Doom Patrol Season 1 Episode 9 Recap

Doom Patrol has introduced no shortage of quirky environments with tenuous atmospheres in its brief run to date. From Mr. Nobody’s sanity-stripping donkey-scape to the recent appearance of Danny the Street, the show held little reservation for bending the world to match its broken leads. The latest episode took this practice to the next level by allowing audiences into perhaps the most complex and haunting plain yet: The Underground. It’s been mentioned by numerous personas housed within Jane, but her comatose state gave us the key to its winding halls of memories. We all have an underground of sorts within us, but Jane’s proved to be more complex than imaginable. Housing 64 different personalities and their memories is no small task. Especially when the unhealthy rot of trauma makes up its core. We’re going in deep this week, everybody.

The Brakes

A memory of young Kay Challis being beckoned by her father ruminates through the air as Hammerhead pulls Karen back into The Underground. A large amount of Jane’s other personalities surround Karen as Jane watches from the distant shadows. Karen’s recitation of “Pretty Polly” angers the persona of the same name before she notices Jane. Polly berates Jane for her presence there, as her job is to remain at the surface and maintain equilibrium among the personas. Another persona known as The Secretary asks Jane to return to the surface and fulfill her purpose. Jane resists but ultimately gives in, boarding Driver 8’s train. A brief conversation about place and purpose between Driver 8 and Jane fades when Jane notices the train’s emergency brake. Pulling the switch would shut down the train for a significant amount of time. Driver 8 definitely wouldn’t want that. Definitely not.

Sibling Counsel

Yeah, that switch gets pulled and Jane heads back into her memories. She ends up at a peaceful lake where she runs into Penny Farthing. Their memories are all shared, but neither of them can recall which persona contributed this one. Jane’s struggles continue as she leaves the lake and Penny behind to seek guidance from The Sisters. They advise Jane to go to the well deep within The Underground. She leaves with a new waypoint but Penny meets her outside The Sisters’ chambers to dissuade her from going to the well. Penny brings up another persona named Miranda that The Sisters told to go to the well. The advice doesn’t land and Jane continues her descent into her mind, shunning the sucky surface once again.

A quick stop in a memory of sanitarium orderlies taking Jane away is interrupted by the whispers of Daddy, calling Jane to him.

Miranda & The Magic School Bus

Rita, Larry, Vic and Cliff surround Jane’s unresponsive body, trying to figure out what is wrong with her. Cliff continues to blame himself for Jane’s state as Vic reveals that there isn’t anything wrong with Jane physically. Cliff tosses out the idea that they shrink down and go inside Jane. Larry shoots down his “Magic School Bus” idea but the Negative Spirit is more keen to it, emerging from Larry’s body and linking Cliff into The Underground. Cliff takes on his human form once inside and first meets Driver 8. She agrees to help him contact Jane but double-crosses him by summoning Hammerhead and Driller Bill. They rough him up and lock him away in a cell alongside Karen and living scarecrow persona, Jack Straw.

Karen warns Cliff that Jane will never give him what he wants, regardless of what that desired outcome might be. Every side of her fears normalcy. Their exchange ends when Hammerhead releases Karen, leaving Cliff and Jack behind. Cliff punches the wall in frustration, causing it to crumble slightly. Presented an escape route, Cliff, with some aid from Jack, punches his way out. Penny is waiting on the other side and the two chase after Jane. They travel through a memory of Kay in elementary school as she claims to be Miranda to her teacher. Miranda was once a primary, like Jane, but threw herself into the well. Penny leads Cliff through Miranda’s station, populated by noose-hung bodies and tortured souls.

Miranda’s station empties into a memory of Cliff and Jane together just before Chief’s abduction. Penny points to that moment as the one that began Jane’s spiral. Cliff gave her hope just before it was lost. The duo finally catch up with Jane as she watches a memory of her refusing to tell Chief about her father. Cliff apologizes and begs Jane to come back, but she tells him to leave her mind multiple times. He tells her his knowledge of the well and Miranda, but that only pushes Jane further away. The return of Daddy’s beckoning whisper heightens the reaction. There isn’t any point in her returning to the surface so Cliff should go home and leave her be. Jane leaves Cliff and Penny behind, undeterred from her goal.

No Man

Black Annis lets Jane pass into the well’s home, walking toward Daddy’s voice. She enters the memory of Kay putting together a puzzle, revealing that the lake is in fact the image the puzzle makes upon completion. Jane has arrived at the moment where she began. She asks Kay for advice just as Daddy enters the room, calling Kay over. The little girl takes her father’s hand, but Jane leaves hand-in-hand with him, allowing Kay to remain in her room with her unfinished puzzle.

Cliff, who remains in pursuit of Jane despite giving her space, doesn’t have as easy of a time with the blade-fingered persona. Men are not allowed to pass, a point Annis accentuates by clawing Cliff in the face. The blow exposes the robotic appearance underneath his skin and forces him to confront his inhumanity, repeating to Annis that he isn’t a man as he rips the flesh from his body. Annis agrees after a quick cup check and allows him to pass.

Cliff rushes in to find Jane standing on the well’s edge, repeating various mixtures of the phrase “tell no one.” Cliff pulls her down as a flood of puzzle pieces rush from the well to form a towering form of her father. Cliff tries to empower Jane and defend her but Daddy tears him in half. The sight and Cliff’s continued commitment to her fuels Jane to stand up to her father, unloading her hate toward him. She refuses to let him destroy Cliff and is no longer afraid of him. Her strength forces Daddy back into the well. They return to the surface and Jane retreats to her room immediately. Cliff believes that their journey made Jane better to some extent, but Daddy’s whispers echo in Jane’s head as she recovers in bed.  

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