It’s rather quite unfortunate but also needs to be pointed out right in the beginning that the season two of DC/HBO’s Doom Patrol was cut short due to COVID-19, making it impossible for them to shoot the proper season finale. Even before that there was a significant drop from the first season’s run of 15 to originally planned 10 so the pacing and structure was already expected to be different. Perhaps that is why the build-up felt slower but eventually there was less tension felt when approaching the climax, even disregarding the missed episode. Good thing is that the show managed to battle that by breaking down the characters more which actually works after spending a season watching their superpowers evolve.
Diving deeper to the main group’s (Negative Man, Jane, Rita Farr, Chief, Robotman, Cyborg) as well as new character, Dorothy’s, past and present was the highlight of the season. Despite the word underrated being used often carelessly, it very much describes the depth that the Doom Patrol has. Diane Guerrero as Jane (plus several other personalities) was already a standout last season but she has taken over everything on a whole new level. Her character switching is more fine-tuned now so you appreciate more the grief and despair she portrays constantly. We also dive in more to Negative Man/Larry’s (played by Matt Bomer and Matthew Zuk) mindset where the slowly ripping off layers (or bandages) really pays off.
Much of the character exploration is supported by things happening behind the screens and scenes. Kevin Kiner and Clint Mansell’s hypnotic music create the adventures a solid backbone, whether it’s the doom-and-gloom synthesizers or circus-like traditional instrumentation. Similarly the costume department is working on overdrive, there is a lot to discover on both the characters influencing the story (Red Jack, Valentina Vostok) or backdrop characters (Scants). Thanks to the episodes standing on their own stylistically, outstanding parts are easy to pick out. Episodes 4 (Sex Patrol), 6 (Space Patrol) and 7 (Dumb Patrol) are the prime examples how fun Doom Patrol can get. Why the season is slightly lesser than the first are the last couple episodes that I don’t think tenth could’ve really improve much, the team aspect wasn’t quite earned based on how the storylines played out.
Smileys: Characterisation, score, Diane Guerrero, costume design
Frowneys: Ending or a resemblance of it
Doesn’t reach the fun or surprise factor of last season but the show is still original and character-driven.