WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Doom Patrol Season 1, Episode 8 "Danny Patrol," streaming now on DC Universe.
DC Universe's Doom Patrol is certainly right up there with the weirdest of comic book television series, with each episode quirkier than the one that came before it. The latest, "Danny Patrol," takes it up a notch by introducing the most head-scratching member of the team from the comics, and in the process, the show finally paves a way toward finding the missing Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton).
The Chief has spent most of the first season trapped in another dimension, due to the schemes of Alan Tudyk's Mr. Nobody. As Cyborg (Joivan Wade) plugs away at solutions to find his friend and pseudo-mentor, hope seems to be fading. But when a mysterious cake lands at the door of the Caulder mansion, Cyborg and Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer) head to Springfield, Ohio, and land on none other than Danny the Street.
Introduced in 1990, in Doom Patrol #35, Danny is an unusual character, even among "The World's Strangest Heroes." Danny the Street is a roadway that achieved sentience and developed ways to psychically influence the people who live there. Danny acted as the the team's base of operations and main form of transportation, due to his ability to teleport between cities. He'd naturally blend himself into the background of any urban setting so no one could really tell he was actually alive.
Danny's depiction is similar on Doom Patrol, where Cyborg and Negative Man meet Maura Lee Karaupt (say the name slowly), a drag queen who plays host to a cabaret during the visit. Just like the comics, Danny's being kept alive by all the flamboyant and unique individuals who live happily there, free to be themselves. But there's more to Maura, as she's originally Agent Darren Jones from the Department of Normalcy, a secretive agency within the U.S. government that experimented on Larry.
Department operatives find Maura, and attempt to extract her from Danny the Street. However, with the help of Danny and the Doom Patrol, Maura is able to get rid of her former colleagues. However, Cyborg, who doesn't feel as celebratory as everyone else, opens up to Danny about the friendship he discovers existed between Niles and this stretch of asphalt, who had many adventures we're yet to be privy to. But as much as Danny wants to help, when he hears about Nobody, he's scared, and communicating via an electronic sign that he has no choice but to stay out of this one, if he wants to protect those who live on his street.
But sensing Cyborg's pain over losing a father figure, Danny leaves him with one clue: a treasure map in the form of a comic book. When Cyborg opens it up, he and Larry are teleported back to the mansion. The book is none other than DC's My Greatest Adventure, in which the Doom Patrol debuted. Issue 51, shown in the episode, is an anthology of sci-fi/fantasy stories, and while none seems that relevant to Niles' predicament, if you've read the comic, you may remember an ad for bodybuilder Charles Atlas' workout routine. That appears to be Niles leaving breadcrumbs to the one hero who may be able to rescue him from Nobody's clutches: Flex Mentallo.
After all, Charles Atlas' ads inspired writer Grant Morrison to create Flex, as a comic book ad character who's transported into the real world. Flex has the ability to affect reality while flexing his muscles, so that may hint that he's the key to finding Niles. It appears Niles sent the cake to lead the heroes to Danny, where they could receive the comic book. In the Doom Patrol comics, Flex was also a citizen of Danny the Street, and seeing he's already been confirmed to appear on the show, it looks like Niles cleverly laid the groundwork for his team to recruit one essential piece of the puzzle to help him find his way back home.
Streaming now on DC Universe, Doom Patrol stars Brendan Fraser as Cliff Steele, Matt Bomer as Larry Trainor, Diana Guerrero as Crazy Jane, Alan Tudyk as Mr. Nobody, April Bowlby as Rita Farr, Joivan Wade as Vic Stone and Timothy Dalton as Niles Caulder.