DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Doom Patrol episode, “Butt Patrol,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, zombie Were-Butt slayers! Doom Patrol‘s second episode of the season finds our group splintering and embarking on separate missions. Well, that whole teamwork thing didn’t last long. “Butt Patrol” gives us insight into how the Bureau of Normalcy plays into the Were-Butt fiasco. We also meet a new character, Dr. Yu, who I adore. We reunite with the zombified Darren Jones, who Cliff promptly kills. It’s not fast-paced, in-your-face action, but it’s methodical worldbuilding, which I prefer to the former.
Despite its silly name, “Butt Patrol” develops our characters, explores new dynamics and digs deeps into the pervasive loneliness affecting our crew. Sure, they’re a team, but you’ll never find a group of lonelier people. It’s devastatingly human.
Ready to delve into “Butt Patrol”? Let’s get to it.
We open on the Ant Farm in 2016 with “The Ladies Who Lunch” from Company complementing the onscreen action. One man dons a padded suit and enters a closed set of a 1950s town. Destroyed mannequins with tattered clothing are scattered about the space. The Bureau of Normalcy employee carefully cleans the area of debris. Unfortunately, he spots a corner with a Were-Butt-shaped hole in it.
Suddenly, the Were-Butts barge into the set. The episode takes on a horror movie quality as the man tries to escape—his panicked coworker endeavors to get him to safety. Unfortunately, the battle is lost as the innocent employee succumbs to the ferocious Were-Butts. Butts.
In the present, Rita (April Bowlby) conducts a team meeting with Jane (Diane Guerrero), Vic (Joivan Wade), Cliff (Brendan Fraser/Riley Shanahan) and Larry (Matt Bomer/Matthew Zuk). Rita busts out her Were-Butt binder (of course she has one) and reveals a game plan to tackle the impending apocalypse. They simply must do the opposite of what they would do to cause it. She believes they inadvertently made the Were-Butts zombies when they themselves were zombies last season.
Rita also feels that Darren Jones, the former Bureau of Normalcy agent, is connected to this somehow. Perhaps they should track him down at his farm, where they killed those Were-Butts. However, Vic states that the team wants to try something new. They believe it’s time for Rita to step down and let someone else take the reins. After everyone votes Rita out, Rita asks who they have in mind to replace her.
Next, we see the gang sans Rita meeting with Laura (Michelle Gomez). Yes, they want the former villain to be their leader. Well, on a trial basis, as Vic asserts. Laura can’t believe they want her to lead the team despite lagging significantly in the gold star department. Of course Rita had a gold star chart to award everyone’s mission progress. Naturally, Laura has seven angry red dots for seven heroic endeavors.
Rita tries to combat her team’s decision to forge ahead without her leadership. She even gets in a brief “f*ck” skirmish with Cliff, where she counts the number of times he drops the f-bomb. Admittedly, that might be one of my favorite Doom Patrol moments thus far. They’re like two petulant children arguing over inane tripe. Rita storms out, refusing to be part of the team who demoted her. Laura gives the group one hour to collect themselves before they prevent the apocalypse.
After the meeting, Laura pulls Cliff aside and asks him to embark on a solo mission. He must track down Darren Jones and kill him. He’s a zombie, after all. That should put the kibosh on the looming zombie Were-Butt apocalypse. Problem solved!
Next, we return to Flashback Land. It’s 2017 at the Ant Farm, and Dr. Margaret Yu (Keiko Agena) arrives to examine the captured Were-Butts. She’s instantly smitten with them. Meanwhile, Vic hacks the Bureau of Normalcy’s system and finds some intriguing intel. He gets an iMessage from Deric about hanging out. Vic refrains from responding (yet). Larry tries to coax the truth out of Keeg, who refuses to reveal what adult Keeg relayed to him in the future.
Then, we see Jane staring at a blank puzzle piece. She dumps out the contents of her puzzle bag, growing alarmed at how many parts are crammed inside that tiny bag. It’s like Mary Poppins’ bottomless carpet bag! Jane digs through the blank pieces, noting that there aren’t any edge or corner pieces. Strange. Jane heads to the kitchen to find Vic preparing to leave. First, Cliff and Laura bounced. Now, he’s leaving. Vic asks Jane if she wants to join him on a mission. He tracked down one lone Were-Butt that escaped the Bureau’s grasp.
Meanwhile, Cliff and Laura are en route to Darren Jones’ farm. They’re riding on bikes. Cliff looks ridiculous with a bright green helmet and a white oven mitt, but we love him anyway. After bonding over an abandoned car off the road, the pair notice zombified Darren Jones (Jon Briddell) riding a tractor.
But wait — it’s flashback time again! Dr. Yu introduces the Were-Butts to the upper echelon of the Bureau of Normalcy. It’s 2017 at the Ant Farm. We see the Were-Butts in full costume, busting out their best dance moves and angelic voices for a performance of “Shipoopi” from The Music Man. Who knew watching Were-Butts perform a musical theater number was all I needed to cure my SAD? Anyway, the general isn’t impressed with the singing butts. After the performance, we learn the Bureau plans to weaponize the Were-Butts, much to Dr. Yu’s dismay.
Next, Rita confronts Larry while he’s searching for Keeg. She feels betrayed by him. They’re supposed to be besties! Larry reveals he had his reasons for voting against her position. He discloses that he doesn’t think Rita did a good job as a leader. She’s been a different person ever since she returned from the past. Larry doesn’t feel they’re close anymore. Naturally, Rita takes it all personally. Not gonna lie; Rita’s annoying me right now.
Meanwhile, Vic and Jane wait on a park bench for the butt hunter they’re meeting. They’re supposed to be undercover Bureau agents. Vic coordinated their meeting, so it occurs before said hunter’s scheduled to meet with actual Bureau agents. While they wait, Vic informs Jane about his chat with Kay. When she came up topside, he recorded his conversation with Kay like Niles used to do. Jane and Vic also discuss the future — if there is one after they save the world (again).
Later, Cliff and Laura encounter zombie Darren on his farm. Cliff still understands zombie talk, so he listens while Darren reveals how he’s refraining from eating brains. He’s turning against zombie-ism. Then, when he learns why Cliff’s there, he asks Cliff to kill him. Laura removes Cliff’s helmet, so Darren can smell his brain, to speed things along. Suddenly, Darren lunges at Cliff. Cliff slams him on the ground, and the pair struggle temporarily.
Then, Cliff smashes Darren’s skull with his metal hands. After he kills the zombie, Cliff realizes he utilized his new hand with the touch ability. He feels Darren’s cold blood on that hand. Unfortunately, his first sensation with it won’t be holding his grandson. Laura apologizes for coercing Cliff into removing the oven mitt.
Next, Vic and Jane meet with the famed butt hunter. He delivers some intel — the Bureau let a wild pack of Were-Butts escape, and now they’re close to recapturing them all. The one in his possession is the last Were-Butt. He hands off the case containing it to Vic and Jane as the real Bureau agents arrive. Thankfully, Jane asks Flit to help them escape before they’re caught.
Now, it’s 2019 at the Ant Farm, and Dr. Yu eats her sandwich while listening to music. Behind her, we see a massacre, with Were-Butts viciously attacking Bureau agents. Even Cliff’s there. She takes in the blood and carnage around her when she finishes her lunch. Then, she discovers Nicholas, a Were-Butt with whom she bonded, hiding in a cabinet. Dr. Yu flees with him before the exterminators arrive.
Later, Cliff and Laura arrive at Doom Manor with the news of Darren Jones’ demise. Apocalypse averted! However, Jane and Vic did one better. They have the last Were-Butt. Larry and Rita feel the sting of being left out, but Laura claims she gave them autonomy so they could tick things off the game plan checklist. Next, Laura asks Cliff to kill the Were-Butt. He opens the case to find a small Were-Butt frozen on ice. He hesitates, closing the lid.
Then, Cliff ruminates on killing Darren. He also processes the fact that he sullied his new hand. We see his hands start to shake again. Laura watches from afar. She feels remorseful.
Meanwhile, Vic responds to his friend, claiming his weekend opened up for a friend sesh. Jane watches the footage Vic filmed of Kay. Kay feels the personalities in the Underground need a purpose. Jane believes it’s her purpose to protect Kay, but Kay wonders whether she needs protection anymore.
Kay notes that despite Jane’s lack of direction, the latter will figure it out. Next, we see Dr. Yu in the present. She’s arriving home and singing a tune to herself. She pours a giant bowl of cereal for none other than Nicholas, her Were-Butt pal. Nicholas duets with her while shoveling cereal into his mouth (Asscrack?). This arrangement probably won’t end well.
All in all, “Butt Patrol” is a solid Doom Patrol outing. It ups the stakes on the Were-Butt front, for one. This show is a rarity in the genre realm because it cares about its characters. It doesn’t rank plot above character development. The narrative moves consistently in “Butt Patrol” while giving space for our favorite misfits to shine.
Will Rita continue to be a drama queen about everything (probably)? Will Laura make a good leader (probably)? Can Jane figure out the puzzle sitting before her? How will Dr. Yu keep Nicholas a secret from the Bureau? Only time (and more episodes) will tell.
Doom Patrol drops new episodes every Thursday on HBO Max.