REVIEW: Doom Patrol, S1E5 – Paw Patrol

Doom Patrol has slowly been sharing its protagonists’ backstories since the premiere, and with “Paw Patrol” it was finally Jane’s (Diane Guerrero) time to shine. Maybe it wasn’t the original Kay Challis’ time yet, but several of her personalities got some time in the spotlight as Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk) and Chief (Timothy Dalton) attempted to use one of them to stop the apocalypse.

Our favorite dysfunctional duo.

“Paw Patrol” opened with a scene of Jane in the middle of a punk rock riot in the 1970s, where she raged against the machine – and fascists – until she was thrown back into an abusive mental hospital that it seemed she would never escape from. Obviously she eventually did, because back in the present she and Cliff (Brendan Fraser) were trapped in a Nurnheim snow globe while everyone else ransacked their brains to stop the Bird Box-inspired eye in the sky from rapturing all of humanity. But it was Mr. Nobody, hilariously bitter than he hadn’t even been in the last two episodes, and Chief who managed to come up with the perfect solution in the former’s void: go back in time and convince Jane’s most charismatic personality to build up a religion that combats the Decreator.

And so commenced the window into Jane’s soul, which was narrated by the ever-omniscient and snarky Mr. Nobody. The most gut-wrenching scene was when her garbage doctor tried to pull the truth of Kay’s childhood trauma out of Jane, though she saved herself from answering by transforming into Doctor Harrison. It was a good look at her lifelong defense mechanisms, even though its primary purpose was to showcase the personality’s power of influence – something which would be needed to fight off the Cult of the Book. She was ordered to spread the message of the “Recreator” at her institution, where a young woman named Marilyn became a hero in her own right by eventually tracking down Jane inside the snow globe and bringing Doctor Harrison out to fulfill the prophecy. Not only did she awaken Doctor Harrison, but she even faced off against the Decreator’s prophet and queen (AKA Mommy Dearest), allowing her old friend and Cliff the time they needed to ring the bell and read the rewritten book.

Mom material!

Back in the snowglobe, Cliff had to learn not to be a brute to the other sides of Jane just because they aren’t her. As tiring as it can be to watch him make the same mistakes with different people, at least the connection between the two characters remained strong. Good thing Rita (April Bowlby) was much more empathetic towards Elliot, risking possible extinction to find and comfort him before he himself was disintegrated – don’t worry, everyone appeared to come back when the day was saved. Victor (Joivan Wade) and Larry (Matt Bomer) rounded out the crew back at home, expressing their horror at the thought of Chief working with Mr. Nobody to stop the Apocalypse. Thankfully their fake Constantine friend named Willoughby has no such moral compass and kept the plan on track while they waited for the boy with an ancient language tattooed on him – or as it turned out, the dog with an ancient language written in invisible ink.

Niles Calder wasn’t even fully himself during “Paw Patrol,” given that he was more of an echo sent by his enemy. But he was still able to give Victor and Larry some sage advice about staying true to oneself versus compromising, something both men needed to hear in very different contexts. Between the heart-to-hearts and the comedic moments, Doom Patrol took viewers a rather enjoyable ride to ending the apocalypse. Even Niles and Willoughby got some emotional quality time together, superseded by his moments with his “kids,” before Mr. Nobody came to drag Chief back and Victor lost his arm cannon in the ensuing showdown. But perhaps the most meaningful scene in the episode was the final flashback sequence, revealing how Niles Caulder saved Jane from her imprisonment in the hospital and first brought her home to her new family.

Doom Patrol drops new episodes every Friday on the DC Universe streaming service.