As far as episodes go, Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 9 is solid. It’s exciting — full of conflict and intriguing developments.
It’s a not a proper finale, though, and it was never meant to be. COVID-19 shutdowns meant that the intended tenth episode of the season was never completed, and this became the last episode of an already shorter season.
While most of this season’s episodes bounced between any of the six team members’ separate stories, this one manages to pull most of the core characters together for one focused conflict while still dealing with their individual issues.
The hold-out is Jane, whose consciousness is trapped in the well in The Underground, pushed in by Miranda at the end of Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 8.
While she floats around there, not-drowning (because The Underground is still a construct), the events that led to Miranda’s own trip down the well play out in flashback memories.
And it’s pretty idyllic to start. I can see how Miranda could be seen as best connected to Kay’s interests as she escaped from their father and then made a nice, normal life for herself in the city.
Most telling was John’s comment that all his friends “love” Miranda. Miranda’s response is a Han Solo-esque, “I know,” and I believe that reveals Miranda’s modus operandi. She needs to be loved.
Even now, her interactions with the rest of the Doom Patrol have been ones where she’s making the others feel better, comforted, taken care of.
And that might have started with John and his dirty, hippy busker wooing.
You’re like a cat, you know that? Mysterious. Can’t tell if you want someone for petting or for scratching.
Granted, she obviously doesn’t share everything about her childhood and the alters with him, and that’s probably a part of wanting him to love her.
She spends a lot of time reassuring the others, after all, calming and coercing them the same way that John did with her in the beginning.
Miranda: Does this work on other girls?
John: Is it working on you?
So… that has me thinking about Kay’s question to “Miranda” at the end. If the alter that emerged from the Well isn’t Miranda, who could she be?
My theory is that she’s a new alter, formed out of Miranda’s desire to be normal and loved.
Miranda 2.0 is everything Miranda was with the distinct difference that she does not want to be primary to a collective of alters. She doesn’t want to take care of Kay. She wants to be the ONLY personality.
And if that means throwing all the others down the Well (Kay too?), that specific hole in the ground is about to get mighty crowded.
In contrast, Jane has never wanted to accommodate anyone except Kay. Because she lacks the traumatic memories of the other alters, she looks to them for feedback, but as the only one with a sense of real-world life skills, she’s been the right primary for the collective.
You motherfuckers. You don’t know a thing about love. Not one of you. The shit that happened tonight? This scene? Isn’t about love or freedom. It’s just more control cooked up by men like this asshole. They stay in control and keep taking from clueless bitches. And we let them because we’ve tricked ourselves into believing it’s a fucking choice! I don’t know whose worse in this shitbox. The tiny dick losers? Or all you sheep opening up for them because you’re afraid. And empty.
From the moment she emerges as an alter, her attitude towards those around her is brutal truth and screw tact and diplomacy. Her drive has always been towards the survival of the group, which may explain why she hasn’t drowned the way the other alters have in the Well.
Meanwhile, Dorothy, the other character with multiple entities living in her head, is having a rough start to puberty.
I continue to blame Niles for all of this. I’m unclear if Dorothy’s mother chose to raise her alone or if Niles stayed away for their safety, but no matter the reason, he’s been willfully ignorant of how to protect and prepare their child.
If reaching out to Dorothy’s mother was always an option, while the heck didn’t he go to her as soon as it was apparent that Dorothy’s wishes were dangerous? Why wait until the Candlemaker’s about to spring into the world, full-powered?
Listen to me. You can’t beat him. Look at the others. Look at how he destroyed them. What chance do you think a little girl has? Don’t do this, Dorothy. I’m begging you.
And then there’s the fact he has absolutely no confidence in his daughter’s abilities or the powers her lineage (through her mother’s side) have imbued her with.
And if she doesn’t have a chance in that fight, whose fault would that be, Niles?
Of the wax-ified team, Larry is the only one who doesn’t get an imaginary friend treatment (since he admits he never had one) and, thus, is unceremoniously zapped with no preamble at all.
Cliff’s battle with Bible Camp Jesus is just so Cliff.
Jesus: Hey Cliffy, you piece of shit.
Cliff: What the fuck? You were my imaginary friend for like HALF a summer at bible camp.
Jesus: Yeah, then you forsook my ass.
Cliff: Wait, Jesus. I come in peace. Maybe we can talk this out?
Jesus: You think I give a french-fried titty fuck about anything you have to say now, Cliff? I’m here to end you.
Yes, he gets to verbalize some of the abandonment issues he has about his dad, which probably fed into his own insecurities about being a father himself, but getting roundhouse kicked by a pissed-off Son of God is something you just don’t see all that often.
Cliff: So that’s it? Chief wins? Again?
Vic: This isn’t about The Chief. It’s about Dorothy.
Cliff: And, for me, it’s about Clara. I have a daughter too. He’s responsible for the life he fucked up. I’m responsible for the life I fucked up. I’m going to repair mine.
And he’s understandably fed up with losing out on chances to right his parenting wrongs so that he could help Niles out with his.
Meanwhile, Rita works out her mommy issues through tap dancing with Roxy, a collage paper doll which basically acted as Rita’s childhood vision board.
It’s telling that Rita saw Roxy as a surrogate for her mother, having used her mother’s eyes to create Roxy’s face. Rejecting Roxy equaled rejecting her mother’s actions.
That Rita was able to stand up to Roxy, even touting some of her Elasti-girl abilities, indicated that Rita might’ve actually grown quite a bit since her more blobby-inclined days.
What’s going on here? I assume you’re going to, what, attack me? Try to rip me limb from limb? I feel I should warn you I have certain abilities now, abilities I didn’t possess as a child. Stretchy abilities. Blobby abilities. They’re really quite something.
In a lot of weird ways, the Candlemaker’s punishment for Dorothy’s friends was prefaced by some much-needed therapy they’ve all needed this season.
Vic’s imaginary friend, Cowboy Doctor, is truly the most Freudian since he looks exactly like Vic’s IRL dad, Silas Stone.
Cowboy Doctor — more so than the other imaginary friends — is far more self-aware of his purpose in Vic’s life.
Vic: How are you still here?
Doctor Cowboy: Well, I reckon it’s on account of me being in your imagination
Even getting shot doesn’t slow him down.
He’s there to be Vic’s cheering section, a father figure who supports him no matter how asinine his decisions.
Vic: I want some advice.
Cowboy Doctor: No, sirree. That’s what your dad’s for. Advice, critiques, judgment. No, you made me for affirmation.
Vic: That’s not true.
Cowboy Doctor: Sure it is. Whatever you do, I’m here to pat you on the back and say ‘Yee-ha!’ so … yee-ha, Vic! You let a killer go loose. But hey, if you’re okay with it, so am I.
And that realization hits Vic just before he gets waxified too.
Maybe that’s the point of Candlemaker’s vengeance. He provides them all with these great insights and breakthroughs just to snap them into wax suspension to prove it doesn’t make a difference.
So we’re left with all the intrepid heroes stuck in dire circumstances, little Dorothy whipped into a mystical fire, and Niles crying futile tears.
This was an excellent penultimate episode and a supremely frustrating finale.
Do me a favor and send some positive vibes to the Powers That Be that a renewal announcement comes through soon because I, for one, would REALLY like to see what happens next.
Pretty sure you would too, but let me know in the comments if I’m wrong.
Did the second season work for you?
Or did all the various adventures prove too disparate and confusing?
Does the show deserve a renewal?
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.