'Doom Patrol' Season 2 Episode 5 Review: 'Finger Patrol' bares a team broken right on the cusp of being healed
The Doom Patrol has a relatively normal day during which they are confronted by their own nightmares and their loss of hope
Spoilers for 'Doom Patrol' Season 2, Episode 4: 'Finger Patrol'
Last week's episode was a strange, hopeful and uplifting piece, hopefully, enjoyed by fans of the show to its fullest extent. The episode brought the mood right back down again. While 'Sex Patrol' may have returned faith to the strange and the outsiders, 'Finger Patrol' does quite the opposite. The underlying theme of the episode appears to be that no matter what your good intentions, the Doom Patrol has nothing they can offer their families, well except, doom.
Larry Trainer (Matthew Zuk/Matt Bomer) spends a day with his family, only to find out that his son resents him for the pain Larry left the family in and called the Bureau of Normalcy on Larry so he could be taken away again. In the meanwhile, Babydoll (Diane Geurrero) takes the lead this episode, finding friendship in the company of Dorothy Spinner (Abigail Shapiro) before things quickly go sour. Cliff Steele (Riley Shanahan/Brendan Fraser) is given hope that his simplistic robotic body might finally be getting an upgrade, leading to a few bonding moments with Cyborg (Joivan Wade) that's been long overdue.
Family is a theme that runs strongest through the episode, with Rita Farr's (April Bowlby) story of her attempt to get into the local theater scene being the only real exception. Where for Larry his family connection is more direct, the rest of the Doom Patrol has become a found family of their own. What most properties with found family tend to forget is that no matter how close family can get, there's no one you fight harder with, or who can get under your skin in quite the same way.
Victor and Cliff started out with a very antagonistic relationship, but that relationship has grown into something distinctly more brotherly. The connection they share in being bound to technology is one that hasn't really been explored yet, and now that it has, it feels like a relationship that should have been more obvious from the start. Cliff plays the older brother role perfectly, tying into this episode's comedic highlight. Cliff dreams of the title sequence for an old school detective show - 'Steele and Stone' - that his hilariously awesome enough that a some reality-warping villain hopefully makes it real, if only for a little while.
Babydoll and Dorothy are another connection that seems obvious once it's been made - both immortal girls stuck in youth, with a host of voices in their head that all weild dangerous superpowers. Where Babydoll is completely defined by her youth, however, Dorothy is struggling with her desire to grow up. The two have fun at first, but as Dorothy pulls away, Babydoll grows resentful - and the two fight as only children with near-limitless superpowers can. The results are disastrous, and horrific, leading to the death of both Manny and Babydoll - and they might not be the only ones, as the Candlemaker is still loose in the underground.
Larry, in the meanwhile, has his worst fears - and quite possibly, his only fears, confirmed. Every fear he's ever had can be traced to his worry that everything toxic inside him - both literal and figurative - causes the people in his life nothing but pain. His own son confirms this, just at the point where Larry is at his most vulnerable when Larry is the closest he's ever been to catharsis.
Something as simple as a drawing of a finger gives Cliff more hope than he's had in decades. This episode is filled with hope dangled in front of the Doom Patrol, only for it to be quickly and cruelly taken away. It's a slice-of-life episode for the Doom Patrol that ends by highlighting their biggest mundane fears, and driving the depressing point home that perhaps the world is better off without them – and that their lives are better off without hope. The "Doom" in Doom Patrol has never been more pronounced.
The next episode of 'Doom Patrol' airs July 16, on DC Universe.