As Mr. Nobody once said, “More TV superheroes? how original!” Except, when it comes to the Doom Patrol, it’s quite genuinely the truth. The series, about to launch its third season, has turned the genre on its head, embracing the most outlandish and unorthodox ideas that the source material had to offer. All while developing these absolutely compelling characters who look as if they were pulled from the bottom of the toy box. It’s comforting to know that the upcoming third season of the Emmy nominated comic book property is yet another hit, diving deeper into the legacy of the Doom Patrol, while ushering in the new age of uncanny heroism.
Brendan Fraser is once again one of the standouts for the season, perfectly bringing to life Cliff Steele alongside Riley Shanahan who does the bodywork for Robotman. The progression of Robotman, and how he’s made the best of his situation and found something to keep going for in his grandson, is one of the best parts of his character this season. Jane is of course another standout, with Diane Guerrero continuing to give it her all when bringing to life each of Kay’s personalities. At the same time, she continues developing Jane, and how she handles the sudden dynamic change at Doom Manor and the nature of her relationships with the people around her.
Jovian Wade’s Cyborg has kind of found himself still hung up on Roni Evers – the first real love he’d felt since the incident that turned him into the mechanized hero. He wants to bring her to justice but just can’t get past his feelings because without them he’d feel more like a machine than a man. So we soon understand that it is his humanity that he’s trying to hold onto here. These actions however have consequences. He finds himself powerless and wonders, what is he without these enhancements? Having a crazy existential crisis that could change Victor Stone forever.
The friendship between April Browlby’s Rita Farr and Matt Bomer’s Larry Trainor has been one of the series brightest spots throughout, as the Chief’s earliest science projects. The two have been around each other for decades. Just as Rita had seemingly begun to master her elasticity, it seems as if her “fake it till you make it” attitude has caught up with her, and she has found herself running in place alongside Larry who continues his inner struggles. The two need more to do and I think in Rita’s case, she obviously still has baggage that is keeping her from this progression, and the same in Larry’s case. The two are probably the weakest developed of the bunch this time around but that in no way means they don’t keep up their fantastic performances from the previous seasons.
This season brings in a whole slew of new characters, with the arrival of Madame Rogue, the dual-personality femme fatale from the Brotherhood of Evil. Rogue makes her way to Doom Manor with unknown intentions, but man is Michelle Gomez great! She fits in perfectly at Doom Manor as she tries to figure out just who she is, and just what she is there to stop. Along with Rogue is the arrival of the Dead Boy Detectives and their psychic Crystal, who charm their way through the episode. Newcomers Ty Tennant and Sebastian Croft are great in the roles alongside Madelyn Horcher as Crystal Palace. Their episode makes it quite obvious as to why they got a spin-off greenlit so quickly.
This season has some of the Doom Patrol’s most outlandish ideas yet (and that’s saying something!), and yet this third season seems to be moving at a much slower pace in these earlier episodes as adjustments are made at the Manor. However, by the time the fifth episode ends, it really kicks off for what looks to be quite an exciting back half of the season.
The first three episodes of the Doom Patrol season 3 premieres on HBO Max on September 22nd. Check out the first two seasons there, in the meantime!
[Editor’s Note: This article was written by John Sabato.]