Doom Patrol “Cyborg Patrol” offers a distressing story about family and monsters, and we’re still feeling the emotional repercussions from this episode.
Is Cliff going to host an impromptu therapy circle for us after this episode? Or do we just have to collectively cry this out on our own? DC Universe has never been clear on how we should commence our regularly scheduled sob sessions on Fridays (i.e. Doom Patrol day). Emotions aside (for the rest of this paragraph at least), “Cyborg Patrol” is about family and monsters, and it produces a whole lot of pain in the process.
We need to touch on that terrible ending, but we also need a moment or seven before we get there. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with the ending. It’s great thematically, cinematically, and plot-wise. It’s just painful. Thankfully though, Doom Patrol distracted us with nearly a full episode worth of comedy before it absolutely destroyed us. (Aww, how nice of the series; they really do care.)
We’ll consider Jane’s (portrayed by Diane Guerrero) reference to Discount Dexter and the other adeptly-timed pop culture references as proactive apologies for the ending of the episode. Either that or Doom Patrol went the Eric Morden (portrayed by Alan Tudyk) route and toyed with the promise of a happy ending before shredding all our hope. Regardless, let’s linger on a few of the comedic moments in the episode:
- The apparent parallel of the leader of the Bureau of Normalcy to
- Cliff vs. a giant magnet. Spoiler: The magnet won. Poor Robotman.
- Cliff (portrayed by Brendan Fraser) is the obligatory chaotic good member of the team and the elevator scene just further proves that. (It’s just one of the many reasons we love Robotman.)
- The butts’ great escape. We’ll just leave it at that because any recap of that scene won’t do those bipedal gluts any justice.
In an episode about Cyborg (portrayed by Joivan Wade), even when he wasn’t on screen, the episode was about him. More importantly, it focuses on his family, both biological and found. As Silas forms a multi-layered plot to save Cyborg (which ended up creating some intriguing twists for the plot), the episode highlights how much the Doom Patrol family cares about Victor.Doom Patrol — Ep. 112 — “Cyborg Patrol” — Photo Credit: Mark Hill / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
We love that Jane and Rita (portrayed by April Bowlby) immediately sprang to support Victor’s boundaries, and tried to shut down Larry’s (portrayed by Matt Bomer) suggestion of consulting Silas for help. Cliff even chimes in, too. The whole dynamic of their objections just shows how close the team has grown in such a short time and how much they care about each other — even if they don’t show it all the time.
Rita and Jane act like Vic’s rightfully protective sisters, who happen to call our Silas for his questionable parenting methods. (i.e. Grid and the whole nanites fiasco.) Their cohesiveness when it comes to developing a plan to save Vic just makes it more heartbreaking when you realize that Vic thought he was alone at the Bureau. He thought hopefulness was useless after talking to Flex Mentallo (his neighboring hostage).
The lead-up of the family-focused episode makes it even more emotional when Silas finally comes to Vic’s rescue. As they hug, Vic says, “I thought nobody was going to come.” Given his timid heart-to-heart with Jane last week, you can tell Vic feels like he’s on his own with the whole hero gig, but we know he isn’t alone thankfully. Despite Cyborg being an experienced superhero, he still needs his superhero family, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Showing his vulnerability gives us more reason to love the family dynamic in the team.
The heart of the episode shows how the team has grown closer together and how they effortlessly support and respect each other now. It’s refreshing to see how far they go to help each other. Beyond supplementing the family dynamics within the Doom Patrol, “Cyborg Patrol” includes some important disability representation (separate from the already existing disability characterization on the show).Doom Patrol — Ep. 112 — “Cyborg Patrol” — Photo Credit: Mark Hill / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
While locked away at the Ant Farm, Victor’s arcs showcase some critical but subtle messages about disability. Doom Patrol has a long history of coding its characters with physical, mental, and invisible disabilities (and a combination of the three). Though Cyborg has canonically had a physical disability, as shown by his built-in tech, episode 12 refines the invisible sides of his disability: chronic pain, as well as an implicit autoimmune disease.
Nanites are starting to repair healthy tissue. Though the nanites are supposed to repair injured tissue, there’s busy repairing Vic’s healthy human tissue. The whole scenario sounds familiar to how a lot of autoimmune diseases function, and we’re glad that this episode made Vic even more relatable. Seriously, we’re glad Doom Patrol keeps exceeding our expectations on how much we can love and respect Victor Stone.
However, this episode isn’t about disability or Victor recognizing that he has a family that loves him unconditionally. (Though we hope he gets a chance to realize that soon). Doom Patrol episode 12 used heartbreak and the titular hero’s worst fears to solidify Mr. Nobody’s villainous standing. And, that standing is especially distressing.
Doom Patrol episode 12, “Cyborg Patrol” used heartbreak and the titular hero’s worst fears to solidify Mr. Nobody’s villainous standing. In Vic’s most emotionally vulnerable states, Mr. Nobody makes him kill his father. What makes it more devastating is that Morden has this planned out since they stopped the Cult of the Unwritten Book.
The episode uses Vic’s internal dilemma about his dad as a way to bait and switch us with the real villain this episode. When, in reality, Morden was off gallivanting as the canon villain he is all along. It seems Mr. Nobody has been on vacay from his narration gig for a reason. He’s been up to an especially heinous plot against the Doom Patrol, and Cyborg was his target.
The only positive part of the beyond the saddening final scene of episode 12 is Joivan Wade’s emotionally gripping performance. Excuse us while we cry again.Doom Patrol — Ep. 112 — “Cyborg Patrol”– Photo Credit: Tina Rowden / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Seriously, screw Mr. Nobody. He’s such a menacing villain, especially for what he did to Vic and how this episode will linger with him for episodes (and likely seasons) to come. Morden does has a humorous side to him, and Doom Patrol has wielded that as a guise to distract us hapless viewers. You know, until now. Mr. Nobody has the luxury of hiding in the obscure, but he’s actually a terrifying villain based on what he can do with the human psyche. This episode just shows that he can make even the strongest heroes unwillingly transform into the monsters they’re afraid of becoming.
Victor might not be ready for revenge on Morden because he’s still grieving the fact that Mr. Nobody killed his father. (Yes, Morden killed him, not Cyborg; and we refuse to argue about this.) However, we’re definitely ready for the Doom Patrol to kick butt. Just not the butts because they’ve never done anything wrong in their entire lives.
Beneath all the comedy, grief, and sadness, Doom Patrol episode 12 unfolds a lot of mystery. From all the ominous mentions and the behind the scenes view of the Ant Farm, but have some final thoughts and questions:
- Will we see more of the butts soon?
- Why is S.T.A.R. Labs working with the Bureau of Normalcy?
- And what is the noteworthy laboratory subcontracting for the Bureau?
- Will we get more insight on the Bureau-led projects and how they use, control, and weaponize the (now formerly) hostage meta-humans?
- We love that Rita takes time from the rescue mission to yell at Cliff and reassure him that he’s not useless. We love her for building up his self-worth. However, we love admiring how far she’s grown in such a short time.
- Cliff wants to save all the weirdos at the Ant Farm. This is what we call character development from his early days of being bewildered by the Doom Manor and farting interdimensional donkeys.
We wanted a Cyborg-focused episode, but now we just want Vic to be happy again. At least we can count of Doom Patrol for an emotional eventful Friday every week, which makes sense why it’s one of the best TV shows this year. Well, at least the weeks we have left in this first season.