Few things can top the levels of ick produced during last week’s misadventures of the Beard Hunter. Luckily, Doom Patrol didn’t try to top such heights this week, choosing instead to return to its most powerful themes: love, loss and self-discovery. Everyone finally regrouped only to have them splinter once again to tackle deep personal issues and rectify past mistakes. Dreams, swamps and cyberspace were all the same emotional battlefield for a single fleeting moment. But the true, physical one hasn’t gone dormant. Not by a long shot.
Jane calls a team meeting after a much needed post-Underground breather. She doesn’t seem to have the same pull as Vic when doing this though as Larry and Vic are no shows. Rita and Cliff aren’t much help despite their presence. Cliff is distracted by the news of Bump’s death and learning Clara’s location. Rita keeps her distance after a demanded apology from Karen is spurned by Jane. Tense is nowhere near the correct adjective here.
Jane identifies the figure from Danny’s comic as Flex Mentallo and identifies their need to find him. At the same time, she rips into Rita for allowing the Beard Hunter, and their best chance at finding the Chief, easily escape. Cliff finally pipes up with a suggestion, though it has little to do with Jane’s reprimands. He needs to get to Florida and find his daughter. Rita agrees and Cliff asks Flit to teleport him there. Jane’s recoils but can’t keep Flit from taking over and fulfilling Cliff’s request. The three are transported to North Florida and Flit returns to Doom Manor.
Equilibrium & Elbows
Vic spurns the meeting so he can continue running diagnostics on an out of control Grid. He hacks into the system, learning that Grid is continually converting more of his body into cybernetic material in response to a detected malfunction. Vic doesn’t recognize any new cyber parts on him, but Grid isn’t working on his exterior. This is confirmed when Vic cuts into his arm and finds, to is horror, his upper arm bone turned to metal. Vic is only broken from his shock when Jane calls on him to attend a meeting with Flex’s wife alongside her.
The duo take a quiet post-meetup moment on the bus to expose their internal struggles. Vic tells her about Grid’s actions and the two relate over the lost sense of self-control. Where paths diverge is when Vic expresses the need to shut Grid down, something Jane cannot do with her personas. Jane implores that Vic contact his father for help, but Vic once again refuses, citing Jane’s painting. She disregards the painting as a product of Donkey World. The exchange ends when their meeting is revealed to be a setup by the Bureau of Normalcy. Agents try to capture the two but leave with only Vic in custody. He wakes up strapped to a chair in a facility very familiar to Larry. Vic is in the Ant Farm, eye to eye with Darren Jones.
Being Her Hero
Cliff and Rita walk into a reception for Bump held at a local bar once Cliff calms his nerves. They stick out easily, but that doesn’t keep Rita from making a new friend and using her real name, Gertrude, in an attempt to reclaim her identity. Cliff lays eyes on Clara for the first time in decades but makes no move to reconnect. Rita pushes Cliff to speak to her, but the moment disappears when Clara begins to eulogize Bump. Cliff does get a small moment of rekindling when he takes Clara’s hand to steady her balance. Any confidence Cliff had vanishes as Clara speaks of Bump as her father, celebrating his life and calling him her hero. She believes it so much that she had Cliff’s gold watch inscribed with the sentiment as a gift for Bump after he formally adopted her. Unfortunately, the watch is with Bump in the belly of a legendary gator named Frances.
Cliff storms out of the bar, with Rita not far behind, on a mission to recover the watch. Rita keenly points out that Cliff doesn’t have to compete for Clara’s love, but Cliff’s blinders are already affixed. He’s going to get that watch.
Cliff stomps through the swamp as Rita keeps trying to talk him out of his mission. He believes its the only way to earn her love back. Rita continues to point out that talking to Clara and telling her the truth is a much better route as Cliff grows frustrated. Ironically, Cliff does have the words in him but dismisses them before having a breakdown. He dismisses Rita and trudges through the swamp alone until he is attacked by Frances. The beast falls and Cliff returns the watch to Clara without a word being spoken between the two, though Clara seems to have an epiphany about the identity of the Robotman.
Love & Letting Go
Larry is strapped in fully to a negative energy dream with John in a motel. He relishes the private moment with his lover but is pulled out by the Negative Spirit as Jane and Cliff return from The Underground. The dream is so special that he remains in his room during Jane’s meeting, begging the Negative Spirit to take him back to it. The Spirit sends him back into the dream world. Larry suddenly finds himself at a gay bar instead of the hotel. John is there with some friends, but the change of locale doesn’t sit well with Larry.
John does his best to ease Larry into the social circle, but he is only interested in having privacy with his lover. Not even being in an environment where he doesn’t have to hide his sexuality can relieve Larry of his paranoia. And John is tired of it. He’s tired of Larry’s concern about other people’s opinion. The world has changed. They don’t have to hide anymore and John won’t spend his last days in fear. His “last days” comment and mention of Erie, PA ring true as Larry returns to the real world. John wasn’t a figment of his memory. He was really there. Larry finds “Erie” spelled out in post-it notes in his room. He knows where he must go.
Larry finds an aged John in Erie. He is sick and frail but still perks up at the sight of Larry. There’s no explanation as to how they reconnected in their dreams, but it doesn’t matter to John. All that matters is that Larry is there. Larry carries John to the porch where he reveals that John was the last person with whom he was close. He couldn’t put anyone else through the experience of living with him post-accident.
Larry regrets pushing John away, but the past is of no concern to John. He moved on and Larry can too. The idea compels Larry to talk about his relationship with the Negative Spirit, but John falls limp as he does. He parts with John for the final time and thanks the Spirit for bringing him closure.
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