‘DOOM PATROL’ Season 3 Review – A Beautiful Triumph

I was speaking to my wife recently and we both came to the same conclusion. Doom Patrol is a masterclass in subverting expectations. Anything you think is going to happen probably isn’t or it isn’t going to happen how you think it will, and it’s magical. Watching these traumatized and deeply flawed characters behave like real people amidst the absurd is nothing short of fantastic.

For those of you who may not know, Doom Patrol is my favorite show. It is, by a wide margin, the most insightful, intelligently written, heartfelt, and moving show I’ve ever seen. Doom Patrol is incredible. If you’ve ridden the emotional rollercoaster that is Doom Patrol up to this point then you know what I’m talking about. The third season just wrapped on HBOMax, and I’m happy to say that this is absolutely still the case. Even having to technically give us the finale episode to their previous season at the very beginning, the series’ third season managed to give us another uniquely emotional and clever ride from start to finish.

The Transition

This season saw the departure of the Chief (Timothy Dalton) and his daughter Dorothy Spinner (Abi Monterey) who had been major focuses of the series’ first two seasons. I miss them both dearly, but I can’t imagine how they’d have made the season better than it already was. Their stories had finished and the other characters still had some things to sort out together. It was a very understandable evolution for their characters, and it allowed for a smooth transition for the newest addition to the cast: Laura DeMille/Madame Rouge (Michelle Gomez). Gomez does an amazing job from the first second we see her to the very last scene of the season. I loved everything about how her character was developed and how the others all came to know and understand her. It was nothing short of beautifully done.

Without further ado, lets get into the details of the latest season so I can gush about how great my favorite show is some more! A word of caution before continuing; there will be some spoilers.

Characters are Everything

The heart and soul of Doom Patrol is its incredible cast of characters. Cliff Steele/Robotman (Brendan Fraser (voice)/Riley Shanahan) at first thinking the Chief just gave him a crappy robot body comes to learn he may be suffering from Parkinson’s disease! What follows for him is an insane journey. He gets addicted to Parkinson’s medication and suffers from a gambling problem. He also has to deal with some major issues from his past involving his daughter Clara. All of this while also trying to be a better father and grandfather!

Meanwhile, Larry Trainor/Negative Man (Matt Bomer (voice)/Matthew Zuk) loses the negative spirit after a trip into deep space and comes back pregnant with an alien slug! His coming to terms with how his life has played out up to that point and finally being able to make a real choice is extremely powerful and feels well earned by the end of the season. He also manages to have some much needed levity. Larry has been through a lot, so it was nice to see him try to slow down.

Photograph by Bob Mahoney/HBO Max

Also, Larry in a Hawaiian shirt is the best thing ever.

Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero) continues to be amazing. Watching her deal with the Chief and her struggles as she tries desperately to give Kay more autonomy within herself is riveting. She can transition from Kay’s youthful and high-spirited demeanor back to the dour and jaded in a second and its fascinating every time. Seeing her get to have more of a dialogue with the other personas inside the Underground and in the Fog was particularly clever as well. Her conversations with Kay (Skye Roberts), Pretty Polly (Hannah Alline), and Dr. Harrison (Catherine Carlen) are illuminating and emotional and can be absolutely devastating. I genuinely can’t wait to see what happens with her next season.

Vic Stone/Cyborg (Joivan Wade) goes through an incredible arc over the course of this series that comes to a head this year. He’s spent his entire time with the residents of Doom Manor coming to terms with what made him Cyborg. Watching him make his change and see how that affects him and the people around him was incredible. So many moments with his character are tear-jerking. His conversation with Lloyd (Miles Mussenden) in the Fog. When he becomes his childhood action-figure. His conversation with his father after the Eternal Flagellation. So much happens to this young man over the course of 10 episodes!

Photograph by Bob Mahoney/HBO Max

Why are you, Cyborg?

The biggest surprise of the season for me was Rita Farr/Elasti-Girl (April Bowlby). Watching her grow from this timid and emotionally fragile woman to a strong, confident, and intimidating leader was powerful. She has been so pitiful and timid up until now. There have been brief moments where she breaks through and we see her inner strength, but they’re often all too short. Seeing her be freed from those shackles and become the leader the Chief knew she could be was exactly what she needed.

Rita is such an amazing character and has been the glue holding these people together more often than not. Seeing that role flipped to the others made for a really interesting dynamic for the season. Her love story with Malcom in 1917 and her arc with the Sisterhood of Dada, while admittedly very strange, are some of the best examples of why I love this show as much as I do.

The Baddies

I’ve heard it said that heroes are only ever as good as their villains are evil. Doom Patrol manages to ride that line in a way I’ve never seen executed before. We meet crazy characters like Garguax (Stephen Murphy) and Samuelson (Billy Boyd) who have been living together at a cozy cabin in a vacation community for 70 years. After seven decades of waiting for Rita Farr to show up with the Chief’s time machine, Garguax has become complacent and wants to move on with his life. Samuelson on the other hand is still a devout servant to the warlord that Garguax once was. Their relationship is hilarious and helps to usher in some other DC greats.

Photograph by Bob Mahoney/HBO Max


We meet the villainous Brain (Riley Shanahan) and his partner, the guerilla gorilla himself, Monsieur Mallah (Jonathan Lipow) settled into a life of contentedness in a retirement community. The return of Madame Rouge brings with it the desire to be evil once again. We see how this strains the partnership of Mallah and the Brain, and it’s fascinating. They’re both fleshed out and explored so that we can really understand why they want what they want. It’s refreshing.

The Sisterhood of Dada are absolutely bonkers and I loved it. They’re completely absurd, as they should be, but they’re also truly optimistic. They really believe that what they’re doing is going to change the world for the better. Shelley Byron/The Fog (Wynn Everett), Lloyd Jefferson/Frenzy, Malcom/Agent “!” (Micah Joe Parker), Holly McKenzie/Sleepwalk (Anita Kalathara), and Sachiko/the Quiz (Gina Hiraizumi) are all explored as Rita comes to terms with living in 1917. The friendship and love that they forge together makes the betrayal of DeMille’s character feel all the more soul-crushing.

Laura DeMille/Madame Rouge is wonderful. Watching someone be told that they’re supposed to be evil and not understand why was beautifully done. This woman came to a time knowing nothing about herself and is met with nothing but claims that she is evil. When she does learn about her past and everything compounds on the different characters’ stories it is something truly special to watch. Her redemption is also genuinely interesting and fits with this show perfectly. I can’t wait to see more of her.

Photograph by Bob Mahoney/HBO Max

What is Happening?!

Doom Patrol is less one large over-arching story and more an amalgam of the character’s different emotional journeys and how they relate to each other. There often happens to be a central catalyst or issue to be resolved and the emotional struggles result from their attempts to tackle it. Their third season, continues this format in glorious fashion. The Chief is dead and a new woman shows up at the Manor in a time machine that drills through the Earth! The team tries to figure out who this woman is and if she can be trusted before splitting off and trying to get their own lives sorted in a post-Chief world.

What follows is a crazy set of time travel plots, multiple organizations, emotional revelations, and second chances in all their forms. Watching how these people come to know DeMille, the Sisterhood of Dada, and themselves is beautiful. It’s hilarious while also being genuinely tear-jerking. I love these characters, and I want to see them become happier people. Seeing them as they work through decades of emotional and physical trauma is near perfection. It manages to take the madcap, wacky, and insane world of comic books and still tell incredibly grounded and human stories.

The Final Word

9.5/10-A nearly perfect character driven study of trauma that I would watch over and over and over again.

Doom Patrol has yet to disappoint me. Frankly, it’s the best thing on TV and if you’re not watching you’re objectively wrong. The stories are poignant, insightful, and heartfelt while still embracing the wacky. This season managed to introduce a slew of new characters and make them more interesting and well-developed than main characters in big-budget movies. Garguax, the Brain, and Mallah are all on that list. Fantastic use of classic DC villains in a setting that makes absolute sense for them that I would never have guessed.

Photograph by Bob Mahoney/HBO Max

I could also argue this show also started the Brenaissance that we’re all currently enjoying. We love you, Brendan!

If you haven’t watched the previous two seasons, now is a great time to binge them on HBOMax and catch all 10 episodes of the latest season too. We can talk about how great it is when you’re done crying.

Before we let you go, we have officially launched our merch store! Check out all of our amazing apparel when you click here and type in GVN15 at checkout for a 15% discount!

Make sure to check out our podcasts each week including Geek Vibes LiveTop 10 with TiaWrestling Geeks Alliance and more! For major deals and money off on Amazon, make sure to use our affiliate link!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments