'Doom Patrol' Season 2, Episode 8 Review: It's all about dads and their issues that lead to end of the world
Most fathers feel like their world is shattered when their little girls grow up for the first time, but in Dorothy's case, it's literal
Spoilers for 'Doom Patrol' Season 2, Episode 8 — 'Dad Patrol'
Fatherhood is a complicated thing, and being a group of immortal not-quite-superheroes doesn't make things any easier. This episode of 'Doom Patrol' is all about fathers, the messes they leave behind and the children who grew up without them. It doesn't matter what extreme measures a father takes to protect their child and think of them as their little babies — soon or later, all children grow up.
Doom inches closer and closer as Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton) realizes that there's no way to stop his daughter, Dorothy Spinner (Abigail Shapiro), from growing up. Most fathers feel like their world is shattered when their little girls grow up for the first time, but in Dorothy's case, it's literal — all the Candlemaker (Lex Lang) needs to be released is Dorothy's first steps towards womanhood. In the meanwhile, Cliff Steele (Riley Shanahan/Brendan Fraser) bonds with his daughter Clara Steele (Bethany Anne Lind) and Larry Trainor (Matthew Zux/Matt Bomer) relives a memory he shares with his son. Deep in the Underground, Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero) realizes that in order to prove herself useful, she has to confront the one place none of her other personalities are brave enough to venture — the well that Daddy sent them all into.
It's a heartfelt episode, as scattered as its threads are. The members of the Doom Patrol are all dealing with a lot, but none of them are dealing with their problems, or their victories, as a team. It would be a lot to keep track of, but as their individual stories have been developing for most of the season, it's just par for the course. Cliff and Larry are given rare moments of joy and comfort, respectively, from their fatherhood moments. Matt Bomer gets to show off some of his physical actings, outside of the bandages and in a flashback. It's a vision of a younger and more energetic ally, one without the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Besides "fatherhood," there's not a consistent thread that runs through the episode — Cyborg (Joivan Wade) and Rita Farr (April Bowlby) are on another tangent entirely — as each of the fathers featured in the episode have very different stories. Niles is trying to have one last good day with his daughter before taking drastic action to keep her from destroying the world. It's not made clear what this means, whether he means to have her killed, locked away, or something else is not explicitly mentioned, but one thing is made clear that he's lying to her about her future. He shows us a man who is about to make a difficult decision that he believes is justified and is lying to those closest to him out of a belief that he's protecting them — and it is chilling. Dorothy has learned from the best and lies to her father about getting her first period — the fear she feels at seeing the blood for the first time is powerfully portrayed.
The episode packs its humor into another hilarious title sequence — this one modeled after an 80s spy serial — as it appears that everyone wants to team up with Cyborg and be a superhero. The life of a superhero is not cut out for everyone, though, as Cyborg discovers that Roni Evers (Karen Obilom) is a super-powered killer. Rita, suited up as the Beekeeper, attempts to show up to save the day but freezes in the face of actual danger. As hard as she worked to get to this point, she was simply not ready.
While most episodes of this season have stuck to a weirdness-of-the-week format, this episode does not stand alone. It continues the narrative of everything the season's been building and moves the plot forward onto the finale. It gives each of the Doom Patrol moments of humanity away from their bizarre lives — just before the end of the world comes to claim them all.
The next episode of 'Doom Patrol' airs August 6 on DC Universe and HBO Max.