'Doom Patrol' Season 2 Episode 9 Review: Team faces their imaginary friends as the Candlemaker is released
Their imaginary friends each turn on them, one by one, exposing fears they've carried since childhood and burying them under the weight of some harsh truths and, of course, the wax
Spoilers for 'Doom Patrol' Season 1, Episode 9: 'Wax Patrol'
With Season 2 unfortunately cut short due to the pandemic, the finale comes an episode earlier than was planned for, leaving a great many questions up in the air, and a world-ending villain with murky motivations and our heroes turned to wax. Season 3 has a lot of threads to pick up, but first, let's take a look at the end of Season 2.
With the Candlemaker (Lex Lang) freed, imaginary friends are running rampant, attacking people and turning them into wax. The Doom Patrol comes in to save the day -- less because they're superheroes, and more because there's no one else who can -- but things go terribly wrong, fast. Their imaginary friends each turn on them, one by one, exposing fears they've carried since childhood and burying them under the weight of some harsh truths and, of course, the wax. Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), whose imaginary friends are all safely tucked inside her head, instead treats us to a flashback of how Jane came to be the primary in the first place.
It's hard to know exactly what the Doom Patrol is fighting for in this episode, as the stakes are unclear. It's been mentioned that the Candlemaker is powerful enough to destroy the world, but nowhere is it mentioned that that's what he wants to do. His goals, for the moment, appear to be wanting to torture the Doom Patrol in an attempt to get Dorothy to grow up - his connection to her, and why he seems to grow more powerful as she ages, is never explained. One can hardly blame Cliff for wanting to skip this particular apocalypse and attend his daughter's wedding instead.
That's not to say that it wasn't an episode with strong moments. Though Larry Trainor (Matthew Zuk/Matt Bomer) was taken out relatively quickly, Cliff Steele (Riley Shanahan/Brendan Fraser), Rita Farr (April Bowlby), and Cyborg (Joivan Wade) all confront their inner child through the guise of their imaginary friends. 'Doom Patrol' has always had novel and inventive ways to examine its characters' mental issues, and this episode may have the best method of all. How children express their pain, loneliness, and needs tends to result in exactly the kind of creative manifestations we see here. It's all cleverly done, with a pinch of humor. Cliff confronting angry dudebro Jesus was especially amusing.
The tangential flashbacks to Miranda's life in the '70s, and how she became Jane ends the two-part Crazy Jane origin story that began last episode. It's a heartbreaking tale, and one that explains a lot about Jane when it's seen how she came to be, and the bullshit she had to overcome. The episode offers some great insight into everyone's minds and the only question is why any of it is happening at all. The Candlemaker doesn't seem to need to mentally weaken anyone before turning them to wax. Some of the Patrol, he tortures, some he offers comfort to, and others he just beats up. There's no rhyme or reason to anything that's happening, which is especially unsatisfying for a show that's done such a great job of explaining its silliness in ways that make just enough logic to be fun.
Answers are no doubt forthcoming in the next episode, but with that episode moved all the way to Season 3, and no announcement made yet as to whether the series is even officially renewed, it may be a long time before we understand just what's going on.
All episodes of 'Doom Patrol' are now available to stream on DC Universe and HBO Max.