The Doom Room: “Pilot”
It’s the kick-off episode of our Doom Patrol podcast, and we’re breaking down the series premiere, appropriately named “Pilot”. In the episode, we meet Cliff Steele, Rita Farr, Larry Trainor and Crazy Jane (sorry: Regular Human Jane), and get introduced to the world of Doom Manor. But how does it hold up for fans, years later? And how does it work for a new fan watching for the first time? Let’s discuss.
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Full Episode Transcript
Alex: Welcome to the Doom Room, a podcast about Doom Patrol. Previously on DC Universe, now on HBO Max. I’m Doomed, I’m Alex.
Justin: I’m also Doomed, I’m Justin.
Pete: Hey, I’m Pete.
Alex: And we are going to be talking about the first episode of season one of Doom Patrol.
Alex: Titled Pilot. Yes.,Finally, we’re coming to this late. For those of you who don’t know us, we do a regular weekly podcast called Comic Book Club, every Tuesday night, at 7:00 PM, online. People have been asking us, and asking us to do a Doom Patrol podcast. Certainly we’ve talked about the show a lot, but we haven’t done a formal one. So we decided to go all the way back, jump into it, with the first episode. Now to set some…
Justin: Makes sense. Now you did say it’s a formal podcast, so we are of course, in full tuxedos, and we’ll be speaking very formally about this. Only I have pentameter, is what I’m going to aim for.
Pete: Privy, Justin.
Justin: Oh boy.
Alex: Hold the trousers for thine moment.
Justin: Oh, boy. I don’t know what I’m trying to…
Alex: I did want to mention, though, that we’ve all had different amount of Doom Patrol that we’ve watched. For my own part, I’ve watched two and a half seasons. I don’t know why I stopped through season three, I just got busy with stuff.
Justin: That’s not cool.
Alex: I really enjoy the show. I’m excited to go back and revisit it from the beginning. Pete, you’ve watched just the first two seasons.
Pete: I’ve seen the first two seasons. I was a huge fan, and I was pushing for us, for a long time to do this podcast, so I’m very excited to be here doing this.
Alex: Well, why don’t you get excited when it turns out we hate it, when we hate the show.
Pete: Well, we’ll see.
Justin: It’s crazy that you haven’t finished got into the third season if you’re such a fan.
Alex: Sounds like you’re a fair weather fan, Pete.
Pete: Oh, go fuck yourself. A lot of things have happened in the world and sometimes you…
Alex: Name one thing that’s happened in the world.
Pete: Justin, before we get into the episode proper, though, Justin, you haven’t watched any of it at this point, other than the first episode, right?
Justin: I, as a true fan, have been saving myself for this podcast, and have come in cold. I’m going to be saying theories that are already proven wrong, but that’s what it’s all about.
Pete: We should say, though, that we are huge comic book nerds, and are very familiar with the comic book, so it’s not like we’re walking in with no…
Alex: I’m a little bit more of a comic book jock, but go ahead.
Justin: Yes. And I’m a fan of Doom, the video game, so is this… When do we get into this sort of dungeon exploring?
Alex: I’m a big fan of Doom, the movie, so I’m wondering when Dwayne, the Rock, Johnson, will show up.
Justin: Oh, man.
Alex: I’m a big… I come at that this from a Paw Patrol. I’m just into patrols, I’m into all patrols; highway patrols, Paw Patrols.
Justin: What are you, a cop?
Alex: So I want to get to you, first Justin, about this because you are coming into this fresh, as we mentioned, I’ve really enjoyed the show, Pete’s really enjoyed the show, but despite reading the comic books, really liking several runs in the comic books, this is your first experience with the show. And I’m guessing you didn’t watch the Titans episode where some of these characters first showed up either, right?
Justin: I did not. That is all, as a true fan, that’s also something I’m saving.
Alex: It’s okay, you can skip it, it’s fine. They’re entirely, for anybody who is wondering, or happens to be coming into Doom Patrol totally clean, there was an episode of Titans where, I believe, it was Brendan Fraser, and Matt Bomer’s voice, and April Bowlby, who played Elasti-Girl, but otherwise, everybody was different. It was a totally different thing. It’s completely unconnected. It’s a different continuity that they’ve set up, and I think the better for it, but what was your take on this episode? How does it strike you as a Doom Patrol fan, first?
Justin: The tone. There aren’t a lot of superhero shows that capture this tone of, now it’s dark and these characters are fuck-ups. They start there, and they continue on in that way. So I do think that the fact that they’re sort of committing to it, and committing to the comedy of it, is really refreshing in a world where most of our superhero television shows are pretty sanitized.
Pete: I have a question. What’s funny is, because this show, when it first came out, I watched it and then walked away from it, and come back to it. The intro, and what Justin’s saying, reminds me a little bit of American Gods where it starts off with this eerie, creepy and then we…
Alex: You’re talking about the actual opening title sequence now, right?
Pete: That’s exactly, yes. But also the feel of the show, because we also did an American Gods podcast, it reminds me a little bit of that. Which, two very creative shows, very impressive, completely different, but re watching it now, it gave me that feel, a little bit.
Justin: And it sort of strikes me, just another observation, it’s a rated R superhero show, so it’s very much in the Deadpool vein. And watching this, I was struck by, I’m so surprised, given how big Deadpool is, why there aren’t more superhero TV shows that are trying to capture that, ride that lightning into TV?
Alex: Yes. I think it’s because it’s a difficult tone to hit. To get, like you’re saying, that comedy and drama in equal measures, isn’t easy. I’m blanking on the name, I’ll look it up in a second, but the guy whose show runs it, is from Supernatural, which is a show that often hits that tone.
Alex: So I think that’s probably why they recruited him for this in the first place though, this is definitely a big step up there. And I do think, I will mention, as much as I really enjoy this pilot, this is a very piloty pilot. I like all the individual…
Pete: Oh, how dare you?
Alex: I’m sorry for calling the pilot of the show a very piloty pilot.
Justin: Yes. It features a pilot, which is also crazy.
Alex: Oh my God.
Justin: So I think that’s why the name makes sense, a lot of sense.
Alex: What this does really well is it sets up all the individual characters here. Not all of the characters are going to meet on the show, mind you, but all of the individual characters through the lens of Cliff Steel, who is the new person embracing this world. He’s also the most down to earth, despite just being a brain in a robot body. So it creates a really nice, in there, I think, into what’s happening. But like Alan Tudyk’s character, Mr. Nobody, says at the end of episode, he was like, “Yes, you’re getting this pretty typical superhero origin story they’re setting up. That’s not what we’re going to do here. This is going to be a different show.”
Alex: So to me, and I was even, I remember, struck by this in the first episode where I felt like, “Wow, this is relatively, for Doom Patrol, pretty straightforward, in terms of what it’s doing, but those swerves are coming.” And that’s the promise of the first episode.
Pete: Yes. I also think that it’s hard for you to say this is a piloty pilot, because they have a pretty big chunk of time allotted to a farting donkey. So it’s hard to be like, “Yes, this is a piloty pilot.”
Pete: Oh, go ahead.
Justin: I was saying when you get on an airplane and you see a pilot, it’s a classic looking guy, strong jaw, just like a little bit of gray, just be like, “Hey, piloty pilot.”
Pete: No, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t say that.
Alex: Real quick. Not to take a step back, I just wanted to research this to make sure by facts are correct. Probably part of the reason, Pete, that this reminded you of the opening title sequence of American Gods, is it’s the same company that made it. It’s a company called Elastic, and they’ve done the opening titles for a lot of different shows, including, they did Hunters, they did Ratchet, they did Watchman, they did Game of Thrones, Captain Marvel title only, they did Westworld, as well. So lots and lots of stuff there.
Justin: Wow. Let me just say, real quick on that, I think I’m ready, as a viewer, to move past closeups on objects featured in the television show I’m about to watch, as the title sequence.
Alex: Shout out to Elastic for establishing a style.
Pete: Shots fired. Shots fired.
Alex: This is from three years ago, at this point.
Pete: Yes, man, come on.
Alex: It was all the rage.
Pete: It was very, yes.
Justin: Great. I look forward to some overhead drone shots at some point then hopefully, as well.
Alex: Well, let’s talk about…
Pete: About the DC flip. You know what I mean? Because we talk a lot about the Marvel flip, but it’s important, I’m glad that we get this DC flip in the beginning, it was unexpected.
Alex: DC flip, what are you talking about?
Pete: It was very exciting. I thought it was cool.
Justin: For those listening. What Pete’s nonsensically ranting about, is at the beginning of Marvel movies, there used to be a comic book flipping motion, that introduced the Marvel logo. They sensibly changed it to movie characters, which has incensed Pete.
Justin: And that’s what he’s saying is the DC flip. I do think the DC character opening, when they cut to the wide and it’s like, 500 superheroes. I’m like, “What? Are you going to get to all those?”
Justin: You’re focusing a lot on Jokers right now, DC montage. So let’s get into some of these other characters.
Alex: Without spending too much time on the opening credits, I did want to jump in and talk about the episode.
Pete: I still got 20 more minutes to go on this.
Alex: A loose 20 is what you’re going to do on this. Let’s talk about each of the individual characters. And I guess though, he’s not necessarily the main character of this episode, he is the narrator and he is the place that we start off.
Pete: Hilarious narrator, really walking that tone of sarcastic, but giving us information. I’m really impressed by this.
Alex: And this is again, remembering back to my impressions from a couple of years ago when I first saw this, but I was struck by this again, it’s really Alan Tudyk as Mr. Nobody, that makes the episode for me, because he’s set up at the beginning going and visiting his little lines about, I went to visit a Nazi, sorry, cobbler. Very funny. And then all the little notes he makes throughout, they’re very blunt, just in terms of the comedy, but I remember getting screeners of this, that I was going to review and getting to the line where it was, “Critics, what do they know? They’re going to hate this show.”
Alex: I was like, “Yeah, he is probably right on a broad spectrum.”
Pete: Yeah. I mean, he starts off with, “Great more superheroes! Just with the world needs.” Just awesome, making fun of itself, making fun of the genre, I think this is a big swing and impressive start to a show.
Alex: But I think the rest of the episode, and again, I’ll get back to the point of, I think this is leading up to that, but the rest of the episode doesn’t quite match up to that narration yet. His character is a couple of steps ahead of everybody else, in terms of the tone.
Justin: And that’s come into this cold. Like, I don’t mind that I actually, like you’re saying it really sets the tone, and the tone being completely unsentimental, there’s so many characters in different eras. I feel like so many other superhero shows, or any kind of prestige show, would romance all of these different eras, or the way these characters are coming into the present day, and the sadness of that. Instead, it’s just unabashedly being like, “Look at all these bad things happening to these people. That’s why they’re where they are.”
Alex: Yeah. Let’s move on then and talk about Brendan Fraser as Cliff Steele, because he is very much the heart of the episode. Again, Justin we’ll go to you first. What was your take on him? I know you’re a big fan of…
Alex: George of the Jungle.
Justin: George of the Jungle. Yep. I think that’s where we were all going. Well, I’ve always like liked Brendan Fraser, just because I think he’s a good performer. And I went to a small liberal arts college, in upstate New York. Hamilton college. I’m from Syracuse. I was a theater major, and my theater professor, there were two there at the school had…
Alex: Was Brendan Fraser?
Justin: No. He was Brendan Fraser’s acting teacher. And so, I was always like, “Brendan Fraser. Got it.” To sort of continue acting as hard as Brenda Fraser does. And so I’ve always liked him, or just followed him, and he’s great here, and obviously I think we’re going to mostly just hear his voice going forward, and not see his face very much.
Pete: It’s nice to see him in a different kind of role, him playing a little darkier, a little bit more douchey kind of character, is an interesting choice. And I feel like to get this wash, you don’t think Brendan Fraser, I thought it was a really cool choice for the show to make.
Justin: Are you talking about his, his face or his butt? Just from an acting point of view?
Pete: His body of work, I was talking about his body of work.
Alex: Oh yeah. His body, his butt body. Justin, when you were doing your acting classes, was that something that came through from the teacher?
Pete: It was mostly…
Justin: I’m only an ass actor.
Pete: That makes sense.
Justin: Yeah. I obviously, but you can see my work in a lot of ass roles, the asses, butts.
Alex: I think this isn’t a spoiler, so I’ll mention it, just because you touched on it just before Justin, but again, my impression when I had first watched this was, oh yeah. Particularly with Matt Bomer and Brendan Fraser, two very busy, very in demand actors, they’re doing this stuff so you can get a body double. They can come in, do their voice work in a couple of days and that’s it. But actually, no, I’ve been very surprised to find that over the course of several seasons, they keep coming back,
Alex: Over and over again. And they’re very involved in the show, and it isn’t just their voices, but you actually get to see them in different ways several times.
Justin: That’s awesome.
Alex: Which I think is great, it shows their devotion to the material in a very clear way. And like you said, Brendan Fraser, he’s definitely getting a Renaissance now, where people are like, “No, we love him. What are you talking about? He’s great.” And I think Doom Patrol is a really big part of that, honestly.
Justin: And from the character of Cliff Steele, it does feel like it’s super sad, seeing him overcome the robot body, and then be instantly faced with the fact that his daughter died, the thing that was helping him go forward. And then later the revelation that she didn’t, it was quite a ride for. One of our main characters.
Pete: Also, the whole setup of how he died in this car racing crash, you know what I mean? But then it’s revealed, no, he decapitated his wife in a horrible car crash, later on. It just makes so much worse. A completely different car crash. Yeah, they really do play with your emotions in this episode in a lot of different ways. And yeah, I would think maybe frustrating, but because of how well done it is, the reveals, the twist and turns, it’s also setting up something, don’t trust the narrator, don’t trust who you’re getting the information from. We’re going to find things out through trial and error, which is a very interesting thing to sell for a pilot.
Justin: Now, Pete, you’re the resident motorhead, axle grinder, a manic mechanic guy on the podcast. How’d you feel about all these cars?
Justin: And the robot body is sort of a car, in a way.
Pete: Yeah. I mean, you got to admit, his outfit is pretty badass. I mean the leather jacket with the Motorhead t-shirt, and then also when they go out and he does the Hello World sweatshirt. Great, I mean fun stuff, the old cars that they used to race in, it was great to see that, I don’t know a lot about under the hood, but I do love cars, and especially older ones. So yeah, this is a kind of a fun throwback for sure.
Alex: Get under the hood. Would you drive a car that was dressed like Cliff Steel, Pete? Or hang out with one, I guess.
Justin: Good question.
Pete: Yeah, no question. You know, it’s funny. I’m trying to get under the hood, but it’s not as easy as you think.
Justin: You just open it. You talking about? There’s usually a little lever by the drivers seat.
Pete: There’s a garage down my street and it says help wanted, and I walked in and I was like, “Listen, I don’t know anything about cars, but I would love to learn.”
Pete: And they were like, “Get out of here.”
Pete: And I was like, “Ah, it was worth a try.”
Alex: Did you take off your motorcycle helmet, shake down your hair. And you turned out to beautiful lady. And they were like, “Whoa, this beautiful lady knows about cars.”
Justin: Yeah. You need to pull a full Billy Joel, Uptown Girl situation, if you want to work at a garage.
Pete: Good to know.
Alex: So, Brendan Fraser is Cliff Steele, great. Since we mentioned them already, why don’t we jump over to Matt Bomer as Larry Trainer, AKA Negative Man, this is another…
Justin: The pilot.
Alex: The pilot, yes. This is another great, very heartfelt storyline with a lot of really good twists here, because similar, like you’re talking about, Pete, setting up as an unreliable narrator, we find out about Larry’s story, we find out that he’s this all American pilot, but ultimately there’s a lot more going on there, specifically the fact that he is forced to be secretly gay, because of the time period, is in love with his, I don’t know if it’s assistant, partner, or whatever.
Alex: Engineer, sure, something like that. And that all gets wrecked by the fact that he gets invaded by this negative spirit, and then horribly burned.
Pete: It’s a tough start, too, because you find out here’s two piece of shit dudes who are having a family, and then immediately cheating on their family with somebody else.
Alex: That was your Impression?
Pete: Well, I mean…
Justin: It’s quite a takeaway.
Pete: The pilot, for the time period, and there’s a whole thing, but it’s still pretty rough on family though.
Alex: During the time period, it was okay for engineers to be gay, but not pilots.
Justin: It’s true, it’s a funny little thing that they had back then. I mean, I don’t have that specific issue with what’s happening, but I do think to start these main characters so far, and have it be tragedy, visited upon tragedy, You get the bad thing that happens to them, and then an emotional tragedy on top of it, not a lot of shows do that, it was really exciting, and refreshing to be like, “Oh God, it’s so much worse.” And then after that, they try to use their powers, and are also bad at it.
Pete: Really bad, yeah.
Alex: Well that brings us nicely to Rita Farr, played by April Bowlby, who is, as I mentioned, I think the one hold over from the Titans episode, which she was so good in there, and is also so good here. I think she is perfect as Rita Farr, and it’s a very different take than in the comics, where she’s basically a stretchy Mr. Fantastic type, except here she’s a horrible blob person. But again, it gets to that thing you’re talking about, Justin, where you think they have tragic back stories, and that the backs stories are even more tragic than you might expect.
Justin: Yeah. And they’re also odd, their origins, they’re weird takes on your classic superhero origin. Like Larry, is a Hal Jordan type, who everything just goes bad. And Rita, the fact that she just falls in the water, and then a little thing swims in her mouth.
Pete: Well now, let’s back it up. Rita has some real issues with her image, and is very much into her image. And then somebody who happens to not have an arm, really bothered her, and that ,freaked her out a little bit, which was very interesting character reveal because of what’s about to happen. You know this as an actor, Justin, if you’re on a movie set, you’ve got to check water for glowing green spirits before you jump in there. You know what I mean?
Alex: And I just want to clarify, because we already talked about this, Justin is an ass actor.
Justin: An ass actor, so just remember that. So I send my ass-istant to check the water, before I get into it, because I wanted a weird green thing swimming into my butt. It’s my instrument. It’s my instrument after all. Like Yo-Yo Ma’s cello.
Alex: Oh my God.
Justin: My ass must be finally tuned.
Alex: You are right though, Pete, there is a lot more going on there with Rita. I do feel like we get a little less on her, and she has played more broadly for comedy, particularly, the scene is great, but her talking to that waitress, later on in the diner and there’s some line there where she says, “Tell me more, tell me more.”
Alex: And she says, “Oh, about my father?”
Alex: And she says, “No.”
Pete: I want to hear about me, was just such a fun actor thing. It’s one of those things where there all these little really powerful, small moments. And even after she is rolling down the street as this blob, and her face is just hanging over the side, and she’s like, “I want to go home.” Just such an amazing little moment. The show was very…
Alex: Also, shout out on that moment, and also not to get back to the opening credits, I forget who does the music for the show, I’ll try to look it up in a second, but just really good, very poignant music, as well. There’s some really good, beautiful musical stains throughout that.
Justin: I agree. I will say it struck me as, and this may be just like much like the opening credits, the time this first came out, but very Stranger Things music influenced to me, especially in the back half of the episode, when they are in the town, having their battle, I guess, their escape after everything falls apart, felt very much that way.
Alex: It looks like it’s Clint Mansell and Kevin Kiner, and I’m forgetting what he is done initially, but Clint Mansell has definitely done a lot of stuff with, I think Darren Aronofsky, and other people like that. So it certainly makes sense.
Pete: What’s interesting is we’re getting, and we spent a lot of time on these three main characters, but there’s also all these other characters that we get as well. It’s interesting that you have a James Bond, actor, caliber, this dude has been in a ton of stuff. He’s barely touched upon a little bit, we know they call him The Chief. He’s got like a Magneto in a wheelchair thing going on.
Alex: Professor X is in a wheelchair, but go ahead.
Pete: Sorry. I slipped there.
Alex: Magneto with his legs broken type vibe.
Pete: Oh boy.
Alex: It interesting that you mentioned that, and just getting back to the discussion we were having earlier about how they get their powers, because a lot of people compare this, and I think rightly so, to an early X-Men, it’s arguable, whether Doom Patrol actually influenced and caused the creation of the X-Men or not, because a lot of that stuff was happening simultaneously. Same thing with Challengers of the Unknown, did they cause the Fantastic Four, for Marvel? Maybe, maybe not, but they’re certainly very similar, but I do think here, there’s a real push to not just make it an X-Men clone, but make it something else, and like you’re saying riffing on other heroes, other weird origins, other things like that.
Justin: You mentioned Fantastic Four and this sort of has a perverted version of their origins here. Really perverted, real messed up.
Alex: Sexy, sexy, but messed up.
Justin: Well, yes. That’s what I took.
Pete: There wasn’t any pervy.
Justin: I don’t mean perverted in that way. I mean, just it’s the original fantastic four origin, but changed, made a little bit, a little twisted, you could say.
Alex: Okay, thank you. Like in a sexual way.
Justin: That’s what I mean. When I say twisted, I mean sex.
Alex: Come on, man.
Justin: Let’s twist again, are you crazy? That’s sex again.
Alex: Stop. Crazy Jade we should talk about, because she’s the other part of the force.
Pete: How dare you, Jane, please come on.
Alex: Sure. And they call her Crazy Jane. Now there’s two little weird things for me in the episode, and one of them is how Crazy Jane shows up, and mind you, this is a minor, never mention quibbles, Pete.
Pete: Stop, stop, Please, don’t call her Crazy Jane. She has a disorder where she has multiple people living inside of her.
Alex: I’ll call her Regular Humana Jane, from now on, on the podcast, Regular Human Jane shows up and Cliff, who has been there for decades at this point, doesn’t know her. Even though they established in the opening, “Oh, she comes in and out all the time.”
Pete: She comes and goes as she pleases. So she was gone for a decade, what’s the big deal?
Alex: How old are these people?
Justin: That is a question mark, because they’re old, it seems. They’re not in present day. And they’ve been around since the 40s, 60s, 80s.
Alex: They’re the greatest hits of the 40s, 60s, 80s, and today, is what I would say.
Justin: And that’s another major influence on this show, is all oldies stations.
Justin: All of the soft rock.
Alex: And not to quibble about this, or stay on this too much, but I understand the idea of, “Okay, Cliff Steele is in a robot body.” So that’s fine, I understand how we could live for pretty much forever. When we’re talking about Rita Farr, she has this blob Bobby, so she could be 90 years old live for a long time. Larry Trainer, clearly maintained by the negative spirit. I don’t know what’s going on with Niles Caulder necessarily, lots of stuff potentially. I guess you could get into there, with crazy science or whatever, but for Regular Human Jane, it’s not abundantly clear how she’s been around for decades, but also how Cliff has avoided seeing her.
Pete: Or the fact that maybe one of the personalities is the aging one, you know what I mean? Like only one of them ages, so when she transfers, you don’t know. But I think that as far as Cliff, they kept turning him on and off, so maybe he was off in the basement, when she came to visit. She was just upstairs.
Alex: Honestly, it’s a weird line of dialogue is all that they could get around, he never left his room for decades. So this is the first time he is finding out about it, but instead it’s clear that they’re hanging out with him. They’re like, “Oh, you’ve just been out every time she’s popped up. So don’t worry about it.” So it’s strange, but it’s not a big deal that said, what did you think about Diane Guerrero as Regular Human Jane? Pete, you seem to be a big fan, since you’re going to bat for her already.
Pete: Yeah. I think, first off as an actor, I’m not saying me as an actor.
Justin: You as an actor?
Pete: No, I’m just saying.
Justin: What body part do you act with Pete? That’s what I’ve always been wondering? Hand?
Pete: Someone who has to play different.
Alex: You’re an eyebrow actor, right?
Pete: Yeah. The YouTube school of acting is what I came from.
Justin: You actually are a big eyebrow guy.
Pete: Oh Yeah, that’s definitely a huge part of my lifestyle.
Pete: It’s one of those things where, it’s a real challenge to have to play somebody like that, and really change your voice all the time. So, I was really impressed with this, and also it made some interesting choices where if somebody changes who they are all the time, the fact that she was just kind of like, “Nope, it’s so and so.” And I thought it was a cool way to let us know without it, it seems like a problem that would come up for this character, so I felt like they handled it really well.
Alex: Now, not to harp on this too much, but what is it for people like you in the lifestyle, as you call it?
Justin: The eyebrow lifestyle.
Alex: The eyebrow lifestyle.
Justin: Are you always surprised?
Pete: Well, it’s hard.
Justin: Are you feeling a little furrowed today?
Pete: The thick Mustachioed eyebrow wasn’t always in, you know what I mean? So it was some tough times.
Alex: I will say, just to get back to it took me a little while to come around to Jane as a character, of all of them, I feel like, because she is playing so many different things, it’s hard to get a bead on her, or who she is at any point. I think she’s good, and I do eventually like every member of the cast, but she’s one that I didn’t hook into immediately in the first episode. How’d you feel about it, Justin?
Justin: I think she’s, just based on viewing this, I think she’s meant to be a little mysterious, because Cliff has an interest in her right away, so there’s a little bit of that. And so I just feel like as a viewer, the show wants to get to know her as Cliff does. And so that’s where we are, and she seems like she’s got some Legionesque powers here. So we’ll see how that unfolds.
Pete: Also, this kind of dynamic of Cliff wanting a daughter relationship, and then having this person show up, and need some guidance and help, and maybe he could help her, I think was a very cool interesting in, that they kind of put out there.
Alex: I think Justin, you’re reminding me of what took me a while to hook into her as well, is it came right on the heels of Legion, and there was one other character, at least, that I’m forgetting on a show, who had multiple personalities where it felt like it was this weird mini trend, but ultimately not again, not to spoil it, but I really do feel like Diane Guerrero makes the character her own, and really gets into it over time. And it’s really ultimately, very impressive and important to the show.
Justin: Now, is it a recurring thing, so we talked briefly about Caulder, Timothy Dalton, that he gets so that he sees a donkey?
Alex: Every episode.
Justin: Is that how it works? That’s his Power?
Pete: The donkey’s real, bro. Nobody’s seen that, the donkey’s real.
Pete: And if you think that’s weird, just buckle up, bro, because it’s going to get weirder.
Alex: Well, it’s funny you mention that Pete, because I do think, even in the midst of all these things, that ostensibly should be weird, but don’t necessarily feel weird to regular comic book readers, the donkey is the thing that lets you know, “No, this is not actually going to be like other superhero shows,” because having a donkey, what is it? It farts the thing that the mind is no limit. Is that the phrase?
Justin: Yeah. A really rips one.
Alex: It really was.
Justin: And as an actor…
Alex: You’ve seen a lot of donkey farts it’s in your day, because you’re an ass actor.
Justin: Exactly. Well, that’s the whole other side of the business is the ass, the donkeys are also known asses, the ass actors on that side of it, you get to know them, you sometimes get mixed up when it comes to your bookings.
Alex: Oh, that’s very fun. Do you ever do a thing where you ask that? Which borough it’s supposed to be in, and they spelled borough wrong?
Justin: I’ve been called into play Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh so many times, and like, “I’m not that ass.”
Alex: Yeah. Let’s go through and talk about any other moments in the episode. We found particularly interesting. The other thing that I will call out, the other moment that just bothers me a little bit, is the moment.
Pete: Come on.
Alex: I’m sorry. That things bother me, sometimes. Pete, you are the soul of happiness all the time, I know that.
Justin: Yeah. Let’s talk about if we eliminated all the things that bother you, Pete, what would you even say?
Alex: I don’t know, you just waggle your eyebrows. That was it. Yeah.
Justin: What are we going to get a browcast? So it’s just all visuals.
Alex: The, the thing where they all get on the bus and they’re like, “You know what? We should leave town forever.” And then one scene later they’re like, “You know what? We should go help Cliff.” Is very weird and it feels like something was cut out time wise, or they felt like they needed some sort of scene to pluck in there. Again, it’s fine, but we’re not quite there yet.
Pete: They started driving on something and then like just get down the road and realize, “Man, I’ve made the wrong choice.”
Alex: They turn out of the driveway. They’re like, “Whoops.”
Pete: Yep. Sometimes you just know.
Alex: It just went very quickly, and it feels more to be like, “Well, we got to wrap up the episode,” versus in later episodes, those swings and swerves, seem more part and parcel with how the characters act, but here it jus comes out of nowhere.
Pete: I’m sorry that in the pilot, they had to make some editing choices that maybe didn’t line up for you.
Justin: But I would argue, I think them leaving makes sense, for the characters here, it’s them just coming back together and later on as they are friends and get closer, I’m assuming, it makes sense they would step up for each other.
Alex: I guess we’ll see what happens.
Justin: Like the three of us.
Alex: Yeah, sure. Whatever, buddy.
Justin: Nasty language over here.
Alex: What other, I’m sorry, I know you don’t like to be called buddy. What other moments of the episode you want to call out, if any? Anything that jumped out to you?
Pete: Hmm. Well, I do want to get into the fact that Mr. Nobody has such a huge role in this, even though we don’t really get his origin, a little bit we do, but like I thought it was…
Justin: Dr. Manhattan. You mean?
Pete: Yeah. Yeah.
Alex: He’s kind of Dr. Manhattan, was Mr. Nobody, I don’t think Mr. Nobody was supposed to be a Dr. Manhattan riff, right?
Justin: I don’t know. Probably not, I mean, definitely not, Dr. Manhattan wasn’t there.
Alex: I don’t know if he started there, but he was definitely pretty big in Grant Morrison’s run, which is what a lot of the show pulls on. And yeah, I think he was usually just playing with ideas of dadaism, and absurdism, and things like that. So I think that’s more what I think is in line with Dr. Manhattan, but I understand what you’re saying.
Justin: Like a fun Dr. Manhattan, like a Dr. Brooklyn.
Alex: Oh, a different borough?
Justin: Yeah, exactly.
Pete: I just thought that like the use of him, was such a well thought out thing for this first episode, because moving forward, he is the big bad. And so I really liked how we even got a little bit of his story in there, and I thought just the use of him was just really spot on. There was so many great voiceover moments, I was impressed with the humor, overall, especially even Fraser, Mr. Steele there, like when he’s sitting there and he makes fun of a Trainer, he is like, “What was it like being buried with your cat in that pyramid?” I mean, that’s a fun bit, that’s some great stuff.
Alex: A couple of shots that I wanted to mention that I liked, the shot towards the beginning when Cliff Steele is being built by Niles Calder, and they just have that almost view finder thing going on. It’s very cool, it’s a great visual way of doing it. And then another one when Hangman’s Daughter is painting in the rain, and they cut to the painting, just dripping down there in the rain. I thought that was a little, a beautiful image as well.
Pete: Yeah, it was.
Justin: Yeah, it’s cool.
Pete: She was like, “My paintings ruined.”
Pete: And I was like, “Actually, it’s kind of cool like that.”
Alex: And you’re an art critic, right Pete?
Pete: That’s right.
Justin: 100%, aren’t we all?
Alex: Aren’t we all. Before we wrap up here, why don’t we kick off with who we think was most doomed this episode?
Alex: Which character was most doomed in this episode? Pete?
Pete: I’m going to go with Rita. I feel like Rita can’t really go five feet outside of the mansion, without following apart. So it was kind of sad, I mean, she seemed like she was doing great inside, but as soon as she gets outside, even when they were walking down the street together, even her leg was coming undone there, so yeah, I’m a little worried about how doomed she is.
Alex: Mm Justin, what about you?
Justin: Got to go with Cliff Steele. I mean, we spend the most time with him, on his story from a character perspective, and he took me on the ride. The there’s just a general melancholy, with the character and then all of the ups and downs he went through in the episode, I thought truly doomed him.
Alex: Just to pick somebody else, I’ll throw out Regular Human Jane, just because we don’t know a lot about her actually, at this point. And as Cliff points out in their conversation on the park bench, it seems like there’s a lot more going on with her under the surface than she’s letting on. She seems to be the cool dude who has it all together at this point, but just based on her powers, she definitely doesn’t.
Pete: She didn’t play it cool around the cops, that’s for sure.
Alex: She sure did not. And folks that is it for the first episode of the Doom Room. If you are listening to this, we will have the feeds up shortly first. Thank you. If you would like to chat about Doom Patrol, as mentioned, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 7:00 PM. Crowdcast on YouTube on the Comic Book Club channel. Also, you can check us out, Twitter @comicbooklive, and at comicbookclublive.com. For this podcast and many more until next time, doom you later?
Justin: Boom, boom. See you next time in the Doom Room.
Pete: Stay away from donkeys that are slowly walking towards you.