This week on Doom Patrol Vic is being held captive at The Ant Farm and “Annie, are you okay? Are you okay? Are you okay, Annie?” is repeating ad nauseam in my head. This episode is less heartfelt than some of the previous installment but does more to propel the overall story forward. As such, it took me a couple of viewings to have some things to say about it; but upon that repeat viewing is there ever a lot going on in “Cyborg Patrol.” As always, you should beware of spoilers. Here are five thoughts on “Cyborg Patrol.”
1. We Mustn’t Upset the Butts
While it does lean away from some of the deep character moments of previous episodes, “Cyborg Patrol” is a hell of a lot of fun. Taking us deep into the underground–or perhaps, otherworldly–facility run by the Bureau of Normalcy, this episode introduces a number of fun concepts, characters, and overall weird bits that fit so well within the bizarre world of this show.
We’ve met so many wonderfully unusual characters with small parts in Doom Patrol and “Cyborg Patrol” does not disappoint in that regard. An early line in the first few minutes sets up one of the best sequences as a race of sentient butt-like creatures attack agent Darren Jones and his team in a spot of comeuppance as the, admittedly poorly rendered but still very fun and goofy, things get the better of this installment’s main antagonist.
The Big Mac Wampus eats may be an odd product placement but the sesame seed that rests on his lip as he responds “we mustn’t upset the butts” is perfectly representative of the overall quirkiness of this show.
2. Stone-Cold Silas Stone
Vic’s over-arching story has perfectly encapsulated the mantra of one Stone Cold Steve Austin: DTA or “Don’t Trust Anybody.” Mr. Nobody has been playing on Vic’s insecurities and mistrust of his father which sees its climax in the final minutes of “Cyborg Patrol.” Doom Patrol had already presented Silas as an overbearing and invasive figure, but this pushes to the point of potentially amoral before revealing that it was all a swerve by the big bad of the series.
This plot-twist is played perfectly, fooling the audience with a heel-then-face turn that brings the good doctor’s motivations into question before bringing the proceedings to a head as Vic brutally assaults his own father. It is a master class in well-paced scripting with twists and turns to fool the audience at each bend.
3. He Put His Computer-Thingie in That Computer-Thingie?
On the subject of Victor and Silas Stone, “Cyborg Patrol” is the payoff to the build-up from previous episodes regarding Grid’s malfunctioning and Victor’s ninates–sorry, nanites–potentially “going rogue.” From Vic’s questioning of the moment his mother died and he received his injuries to Jane’s painting to Vic’s attack on the Beard Hunter, everything about Victor’s own sense of personal control has been called into question leading to this moment. A truly tense atmosphere is created here before boiling over with every punch leaving Silas bloody, unconscious, and potentially lifeless.
This is left open-ended, and it is unlikely that Silas’s character has been killed off here, but it is certainly played up to make us believe he is.
4. Don’t Stare
Doom Patrol is at its utmost visually interesting in this episode, across multiple instances with “Cyborg Patrol.” From the aforementioned Butts to the Operators to Darren Jones’s team looking like a fascist Ghostbusters everything works so well here. While the butts themselves may be, as I mentioned, somewhat poorly rendered, it’s such a bonkers concept that it still works. Every bit of effects here, from practical to CGI, just works with the overall concept.
Cliff vomits up the Jane-Blob, Mr. Nobody reveals himself to have infected Grid and Jane transitions seamlessly into Karen after breaking Discount Dexter’s dance-beat of Ace of Base’s seminal hit “I Saw the Sign.” There’s so little to criticize here and so much that flows without interrupting our suspension of disbelief.
5. Weirdos Like Us
While, as mentioned, this is less emotional as “Danny Patrol” or “Frances Patrol,” there is a moment when Cliff remarks how they can’t just leave the rest of the captives of the Ant Farm. Doom Patrol is, at its heart, about the weirdos, the downtrodden, the dregs of society. It is about geek culture in an of itself. Every one of us who grew up feeling ostracized from society because of our passions and hobbies, as well as our own emotional and mental issues can connect with something or someone here.Continued below
This may be the most representative media representation of its own fandom to be so overlooked and under-watched, given the platform it is featured on. It is almost a shame this wasn’t on some other outlet, though it would not have been able to take the chances it does or potentially lift up the DC Universe as it hopefully do moving forward.
Regardless, while it is a highly reckless decision to free all of the likely very dangerous captives of the Bureau of Normalcy, it was a tear-jerker moment for me for a series that has surprisingly, and delightfully, tugged at my heartstrings throughout.
There are only three episodes left of Doom Patrol, and that means three more reviews that, with a little luck and a whole lotta weird, will continue to praise this gem of DC’s television media.