REVIEW: Doom Patrol, S1E8 – Danny Patrol

Doom Patrol has always been a places where anyone could take refuge – no matter what they looked like, who they loved, or what society thought of them – and that has never been more evident than in “Danny Patrol.”

The purest joy!

The story starts when Vic (Joivan Wade) and Larry (Matt Bomer) receive a cake meant for Niles from a place called Danny Cakes, from a location in Ohio that doesn’t actually exist. Knowing they need to follow any possible lead to uncover their missing leader’s whereabouts, they go there anyway and instead discover a sentient, gender-queer, teleporting street named Danny. Danny needs Caulder’s help because they’re on the run from a sinister government agency known as the Bureau of Normalcy. It’s an agency that has also tortured Larry in the past, which of course brings back uncomfortable and traumatic memories for Larry and makes him close up even more than usual. But he’s got to get over it because Danny’s not just worried for their own sake, but also for the sake of all the people they’ve collected along the way – misfits and outcasts who are now living their best life on Danny Street. Or were until Agent Wilson defects from the Bureau and becomes the fabulous lead singer at Peeping Tom’s Perpetual Cabinet, which keeps Danny’s heart running and sends Wilson’s old partner in the hunt for them all.

There are plenty of beautiful stories about acceptance tied up in this, most obviously Agent Wilson discovering the real person beneath the bureaucracy and bigotry and Larry literally shedding himself to recapture his own self of self with loving strangers for once. But there’s also the fact that Danny Street won’t let Wilson make a sacrifice for the group even though it would save them all, because they’re stronger together and leave no one behind. And there’s even Vic’s struggle to understand what is going on, yet still managing to relate the Street’s plight to his own confused identity trapped between human skin and metal. In the end, he helps rally Larry and Danny helps rally Wilson – allowing the entire population of Danny Street to stay strong in the face of the Bureau and fend them off for now. The boys leave without learning anything about Niles’ whereabout (aside from the fact that Mr. Nobody is dangerous enough to scare the Street away, which we already knew), but they at least learn that they’re strong enough to stand without him. Perhaps even to save him as a team, too.

Father of the Bride or The Graduate? You decide!

While one half of “Danny Street” is filled with joyful proclamations and even a gorgeously moving song and dance number courtesy of the Peeping Tom, the rest of Doom Patrol deals with the fallout of Jane (Diane Guerrero) and Cliff’s (Brendan Fraser) fight. It seems Jane hid herself away somewhere in the Underground, leaving the rest of personalities helpless to fend off the worst of them: Karen, a romantic comedy queen straight from the Nora Ephron 90s with the power to force those around her to recreate her perfect fantasy life. Her favorite victim is some poor man named Doug, who she makes up and breaks up with at will. When Rita (April Bowlby) and Cliff finally track her down, Karen is about ready to make herself a bride after compelling his family to accept her back into their lives.

The interesting thing here is how Jane’s, or rather Karen’s, story still relates back to acceptance. It was Cliff’s rejection that sent Jane away – and despite having the power to force people to love her, Karen would rather convince them to the old-fashioned way first. That’s how Rita manages to stay out from under her thumb for as long as she does, using her practiced politeness as a shield to keep Karen thinking their besties and that Rita will happily become her maid of honor in the impromptu wedding she decides to throw. As her supporting cast rebels, though, Karen gets progressively angrier and puts them all under her spell. All except for Cliff, who is robotically immune to her power, and who wasn’t even allowed inside at first because he was “weird and kind of creepy.” Instead, Cliff bonds with a young boy in a robot costume outside before nearly being robbed into giving Karen awa at the altar.

Cliff still treats Jane as the primary personality, but instead Hammerhead is the one who pops up and nearly goes berserk on Doug before Karen appears to get dragged into the Underground by a force stronger than her. What’s left is an empty shell of who we assume is Kay without any personality in particular. What just happened? We’ll have to tune in next week to find out.

Doom Patrol drops new episodes every Friday on DC Universe.