Posts Tagged ‘Stephanie Czajkowski’

I can’t decide if episode nine of DC Universe’s original streaming series Doom Patrol is so good it hurts — or if it just fucking hurts.

Playing it pretty close and tight with its Grant Morrison/Richard Case-created “source material,” this is “Crazy” Jane’s story all the way — they don’t call it “Jane Patrol” for nothing — and Diane Guerrero puts on an acting clinic manifesting personalities seen and hitherto-unseen (hello Driver 8!) when Brendan Fraser’s Cliff Steele (with an assist from the “Negative Spirit” inside Matt Bomer/Matthew Zuk’s Larry Trainor) enters “the underground” of her subconscious to retrieve the Jane we know and love, who just last week collapsed within herself right at the moment her Karen persona was about to tie the knot. You thought this show was weird before? You really ain’t seen nothing yet.

Now, we’re used to Timothy Dalton’s “Chief” Niles Caluder and Alan Tudyk’s Mr. Nobody being sidelined, but this time out April Bowlby’s Rita Farr, Joivan Wade’s Cyborg, the aforementioned Mr. Trainor, and even the Riley Shanahan “half” of Robotman join them in mothballs as Fraser spends most of the installment as “himself” — while Jane is all her selves.

Or many of them, at any rate. And they aren’t all “her,” so to speak — or, at least, they’re not all played by Guerrero. Standing out in a big way are Anna Lore, who gives physical life to the demure Penny Farthing, and Stephanie Czajkowski, whose portrayal of the bad-ass Hammerhead is everything you’d always envisioned plus a whole lot more. Holy shit this underground is a confusing place! A jumble of memories and coping mechanisms that’s tough to get a firm handle on — until it’s not. Until it all makes perfect sense. Until the darkest part of Jane’s past — or should we call her Kay Challis? — comes to light. Or, more accurately, to dark. Because this is damn dark stuff.

To call this “not for the faint of heart” is to put things mildly, but if you didn’t love Jane before (you bastard!) you surely will now. She’s been through more than most have to endure, and even if she’s in 64 pieces, it’s a wonder she’s not in 164. This is harrowing, yes, but the bravery she shows confronting her ultimate foe? It’s astonishing. It’s staggering. It’s stand-up-and cheer stuff, and that remains true even if, like myself, you’re well familiar with the particular issue of the comic that writer Marcus Dalzine is adapting here. Reading it’s one thing, after all — seeing it quite another.

Director Harry Jierjian comes in for special recognition this time out, getting perhaps the best performances from “showrunner” Jeremy Carver’s cast to date, to say nothing of the terrific guest stars. This is “internal drama” of the highest order, quite unlike anything else seen before in super-hero television — and probably quite unlike anything we’ll see again for quite some time. It’s difficult viewing, to be sure, but it’s also absolutely essential. The hardest episode to watch so far, but also the most impossible to turn away from.


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