DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Doom Patrol episode “Casey Patrol” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril. 

Welcome back, Dannyzens! This week’s Doom Patrol episode is pretty Doom-free, but that’s fine by me. While it’s undoubtedly a change of pace that might throw some fans for a loop, I enjoyed the brief departure. We reunited with Dorothy, Maura Lee Karupt, Danny the Ambulance and the Dannyzens. I’ve always held a soft spot for this crew. They warm the cold cockles of my black heart. This outing fills in the blanks regarding the Dannyzens while propelling the narrative forward in an intriguing direction. 

I’m already smitten with Casey Brinke, a.k.a. Space Case. I love that we have characters from Gerard Way‘s and Nick Derington’s Doom Patrol series, including Casey, Torminox and the Vectra. 

Ready to delve into “Casey Patrol”? Let’s get to it. 

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We open with a few stylized comic panels featuring Space Case and her archnemesis, Torminox. Torminox has captured Space Case, but despite her capture, our heroine remains determined in her mission to defeat him. Then, we see Dorothy (Abi Monterey) regaling a group of Dannyzens with a tale of heroics. She talks about retrieving her late father’s necklace, which kept him alive for over a century.

Candlemaker accompanied her on this endeavor. Crystal and the Dead Boy Detectives lend a helping hand. I’m excited about HBO Max’s Dead Boy Detectives series, even though it won’t include Sebastion Croft and Ty Tennant. It’s also lovely to see Candlemaker’s return. Dorothy now has her necklace and eagerly tells the Dannyzens she successfully communicated with Niles Caulder. 

Dorothy stands on a tree stump in the woods while looking enthusiastic and telling a story to a group of people in Doom Patrol Season 4 Episode 4, "Casey Patrol."

DOOM PATROL — Season 4 Episode 4, “Casey Patrol.” Photo courtesy of HBO Max.

Meanwhile, Maura Lee Karupt (Alan Mingo Jr.) deals with bigoted teens before hopping aboard Danny the Ambulance. We see her climb through a portal inside Danny that leads to the Dannyzens’ campgrounds. That evening, Danny tries to cheer up a sullen Dorothy, but the latter refuses to tell them what’s wrong. 

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Later, Maura finds Dorothy with an issue of Space Case (created by Danny in the comics). Dorothy keeps mum regarding what’s bothering her. Maura encourages her to get out and explore the world instead of cooping herself up in her trailer and living vicariously through Casey Brinke, a.k.a. Space Case. It’s abundantly clear that losing Niles has affected Dorothy, but she won’t open up. 

Meanwhile, mechanical insects overtake the campgrounds, seizing control of every Dannyzen on the premises. Maura heads outside and finds the campgrounds overrun with mechanically-controlled Dannyzens. They all boast peculiar metal masks. To escape the Dannyzens, Maura and Dorothy lock themselves in the latter’s trailer. Maura asks Dorothy to summon Candlemaker. We learn the creatures that hijacked the Dannyzens are known lackeys of Space Case’s mortal enemy: Torminox. 

Maura Lee Karupt and Dorothy stand outside Dorothy's trailer at night in Doom Patrol Season 4 Episode 4, "Casey Patrol."

DOOM PATROL — Season 4 Episode 4, “Casey Patrol.” Photo courtesy of HBO Max.

Thus, Dorothy brings Space Case (Madeline Zima) to life. We see Torminox (Tyler Mane) is close by, and he locates the portal to the campgrounds inside Danny the Ambulance. Space Case keeps the Vectra, Torminox’s metallic henchmen, at bay. Dorothy is enamored with her hero. Of course, Space Case doesn’t know that she’s not real, that Dorothy materialized her from the pages of her comic book. 

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Dorothy discloses her Space Case knowledge, much to the latter’s surprise. She knows about Casey’s father, Frank Brinke, who is Torminox. Or Tampax, as Maura calls him. She lost her mother at a young age and inherited the same abilities as her. Casey has defeated Torminox 143 times, but he keeps coming back. She’s missing the bottom half of her right leg. After having a mini existential crisis, Space Case agrees to help Dorothy and Maura defeat Torminox and the Vectra so that the Dannyzens will return to normal. 

Suddenly, one of the Vectra/Dannyzens tries to duke it out with our trio, only to be met with Space Case’s electrical bolts. Maura urges her to exercise caution when handling the Vectra as the Dannyzens are still alive under the Vectras’ influence. However, things get dicey when the host of Vectra-controlled Dannyzens makes a beeline for Dorothy, Maura and Casey. Space Case blasts them with electricity while Maura and Dorothy escape via Danny the Ambulance. 

Casey Brinke wears a blue, red, and yellow jumpsuit while emitting light beams from her hands and looking angry in Doom Patrol Season 4 Episode 4, "Casey Patrol."

DOOM PATROL — Season 4 Episode 4, “Casey Patrol.” Photo courtesy of HBO Max.

Unfortunately, they encounter Torminox, and Space Case comes face-to-face with her father. Torminox transforms Danny the Ambulance into a block, much to the dismay of Maura and Dorothy. Torminox demands that Dorothy hand over her father’s necklace. After blatantly refusing him, Dorothy summons Candlemaker, who defends the group. It’s not enough, though, and Torminox, a.k.a. TurboTax (another one of Maura’s nicknames), overpowers Candlemaker by morphing him into a block like Danny. 

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Next, Casey, Maura and Dorothy lock themselves in a nearby abandoned warehouse. Space Case delivers an impassioned speech about who she is without her dad. If she can kill him in real life, and he can’t be revived like in her comic book, then what? Maura wonders aloud whether it’s possible to reconnect with the version of her father that’s still inside the comic. Frank Brinke before he became Torminox. If so, she can draw him back to the good side without killing him. Madeline Zima delivers a beautifully understated performance here. 

Meanwhile, Maura confronts a teen who ostensibly spray paints explicit graffiti to belittle the Dannyzens. However, we learn he was merely trying to conceal the dirty graffiti already there. Maura thanks him before asking how much spray paint he has. She has an idea. 

Maura Lee Karupt and Dorothy stand next to each other in a dark parking lot in Doom Patrol Season 4 Episode 4, "Casey Patrol."

DOOM PATROL — Season 4 Episode 4, “Casey Patrol.” Photo courtesy of HBO Max.

Then, our trio stands before Torminox. Once again, their purple foe orders Dorothy to give him the necklace. Space Case tries to reason with him, claiming he doesn’t want to be the bad guy. Torminox roughly grabs his daughter and holds her hostage, nonverbally threatening her harm should Dorothy not comply. That’s when Maura and Dorothy reveal the spray-painted image of Frank Brinke happily pushing his daughter Casey on a swing. The hope is the picture will move him. 

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When it doesn’t, Dorothy doles out a heartbreaking monologue about the truth surrounding the necklace. She didn’t retrieve it with Candlemaker. She hadn’t spoken to Candlemaker in months and pushed her real and imaginary friends away. Crystal and the Dead Boy Detectives snagged it for her. She thought contacting Niles and telling him everything she didn’t say when he was alive would heal her wounds. She muses about whether she’s meant to live with her pain. It’s a painfully raw scene, with Abi Monterey rising to meet the challenge and then some. 

Next, Dorothy hands her necklace to Torminox. She tells him off for not being there for his daughter. He releases Space Case and hands over the Danny and Candlemaker blocks before departing with the Vectra. Later, we see the Dannyzens, including Danny themself, are back to normal. Maura believes it’s time for the Dannyzens to move on from the campgrounds. Perhaps even go their separate ways. Danny agrees with her. Maura and the Dannyzens break into gorgeous song while Casey and Dorothy sit in the latter’s trailer. Side note: Dorothy’s trailer is super cute. I’d live there. 

Casey Brinke and Dorothy stand next to each other in a dark parking lot in Doom Patrol Season 4 Episode 4, "Casey Patrol."

DOOM PATROL — Season 4 Episode 4, “Casey Patrol.” Photo courtesy of HBO Max.

Anyway, Space Case believes if she can track down the person responsible for penning the story in her comic book series, perhaps she can get them to rewrite the narrative. Make Torminox a good guy! Dorothy asks if she can tag along. She decides it’s high time she starts living again. 

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The following day, Danny gives their blessing, revealing they’ll tell Maura about Dorothy’s departure. Danny materializes a stylin’ car in which our new dynamic duo can travel. Dorothy tells Casey that their first stop should be Cloverton (to visit our Doom Patrol, no doubt). As the car zooms away, we see Maura watching. She looks proud of Dorothy for taking that leap of faith into the unknown. 

Then, we see Dr. Janus (Timeca Seretti) place the necklace Rita wore in last week’s episode before a person drawing the pages of the Space Case comic book series. Dr. Janus intones that “Immortus will rise.” Torminox adds Dorothy’s necklace to the mix, asking the comic book artist if Immortus will restore him to his human form. He admits he wants to be there for his daughter. The artist, ostensibly a young man, sings the praises of Immortus. He’ll fix all of their problems when he rises! The camera pans to a sketch of Frank and Casey Brinke with the swing set. 

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“Casey Patrol” isn’t the strongest episode of the series, but it’s a sweet, tenderhearted one-off that tackles grief and the unexpressed love it entails. Dorothy and Casey find common ground amid their grief journeys. Dorothy’s mini-arc is a well-rounded, fully fleshed-out one, and it’s lovely to see her embrace life by the episode’s end. Also, I want Maura Lee Karupt to adopt me. She’s fabulous and brimming with heart.

Everyone delivers nuanced, searingly vulnerable performances, especially Monterey and Zima. I can’t wait to see what their visit to Cloverton yields in the coming episodes. 

Will Space Case join the fight against Immortus rising? Will Danny ever become a street again? Only time (and more episodes) will tell. 

Doom Patrol drops new episodes every Thursday on HBO Max

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