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Doom Patrol Season 3 Premiere Review: The Gang Is Back And Stranger Than Ever

Brief summary of where the show left off (Spoilers for seasons one and two of Doom Patrol):

The chief was behind all of our Doomies’ supposed accidents, orchestrating them to find a way to outlive his daughter, Dorothy Spinner. This was due to the threat she posed to all humanity, thanks to her powers that allowed her to bring anything she imagined into reality. One of those things she imagined was the Candlemaker, an ancestral entity able to grant anything Dorothy wishes (Of course, in some twisted way) and will be released from the young girl’s mind after she makes three wishes or starts puberty. The last time we saw our favorite team of mentally ill people, the Candlemaker was unleashed and left them in a sort of catatonic state, covered in wax, while Dorothy was set on confronting him.

Our views on the series going into season 3:

Gabrielle: I don’t think there’s gonna be many surprises here. Doom Patrol is my favorite show of all time. I remember when the first promotional material came out, with all five of them taking a photo in the Doom Manor’s hall, and the reception was pretty mixed. A lot of people complained it looked ridiculous and campy. Turns out, they were kinda right all along, except those elements were for the better and just a part of the bigger picture that is Doom Patrol.

I have a strong emotional connection to the show. There are few times where I cried as much as in Frances Patrol when Larry says goodbye to John, or when Cliff has a breakdown in Therapy Patrol, or when Jane faces her father in Jane Patrol. Few other sequences fill me with excitement and happiness as the musical number in Danny Patrol. There’s certainly nothing else that fascinates me quite as much with its weirdness as when Ezekiel, a talking (and now giant) cockroach with a god complex, makes out with Admiral Whiskers, a giant rat looking for revenge after Cliff ran over his mother. It’s all a beautiful rollercoaster.

I think the second season is equally excellent as the first one, being consistent with the marvelous weirdness and the character development we all love. But it didn’t quite hit me on an emotional level as the first one did (Which was to be expected. It’s an extremely high bar, and I still cried a lot). However, I feel like this third season could easily be the best one yet. As always with the show, there’s a lot of potential everywhere, and the place where the characters left off is a really interesting one to explore.

Jordan: I’m with Gabrielle in just loving this show. Doom Patrol has been important to me for a very long time and going into season one, I had sky-high expectations. So it’s all the more amazing that it exceeded them. It’s such a wonderful show that I think perfectly encapsulates what the Doom Patrol is. It pulls stories and concepts from the team’s vast history. There’s obviously a lot of Grant Morrison’s influence, but there are also references to the Silver Age and the Young  Animal stuff. It feels like a show made by people who just really love these characters.

But it’s not just all fan service. There’s so much heart and humanity within it all. It’s got the Doom Patrol’s usual oddities, but it feels fresh and new. It’s more focused on the quiet moments, the conversations of healing between characters. The Doom Patrol is a therapy group, and this show really leans into that. Each character is so fully realized and developed, they feel like real, living, breathing people. Small moments like Jane thanking Cliffe for getting her food in season one speak to the quality of this show. That moment only works because we have spent so long with these characters and care so deeply for them. It’s my favourite live-action adaptation of a comic book, so I was, of course, ecstatic to get into season three.

The Plot:

Jordan: Honestly, I think that Doom Patrol doesn’t even need to be described plotwise. The hook of the first season was rescuing The Chief from Mr. Nobody, but that’s not really why people were watching. The reason I kept coming back was because of the characters. It’s a very character first show. The characters and their conflicts and failings are what drive the show forward. This season I think that is especially true as from the episodes I have watched so far, it feels even more episodic. Which isn’t a bad thing in any way. In fact, I quite like the approach. It’s a lot like the comics, where there is a throughline throughout, but each episode can stand on its own as a singular story. I’m sure this will start to converge into something more focused as the season progresses, but so far, it’s brilliantly focused on character.  

Gabrielle: Describing the plot for Doom Patrol is hard. One second they’re having group therapy, and then they’re in an underground facility with living, human-eating butts on the loose. This season is no exception, which is great! It has to take the previous unresolved plot points on its shoulders while slipping in the plot for this one, and it does a great job at it. It’s the most emotionally charged premiere and amongst some of the most emotional episodes from the show at all. There’s a particular sequence with Jane that I believe will break everyone’s hearts. But it does not forget to also be fun as always, of course. Taking into consideration what this season sets out to do in its first few episodes, how it handles the characters, and all the fun it has while doing it, I think it’s not crazy to say that this is the series at its best. I won’t say yet it is the best season. For that, I will wait until it’s done. But I sure as hell believe it will be.

Characters:

Gabrielle: While I love basically everything about the show, its stronger aspect is the characters, in my opinion. When I made a Larry article a while back, I rewatched the two seasons while taking notes, and it was such a different experience that allowed me to get a deeper glimpse of just how many layers these characters have. It’s honestly insane.

From the get-go, this season doesn’t hold any punches, getting into tough territory and making us feel once again for these people that we love so much. All of them are taken into unexpected paths that feel incredibly daring on the writer’s part. They’re not directions many other shows would decide to take; you have weird, larger-than-life storylines that surprise you as they continue each episode, and at the same time, you’re told that one of them is going through some of the rawest and serious situations possible (Although sometimes mixing it with the weirdness, because Doom Patrol is just that good that it can pull it off).

This season had me realizing that I want these people to be happy. The last thing I want is for Doom Patrol to end. It’s an excellent show that I’m glad exists, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. But it had me thinking, ‘’I just want them to have a happy ending’’. They’re so well written that, for a moment, I would’ve chosen the happiness of these fictional characters over my favorite show of all time if given a choice. If that doesn’t speak for its quality, I don’t know what will.

Jordan: I’m in agreement with Gabrielle here. The characters are at their best this season. It feels like the creators are totally keyed into everyone’s voices. Every character feels fully realized, and their dynamic is well and truly established. But I wanna talk about the other characters of these first 3 episodes. Season 3 adds Michelle Gomez to the cast as Madame Rogue. She’s a perfect addition and slots into Doom Patrol’s unique brand of wackiness perfectly. Her interactions with Rita, in particular, are delightful. There is also an episode featuring the Dead Boy Detectives from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Their inclusion was incredibly fun, and I think people are really gonna love to see them. The villains so far have been great fun as well. The Sisterhood of Dada, Garguax, The Brain, and Monsieur Mallah all feel true to the comics but with fun twists and new angles. Garguax, in particular, was so much fun, a very different take on that character that still feels in line with his history. I really can’t wait for people to watch his episode. It’s totally wacky in typical Doom Patrol fashion, but the character is imbued with a surprising amount of pathos which makes him really engaging. This season seems most interested in exploring its characters as it takes them in new exciting directions. I’m super excited to see where this goes from here. 

Moments Where You Felt ‘’Oh this is the best possible show’’

Jordan: For all the wackiness of the show, all of the bombast and crazy extradimensional villainy, the best moments for me have been the quiet character beats. These early episodes are intimately focused on these characters, where they are, and where they’re heading. This show gets me emotional a fair bit, but usually towards the end of a season. This season, however, I had cried 3 times by the time of the second episode. A scene in the first episode with Jane and another with a dancefloor are particular standouts. I think this is also the funniest season so far. There’s a scene with Cliff and Garguax in particular, which was hilarious in its audacious imagery. This show always feels like the creators had a blast making it, and I think that’s truer in this season than ever.

Gabrielle: There are quite a few moments, actually. There’s a scene in the first episode that felt like a warm hug to the heart and the culmination of a lot of build-up since the start of the show that I feel will make a lot of people tear up. There’s a little musical number too, and we all know how good Doom Patrol is with those (Humanity peaked at Larry’s People Like Us cover). Also, I won’t mention which character I’m talking about, but there’s a decision that I wouldn’t have expected to see them take, and it ends up in a really compelling and layered character that I wish we could see again.

Is It Time To Give It a Chance?

Gabrielle: Well, if it wasn’t obvious already: Yes! It’s always a good time to watch Doom Patrol. So far, the show hasn’t declined in quality. Quite the opposite, really. If you like character-driven shows, with an out-of-time feeling, some of the best LGBTQ+ representation you can find, and bizarre comedy and plots, I’m sure you will love it!

Jordan: I mean, that’s not even a question. Doom Patrol is the best comic book show on TV and one of the best shows on TV right now, regardless of genre. This season particularly feels tight and streamlined with precision in its tone and universality in its characters. It’s 100% accessible and universal. There’s something here that everyone can connect to and see themself in. For those expecting more of the same, I think they will be surprised by the decisions and chances this season makes. Those behind Doom Patrol clearly aren’t content with hitting the same beats and this season really demonstrates that. It’s more of what worked but bolder and better than before.

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