NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Doom Patrol” are present in this review
Doom Patrol once again aired two back-to-back episodes for us Canadians in its second week, with, “Pain Patrol” arriving fashionably late here in the Great White North, before being followed by the on-time, “Sex Patrol.” As its title suggests, “Sex Patrol” is an especially crazy episode of Doom Patrol as well, one that builds directly off of Dorothy’s unfortunate mistake with the Danny brick, in turn giving us another chance to reunite with Earth-21’s hard-partying, love-celebrating Dannyzens! After a well-intentioned party to revive the broken Danny ends up attracting trouble to Doom Manor however, the Doom Patrol find themselves meeting some of their strangest allies yet, as the fate of the world once again hangs in the balance.
Considering the controversial position that Chief put Danny in with Dorothy, after Dorothy’s powers proved too unstable and dangerous for the world at large, it’s easy to imagine that the Dorothy/Danny connection would inevitably have to come to the forefront at some point this season. Sure enough, after Dorothy accidentally breaking the Danny brick becomes known to the rest of the Doom Patrol, Chief finds himself unable to find a place to hide Dorothy again, should her powers once again become too great for the world to bear. Fortunately, after the Dannyzens show up at Doom Manor, and Rita makes an off-the-cuff suggestion about Flex Mentallo’s powers, everyone decides that Danny could potentially be healed if they threw a big enough party, which Dorothy helps them do, by recreating Danny’s party room within one of the rooms at the manor.
Doom Patrol remains spread a little too thin in this episode, particularly when it has to suddenly accommodate a return for Vic, along with some of Jane’s other personalities getting to be the Primary for a change. This becomes an especially noticeable issue when this episode takes a while to present its main threat as well,, in this case, the Shadowy Mr. Evans, a paranormal sex demon that ends up being drawn to Doom Manor, after the Dannyzens’ party becomes too charged with psycho-sexual energy. This is also paired with Rita deciding to undergo some rather, ahem, unique training under Flex, wherein Rita tries to get Flex to trigger another orgasm in her, so Rita will recognize the mental block that’s inhibiting the proper use of her powers.
Again, despite how spread thin the story is in this episode, there’s nonetheless some pretty superb material shared between several of the main Doom Patrol personalities. Dorothy is a particular highlight in this episode, as we learn some of the details behind her confinement within Danny so many years ago. Dorothy also finds herself frustrated that her bed time prevents her from enjoying the party alongside the adults in the present day, thus leading to Dorothy wanting to be allowed to grow up more, despite her century-old age. Rita and Chief both play wonderfully off of Dorothy’s struggles in this episode to boot, finally restoring some standout focus on Dorothy’s character, particularly when the Candlemaker starts once again encouraging Dorothy to embrace her darker desires.
Dorothy beginning to look up to Rita as a surrogate mother figure is another big highlight in this episode, beginning with Dorothy idolizing Rita’s glamourous appeal, only to later see it give way to disappointment and cynicism, once the party is over. Likewise, Chief constantly trying to hide Dorothy from the party, along with the truth behind her friendship with Danny, leads very effectively into Dorothy once again falling prey to the whims of the Candlemaker, which continue to stir in the background. Dorothy even almost permanently destroys the Danny brick at one point, only to relent and admit that she doesn’t know how to proceed, since she’s permanently trapped in a forced childhood. This is a great way to keep further fleshing out the characters of Dorothy, Rita, Danny and Chief alike, particularly when the Candlemaker appears to ‘abandon’ Dorothy at the end of this episode, no doubt priming her to feel more alone and disconnected later.
Unfortunately, the rest of this show’s ensemble didn’t get utilized quite as effectively here. Jane’s imprisonment in the Underground might as well have never happened, for example, since an exasperated Hammerhead simply restores her as the Primary at the end of this episode, for no real reason. Likewise, while Vic’s return to Doom Manor is appreciated, his strained relationship with Roni already seems like it’s easily repaired after a pep talk with Maura Lee Karupt. Finally, Larry didn’t have much else to do beyond mope in this episode, even if Cliff helped to somewhat pick up the slack, after Chief slipped some ecstasy into his fuel tank. Wait, Chief could have just done that the whole time, and solved the problem of Cliff’s lack of sensation?!
Inevitably though, the real draw of this episode is bound to be the coming of the SeX-Men, an apparent nod to Doom Patrol’s obvious borrowed inspiration from Marvel’s X-Men comic books, and yes, these bizarre characters do exist in the Doom Patrol’s DC Comics history, alongside the Shadowy Mr. Evans, amazingly enough! The SeX-Men, who are ironically armed more like Ghostbusters than X-Men in the Doom Patrol universe, are dedicated to stopping out-of-control sexual energy on Earth-21, and are thus out to prevent the apocalyptic designs of the Shadowy Mr. Evans, once he appears at Doom Manor. This is definitely a fun and frequently hilarious idea, especially when this episode brilliantly plays the SeX-Men completely straight, particularly when Chief rather casually admits to being acquainted with them. Frustratingly though, this idea isn’t used to its full potential here. The SeX-Men show up too late in the storytelling, and their confrontation with the Shadowy Mr. Evans is too quickly solved by Hammerhead, before it can do any interesting, or even vaguely weird damage. This is disappointing, but the SeX-Men are nonetheless perfectly primed to return in a future episode of Doom Patrol, and I really hope to see them again someday, in a storyline that’s more fully focused on them.
Regardless, Danny is eventually cured enough to regenerate as a tire, preventing Dorothy from being imprisoned again, shortly before they take the Dannyzens away to parts unknown. This is certainly a significant departure from how Danny is usually portrayed in DC Comics lore, where they’re quite literally known as, “Danny the Street”, but perhaps Danny’s unexpected evolution ties fittingly into the character’s representation of always being open to new ideas and paths to love. Either way, “Sex Patrol” once again fails to achieve the excellent high point of Season Two’s first two episodes, though it nonetheless remains another mostly solid Doom Patrol offering. The SeX-Men are fun, even if they’re not yet used to their full potential, and the material surrounding Dorothy once again returns to top form here. Cliff, Larry, Jane and Vic all sadly end up being lost in another rather busy Doom Patrol storyline this week, but at least their respective drama is positioned well for next week’s episode, after their interactions with the Dannyzens. Seriously though, why was Chief holding out on that ecstasy for Cliff all this time?!
- Highly enjoyable return for Danny and the Dannyzens
- Lots of superb drama with Dorothy, Rita and Chief
- The SeX-Men are hilarious (while they last)
- The SeX-Men and the Shadowy Mr. Evans are too under-utilized
- Most of the core Doom Patrol get lost in the plotting