Doom Patrol: Wax Patrol
August 6, 2020 7:52 PM - Season 2, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The team tries to save Dorothy (and the world) from the Candlemaker.
posted by kittens for breakfast (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Random Notes:

*Well, shit.

*I laughed so hard at Vic curled up in bed listening to The Cure that I had to stop the show for a minute.

*Obviously, Cliff should have gone to Clara's wedding.

*I've had a lot of problems with Jane's story this season, but even though I suggested how cool it would be last week, I didn't think they would actually make Miranda an invader. I presume she's the Candlemaker (which would make sense, I suppose, since the Candlemaker was able to enter the Underground), although I wonder, as they stopped short of a reveal.

*I don't know how I missed it last week, but Dorothy's ruby red boots are a pretty obvious homage to you-know-what (it's in the advertising for this season). They don't seem to have done her any particular good, though. I can't help but notice that Jane's selves meet their end in water, and Dorothy apparently meets her end in fire, but I have no real idea what these symbols mean, if anything. Cool stuff, though.

*I'm not sure what to make of Jane and Driver Eight both looking like Jane's physical body in the Underground, when none (I think) of the others do. I would have guessed the primary's Underground self would come to look like the physical body, at least after a while. I'm probably overthinking it.

*The story of The Fall of Miranda is interesting in itself, but I'm not immediately thrilled with it as an origin for Jane. It's definitely interesting as a metaphor for the '60s transitioning to the '70s. The orgy in Miranda's apartment was a pretty clear callback to the sex ghosts in the first part of the season (in the last -- in my humble opinion -- 100% successful episode of this season, and likely the best), but again, I couldn't tell you what this is supposed to mean, honestly. I do wonder if a more thematically coherent season might have happened if not for the killer plague from the fucking Stand screwing it up. Thanks a lot, killer plague; daddy was trying to watch his stories over here.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:11 PM on August 6, 2020 [2 favorites]


(It also kind of bothers me that Hammer Head looks like an industrial metalhead in like 1971 or something. At the earliest, her look probably wouldn't have made sense for another six or seven years. I think it would have been cool to show the Underground selves at an earlier stage of evolution, more reflective of the era; but at the very least, I would have liked for Miranda not to say "this is a lot," which I at least don't recall anybody saying in real life until about 2018.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:24 PM on August 6, 2020 [2 favorites]


Cliff should have gone to Clara's wedding

Like how Larry should have let go and sing. These flawed characters continue making regrettable (from an outside perspective) decisions that makes sense for them internally in the situation/ time. It's heartbreaking, great storytelling.

Driver Eight ... none (I think) of the others do

Huh, interesting. I haven't noticed, will have to keep an eye out on the binge rewatch. And yeah, makes sense that primary will eventually resemble the physical body, and I suspect maybe even slowly be mentally affected by that. The container shaping the contents and whatnot.


The bloodshot eye beachballs - oddly enough a surprising dearth of eyeball beachballs for sale. There're a few on alibaba, minimum purchase of 1000 for a few bucks each. I see one (the same stock photo) on ebay for $25. Otherwise, I'd fill the deadspace in my unused 1/2 bathroom that's serving as a storage room with them.


I liked that Kipling's imaginary friend is a period puppet ('Punch and Judy''s first recorded appearance, according to wikiped, was 1662. The 15th century was 1401-1500. But yeah, everybody gets it and sets up a good line.)

But I guess there's nothing stopping him from making an imaginary friend in the mid 17th as a 200-odd yo.

Rita's friend seemed pauperous. I remember making paper dolls around grade 3? Hers looked economically limited to my eyes, or was it supposed to imply youth and crude motor skills?

Cliff's friend - ?! Jesus? Jesus, getting beat with your own arm's kinda harsh.

But "FUCK! Bible! Camp!" ... "I had to believe in my dad. You know what that's like." ... "I'm sorry Jesus."

But Jesus, that's balls-ey writing Jesus as an imaginary friend. Even if this wasn't.

Victor's imaginary friend was a cowboy version of his dad. Jeez Louise. We get it, his parents sucked.
posted by porpoise at 10:57 PM on August 6, 2020 [1 favorite]


Overall, I enjoyed the first season a little more.

Some of the novelty wore off, drastically reduced amounts of Tudyk, and a little bit too busy/ ambitious character development wise for the number of episodes given.

I'm sorry, but I'm not a Dorothy fan. Her actor does a bang up job, but I'm actively ambivalent to allocating energy to empathize with her various sufferings. Much the same with Chief and Timmy Dalton, only actively resistant.

She does end the season on a major (positive) character dev arc cliffhanger, though.
posted by porpoise at 10:59 PM on August 6, 2020 [3 favorites]


Not just an orgy, it’s a work orgy.

Is there a reason Dorothy can’t just wish for the Candlemaker to make himself go away? Or is he not that kind of fairytale monster?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:57 AM on August 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


The story of The Fall of Miranda is interesting in itself, but I'm not immediately thrilled with it as an origin for Jane.

This wasn't the origin of Jane ? Didn't we see her in 1957 last season ?
posted by Pendragon at 4:15 AM on August 7, 2020


So, any reviews out there whether that was the intended stopping point or if that's just where the 'rona left them?
posted by Kyol at 6:34 AM on August 7, 2020


In an interview with TVLine, the executive producer for the show, Jeremy Carver, confirms that there was supposed to be another episode in this season, but is positive that the circumstances didn't change the overall story too much.

Another season will resolve the cliffhangers, but apparently that's not a sure thing. I really hope it gets another one, this is my favorite superhero show.
posted by demiurge at 7:41 AM on August 7, 2020


I was a little surprised they went the route they did, but I guess if you're going to end on a cliffhanger, you end hanging off the tallest cliff you can find. I have absolutely no idea what metric for success HBO Max will use to determine whether enough people watch the show to give it another season, or indeed when another season (of this show, or any show) can even be made. I hope there's some resolution to this story, if nothing else, although the Doom Patrol historically has a tradition of "rocks fell, everybody died" endings.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:22 PM on August 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


I’ve read several reviews stating that this was intended to be the penultimate episode, but none describing exactly how the ‘Rona affected the season. Is it that the final episode was going to be filmed in March? Was the film already in the can but all the production and special effects houses shut down? Was the episode we saw exactly what was intended as the next to last episode, or was it re-edited to work better as a season finale?

There better be a season 3, not just because I love this show, but because this would be BLEAK as a final episode. Every character dead-ish except the Chief, who was already coughing up blood. But In a series that is all about how shitty parents can be to their children, the premise of this episode works well as a finale.

The set of the wax-covered, fog-shrouded carnival was absolutely amazing. I absolutely love the production design of this show but this, as a place for our heroes to confront their daddy-and-mommy issues, took the cake.

Has Larry’s story ever touched on his relationship with his parents? It feels like “I never had an imaginary friend” was a shortcut to not have to introduce that storyline for him, when we’ve spent so much time with his family already. Also, is the negative spirit on vacation or something? When’s the last time we saw it??

I didn't think they would actually make Miranda an invader. I presume she's the Candlemaker


I think the episode strongly implied that Fake Miranda was Daddy in disguise.

Jane and Driver Eight both looking like Jane's physical body in the Underground, when none (I think) of the others do.

Karen, the love-crazed, marriage-obsessed personality also looks like Jane. I remember a line in “Jane Patrol” mentioning that some personalities do and some don’t, implying that more do than just those three.

Is there a reason Dorothy can’t just wish for the Candlemaker to make himself go away? Or is he not that kind of fairytale monster?

Seems like the Candlemaker is not a manifestation of Dorothy’s power, but an external (and antagonistic) Force that could take advantage of Dorothy’s power when he could convince her to let him. Dorothy’s purpose is to defeat the Candlemaker, but since a certain Chief kept her isolated and infantilized, she didn’t even know it until a couple of episodes ago.

I really hope there’s another season of Doom Patrol. If there isn’t, I will explore various ways to make myself immortal so I may survive until the show comes back. Or to pitch Steele and Stone until it’s picked up.
posted by ejs at 11:45 PM on August 7, 2020 [7 favorites]


This didn't quite come together like the first season (though Sex Patrol miiight be my favorite episode of the show?) but I'd be really, really bummed if it doesn't get another season.

Given what Clara already knows about Cliff's present weirdness, you'd think it would just be easier to SAY that the eleven year old they live with is in danger and that's why he might miss the wedding because "ugh, something came up, I'm the worst, def hmu next time" totally sounds like you decided not to come. (Also the fact that the best contact info he has for her is still the bar where she works is sad in the way that Cliff's whole life is sad.)

It's pretty funny that after (1) the speech about how Cliff should go with them and not Clara because they're his real family and (2) the 15th century sorcerer screaming in horror as he's dragged off by his imaginary puppet friend warning them they're all about to be attacked by their imaginary friends, they decide to all split up to go off on their own and instantly get their asses kicked by their imaginary friends.

I thought the Miranda/Jane stuff has been an interesting idea that hasn't always totally come together in execution (though, a main character's impassioned tirade against swingers felt like a stranger addition to this particular show than Robotman kickboxing his imaginary friend Jesus in a funhouse pit of eyeballs.) I legit didn't see the twist at the end coming, and though I don't want or need the Miranda we've seen to be an impersonation by some manifestation of her actual literal father somehow, the idea that Kay's been carrying around a version of him too in a more organized way than as a monster in the well is a fascinatingly horrible one.

It wasn't that weird to me that Larry never had an imaginary friend (I was a weird loner kid and I never did either, though I did watch enough TV that I thought I was supposed to), but in practice it definitely did feel like them realizing, shit, we don't have time for four of these things. Also, I guess Cliff, Rita, and Vic are the characters (besides Niles) who don't have other people popping out of them on a regular basis as it is. (Though, while we're on the subject, did the negative spirit also turn into wax? I mean I guess that's more likely than they're just hanging out in there?)

Maybe I'll feel differently when we know Candlemaker's full deal, but I don't think we really needed to spend an entire season getting to this point. Or, maybe we did, but he didn't really function as an antagonist this season and trying to avoid him didn't work for me as a central driving conflict either, since Niles was exceptionally Niles-y about refusing to explain himself so it didn't seem relevant to anyone else's plot, and we don't actually know much more about the Candlemaker and Dorothy and Salva and all that than we did at the beginning of the season. After the arch-meta of Mr. Nobody, an evil imaginary friend isn't a bad way to go, and I don't even really need these characters to be a superteam who fight a big bad every season, but a gesture in that direction might help make the story more cohesive.

And, agreed kittens for breakfast, if this was it at least they went out like the Doom Patrol.
posted by jameaterblues at 10:03 PM on August 8, 2020 [4 favorites]


I thought the Miranda/Jane stuff has been an interesting idea that hasn't always totally come together in execution (though, a main character's impassioned tirade against swingers felt like a stranger addition to this particular show than Robotman kickboxing his imaginary friend Jesus in a funhouse pit of eyeballs.) I legit didn't see the twist at the end coming, and though I don't want or need the Miranda we've seen to be an impersonation by some manifestation of her actual literal father somehow, the idea that Kay's been carrying around a version of him too in a more organized way than as a monster in the well is a fascinatingly horrible one.

I've felt very squeamish about the show retaining the childhood sexual abuse backstory for Jane from the comics from the beginning. This was not an uncommon genre fiction trope at the time (it was probably a bit of a cliche even then), and like other such tropes -- "traumatized war veterans" come to mind -- its use always ran the risk of trivializing and/or exploiting problems that are very real to people IRL. I haven't read the comics in many, many years, but I would be surprised to learn that Jane's backstory never tripped over any such potholes, however well-intentioned Grant Morrison's work may have been.

The show deals with a lot of very real social issues, of course, but most of them live underneath one or more translucent levels of metaphor. Kay's sexual abuse is pretty much out up front. Childhood sexual abuse is such a volatile topic -- and so often (much too often) a factor in real people's lives -- that to treat it like just another plot element is brutally tasteless and off-putting. And yet you don't really want to make it what your weird superhero show is primarily about, either. I think that Doom Patrol (unlike, say, any of the CW DCU shows) is built to accommodate serious subjects like this, but I also think that any show that wants to make material like this a part of its explicit text has to be incredibly careful about what it's saying and what messages it's putting out there. I don't know whether the show employs sensitivity readers, but I will say I don't think it's a bad idea.

Jane's anti-poly tirade kind of seems...um...I mean...you know, that's complicated. When I read a lot of lefty male writers from that era, it seems their social agenda -- while progressive in many other ways -- was remarkably old-school sexist in ways I suspect they were completely blind to. This is not to discount the ways in which they were genuinely progressive, but it is to say, That shit was real. (I'm not sure if planned orgies of like twenty youngish people were real; that seems to stretch credibility, but maybe my life is just boring.) So if we read Jane's speech as addressing the social shortcomings of that era, okay. I am less comfortable with it as damning polyamory altogether, especially if we're damning it as a thing men invented to exploit women. I'm pretty sure that isn't always how it works.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:10 AM on August 9, 2020


This was an interesting season for me in that it made me like the show less, despite not really having a dip in quality from the first season. I guess by giving me more, it made me realize that I wasn't really that interested in the show's whole worldview and what it was trying to do.

Last season, the off-kilter caustic energy in each episode felt like a refreshing change of pace; this season—without falling off that much—the episodes felt like a chore to get through, too long but also somehow over before they really began.

(I do think the characters were particularly ill-used this season, with the writers falling back on lazy "everybody pissy at each other as the default" tropes instead of genuine character conflict.)
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:16 PM on August 9, 2020


I've felt very squeamish about the show retaining the childhood sexual abuse backstory for Jane from the comics from the beginning.

It's a tough one, and like, not something I'd want to spend a ton of time watching even if it WERE done superlatively well, and I can't imagine I'm the only one. I do wish they'd gone another way with her character, or at least spent more time on other stories for her now. (She's not exactly like the Hulk but has some of the same story problems as the Hulk, and they seem to have mostly figured it out for him.)

I know nothing about swing culture of that time (but 100% would believe it had some real bad dynamics in the mix), but I was torn between watching that scene from what I think was Jane's perspective, and watching it as a person in 2020 who's not poly but hangs around plenty of people who are. I think part of what trips me up is that while there was definitely upsetting and scummy behavior on display and the boyfriend's behavior was appalling, "you women only pretend to like this because you're weak and empty" was...whatever else I could say, that not something I saw established on screen? Like the friend's wife probably should've picked up on and respected that Miranda was not into the slow sexy hug, but in general the other women seemed to be having a perfectly nice time. I guess I could read that speech as really being directed at Miranda for going along with it (which...brutal) but if that was the intent, it didn't really come across?

I dunno. There were some really really complicated and touchy dynamics going on there, and Jane coming into existence, condemning them all for being at an orgy, and then walking out to the street stark naked felt like an odd place to land it.
posted by jameaterblues at 1:47 PM on August 9, 2020 [3 favorites]


I have a lot of friends who are poly, into sex parties, in the adult industry, and regardless of how into this scene you are - springing a sex party on someone in her home and without her consent and then pressuring her to take part "in the interest of their relationship" is horrible behavior.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:24 AM on August 14, 2020 [5 favorites]


Sure, but with as little poly representation as you see on TV, portraying it this way here just makes it seem like a thing poly people do. It's a weird thing to see on a show that is generally extremely sensitive to issues regarding sexuality.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:05 PM on August 15, 2020


Season 3 confirmed!
posted by jameaterblues at 10:03 AM on September 12, 2020


Exclusively on HBO Max, which has bad but not shocking implications for DC Universe. I hope they can figure out how to get HBO Max on any of the streaming devices that most people use between now and then! It's a great service, but I don't relish watching it on my phone because fantastically rich corporations are too busy trying to fuck each other over to let me watch it on my dang TV.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:36 PM on September 13, 2020


Jane and Driver Eight both looking like Jane's physical body in the Underground, when none (I think) of the others do.

Karen, the love-crazed, marriage-obsessed personality also looks like Jane. I remember a line in “Jane Patrol” mentioning that some personalities do and some don’t, implying that more do than just those three.


There's also The Painter, and the one who physically manifests words as weapons (I forget her name) just off the top of my head.

So this season shared a phenomenon with the most recent seasons of Legends of Tomorrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: They kind of half-assed their season arcs in favor of shorter-term character interaction and episodic hijinks, and then had to scramble to bring things together for the conclusion. It's a little like the writers are on a bit of autopilot, and they spend too much time on the front end just having fun in their sandbox, and then realize too late that they have some heavy lifting to do on the back end, and by then it's too late to wrangle a cohesive, satisfying season out of things. In all three of these cases I'm invested enough in the characters to keep watching, and honestly I think these kinds of shows sometimes lean too hard on their big-bad arcs, but I think the answer is to get creative and develop interesting stories rather than sort of giving up or rehashing the same basic plotlines for season after season (I'm looking at you, Arrow!).

They should have worked in Dorothy's hidden maturation much earlier. It would have created more suspense, yielded more interesting drama and heightened the stakes. By waiting until the end of the season they made it seem like an afterthought. We could have gotten more about the Candlemaker, what drives it, and what its potential is.

I liked seeing Larry, Rita and Cliff work through some issues, and I initially liked Vic finding someone to share experiences with, but they spun their wheels too much (especially with Vic) and squandered a lot of time they could have used really driving the core story. I don't think they should have jettisoned those storylines, but they could have been a lot more economical and efficient with them (mostly Vic's, honestly). I also think they could have woven Jane's story together with Dorothy's more, they seem to be having some parallel issues.

Still, I love how weird this is. I mean, angry cursing Jesus beating Cliff with his own arm? Yes please! I'm looking forward to seeing how they resolve this season's story, and I hope for some tighter storytelling next season.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:04 AM on September 16, 2020


Jane's anti-poly tirade kind of seems...um...I mean...you know, that's complicated.

Well, Miranda has literally just been emotionally manipulated into allowing her bf's business associate fuck her, for what seems like the benefit of her bf's career and because her bf wasn't really into monogamy even though she made it clear that she was. She's angry at herself and she's projecting.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:34 PM on September 24, 2020


« Older The X-Files: Requiem...   |  Book: Harrow the Ninth... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster