Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 2 Review: Tyme Patrol
Doom Patrol stretches its penchant for the offbeat with mixed results.
There’s no running away from the fact that Doom Patrol has its own offbeat way of introducing plot threads, new narratives and central antagonists. That approach has worked for the most part in Season 1 but throws viewers off every now and then. Tyme Patrol is one such episode (at least for me) where the team attempts to aid Caulder’s quest for immortality with a strikingly bizarre that doesn’t necessarily work.
Caulder’s motivations come across as a bit odd. He’s spent an eternity trying to outlive his daughter simply so he could be there to care for her when the rest of the world would reject her. Unknowingly, he’s already lived for well over a 100 years and one wonders just how much more he’d like to have lived to be present for Dorothy if a century isn’t enough. Ironically, he locked Dorothy away for most of that time in Danny the Sentient Street until he could figure out a proper way to prolong his life, not realizing that he already lost many precious moments with her this way. Definitely feels off writing-wise.
That quest ostensibly culminates when Caulder figures out the key ingredient to help him accomplish his goals, a mispronounced version of continuum (or was it continuinium?). To obtain this, the gang needs to head down a portal to August 1980 and get Doctor Tyme’s head, the spelling repeatedly emphasized. Tyme can conveniently manipulate time and wears a clock for his head. I suppose its their way of spoofing these kind of missions that other shows have often sent their protagonists on and cheekily, the writers don’t appear to take it as seriously.
But yet again, Doom Patrol continues to have powerful character moments and while the core gang doesn’t get their moment to shine, they still continue to deal with lingering trauma. They desperately try to seek a firm answer as to why Caulder did what he did to them. Cliff especially is already broken in part for being trapped in a Tin Man’s shell and Caulder’s explanation only sends him in screaming mode, resulting in a terrific outburst. Brendan Fraser continues to impact the scenes he’s in, where he’s not even in them, just by his voice.
Perhaps the episode’s best bits were Larry learning about and mourning the loss of his son Paul. Larry visits his funeral only to find Paul’s brother recognizing his long lost father. Larry’s subsequent visit to their home, finding his son’s letters to him are quite touching. And his sequences feature some stunning cinematography spotlighting autumn, with a pallette that evokes a warmth that Larry probably experiences from his family. Doom Patrol has traditionally always looked good but these sequences were something else.
Cyborg meanwhile tries to go into rehab and I’m sure they’re going somewhere with him bonding with one of the fellow veterans Roni Evers. There’s a budding relationship there that could take a good turn before things turn worse. It’s an interesting angle to see Cyborg make himself vulnerable, not just metaphorically by opening up, but literally by shutting down his defences. He’s always been shown as the superhero star but the sensitive nature of the rehab setup means people are vary about being recorded by Cyborg. Neat way to factor in privacy concerns.
On the whole, a step down from the season opener but Tyme Patrol packed enough of a punch in some of its key moments to drive home some impactful moments. Doom Patrol is at its best whenever it becomes more reflective and retrospective of its characters, uncovering newer angles to their stories and giving us more about what they were as people in their lives, the regrets they live with and the things they missed thanks to their condition. There’s an inherent sadness in those moments that I guess I’ll never get enough of.