DC Universe’s Doom Patrol season 1, episode 3 recap: Puppet Patrol


The third episode of Doom Patrol shines a spotlight on Negative Man, while the team go on a road trip to Paraguay and are introduced to a new character from the comics.

Crazy Jane is putting up missing posters of Niles Caulder/ Chief, but the people of Cloverton are not pleased. They blame Doom Patrol for their woes in the latest episode of the DC Universe show.

But Victor Stone/ Cyborg is still determined to rescue Chief. While reminiscing in Doom Manor, he recalls the accident that caused his transformation into Cyborg. A pointless argument with his mother Elinore (Charmin Lee) led young Victor to sweep some test tubes off her lab table causing the blast that eventually killed Elinore and left Victor irreparably changed forever.

Vic appears to still be unsure of the cause of the accident. He goes over footage from that moment, establishing its authenticity. The footage has not been tampered with, but if I’m not wrong, it looks like the source of the blast is too far right from where the test tubes collide with each other. There isn’t time to dwell on this though. Vic’s mother box computer has identified the unsub who has taken Chief – Eric Morden/ Mr. Nobody.

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Doom Patrol is on the case, but Chief’s files aren’t well-organized. While searching, Cliff Steele/ Robotman finds his daughter’s phone number, but he’s interrupted by Rita Farr/ Elasti-Girl. She’s found something – a picture of the donkey that was at the center of their problems in the previous episode. Vic calls for a briefing – he truly is the leader now.

Larry Trainor/ Negative Man had attempted to come to an impasse with the Negative Spirit inside him. Looks like that hasn’t gone too well – Larry finds himself asleep in a precarious position. The perfect time to recall the hours before his life changed.

1961. California. A stolen moment with Larry’s boyfriend, John Bowers (Kyle Clements) turns sour when John reveals that he has applied for a discharge. He is tired of being part of a community that will turn against him if they found out the truth about his sexuality. John pleads with Larry to join him, but Larry is incensed. He is tense about the flight test he is scheduled to undertake the following day, and how that could be the gateway for greater things. The last thing Larry needs is drama just before he goes on a deadly mission. When John storms off, Larry asks him for time to think. After the test, they can discuss their future.

Doom Patrol — Ep. 103B — “Puppet Patrol” — Photo Credit: Bob Mahoney / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

As we saw in the pilot episode of Doom Patrol, unfortunately for them, there was no future – Larry’s plane crashes after the Negative Spirit enters him. Larry wakes in hospital to find all the doctors dead – did the Negative Spirit do this, or was this him? He is whisked away to another facility where his wife tells him that she is leaving him. Larry’s home-life was perceived to be perfect, but it actually wasn’t. His wife was keenly aware of what his ‘beers with the guys’ meant, but the family continued to keep up appearances. Larry’s accident seems to the last straw.

Despite their quarrel the previous night, John also comes to the facility to assure Larry that he isn’t going anywhere. He’s even going to stick with the air-force and be there for Larry. Overcome with emotion for the man who is willing to risk his future, Larry instructs John to go.

Back in the present, at the briefing, Vic informs Doom Patrol that they have to go to Paraguay to investigate the photo of the donkey. Vic’s had the backing of STAR Labs, but now that he’s broken free of his father’s shackles, Silas takes his revenge. He revokes Vic’s access to STAR Labs tech and its finances. Vic had promised the team that he would get them a private jet. Now they’re in the van, and it’s going to take them two whole weeks to drive to their destination.

The team take turns to drive, and each has their own eccentricities – Cliff is a fount of stories, while Rita is a very cautious driver. Jane is hopeless with a map, and reckless, while Vic is usually at the end of his tether. When Larry gets the wheel, he takes a moment to chastise the Negative Spirit for its pettiness. Seems like the Spirit takes umbrage to this attack, because it promptly leaves Larry’s body, causing Larry to collapse at the wheel. I’d like to point out that Mathew Zuk, the on-set performer for Negative Man is excellent in this scene, incorporating subtle movements showcasing Larry’s bubbling anger. The Spirit returns, but it’s too late – the van crashes and the team have to push the van all the way to the nearest motel. There’s only one room left, so all five of them squeeze into it.

Doom Patrol — Ep. 103C — “Puppet Patrol” — Photo Credit: Bob Mahoney / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The downside of five people sharing a room is that there’s only one bathroom. Rita’s morning ablutions consist of desperately trying to will her body back to cohesion. When Jane runs out of patience, a teleporting personality named Flit appears and teleports herself, Cliff and Larry to Paraguay. Why couldn’t Flit have done this before? Because she’s as temperamental as the Negative Spirit. Larry can’t figure out why Flit would leave behind Vic, aka, ‘the only person who knows what he’s doing’. Neither can we.

Paraguay is not what the team expected. They meet a tourist, Steve Larsen (Alec Mapa), who tells them that he’s here to attend some tour because he couldn’t afford ‘The Morden’ tour. They are taken to a place called Fuchtopia where a puppet show about the history of Heinrich Von Fuchs’ (Julian Richings) messed up experimentation on people takes place. He’s the creator of Mr. Nobody and it is revealed that when Morden was being changed on a metaphysical level, Chief appeared, shot Von Fuchs and stole an item from him.

Fuchtopia is continuing Von Fuchs’ work by giving people ‘upgrades’ and superpowers. Cliff wants nothing to do with this, but Jane believes continuing their investigation is the only way to find Chief. She tries to buy the upgrades for them, but none of her many, many credit cards work. Instead, Jane offers to trade her blood so that the facility can use it to create new superpowers from her 64 personalities.

Larry seems quite interested in the procedure, while Cliff wonders what they can do for a guy who can’t feel anything in his robot body. It’s a stalling tactic, but there’s truth to Cliff’s claims. Larry pretends to go get some money, but instead enters the metaphysical chamber and appears to get his old body back. When the Negative Spirit leaves him, he doesn’t collapse. Believing himself to finally be free, Larry tries to leave the chamber, but the Spirit won’t let him. Larry pleads with him, he wants his life back.

Jane is taken to meet Von Fuchs; he is being kept alive in some kind of iron lung. Von Fuchs is able to suss out that Jane is not the core personality. A young Jane was experimented on by scientists and the trauma caused multiple personalities to form in an attempt to protect the core personality. The man who saved her was none other than Chief. On hearing this, Von Fuchs, who is in control of all the people in Fuchtopia, he commands them to attack Crazy Jane and Cliff. His people, however, are no match for Doom Patrol. Jane finally kills Von Fuchs, but Cliff is traumatized by his murderous actions.

In the chamber, Larry sees John, but when Cliff tears the doors open, Larry’s back to being Negative Man. Jane blows up the joint and the three of them meet Rita and Vic who have finally made it to Paraguay on a STAR jet provided by Vic’s father.

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Despite Jane’s brutal attack on the facility, she seems to have overlooked one metaphysical chamber. Steve appears from within, now partly transformed into a hybrid of the plant, animal and mineral. Does that sound familiar to fans? It should, because Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man is a supervillain from the comics, and he’s about to unleash havoc on Doom Patrol. I just hope the showrunners update his codename.