DC Universe gave us another banger with the first season of Doom Patrol. The show faithfully gave life to the character quirks and off-the-wall storytelling that have defined the squad for decades. It also presented one of the most realistic depictions of coping with mental illness ever seen in the superhero genre. No emotional stone was left unturned as the team battled themselves, each other and a plethora of enemies on their way to a showdown with Mr. Nobody. The show’s first act will be a hard one to top, but this group is clearly able to top expectations.
Rita & Vic
Rita and Vic found both a physical and mental link throughout the season. The two often found themselves stuck together while others were on excursion. But their real connection lies in their struggle toward self-identity. Both having trouble holding themselves together, questioning past actions and internalizing guilt.
Vic’s cybernetics plague him throughout, as a lasting totem to the accident that killed his mother. This causes tension with his father, Silas, that culminates in Vic nearly beating his father to death. The two reconcile and Vic realizes his own role in defining himself as more man than machine.
Rita finally shakes her self-blame of another actress’ suicide, after multiple attempts at expunging the feeling through saving others. She begins reclaiming her identity by using her real name and driving her teammates to break out of their shells. She even begins to take the impetus in the team’s fight against Mr. Nobody.
Larry & The Negative Spirit
Larry’s relationship with his bodily roommate was defined for decades by the trauma from which it spawned. He sees the spirit as a nuisance that holds dominion over his body. The torture caused him to seclude himself as much as possible, even from the rest of the team. But Larry doesn’t realize that the spirit feels the same torture about being tethered to him. The two have to learn to coexist for either to have any chance at fulfillment.
The gap begins to shrink when the Spirit begins forcing Larry to confront his past romantic relationships. They were plagued by Larry’s selfishness, though that was a result of fear. Homosexuality wasn’t as accepted back in the day, after all. A visit to Danny the Street starts to crack Larry’s exoskeleton. The Spirit allows Larry to reconnect with his former lover, John. Larry visits a now elderly John and the two resolve their issues before John dies. The two grow to appreciate each other and even begin working together to bolster each other’s independence.
Cliff & Jane
Jane, in many ways, is the highlight of the show. Her attitude toward housing multiple personas is novel, choosing to let them exist separately rather than try to control them. It proves volatile, but she prefers chaos over what she sees as fascism. Things aren’t all well, though. Jane forces herself back into The Underground, evading her other personas and almost succumbing to a manifestation of her abusive father. But she returns to the surface having momentarily conquered her demons. They never truly go away.
Jane’s struggles tie into Cliff’s, surprisingly. The man has been reduced to a brain in a robot body. But what truly haunts him is that the daughter he thought was dead is very much alive. He begins to treat Jane like his daughter as a result. Jane continually pushes back, but the two begin to bond regardless. Cliff even travels into The Underground to help bring Jane back from the brink of psychological death. The relationship emboldens Cliff to actually visit his daughter, though he never reveals his identity.
The Uncomfortable Truth
The team finally confronts Mr. Nobody after weeks of mental anguish, but there is no climactic battle. Instead, Mr. Nobody forces Chief to admit his role in the accidents that made them what they are. The team goes their separate ways afterward, but Chief pulls them back together when Mr. Nobody takes Danny prisoner. Chief has some extra motivation as his daughter lives on Danny. The team reluctantly agrees to help him, and end up partnering with Mr. Nobody to help them escape via giant cockroach. The day is saved with Danny the Street becoming Danny the Brick and Chief introducing his daughter, Dorothy Spinner, to the team. Mr. Nobody and the Beard Hunter remain imprisoned in the White Space.
If you’ve missed a recap or want to revisit the entire season, check out our full list of recaps below.