The so-far very introspective episodes with lots of character development, backgrounds, and flashbacks, but no action continues. I hope viewers stick with this series; if it’s anything like season one, it will get more exciting.
“Pain Patrol” opens in Whitechapel in 1888. A young boy witnesses a bloodied prostitute stumble out of the fog. We expect to see Jack The Ripper follow her, but what we see instead is Red Jack. A extra-dimensional being “countless centuries old” who travels to Earth to fuel himself with the pain of others, usually at his hand.
In the present, Calder receives an invitation to dinner from Red Jack, along with a swatch of Larry (Negative Man) Trainor’s special body-covering bandages, suggesting he has been kidnapped.
This entire episode is about “Invitations” of one sort or another.
Vic (Cyborg) Gets invited to a special, surprise, one-on-one therapy session. Jane is forcefully “interventioned” by her multiple personalities who try to convince her to stop drugging them all into submission. In a 1966 flashback, Larry is invited to live at Calder’s mansion. Cliff (Robotman) invites himself to his grown daughter’s home, hoping for instant acceptance and happily-ever-after.
Trainor’s kidnapping was only a way to get Calder to come to Red Jack; he wouldn’t have otherwise. Red Jack knows what Calder wants more than anything else—long life—and offers it to him for a high price. Will Calder be tempted to accept his invitation anyway?
Red Jack's visual design is very creative and creepy, and actor Roger Floyd plays him with disturbing relish. He does occasionally have trouble enunciating through his jagged teeth. All of the actors in this series are well-cast and directed. The only one I’m not so fond of is Cliff/Robotman, played by Brendan Fraser. His performance has been one-dimensional, shrill, and gratuitously, over-the-top profane. I love to drop a good f-bomb myself, but this is ridic; I think he has already set a record for the number of bombs spoken by a character in a tv series, and we’ve only just begun season 2.
Calder’s daughter Dorothy doesn’t have much to do this episode, mostly playtime with her not-so-imaginary friends. Sometimes when kids play, things get broken, and sometimes they can’t be fixed. Or can they?
Stick with it, Doomers...it'll get more exciting. I hope. One thing is certain, at the end of this episode, you'll never look at butterflies the same way again.
Doom Patrol, season two airs on HBO MAX.
Season one of Doom Patrol is available on Amazon Prime Video.