December 7, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Doom Patrol “Puppet Patrol”

Season One, Episode Three.

Aw crap.  Nazis.

Yes, Nazis.  Cyborg got a tip to look into Mr. Nobody’s past by taking the team to Paraguay, where a Nazi scientist experimented on Mr. Nobody and gave the former member of the Brotherhood of Evil those weird powers he has.  And maybe that will lead to the missing Chief.  One problem:  Cyborg was cut off from using the S.T.A.R. Labs jet by his old man, so they’ll have to drive the Doom Patrol’s decrepit old bus there.  Now, you’d think Cliff, as a former race car driver in a body that theoretically doesn’t need to sleep, would do all the driving, but that isn’t the case, and the team takes turns with Cliff telling stories behind the wheel, Larry and Vic doing OK, Jane being a bit of a lead foot, and Rita barely hitting the speed limit as she exemplifies safe driving that may be a little too safe.  As it is, a week later, they still haven’t reached the Southern border.  Stopping at a motel where they can afford exactly one room, it looks like they won’t be going anywhere too quickly when the bus breaks down, Rita is having trouble literally holding herself together, and then Jane gets impatient, leading to one personality with teleportation powers to take herself, Larry, and Cliff on to where they were going and leaving Vic and Rita behind to bond a bit.

And what’s down there?  Well, it seems the Nazi scientist Von Fuchs has a clinic to give people metapowers.  There’s a tourist down there looking to get some work done, and the guy (named Steve) is only too anxious to get started.  As such, the multi-hour marionette show explaining the origin of the clinic that gives the episode its title (sort of) as well as putting the heroes to sleep soon leads to a revelation:  Mr. Nobody is the way he is in part because the Chief interrupted the procedure to shoot Von Fuchs, but the scientist didn’t quite die and instead has his descendants carrying on his work.

By the by, much of this episode’s more serious side shows Larry dealing with his past as a closeted gay man whose accident pushed his wife (who always kinda knew he was gay and wasn’t a homophobe about it) and his male lover away because he’s too radioactive to be around people without his special bandages.  And the Negative Spirit isn’t being very friendly.

So, what happens?  Well, Jane goes off by herself to consult a nurse while the guys talk to another one.  Larry excuses himself to try and use the machine that turned Morden into Nobody to separate himself from the Negative Spirit.  That doesn’t quite work, and he sees he’s been hurting himself all along.  Cliff fumbles through an interview saying he’d just like to feel again.  You know, like, anything.

And Jane?  She says she’ll turn over some DNA with her 64 separate forms of metapowers if the clinic gives Larry and Cliff what they want.

That..almost works, except it turns out since she has no control over her personalities, Von Fuchs (still alive in a bellows-powered machine doing the breathing for him, so he’s another puppet) points out that Jane isn’t the original personality, and he’ll be taking that DNA anyway because he hates Niles Caulder and won’t answer any questions.  Oh, and his “descendants” are really hive-minded clones controlled by him, so even more puppets are around.

That means the clones attack Jane and Cliff separately. Cliff plows through them without any physical problems (his conscience is another story), and Jane uses a couple different personalities to take out some more before killing Von Fuchs with one personality that turns her spoken words into metal blades.  And then there’s an explosion or two, the clones all die, Larry comes out in a different place, and Vic and Rita show up in the aforementioned jet because Silas Stone is apparently monitoring everything that’s happening and will always “help” his son.  The only Chief the Doom Patrol found was a string puppet Jane hands over to Rita.

So, that’s it for Paraguay, right?

Eh, not quite.  See, Steve the tourist was in the middle of a procedure and seems to have been forgotten in all the hub-bub.  But then he comes out as the old Doom Patrol enemy Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man.

He thinks that’s pretty cool.