S01E12: With Vic captured and held at the Ant Farm, his father hatches a plan with the rest of the Doom Patrol to break him out. Naturally, things go awry.
Remember last time, when I said that things would move fast, as we’re nearing the end of the season? Including recap and credits, this episode was 45 minutes and 20 seconds. When you take those away, it’s just a hair under 43 minutes.
Now, I’m not the type of person who watches a clock while doing something I enjoy. I know they said ENDGAME was three hours, but it didn’t feel like it to me. Same here; 43 minutes sure felt like an hour. However, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t realize how quick it was.
The plot is simple, and thus, not over embellished and there are two, maybe three different settings in the entire episode. Without trying to cop out, I fear that this recap is going to be short, too, but let’s start looking at it and see where it leads, because this is definitely not one to be missed, even as quick as it is.
Cyborg has been taken to the Ant Farm, the underground secret headquarters of the Bureau of Normalcy. If you were an absolute maniac and started watching from Episode 12, what you’d need to know about Cyborg fits pretty nicely into a nutshell; Accident victim turned superhero resents his father’s influence in his life, tries to strike out on his own and be his own man. Pretty neat, but it misses the nuances that the show has brought to the character. Vic is struggling with his humanity, or perhaps, his inhumanity, as he fears the cybernetic is taking over the organism…and he fears it’s his father’s doing.
To make matters worse, he had an episode with the best villain of the season, the Beard Hunter. After ingesting one of Vic’s beard hairs, BH takes control of Cyborg’s OS, Grid, and on the surface, it just seems that Beard Hunter has infected Grid, like a virus. It also appears as if BH has held control over Vic, but that’s impossible because we saw Beard Hunter confront a weird Niles Caulder and a wendigo.
Vic, meantime, thinks this is his father’s constant meddling, so he uploads Grid to a separate computer and is running on his own (also, let’s remember the reset button Cliff pressed after Mr. Nobody made Vic go all kablooey). So, what you have here is a very confused, very self-questioning teenager who isn’t sure who to trust and just wants to find the one person he thinks can help him (ie, Niles Caulder).
There’s one other thing you need to know about Vic that is extremely important but easy to forget; Vic/Cyborg is a big time superhero in this universe. He’s famous and he’s a shoo-in for the Justice League. This separates him from the rest of the team as he has a public persona. This also poses a problem for the Bureau, as they can’t do a lot to him for fear of reprisal from the government and, possibly, the JLA. They resolve to keep him at the Ant Farm to see how far they can push him and what they can get out of him.
Silas, Vic’s father, hits up Doom Manor looking for his son. The team is reluctant to share any info with him, but eventually reveal what happened to him last episode. Silas comes up with a plan, and dammit, I guarantee that no one caught why this was so cool; Phil Morris was on a revival of Mission: Impossible, the show that originally starred his father, Greg Morris! The plan involves Silas bringing in Robotman, ala Chewbacca in Star Wars. However, the plan is a hoax; Silas has double crossed the team.
Cliff, Jane and Larry are taken into custody. Conspicuous by her absence is Rita…hmmm.
As the three of them get tortured in their own ways, Silas is reunited with Vic and you find out that Vic is also being tortured…but not by the Bureau. Meanwhile, as Cliff is being held up by a magnet, out slinks Rita, Trojan horse style. It was a triple cross!
Jane is being tortured by the guy whose elbow she broke last week, in a Reservoir Dogs meets Ace of Base meets Dexter fashion. But then the music suddenly changes, and Ace of Base is replaced with something akin to the Cardigans and we are greeted by Karen.
She hexes the interrogator, and they are suddenly planning a wedding (she calls him Doug, which is really funny).
The team catches up, takes him out, and then the Bureau arrives. Now, before this happens, Cliff convinces Rita and Larry to release the other prisoners (one of whom is Flex Mentallo, sporting a Howard Hughes-like beard). Which is why, when one of the Bureau techs comes screaming down the hall, yelling, “The butts are loose!” we see a swarm of asses, akin to Tribbles, racing down the hall after him.
Best show on TV, guys.
Elsewhere, Silas is trying to convince Vic to reupload Grid, but Vic is screwed up. He keeps seeing video playback from the past, from when his mom was killed and from after, when Silas was fixing up Vic. Vic is paranoid and he lashes out, beating his father to death. It’s friggin’ brutal.
When the last punch is thrown, a graphic pops up on his virtual HUD, saying, “You did it!” complete with 8-bit level clearing music and an interesting character.
Nobody has been manipulating Cyborg this entire time, pushing things around, making him a pawn in his game. “I told you not to look for me!” Nobody hisses and it’s clear that this message, unlike the original Doom Patrol, is the one that will stick.
Vic holds a dead Silas in his arms as the team arrives.
It is a painfully long shot, and you can’t help but feel for Vic. There’s no way the Justice League would take a murderer on the team, which is exactly the point. Nobody had to break Vic into pieces, just like he is, in order to maintain his godlike hold over the team.
Will you watch the next episode?
I mean, with the exception of Flex Mentallo being finally introduced, I’m curious as to the aftermath of Silas’ death.
EXTRA POINTS & NITPICKS:
- Just one, and it’s not really one I can put a finger on, but…what was with the General?
NEXT WEEK: S1:E13 – FLEX PATROL
Vito Delsante is a comic book writer, graphic novelist, editor, letterer, and the co-creator/writer of STRAY with Sean Izaakse, and THE PURPLE HEART with Dean Haspiel and artist, Ricardo Venâncio. He’s written for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, AdHouse Books, and Simon & Schuster, among others, and his stories have been reprinted in other countries. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, Michelle, his daughter, Sadie, his son, James, and his pitbull, Kirby. You can find him online at incogvito.com and you can follow him on Twitter @incogvito