NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Doom Patrol”, including a major character death, are present in this review
Doom Patrol’s awkward pivot away from the Sisterhood of Dada as lead antagonists didn’t quite go off without a hitch during the show’s previous episode, leaving its Season 3 finale to hopefully salvage whatever the intent was behind the team’s latest thematic struggles. “Amends Patrol” also makes the bold decision to pivot even further away from a conventional superhero confrontation to close out the season, instead going out of its way to subvert expectations with a quest to have the Doom Patrol owning their problems and making amends, as well as Laura. Admittedly, this is a decent subversion of expectations, though it’s also a bit of an unremarkable ending for a season that probably could have used more weird charm in several places.
With a de-emphasis on an actual villain to battle this time, “Amends Patrol” thus makes its climactic confrontation with the Brain feel like little more than a passing gag. After Monsieur Mallah decides to stop short of finishing off Cliff’s brain and Laura, instead abandoning the Brain’s cause and disappearing, Laura repurposes Cliff’s brain into a giant Brotherhood of Evil robot, thus turning Cliff into a power source, and granting Cliff a colossal new body. Cliff’s gigantic new robot body eventually corners the Brain, who is still in Cliff’s usual robot body, and crushes him, eventually leaving a leg-less Brain at the mercy of Rita. The Brain initially claims to Rita that he can rebuild his robot body using Cliff’s blueprints, though Rita seemingly destroys the Brain for good after pouring hot water on him in response. So, I guess there was no point to the Brain having Cliff’s blueprints then?
That wasn’t the only strange, unfulfilling resolution that this season finale ultimately suffers from. After Shelley returns to save the Doom Patrol from their crashed bus, a crash that leaves all of them unscathed due to plot convenience, she leads the Doom Patrol into her fog, at which point Jane discovers that this is where the Underground personalities have been hiding. Larry also learns that his space parasite is attempting to merge with him here, eventually having it revealed that the parasite is a new negative spirit. Well, duh! I don’t think that’s too much of a leap to make. Worse still is that this non-twist with Larry’s space parasite essentially leaves his character arc to go in a big, fat circle this season! It’s unfulfilling, and this weak reveal with the space parasite serves as an annoying cherry on top of a season that really had no idea how to meaningfully advance Larry’s character.
As much as this season finale suffered from several disappointing story payoffs however, there were still some interesting final twists and resolutions that managed to land. Jane having to give up her position as Kay’s primary to save the other personas and the Underground is interesting, for example, seemingly setting up Dr. Harrison to be Kay’s new primary next season. Likewise, Cliff humourously taking his giant robot body through a trail of destruction to Clara’s house in an effort to make his own amends feels both amusing and heartfelt. It was also quite dramatically gratifying to see Laura return to the old, abandoned Sisterhood of Dada hangout in present-day 2021, eventually leading to Laura rediscovering the time machine in a hidden room, seemingly left by Rita.
Just like Rita, Laura has effectively been given a chance to reinvent herself, now free from the specter of both the Bureau of Normalcy and the Sisterhood of Dada. After using the time machine to return to Doom Manor, she restores her amnesia, and uses a note to try and seek redemption among the Doom Patrol. Laura gets her chance to do so after Cliff’s tremors seize control of his giant body as well, eventually inspiring Laura to help Rita become a giant herself, and stop an out-of-control Cliff from wrecking Cloverton. There’s a nice callback here too, when Cliff tells Rita that he wants to go home, and Rita says, “We can do that”, a very heartfelt nod to Rita pitifully saying she wanted to go home after the team first wrecked Cloverton during the series premiere. This proves that Rita has truly advanced as a character, and has become a more mature and capable hero, even if it came at the expense of a supposed self-sacrifice ploy by Jane being an obvious fake-out.
With the day saved again, the Brain seemingly stopped for good, and Monsieur Mallah having disappeared to parts unknown, the Doom Patrol thus decide that they have potential as superheroes, with Rita apparently taking up a position as their leader. Rita also begrudgingly allows Laura to join the team, after they discover a gigantic scrotum-like monster has surfaced in the Suez Canal. Vic may still be de-powered at this point, but with Larry and Jane at least being restored, and Cliff now having a kaiju-size robot body to wield, the team have a new purpose as low-level heroes, even if they humourously and repeatedly reject Cliff’s suggestion to call the team the, “Doom Force.” It’s a surprisingly happy ending, perhaps the Doom Patrol’s first in this universe, especially considering that so much of this season has felt extra dark and gloomy.
Doom Patrol sometimes fumbles its Season 3 climax to a frustrating degree, ultimately failing to manifest a threat that appropriately reflects the team’s latest struggles with self-worth and ownership of trauma. Still, there were some good steps taken with certain characters, most notably Cliff, Jane, Rita and Laura. Even the de-powered Vic feels like he has lots of potential to embrace a new role from here. Larry frustratingly does little more than return to his former state though, having mostly learned nothing from this entire season. Fortunately, the Doom Patrol finally finding their path to becoming a more comic book-faithful superhero team makes for a good ending tease, and a solid foundation for the upcoming Season 4. I don’t know what kind of threat may eventually appear to succeed the Brain and the Brotherhood of Evil, or the Sisterhood of Dada, who may or may not be heroes now? Who knows. Regardless, even if Doom Patrol delivered a bit of a flawed ending to Season 3, there are still lots of exciting places for the series to go from here, and I’m excited to see where a renewed commitment to heroism may take this show’s eponymous band of eccentrics.
- Cliff's amusing giant robot upgrade
- Laura restoring her amnesia and attempting redemption
- Jane sacrificing her position as primary to save the Underground
- Unsatisfying resolution for the Sisterhood of Dada
- Larry's arc simply puts him back where he started
- The Brain is too easily neutralized