My, my, my. How Farr we have come! I know, I know, it’s terribly punny, but it’s the season finale! I won’t have another chance for MONTHS.
By any measure, Doom Patrol Season 3 Episode 10 is a solid landing for a season that took us into the Afterlife, backward and forwards in time, and then into the subconscious.
Admittedly, we still have no idea where that lone zombie were-butt has gone or what the alarm in the library does if you answer it in time, but with a Season 4 renewal in the bag, we can hope those answers will be forthcoming. Or FOURTH-coming even? Okay, okay, I’ll stop.
I’ve called this the Season of Rouge before, and I stick by that moniker since, as of Doom Patrol Season 3 Episode 9, she’d managed to evolve from jaunty amnesiac to enthusiastic time detective to malfunctioning shape-shifter to unrepentant Beatrice Arnold.
Here, she makes yet another character shift and grows back that soul Malcolm was so sure she’d abandoned.
Rita: Are you honestly expecting me to believe that you’ve changed?
Rouge: I haven’t. But I wanna try. Like the rest of you.
But I’ll admit a dissenter could easily make an argument that this was Rita Farr’s season of change.
When the season began (which was really on Doom Patrol Season 3 Episode 2), Rita was so overwhelmed by the mantle of leadership Niles had dropped on her, she had blobbified in a most extreme manner.
By the finale, she’s lived an entire new lifetime — made friends, made art, fallen in love, felt tragedy — and she’s accepted both her histories as part of who she is now.
She’s also now driven by a need for vengeance, something her pacifist Dada Sisterhood teammates cannot support.
IMHO, the Dadas are entirely deserving of their own spin-off. I’m unabashedly thirsty for more information on The Quiz, The Fog, Frenzy, Agent “!”, Sleepwalk, their powers, and adventures.
Rita is now an isolated figure. She stands apart from the Doom Patrol as the singular team member who truly understands herself and has accepted her truths, and has stepped away from the path of the Dadas in order to pursue Rouge.
As such, she blooms into her leadership role.
Unfortunately, by the time she’s reunited with the Doom Patrol, none of them are willing to rally to her banner.
Rita: We did something great today. We were of service. We saved a town!
Larry: From us.
Rita: We’re not perfect. But we’re trying to be good.
(Well, Cliff might, but he’s a brain in a jar at this point, so the point is moot.)
After the bus crashes, she’s forced to move forward on her own, and, wow, does she ever make a move.
Her entire scene with The Brain felt like a juggernaut moving to the fait accompli. And the fact she destroys him without ever needing her powers seems so perfect.
Meanwhile, the other team members find themselves adjusting to post-Eternal Flagellation life.
Jane’s so desperate to bring the alts back to Kay’s Underground before they all die in The Fog, she strikes a deal with Dr. Harrison.
What that deal fully entails, we’re not sure. Hammerhead assumes she gave up primary, but she’s not even certain Jane can do that.
What we do know is that, as the curtain fell on the season, Dr. Harrison had Jane enthralled in The Underground.
Super exciting development: Larry’s space larva has a name! Comic canonists can let me know if Keeg Bovo is specifically the Negative Spirit bug that Larry birthed or if they’re the original spirit reborn.
Larry’s hesitation regarding merging with Keeg is understandable if a little entitled, entirely on-brand for our fine Mr. Trainor.
Until this moment, every major event in my life was forced on me. Society forced me into my marriage. Chief pulled the strings to have me cross paths with the Negative Spirit. But if I let him in, it’ll be my choice. And if it goes sideways, which it always does, then I’m the only one to blame.
With his anti-radiation bandages repelling Keeg, it’s up to Vic to step up to keep the spirit larva alive until they can transfer to Larry.
I believe that this is where Vic’s journey to post-Cyborg heroism begins. Allowing a negative spirit to merge with him when he has no tech to protect or monitor himself is probably the most selfless thing he’s ever been called upon to do.
It is an incredibly clever plot design that Rita quickly dispatches The Brain, leaving her to combat one of her own, instead of a Brotherhood of Evil member, at the finale’s climax.
Speaking of which, Giant Robot Cliff is one of those Doom Patrol twists on something already crazy enough to belong on Doom Patrol.
Well, you’re a giant robot now, and we’re about to exact revenge on the little shit who stole your body and tried to kill us. Congratulations and you’re welcome.
With the bus totaled, and the original Robotman body smooshed, it’s a double-barreled solution to have Cliff as both teammate and vehicle.
This has to be the most people I’ve ever had inside me. Came close at an infield party at Talladega back in the day but, yeah, this is the record.
I’ve always appreciated the fact that the writers always write Cliff authentically. Totally, effin’ authentically Cliff.
Case in point, his amends are done as only Cliff could do them. Not subtle. Not polished. But infinitely sincere.
This new time-traveling Doom Patrol has the potential to be something halfway resembling functional. And wholly bonkers. As per usual.
If they’re going to have their memories wiped every time they use the time machine, we can expect some serious shenanigans.
Several questions come to mind.
Will the Negative Spirit be affected by the time travel amnesia?
Are the alts affected? Will Jane (or Dr. Harrison) forget they’re alts? Will Kay forget she has alts?
More importantly, when will Jane and Byron get to hang out together again?
Now that they’ve accepted they’re a team and have set out to vanquish foes, what do they do with the foes they vanquish? I mean, where do they store a giant set of demon testicles? It’s not like Doom Manor has a Bureau-like containment level. Does it?
Rouge has a long way to go to be accepted on the team. I suspect her relationship with Rita is always going to be complex.
Although, if they’re both having their memories wiped regularly, it could get a lot simpler very quickly.
What do you predict for the team’s adventures in Season 4?
For those of you who followed the graphic novels, what do you hope to see next in this incredible adaptation?
Hit our comments with your thoughts and feelings on this bow out of the season? Is it piffle-paffle, or does your body elephant tell you otherwise?
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.