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Review: Doom Patrol comes back strong with fierce and fun S2

Dorothy of doom —

But the overall season is marred by its maddeningly abrupt cliffhanger ending.

Jennifer Ouellette
– Aug 7, 2020 8:00 pm UTC

Trailer for the second season of Doom Patrol.Lots of people missed last year’s debut of Doom Patrol, a delightfully bonkers show about a “found family” of superhero misfits, because it aired exclusively on the DC Universe streaming service.  Fortunately, S2 also aired on HBO Max, expanding the series’ potential audience. Apart from one sub-par episode, this second season expanded on the strengths of the first, with plenty of crazy hijinks, humor, pathos, surprising twists, and WTF moments. Alas, the season finale is bound to frustrate fans, since it ends on a major cliffhanger and leaves multiple dangling narrative threads.
(Spoilers for S1; some S2 spoilers below the gallery.)
As we reported previously, Timothy Dalton plays Niles Caulder, aka The Chief, a medical doctor who saved the lives of the various Doom Patrol members and lets them stay in his mansion. His Manor of Misfits includes Jane, aka Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), whose childhood trauma resulted in 64 distinct personalities, each with its own powers. Rita (April Bowlby), aka Elasti-Woman, is a former actress with stretchy, elastic properties she can’t really control, thanks to being exposed to a toxic gas that altered her cellular structure. Larry Trainor, aka Negative Man, is a US Air Force pilot who has a “negative energy entity” inside him and must be swathed in bandages to keep radioactivity from seeping out of his body. (Matt Bomer plays Trainor without the bandages, while Matthew Zuk takes on the bandaged role.)
Cliff Steele, aka Robotman, is a former NASCAR driver whose brain was transplanted into a robot body after a horrific crash. (Brendan Fraser plays the human Cliff, and Riley Shanahan plays the robot version.) Finally, there is Vic, aka Cyborg (Joivan Wade), whose father gave him cybernetic enhancements to save his life after an accident. Together, they make up the titular Doom Patrol.
In S1, the team faced arch-villain Eric Morden, aka Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk), who can travel through dimensions and alter reality, frequently breaking the fourth wall—as the only character who’s aware he is on a TV show—to narrate the action, thereby manipulating events to his liking. Mr. Nobody kidnaps Caulder and holds him captive in a dimension called the “White Space,” and the Doom Patrol spends most of the first season trying to rescue him, wrestling with their personal demons along the way.
In the end, the Doom Patrol defeats Mr. Nobody, but they also discover that The Chief is the one responsible for all the tragedies that gave them each their powers. Let’s just say the team is dealing with some intense feelings of betrayal right now. Caulder had his reasons: he has a super-powered daughter, Dorothy Spinner (Abigail Shapiro), who is deeply troubled, and his actions were a means of trying to extend his own life as much as possible so he could continue to protect her. Oh, and the entire team, except for Larry, is now the size of a cockroach.
Family of misfits

Much of S2 centers on Caulder’s daughter, Dorothy Spinner (Abigail Shapiro), who has the ability to bring imaginary friends to life—sometimes with bad consequences.

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