TV REVIEW: DC's "Doom Patrol" S1 E13 "Flex Patrol"

Flex Mentallo played by Devan Chandler Long

In this fantastic new episode of Doom Patrol, quite a lot happens; we get to officially meet "The Hero of the Beach", Flex Mentallo and his wife Dolores, back in Great Bend, Kansas in 1964 as they start to enjoy a lovely picnic together. Flex is the "Man of Muscle Mystery" and can do some pretty amazing things when he flexes. We don't get to see too much, though, as their day together is interrupted by a cat stuck in a tree.

Back to the present day at The Ant Farm, the Killer Butts are on the loose and taking out agents left and right. All the cells have been opened and the unique individuals are free, although not necessarily safe. Silas is lying in Vic's (Cyborg) arms, barely alive after Mr. Nobody messed with Vic's head and his memories of his father, causing him to lose control and beat his dad nearly to death. With the help of Flick, the team and their guest arrive back at the mansion. Flick quickly rushes Vic, Silas, and Rita (Elasti-Woman) to the hospital while Cliff (Robotman), Larry (Negative Man), and Jane (Crazy Jane) stay behind. Jane and Cliff hilariously try to help Flex remember who he is and what his powers are. All he can think about or care about are his daytime soap operas. At one point, Jane even suggests trying to trigger his superpower by putting him "under duress."

With the end of season one right around the corner, you can see the real changes and growth of each of the main characters in "Flex Patrol." Each one having come such a long way from who they were in episode one.

Throughout the season, Cliff Steele has been wanting to be a better person than who he was before the car crash, wanting to help people, and be a hero. In "Flex Patrol," he finally starts feeling like he is accomplishing that by saving Vic and finding Flex, although it was pretty messy. He even celebrates (untimely) the fact that they "saved a superhero"-- them, the screw-ups, the rejects-- they did it. He takes charge while Rita and Vic are at the hospital, working really well with Jane, even learning to be a bit more understanding and sensitive with her. Jane, who has been fighting Cliff as her father-ish figure tooth and nail, finally takes her walls down a bit, leading to a very touching moment between the two of them while they try to help Flex remember. Now we see her totally willing to be part of the team and work together with Cliff.

Meanwhile, the duo of Cyborg and Elasti-Woman are watching over Silas as he hopefully recovers. The change in these two characters through this season is incredible, and both change in very different ways. Vic at the beginning was an overly cocky, take-charge "superhero," famous and well-liked, thinking he always knew the right thing to do. All of that is gone now, and it is really sad to see him questioning everything, his judgment, his character, and even his leadership. He blames himself for going after Mr. Nobody and for his dad's current situation. He is broken and feels helpless, and during this time Rita Farr, the person you would least expect to be by his side is there. She cares for him deeply and wants him to get better. When we first meet Rita, she projected great confidence, but she was really barely keeping it together. She was selfish, self-centered, and vain-- not wanting anything to do with Cyborg or any sort of change-- she was afraid. Now she is caring, putting the needs and feelings of others well before herself. She works with the team, and one of her closest friends is the person she fought with the most. With the help of a fantastic cameo by Ed Asner, she learns to deal with her past mistakes, be brave and fight, even making an encouraging "you can do it/we can do it" speech to Cyborg.

Last but definitely not least, we have Larry Trainor (Negative Man) who from day one has been constantly at odds with the negative spirit residing within him. He views it as a curse that ruined his life. During "Frances Patrol," the two of them finally came together as learned that they need each other, as the negative spirit helped Larry say goodbye to the love of his life John Powers. After the two were forcibly separated in the last week's "Cyborg Patrol," Larry doesn't feel so well, and for the first time he is conscious while the two are apart. You can see that Larry has grown to care for the spirit, even willing to sacrifice himself for the negative spirit to have a better life.

With only two episodes left, the team feels ready to fight, and I can't wait to see how it all ends. This is such a smart, fun, and entertaining show that you don't have to know anything about the comic books to enjoy. "Penultimate Patrol" airs next Friday May 17th, and you won't want to miss it.

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