"Finger Patrol" is a particularly downbeat episode of Doom Patrol despite some jokes along the way. Nobody comes out better at the end of this one. If you think this show is bleak, this episode will prove you right in spades.
So where were we? Rita (April Bowlby, still giving one of the most technically accomplished comedy performances on TV) is still trying to get some normality back in her life by auditioning for a local community play, even with the indignity of doing it at the local garden center. Larry (Matt Bomer's voice, Matthew Zuk's body) tries to reconnect with his last surviving son to assuage his guilt for abandoning his family and the pain he put his wife through by hiding his homosexuality from her.
Jane (Diane Guerrero) is still having problems with her other personalities over who should be primary and lets Baby Doll take charge. The Chief (Timothy Dalton) then decides that Baby Doll would be the ideal playmate for his daughter Dorothy (Abigail Shapiro). That's right. Throwing two unstable people in the throes of arrested development with life-threatening powers. What could possibly go wrong? Children can be cruel. They have no impulse control and when they get mad at each other, they can be mean and spiteful. When you have two figures who have world-threatening superpowers, that's bad news on an epic scale.
Things go badly for Larry when he finds his son still harbors rage and resentment towards him, which results in a run-in with armed troops that further damages and traumatizes Larry's family. Baby Doll and Dorothy do something catastrophically horrible to each other in a childish tit-for-tat that will have serious consequences for everyone. Victor (Jovian Wade) tries to have a go with the woman he's developed feelings for and she seems receptive, but you get the feeling things might go bad eventually because of Doom Patrol. Cliff (Brendan Fraser's voice, Riley Shanahan's body) provides the main comedy relief for the episode when he fantasizes about being in a 70s-style crime-fighting drama with Vic… before accidentally severing a would-be carjacker's finger – the finger of the episode's title. Fingers are a big motif in this episode.
Doom Patrol: Bring The Pain!
This show is all about trauma and surviving its aftermath. Superheroes are really a Trojan Horse for issues about mental health, pain, rage, the legacy of parents' actions visited on children and future generations, and the need to move forward. If it sounds painful and depressing, Doom Patrol doesn't deny it but throws in some snarky and silly jokes along the way. "Superhero team as a surrogate family" is the theme of every superteam story, but Doom Patrol adds a bottomless well of emotional pain and dysfunction to the mix. You get the feeling the entire writer's room is throwing their years of therapy into the scripts. There are times when the show dances awfully close to the edge of depressing, but the high-wire act is what keeps this show compelling.