NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Doom Patrol” are present in this review
Doom Patrol kicked off its second season on an impressive note from its very first episode, and this week’s back-to-back episode offerings for Canada ended up being excellently rounded out during the following hour. “Tyme Patrol” pits most of the team against another familiar, highly eccentric villain from DC Comics lore, after Chief is left with no options in the wake of his rapidly-approaching death. At the same time, Vic meets a military veteran who challenges his established belief system as a superhero, while Larry covertly attends his late son’s funeral, and in the process, discovers something heart-wrenching about the family he left behind.
Larry’s connection to the show’s ongoing events may have felt a little too tenuous during the previous episode, but in this episode, Larry’s subplot finally comes into better focus, especially now that the rest of the Doom Patrol have returned to their normal size. As a consequence to this, Dorothy ended up taking more of a backseat in this episode, but this proves useful in this case, since it allows Doom Patrol to better focus on the standing grief with its eponymous anti-heroes. In Larry’s case, this involves reuniting with his other son, Paul, now a high-ranking member of the military. Larry may not fully return to his former family connections in the end, but after his negative spirit leads him to a barn full of evidence that Gary never abandoned the search for his missing father, Larry nonetheless emotionally breaks down, having failed the expectations of the son that never gave up on him.
Larry’s subplot, while still disconnected from events with the bulk of the heroes, easily tugs at the heartstrings here, once again making Larry a highlight character on Doom Patrol. Fortunately, Vic’s subplot also excels too, presenting more challenging emotional depth, as Vic tries to attend a support group. In the process, Vic meets a blunt, feisty veteran named Roni, who immediately challenges his belief system, culminating in a date that concludes with Roni stopping a mugger. Vic wants to punish the mugger, but Roni insists that the mugger be forgiven, since he’s a victim of a system that routinely neglects him. After an impassioned argument follows, Vic eventually decides to trust Roni’s instincts, and subsequently allows the mugger to flee, seemingly showing that Vic’s time with the Doom Patrol has effectively expanded his moral compass, even after he’s seemingly abandoned them. This is an interesting evolution for Vic’s character in Season Two, now that he’s become a little disillusioned with the idea of being a conventional, Justice League-wannabe superhero, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Vic’s time away from the Doom Patrol takes him next.
As for the bulk of events in this episode however, they primarily involve Cliff, Jane and Rita continuing to debate what’s to be done about the dying Chief, and particularly whose responsibility it will be to look after Dorothy, should Chief pass away. After all, Danny is still a brick, and it’s not truly possible to have Dorothy be locked away again, even considering Chief’s dire warnings about the Candlemaker. This continues to see the other Doom Patrol members react in a variety of ways, with Cliff eager to leave Doom Manor and abandon Chief, while Jane decides she has no choice but to stay, especially after running short on the personality-blocking serum from Josh Clay. Rita, meanwhile, continues to try and be a voice of support for Chief, pushing him to find new solutions, and not to give up on his chances at continued life, despite Chief now being 139 years old.
Eventually, Rita’s insistence on continuing Chief’s efforts to stay immortal tip the present Doom Patrol members off to the existence of a scientist named Dr. Tyme, a lesser enemy of the Doom Patrol from DC Comics lore, who has the power to manipulate time through a ‘Time Ray’ embedded within his helmet. Since Dr. Tyme was once an ordinary scientist, who immediately went mad after handling a mineral from a meteorite that landed in Bali (for reference, Dr. Tyme’s civilian name is Percy Sutter in DC Comics lore, but in the case of this show, his real name is unknown, with, “Dr. Jonathan Tyme” being his only known alias), Chief eventually relents to allowing Cliff, Jane and Rita to travel into Dr. Tyme’s Time Sphere, currently between time and space, and lodged approximately around August 8th, 1980. After Cliff has to comically admit an indiscretion of the era to get the heroes to see Dr. Tyme, they find themselves greeted by a very offbeat new foe, which is ironically becoming weirdly expected for the Doom Patrol at this point.
Despite Chief hyping up Dr. Tyme as a dangerous, time-hopping madman though, he is, in reality, a conceited, highly eccentric weirdo, one that’s simply interested in a perpetual disco party, as various historical figures roller skate with him, to the never-ending tune of Donna Summer’s, “Bad Girls.” It’s impeccably weird, and immediately entertaining, as Rita ends up being swept into the party, while Cliff and Jane have to try and find a way to steal the Continuinium that’s inside Dr. Tyme’s helmet. Problem is however, the helmet is not a helmet, and is actually Dr. Tyme’s head, complete with Continuinium-laced brains spilling out of it when Rita tries to steal the mineral! This hilariously violent scenario is eventually undone, but the team are nonetheless sent back to Doom Manor at this point, no further than when they started. Even so, the hysterical aside with Dr. Tyme is amazing, and perfectly suited to Doom Patrol’s bizarre, yet memorable sense of humour.
“Tyme Patrol” fully balances the ongoing ensemble drama with Doom Patrol for the start of its second season. The results thus continue to cement this show as arguably the best original series to come out of DC Universe at this point, and now, the best original series that HBO Max currently has on offer to boot! Larry’s and Vic’s storylines carry lots of challenging emotional depth, which is balanced well by the hilariously weird confrontation with Dr. Tyme, shared between the other Doom Patrol members. Even with Dorothy Spinner taking more of a background role in this case, the storytelling really soars with the second of Canada’s two season premiere episodes this week. The Chief is still without an immortality solution to boot, and with Larry now seemingly running into his own obstacle in Indiana, the Doom Patrol’s problems appear to be multiplying again, even before the Candlemaker can arrive to properly menace them.
- Hilarious 'battle' against Dr. Tyme
- Vic's heroic ideals being challenged
- Larry confronting his late son's convictions