'Doom Patrol' Season 2 Review: HBO Max Dark Comedy Continues Its Super Weird Adventures
It is quite unfortunate but also needs to be pointed out right in the beginning that the season two of the superhero tragicomedy Doom Patrol was cut short due to COVID-19, making it impossible for them to shoot the proper season finale. Even before that there was a significant drop from the first season’s run of 15 to originally planned 10 so the pacing and structure was already expected to be different. Perhaps that is why the build-up felt slower but eventually there was less tension felt when approaching the climax, even disregarding the missed episode. Good thing is that the show managed to battle that by breaking down the characters more which actually works after spending a season watching their superpowers evolve.
Diving deeper to the main group’s—Jane (Diane Guerrero), Rita (April Bowlby), Niles (Timothy Dalton), Vic/''Cyborg'' (Joivan Wade), Larry/''Negative Man'' (Matt Bomer, Matthew Zuk) and Cliff/''Robotman'' (Brendan Fraser, Riley Shanahan)—as well as a new character Dorothy’s (Abi Monterey) past and present was the highlight of the season. Despite the word underrated being used often carelessly, it very much describes the depth that the Doom Patrol has. Guerrero as Jane and several other personalities was already a standout last season but she has taken over everything on a whole new level. Her character switching is more fine-tuned now so you appreciate the grief and despair she portrays constantly. We also dive deeper into Larry’s mindset where the slowly ripping off layers (or bandages) really pays off.
Much of the character exploration is supported by things happening behind the screens and scenes. Kevin Kiner and Clint Mansell’s hypnotic music create a solid backbone for the adventures, whether it’s the doom-and-gloom synthesisers or circus-like traditional instrumentation. Similarly the costume department is working on overdrive, there is a lot to discover on both the characters influencing the story or characters hanging out mostly in the background. Thanks to the episodes standing on their own stylistically, outstanding parts are easy to pick out. Episodes four, six and seven are the prime examples of how fun Doom Patrol can be. Why the season is slightly lesser than the first are the last couple episodes, and I don’t think that another one could’ve really improved much as the team aspect wasn’t quite earned based on how the storylines played out.
Smileys: Characterisation, score, Diane Guerrero, costume design
Doesn’t reach the fun or surprise factor of last season but the show is still original and character-driven.