December 7, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Doom Patrol “Flex Patrol”

Season One, Episode Thirteen.

We’re thirteen episodes in, and the team still won’t call themselves a team.

Maybe Flex Mentallo can help.

Who is Flex Mentallo?  He’s the Man of Muscle Mystery, a cereal mascot somehow with the power to alter reality by flexing certain muscles.  He was living the good life in the 50s with his wife Dolores when the Bureau of Normalcy captured him by sucking him into a kitten.

You know, for a Bureau of Normalcy, they sure do have a lot of weird stuff.

It turns out the Bureau kept Flex in a cell next to Larry at one point…and Vic much later.  By the time Vic came along, Flex forgot who he was.  He still remembered in Larry’s time, but the Bureau also captured Dolores to keep Flex in line.

Fun fact:  Flex could hear both the Negative Spirit and Grid.

However, he doesn’t remember his old life.  Dressed in a jump suit and extremely hairy, he comes out when the Doom Patrol’s escape attempts aren’t working out too well.  Silas isn’t dead, but Vic blames himself.  Larry and the Negative Spirit are separate beings now.  And Jane, well, don’t just tell her to send Flit out to take everyone home.  She’ll still do it, just don’t tell her to.  It doesn’t work that way.  Or it does.  I don’t know.

After zapping everyone back to Stately Caulder Manor, and then Rita, Vic, and Silas to the hospital, all that remains is to get Flex’s help in finding the Chief.  That’s a problem when he doesn’t know who he is and the others don’t know what his powers might be.

But this show likes to split its characters up, so the characters split up.  Rita is still at the hospital with Vic and the unconscious Silas.  She’s feeling down, but then an old man who looks like Ed Asner…

…wait, it is Ed Asner…

…shows up and she spills her secret shame that she acted as a procurer for a sleazy producer at one time in order to keep herself working.  One young actress got pregnant, had the baby, and then killed herself.  Rita’s been feeling bad ever since.  Now the old man says something about how she still has power and agency and such, and Rita feels better.  As such, she fully supports Vic when he opts to stay with his dad and reinstall Grid instead of helping the others.

Yes, the old man is also Mr. Nobody.

Back at the Manor, giving Flex a haircut and showing he had his old bathing suit costume under his jumpsuit doesn’t help.  Jane isn’t happy with Cliff either, but he apologizes and that works.  All Flex wants is to see is his favorite soap opera.  He might use his powers if he gets mad, and Cliff is rather obnoxious.

That doesn’t work.  Heck, Cliff watches the show with him.  It seems Cliff did a guest shot once upon a time when he was still completely human.  Larry joins them later.

But then Jane realizes what they really need is to find Dolores, and since they already met her, Jane can easily bring the old woman back.  And the reunion is very touching.

You know, until Dolores suddenly disintegrates.  Flex flexes in his misery, and his power blacks out most of the town.

All that’s really left is for the Negative Spirit to merge with Larry again before Larry dies.  Yes, Larry was dying.  But he’s all better now.

Anyway, Rita returns and the remaining heroes decide to form a team and rescue the Chief.

That’s good news for Mr. Nobody.  He’s been waiting very patiently for thirteen episodes by now, and even if he bashed the whole “superhero show” premise back in the pilot, he’s changed his mind since then.

Dude, stay consistent.  Even villains should stay consistent!