The following contains spoilers for Doom Patrol season 2 episode 9.
The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted all of our lives in 2020 as well as the production of some of our favorite shows. The finale of Doom Patrol season 2 is a great example of an unintentional ending presented by the global pandemic which, due to the unexpected work stoppage and missing final episode, has a far bigger cliffhanger than DC or HBO Max were expecting. With all of that said, there’s still plenty to pick apart here, especially as we look forward to a potential season three!
The End of All Things
This episode begins with Jane lost in the well where Kay’s dead personalities go and ends with Dorothy walking into fire to face the Candlemaker. Those two stories are key here; although we see the Doom Patrol struck down by Dorothy’s imaginary friends, the important journeys are those of the two ever-young women and their fight for freedom. It’s these dual threads that close out the episode that sees the team head to the County Fair to help Dorothy try to beat Candlemaker only to find themselves all waylaid by their own trauma.
It’s a neat way to throw back to the exploration of childhood and generational trauma that has been so key to this season whilst also introducing a solid threat level. Of course, Jesus, the Cowboy, and the Fashion Doll aren’t really the heroes’ old childhood musings but the works of the Candlemaker, who uses them to lull the crew into a false sense of security before turning them all into wax. With the Doom Patrol indisposed, Dorothy and Jane are left to continue their quests alone, giving us a little more insight into each of the complex characters.
Over the runtime of “Wax Patrol” we get a yet unseen insight into the life of Miranda and the origin of Jane. A chance encounter at a diner where she works puts Miranda on the road to ruin when she places her trust in the wrong man and ends up putting Kay and the underground at risk. But that same horrific interaction also inspires the creation of a badass, self-advocating, brutally honest primary personality known as Jane. It’s a powerful moment that hints at emancipation and power for Diane Guerrerro’s tortured heroine, as well as hope for the fate of her team.
For Dorothy, this season has been about a similar search for herself and what that looks like away from her father. With the Candlemaker at full power and her friends in grave danger, the young girl has to make a decision: whether to stay in a coddled faux-childhood forever or to take a step into the unknown and unleash her true power. With a little help from her mother Slava who appears as all looks to be lost, Dorothy decides that she has to break free of Niles’ control and face down the demon who’s been living inside of herself for so long.
So, What Went Wrong?
Well, on a personal level the biggest tragedy here is that Cliff didn’t go to his daughter’s wedding! Like what the hell??? If he had gone then he would have been able to save the team as he wouldn’t have been turned into wax, but what do I know? On a bigger picture level the issue here seems to be that despite getting to know Dorothy the team never quite seemed to grasp the massive breadth of her powers. Heading to the County Fair with little preparation and even less of a plan left them at the mercy of Candlemaker. The fact that none of them even considered he might be behind the appearance of their imaginary friends seems like a massive lapse in common sense.
But like every problem in Doom Patrol, this can all be traced directly back to Niles Caulder and his terrible decision making. Dorothy has essentially been her father’s prisoner for over a century, leaving her alone and isolated. Rather than learning how to control her powers or protect herself, she’s been abandoned without defense thanks to Niles’ control issues.
How Will the Team Survive?
The obvious answer here is Dorothy as the monkey-faced girl has headed into the fires to fight Candlemaker. But there are other options too, namely Danny and his Dannizens. In the comics, the cosmic queer icon often comes to the rescue and now he’s a wheel it feels like he may just be able to appear when needed to save the crew. There’s also a solid chance that the wax the team has been frozen in may have sent them to some kind of alternate mindspace where they may be able to imagine themselves into a better situation and even to freedom. They’ve done it before, why not again? For now, though, their clearest chance lies in the Chief’s daughter and the hope that she will be able to defeat Candlemaker and save her friends.
Can Cliff be Put Back Together Again?
While most of the team was frozen in one piece, Cliff was blown to pieces by his old pal Jesus before he got turned to wax. Now seeing as he’s a robot that shouldn’t be a problem, but we know that Niles is currently dying and has bigger things on his mind than his old experiments. This could, however, be a chance for Cliff to get an upgraded suit, which he has been longing for. Maybe we could even see Cliff’s brain in a jar until he finds a new suit, which has happened in the comics. Hopefully whatever happens Cliff’s daughter will forgive him for missing her wedding!!
What Will Happen to Jane?
Jane is a survivor. That has been clear throughout these two seasons. And Diane Guerrerro has given yet another should-be-award-winning performance. The finale saw an interesting juxtaposition between her past and her future as we learned about her origin, watching her defeat the well and uncover the truth about Miranda. But the question is now that Jane knows that Kay’s primary has been deceiving the underground, how can she explain to the other personalities who already have doubts over her capability?
It might have been a question we got an answer to sooner rather than later if the final episode of the season had been filmed. But as things are now it’s a huge cliffhanger, especially when we begin to consider just who Miranda is and what their true motivations might be.
Who Was That Posing as Miranda?
This is the biggest question coming out of this episode. For the last couple of chapters of this story we’ve thought that Miranda was back in control of Kay after pushing Jane down the well. We even got to see Miranda’s heartbreaking story which didn’t seem to gel with her fights in the underground and disagreements with Kay’s other protectors. But the truth was revealed at the end as we saw Miranda’s bloated body in the well and Kay questioned who was posing as the woman just as she reached the most important member of the underground.
There’s a chance that this could be a manifestation of Candlemaker, which could explain why the underground has been trying so hard to suppress Jane. But it could be another threat too, one far closer to home, as with Miranda dead it seems like maybe Daddy has returned, manifested himself into the former primary and used the underground to gain access to Kay. It’s a terrifying prospect that sets up a huge showdown between Jane and the man who made her.
Will Dorothy be a Savior or a World Killer?
Much of this season has centered around Dorothy’s powers and the quest to control them. In fact, Niles’ fear of his own immortal child and her powers is the reason behind the creation of the Doom Patrol, his quest to live forever altering the lives of Cliff, Rita, and Larry. This makes it really hard for us as viewers to have an objective view on Dorothy’s powers as the Chief is an incredibly unreliable narrator and his fears of Dorothy and her strengths could be more to do with his own self-preservation than any wider ramifications.
But we do know that she has immense supernatural capabilities and is about to go to battle with one of the Doom Patrol’s most dangerous comic book foes. How she’ll fare is yet to be seen, but if we look to the comics her chances of survival are good. Also, we need a Doom Patrol season three, which means that we need heroes and right now Dorothy is the crew’s only hope. The fact that Candlemaker has thus far been controlled and captured by nothing but the hero’s brain makes us think that she likely has a good chance of taking him down, especially now that she’s finally embracing her own power and stepping away–literally–from her father’s grasp.
Will We Get a Season Three?
Despite COVID-19 disrupting production and meaning that this season ended one episode short, fear not. After the critical response and the high viewership numbers on HBO Max it seems pretty likely that Doom Patrol will get a season three. And with DC Fandome coming up so soon it wouldn’t surprise us if the announcement happened around DC’s massive digital convention.
You can watch Doom Patrol on DC Universe and HBO Max now.