S02E01 — In the season premiere, the Doom Patrol (along with Niles & his daughter) are still mini-sized. Ultimately, Niles will have to sacrifice something precious to save the team.1
“Hole filled, asshole.”
Welcome back, everyone’s favorite dysfunctional super-family.
It’s kinda funny to me that what makes this show work is possibly the opposite of what makes STARGIRL work. SG really pushes the superheroic and the awe of being in that world; DP shows you that superpowers, and all the baggage attached, actually suck. Like, if the old adage of “With great power comes with great responsibility,” is true, then the response from the Patrol would be, “Shove your power up your ass.” And you can understand why; nothing comes easy for this team (and that’s not to say that Courtney and her teammates aren’t challenged, but they are nowhere near these guys.).
We open to see the team (minus Larry/Negative Man) are still about the size of a D&D miniature. They’re trying to make the best of a bad situation, but everything about their current situation blows.
Add to that a young lady named Dorothy (Spinner). Dorothy is this precocious ape-faced pre-teen who seems to be genuinely interested in everyone and everything (which, you can’t blame her as she spent 11 years in a cage). But her presence seems to bring with it a bit of animosity.
Whether she means to or not, Dorothy rubs everyone the wrong way. It’s never explicitly stated, but I think it’s because everyone still feels used by Caulder, but Niles fawns over Dorothy.
This is a team with a lot of daddy issues, and I’m not just being glib.
Cliff remembers back to a time when he uninvited his father to his wedding and Larry is reminded of being a dick to his son over a model rocket. In the latter case, Larry and the Negative Spirit discover that Larry’s son, Gary, has committed suicide and boy, your heart breaks for Larry again.
As much as everyone is getting on each other’s nerves, there are moments of bonding among the team; Vic is mentoring Rita in being a superhero, and Cliff and Jane have a funny bonding moment over a joint and their mutual disdain for any Caulder in earshot.
After almost facing Dorothy’s imaginary friends, the team is resized by Kipling (welcome back Mark Sheppard) and back at Doom Manor. Everything is as it should be…
S02E02 — Cliff, Jane, and Rita pursue a time-altering doctor in their reluctant quest to help Niles and Dorothy. Meanwhile, Vic meets a military vet who challenges his beliefs.
“What in the Doris Day-Ikea-fuck was that!?!?”
(I should mention that Vic walked out after they were resized in the last episode. Just FYI.)
First manifestation/sighting of the Candlemaker and holy shit, it’s scarier than I thought!
The team is pulled in a few different ways; Larry decides to attend Gary’s funeral, Vic goes back home to Detroit and Rita convinces Jane and Cliff to accompany her on a trip to the Terrible Doctor Tyme’s Time Capsule to steal some continuinium in an effort to extend Niles’ life.
(Back off, spell check, this shit is happening!)
Last episode, Niles bartered his necklace for the lives of his team with Kipling. Thing is, that necklace was the thing that was extending the Chief’s life all this time. So, the Chief is dying, and Dorothy offers a wish, but Caulder won’t let her do that. Instead, he enlists the team to steal Dr. Tyme’s continuinium (trust me, I’m typing SLOW) and the team realizes that they are expendable to him. Niles’ experiments on them are what he was attempting to do to extend his life, in order to keep Dorothy safe. He admits to Cliff that his daughter, Clara, was expendable because she has no importance to his plan. If we could distill the Chief, at least on this show, into one motivating factor it’s this: keep Dorothy safe for the sake of the world, lest the Candlemaker make his presence known.
The team fails, but the entire Dr. Tyme sequence is as good as any Danny the Street appearance last season…just a lot of goofy fun, and that’s where the show succeeds; it shouldn’t be able to balance emo heaviness with goofiness, but it does, and does so adeptly.
Elsewhere, in Detroit, Vic meets Roni, an injured vet, in a trauma group. What made Vic leave Doom Manor was his PTSD from fighting Mister Nobody, and while it doesn’t come up, I have to think that’s why he’s in the support group. Thing is…as good as the show is at emo heaviness and goofiness, romance is not something I would call a strong point (there are exceptions, yes, but this seems, at least right now, ham-fisted. Roni will probably end up being Mister Nobody).
Larry…Jesus, Larry always ends up pulling at your heart when the chips are down. After watching his son, Gary’s, funeral from afar, he meets his other son, Paul, who invites him to the post-funeral dinner (I think that’s the Irish Wake, no?).
Larry, instead, is pulled into a barn and sees that Gary, whom Paul described as a tin-foil hat kind of guy, believed in conspiracy theories so much that he tried to find out the truth behind his father’s “death.” Larry finds a letter that young Gary never mailed to his father, and you could see the dam breaking. Especially when a monarch butterfly lands on his shoulder. It’s like Gary has metamorphosed into a new creature.
Larry leaves, and that butterfly lands on his hitchhiking thumb.
Larry turns to see an entire monarch migration to San Juan Capistrano–
–Nope! They swarm on Larry as violins swell and the shit just hit the fan.
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