In the third season finale of Doom Patrol, the Brain has stolen Cliff’s body and the rest of the team is in dire need of inspiration. Can Rita rally the heroes in time to confront Laura DeMille and save Robotman?
Much like previous season finales, “Amends Patrol” sets the odds completely against the Doom Patrol who are on a course for disaster. Here, though, the biggest obstacle between them and victory arises from dealing with their own hangups. And despite Rita’s best efforts to give everyone a pep talk, things are bleak for the first chunk of this episode. As a result, much of “Amends Patrol” is about the team making peace with themselves and trying to become whole again before they can tackle a ticking clock that puts all of Cloverton in danger.
The thing about this episode that kind of drove me up the wall is how it seems to be selective in what carries over from previous episodes in the season. This includes character powers, which seem to be acknowledged off and on for the sake of story convenience. For instance, the episode opens with Laura De Mille, a character we know can shapeshift and who has frequently changed into a tiny bird to make her escape, strapped to a gurney and seemingly unable to get free. I thought maybe I’d missed something about her losing her ability, but sure enough, she transforms toward the midpoint of the episode to make a retreat.
The Sisterhood of Dada have more or less vanished from the story at this point, and it’s unclear how they managed to pull off the flagellation or where every member other than the Fog has gone off to. Hopefully this will be explored next season and we can get a clearer idea of their whole deal and their motivations in the present day, because they were unfortunately thrown on the back burner in the back half of the season.
It’s also unclear how the team is able to prevent Cliff from exploding toward the end of the episode of Doom Patrol. We get an incredible hero moment from Rita (more on that in a moment), and then the scene shifts to a later time. This beat would feel less jarring if a great portion of the episode hadn’t been concerned with the fact that Jane and Cliff were about to meet a fiery end. Ultimately, the last few episodes have had a number of moments where it felt like the stakes have been raised and lowered (or dropped entirely), but it’s most prevalent in this concluding chapter.
Even with those issues, I couldn’t help but feel like this episode did so much right. In many ways, this feels like an end to the first era of Doom Patrol. These heroes have pushed back against the idea of being the team that Niles Caulder created them to be for so long, and to see them finally embracing their gifts and finding ways of helping the world makes me so excited to see what shape the series will take in future seasons.
In particular, the moment of Rita confidently using her powers to halt Cliff’s accidental rampage feels like it has brought things full circle, complete with an exchange that mirrors her dialogue with Cliff from the pilot episode (and the callback to Mr. Nobody’s robot from the first season was greatly appreciated). While there are parts of this episode that didn’t make too much sense to me from a narrative standpoint, the emotional through-line felt exactly right to me, and that’s where this show’s strength has always been.
The cast sell all of the episode’s bizarre twists and turns, naturally. In particular, Michelle Gomez continues to play Laura’s inner turmoil quite well. Even when the character doesn’t have a clue who she is, there’s a sense that she’s struggling to be on the side of the angels. Meanwhile, April Bowlby’s interrogation of the Brain is one of her character’s darkest moments, but it never quite feels like Rita has allowed herself to become a villain. I’m interested to see how the next season continues to play with this side of her.
Diane Guerrero and Brendan Fraser give us our best Cliff/Jane interaction of the season in a sequence that reminds the audience that these two have always been there for one another, whether they like it or not. And of course, Guerrero and Wynn Everett’s brief interactions give us another fleeting scene that will launch a thousand ships — more of this, please.
“Amends Patrol,” much like the members of the Doom Patrol, is full of heart, even when it doesn’t make perfect sense. The final moments of this episode promise an exciting future for our heroes, while the rest of the finale offers a few teases that some things aren’t quite as rosy as they seem. I can’t wait to see how these misfits handle being bonafide heroes in season four.
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