an absolute joy to watch this usually very stoic and tough character be a little goofier.
Cliff, Rita, and the Niles, A.K.A. Chief (Timothy Dalton), are all off on their own during the silliness taking place back at the manor. Cliff is trying to make his way back to get some revenge on the Chief after being launched into space at the end of the last episode. It’s very disconnected from everything else and is the least dramatic thing going on, but it’s always a blast to see Cliff get to be his brash and abrasive self along the way.
Rita is off continuing to pursue her acting career and uses the opportunity to research her role. However, she winds up going down a rabbit hole of introspection regarding her traumatic childhood and how that contributed to her inability to be where she wants to be in her life. It’s the most poignant aspect of “Dumb Patrol,” and she seems to be making more and more progress as she goes on. Her journey this season has been one of my favorites to see unfold.
Rounding out the episode is Chief as he takes a trip to the Yukon to try and find some answers about Dorothy. While on this trek, he has a run-in with Candlemaker who gives him some very cryptic information regarding his origins. It’s pretty clear that this is a set up for whatever is coming next and it looks like we’ll be getting more Dorothy and Candlemaker in upcoming episodes which is always a good thing because her presence was sorely missed. Unfortunately, Chief’s journey here was the least compelling of everything happening on screen this week but the implications for what may come of it all was the most interesting part here.
“Dumb Patrol” has a lot of moving parts but it is ultimately a filler episode to tide us over for the major conflict coming over the two remaining episodes. That being said, it was still a fun ride where we got to see a mix of the team acting a little sillier than they already normally do and some deep introspective moments when it comes to Rita. Aside from the crux of its story, this episode served as more of a jumping-off point for the penultimate and final episodes of the season. Things seem to be moving in a very explosive direction and, overall, provided a really enjoyable escape from some of the more emotionally taxing elements of the season.
“Dumb Patrol” has a lot of moving parts but it is ultimately a filler episode to tide us over for the major conflict coming over the two remaining episodes. That being said, it was still a fun ride where we got to see a mix of the team acting a little sillier than they already normally do and some deep introspective moments when it comes to Rita.