DC Universe’s Doom Patrol season 1, episode 2 recap: Donkey Patrol


In the second episode of the show, Doom Patrol is up to some ‘donkey’ business with Mr. Nobody. And, Cyborg joins the team!

As seen during the denouement of the pilot episode of Doom Patrol, Mr. Nobody is basically a reality warper, currently wreaking havoc on Cloverton, Ohio. There are creepy crawlies screaming Armageddon and innocent bystanders being sucked into Nobody’s vortex. Doom Patrol are the only ones who can save the people. Except, they’re not really superheroes yet so they proceed to make a meal of the situation.

With the vortex dragging the team in, Crazy Jane is the only one who is mobile. But, when she catches Niles Caulder/ Chief driving away with their ‘jeep’, one of her 64 personalities takes over and throws the jeep into the air. It immediately gets sucked into the portal. Jane decides to go after Chief despite Cliff Steele/ Robotman’s pleas for her to stop. Once she jumps in, the vortex closes, leaving nothing but decimation around the three remaining members. Robotman is understandably freaking out, but Rita Farr/ Elasti-Girl tries to maintain calm.

"‘Chief disappears all the time,’ she insists. ‘Into a ***king hole? In the ***king ground?’ Robotman retorts."

Hysterics and denial get the better of Doom Patrol. Robotman doesn’t know how to get Chief back from his enemies, but Rita reminds him that he is the reason for the situation they and the town are in. Except he isn’t the only one, as Larry Trainor/ Negative Man says. Larry is adamant that they are responsible for the town being razed to the ground. ‘This is what the world looks like when we try to live in it,’ Larry says. And with that, he decides to go on the run.

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Except, the Negative Spirit inside him has other plans. Every time Larry buys a ticket to the furthest corner of the country, the Spirit escapes Larry’s body, leaving him unconscious. The sight of a heavily-bandaged unconscious man attracts the attention of many bystanders, all of whom keep coming to his aid. Larry finally has a complete breakdown, before giving up. This is a well-needed montage of hilarity, but again, feels somewhat incongruous with the ominous proceedings of the show.

Now we head to Detroit! And this time, it is the home of Victor Stone/ Cyborg (Joivan Wade). He cheekily stops a woman from being robbed and she seems grateful. But, Vic’s father, Dr. Silas Stone, is still giving him a hard time. There’s no impressing some people.

Cyborg gets the news about the Cloverton attack and finds that it has been written off as a burst pipe. There’s a reason why he is invested in this news item, however. 5 years ago, Chief was working with Silas to improve Cyborg’s tech. It’s apparent Vic is very attached to Niles – who wouldn’t be? The man is enigmatic and always says the right things to these long-suffering souls. Cyborg has fond memories of hanging out with Chief. He reminisces about them racing each other (Vic gets beat by Chief’s wheels), discussing how Vic’s father believes he has a shot at being a part of the Justice League in a few years. Chief encourages him to go his own way, instead of just following his father’s plans.

Back in the present, Robotman is the only person still willing to help Cloverton and so he runs after Mr. Nobody’s donkey, not catching it. But Cyborg manages to trap it. Robotman brings Cyborg up to speed, which leads to the two of them squabbling because that’s what superheroes do! #NOT

Doom Patrol — Ep. 102B — “Donkey Patrol” — Photo Credit: Bob Mahoney / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Cyborg is at his wits end that Robotman has said absolutely nothing of consequence to help them find Chief when the Donkey spits Jane back out. Yes, this show is downright weird.

His plans having been scuppered, Larry returns to Doom Manor to find Rita. He apologizes to her for ‘running away’ when she lost control in the previous episode, explaining that he only did so because he can’t control the Negative Spirit inside him. Rita takes it in her stride as the two of them bond over not wanting to get involved with other people’s heroics.

Robotman and Cyborg return with Jane and neither Rita nor Larry, are at all interested in the ‘big city hero’. Jane is traumatiZed by her trip through the vortex. She cycles through myriad personalities before one connects with Cyborg. Diane Guerrero is doing a fantastic, albeit terrifying, job embodying the different personas.

Unfortunately, Jane’s child-like persona, Baby Doll, is horrifyingly cruel about Robotman’s appearance. Cyborg promises to work with Jane/ Baby Doll, so Robotman excuses himself and decides to study Chief’s videos of Jane’s personalities. He sees the Hangman’s Daughter personality draw the ‘Underground’ – a system that connects all the identities. From the recording, we see that Jane has a particularly violent personality called Katie, who usually remains very deep within her psyche.

Katie is the one who witnessed what happened in the vortex, but she doesn’t like being interrogated. Which is exactly what Cyborg is doing. To protect Katie, Jane’s other personalities attack him and Robotman, thus unleashing Hammerhead, a fire meta, and one persona who exhibits the ability to manifest metallic words through her speech.

Though Robotman is cornered by this last personality, Cyborg is able to surprise Jane and lock her up. He then heads outside – where Larry and Rita were trying to sit out the fight – to examine the donkey. Turns out, the donkey is a door. Never thought I’d write that sentence in my life! Cyborg believes the door will lead to Chief and the townspeople, but the only way to find out more is to get inside. Rita is nominated to investigate, and after much complaining, she agrees. Except, she slips into the portal and pulls Cyborg and Larry in with her.

Inside the donkey, they fall into Mr. Nobody’s trap. He makes each of them re-live the moment that changed their lives. Rita is back on a film set, but now she is given the option to be a star once again. Larry soars high in his aircraft, but this time he wakes up in time to steer himself to safety. With Victor, Nobody re-creates the torturous moments following the accident that damaged his body and killed his mother. Victor scoffs at Nobody’s attempt to re-create the horrors of his origin, screaming that he re-lives this moment every day. That is why he has pledged to become a hero.

Doom Patrol — Ep. 102 — “Donkey Patrol” — Photo Credit: Bob Mahoney / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

But, the more Nobody goads them, the more aware they are of their surroundings. Rita breaks free of the illusion, but she seems to be tortured by a crying baby in a crib. Larry’s Negative Spirit finally escapes, destroying the barriers between Nobody’s world and Cloverton. Nobody may have lost this round, but he’s still keeping Chief captive.

The town and Doom Patrol escape the portal and the wretched donkey finally explodes. Robotman appears with Jane, who has finally regained some semblance of control. The team is rattled but Cyborg believes that Nobody is scared of them, not the other way around. It is evident Victor is a born leader and he’s already on the path to whipping this team into shape.

But, there’s no time to gloat. Victor’s father is here. He doesn’t think looking for Chief is a job for Cyborg. Silas is manipulative and controlling on this show, constantly invoking Vic’s dead mother. Silas insists they return to Detroit so that Vic can achieve ‘greater things’. He even dangles a tech upgrade as a means to entice Vic to listen to him. But the boy decides to go his own way. Rita even guides him to a guest room, so it looks like Vic is sticking around.

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Larry’s room is on a separate wing in the manor. He unbandages himself and leaves a note for the Negative Spirit, ‘We need to set some ground rules’. Elsewhere, the Hangman’s Daughter is painting again, but the scene is disturbing – Cyborg stands amidst the fallen Doom Patrol, holding the dead body of his father, the other members of Doom Patrol sprawled (dead) on the lawn. Is this a vision of the future, or something that Nobody is planning to effect? Either way, what have these people got themselves into?