Recap of Bird Patrol
Last week’s episode served as a continuation and conclusion to the Sisterhood’s backstory, and I quite loved it. In fact, I think it was easily one of the five best episodes of the show. We get to learn not only what Dada meant at the beginning and what it means now as an idea, but we also get to know each one of these people. We’re shown what they want and how they escape the tragedy of life. Their braveness against an organization that treats them as inferiors and how they cope with it. It was heartbreaking to see what happened to Malcolm and how it affected them. I thought it would also be interesting to see just how much Rita has changed after spending decades together with them and even planning all of this. She’s no longer the Rita we and the Doom Patrol knew, and it opens a lot of doors to develop how she fits there now.
Meanwhile, the Doomies were doing their own thing. Jane kept defying the other personalities, Vic talked to Roni about his decision to undergo a process that would replace his technological tissues with synthetic skin, Larry puked a baby in the form of an alien worm which he left in the woods, and Cliff kept spiraling into his disease and overuse of pills. Busy with their own internal problems as they always are, the Sisterhood completed their maybe-not-as-evil-as-expected plot and brought forth the Eternal Flagellation, leaving the episode in a cliffhanger.
Deep into the subconscious
We now know what the Eternal Flagellation was all about when the Doom Patrol changed realities with their subconscious to try to make a breakthrough as they relive their worst memories. It’s so amazingly deep and impactful I’m not even going to try to describe it. I believe this is the best Doom Patrol episode yet, and you should watch it for yourself.
However, I’ll give all the praise I think it deserves. In this episode, we get to see the whole cast interacting with each other except for Rita. That means Brendan Fraser and Matt Bomer interacted with Riley Shanahan and Matthew Zuk, the physical actors for Negative Man and Robotman respectively, which is greatly appreciated. Everyone gets a chance to shine, and let me tell you, they shine. For people who watch Doom Patrol is no surprise that these people are amazing actors. Every breakdown, joke, and gesture they make never feel planned out by an actor, but by real people, that are experiencing real life as much as we do. But I think even those people could be surprised, as I was, at the level of acting that can be seen here. The psychedelic nature of the show allows it to get into otherwise impossible situations, like the characters having a conversation with their conscious-now-corporeal selves, and it pays off with some of the best moments of the show. These are not problems that can be solved in a storyline of 8 episodes. It’s deep underlying trauma that will forever affect these characters in one way or another, but they can learn to get better and live with it, just as any other person can.
The Eternal Flagellation
Here we finally have the answer to all of the mysteries this season has set up! And believe me, it is great. Contrary to what I believe after watching the last episodes, along with her memories, Rita got all her insecurities and problems back, which makes more sense. Although she is still changed. We learn she traveled to the future to catch Rouge, who was sent to destroy Niles’ legacy by the Brotherhood of Evil and has been plotting the Eternal Flagellation this entire time with the rest of Dada.
I think it’s a satisfying conclusion for a nice mystery that doesn’t overstay its welcome or tries to be unnecessarily clever and fails at that. It feels completely natural and leaves you wondering the ramifications it will have for the two episodes left. Personally, I hope they will keep this up in future seasons, as it adds another fun layer to the plot and feels organic with the way the show works.
You seriously wanna spill our shit?
I know exactly which are my favorite moments in this episode, but I couldn’t decide just one. The acting and script are amazingly stellar as always, and being at this point in the season’s plot allows for some incredible moments of progression. Rita’s discussion with Rouge feels like a fascinating allegory for the abuse of power and its effect on the individuals who hold none while having a great bouncing off between the actresses. When it comes to the rest, it’s equally perfect. Cliff’s voice breaking and his crying when opening up about what makes him ashamed, Larry deciding to do better for himself and literally holding his own hand, Jane’s anguish after a heartbreaking revelation from Kay, and Vic’s struggle for identity and the things he lost are all incredibly well done, and in my opinion, make this episode the best Doom Patrol episode yet.