Using an unconventional template for success, Titans once again allows its side characters to shine brighter than its core group. We’ve seen this first with “Hawk and Dove” (episode 2), and now in episode 4 “Doom Patrol.” But that’s not all. “Doom Patrol” — Robot Man (Brendan Fraser), Negative Man, Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby), and Chief (Dr. Niles Caulder) — is essentially a pilot for an upcoming series on the DC streaming service sometime in 2019.
How many television series can introduce a spin-off pilot in their first season, let alone with episode 4? And yet, Titans did exactly that.
Spoilers Ahead! Enter at your own risk!
Introducing The Doom Patrol
The first half of “Doom Patrol” is outstanding. First, we get to see Beast Boy’s backstory, as a boy on the brink of death in the Congo, saved by a mysterious doctor (Chief). Then, we’re given glimpses of the ship between Beast Boy and Raven (BBRae). Lastly, we’re introduced to the unique and quirky Doom Patrol (who honestly steal the show).
Episode 4 of Titans begins exactly where ep 3 “Origins” left off, with Rachel on the run after blowing up half the convent. Beast Boy, aka Gar Logan (Ryan Potter), tailed Rachel after she left the skating rink. Shortly after she runs into the woods, Beast Boy confronts her as a tiger, and then shows his real form. Telling Rachel, he’s got a safe place for them to hide out, they head off further into the woods.
Gar takes Rachel to the Doom Patrols hideaway, showing off his elaborate geek collection in his room, before being busted by Robot Man (a former professional racecar driver). And this is where things get good.
The interactions between Robot Man, Gar, Rachel, and Negative Man are entertaining, funny, and nerd-fantastic. Negative Man (whom Rachel discovers cooking in the kitchen while jamming to “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC) is a former pilot who’s got some serious cooking chops (and great taste in music). He invites Rachel to stay for their feast of a dinner, and they’re joined later by the dolly and mysterious Elasti-Woman.
The group is sharing moments and having laughs until Chief barges in, enlisting everyone’s help with a new “patient.” Dr. Caulder might seem like a good guy, but his overall personality is a few loose screws towards the dark side. Chief takes a risk with his patient and things start to go horribly wrong until Rachel grabs the girl’s hand and uses her powers to stabilize the situation.
Meanwhile, Dick and Starfire (Kory) are chasing leads to find Rachel and eventually find their way to the Doom Patrols hideaway mansion. Before arriving, we’re shown an even darker side of Chief as he scolds Beast Boy for bringing Rachel to their home. Followed by him claiming to help Rachel, even after she declares she doesn’t want his help. And who would, after being strapped down to a table in a dark and dank basement?
Grayson and Kory arrive right on time. Starfire, Negative Man, and Robot Man measure each other up while Grayson rushes off to rescue Rachel. Beast Boy, meanwhile, tries to stand up to Chief, only to be shot with a tranquilizer dart.
Rachel gets pissed over Dr. Caulder hurting Gar and her evil persona releases into the air. Chief is beyond shocked, while at the same time delighted in a sick way. Ravens evil side throws Dr. Caulder around his basement like a rag-doll before opening what looks like a portal between time and space.
Dick, despite being surrounded by evil chaos, rushes up to Rachel and declares he’s been wrong — stating he’ll never leave or abandon her again. This calm’s Raven down and the portal closes. Chief survives, but has a broken back, while Beast Boy decides to leave the Doom Patrol and join up with the Titans.
Titans Doom Patrol Review
Except for horrible dialog in some places, “Doom Patrol” is officially my second favorite episode of Titans season 1 so far. The interactions between these side characters, their backstories, and overall costumes were beyond engaging. Very little is shown of Dick and Starfire this episode, and yet, it still works.
Perhaps the reason behind the success of these off-shoot episodes is that the Titans crew isn’t entertaining as the other characters? Or, it’s simply because we haven’t seen them work together yet. Personally, I think it’s a combination of both. Grayson, Raven, Starfire, and Beast Boy aren’t what we as an audience know them to be yet. They’re more like four individuals who keep getting stuck with one another, rather than a team.
Episode 5 of Titans should change this scenario, though. Now that they’re all together, they’ll be forced to work as a team to defeat the generic villains who are no doubt close on their tail.
Aside from the story and depth of the Titans crew — visually, “Doom Patrol” was an improvement over episodes 1-3. The shady tones in the background were removed while the visual effects and costumes were spot on. The music continues to be a highlight of the series (Kevin Kiner and Clint Mansell) while the overall plot seems like it’s finally going to take off.
Titans isn’t a perfect show, but it’s certainly above average. For DC fans longing to have something like what MCU fandom has, Titans, not only fills the void but entertains and delights as well.
DC Titans Episode 4 “Doom Patrol” Score: 4.25 out of 5 Stars.
What are your impressions of Titans “Doom Patrol?” Is the show worth continuing, or is it time to throw in the towel? Let us know in the comments!