Doom Patrol’s ‘Undead Patrol’ is by far the most fun episode of the season and the show. The discussion of grief with the fun of zombie gore makes it an enjoyable ride. The episode builds on the character of Madame Rouge (Michelle Gomez), who is revealed to have amnesia.
The episode starts where ‘Dead Patrol’ left off, showing the Doom Patrol talking to Madame Rouge. She reveals she is not only a time traveler but cannot remember anything about herself, although she does has a deep desire to speak to Niles Calder (Timothy Dalton), but this leaves the team with having to deliver the news of his death.
Upon this revelation, Madame Rouge decides to time travel back to when he was still alive so that she can ask him who she is. Unfortunately, her machine is broken, leaving her stuck. Suspicious of her intentions, Rita (April Bowlby) keeps an eye on her as Madame Rouge tries to track down her identity. The way the two mirror each other in personality is fascinating visually and in the character world.
Rita shows Madame Rouge the secret compartment Niles left for her, and inside is a silent film. The film shows Madame Rouge, credited as Laura de Mille, revealing her as a shapeshifter.
At the same time, Cliff (Brendan Fraser) attempts to contact doctors about his possible Parkinson’s but cannot find one to take him seriously. He also has rot marks all over his body. Hoping to fix Laura’s time machine, Vic (Jovian Wade) calls in his father (Phil Morris), but his father is on administrative leave due to Victor’s stunt at S.T.A.R. Labs.
Larry (Matt Bomer) begins to develop rot marks and vomits blue liquid, similar in color to the Negative Spirit, who left Larry in the first episode. Larry tells Rita he thinks he might be dying. It had occurred to me earlier in the season that after the Negative Spirit left his body Larry’s time might be up. In the earlier seasons, the show had implied that Larry needed Negative Spirit to survive, so it was nice to see this plot thread followed up.
Jane (Diane Guerrero) is having a hard time coping with Chief’s death, making a hay version of his body to set on fire. Some of the show’s most significant moments come from its consistent character building. Jane has always been a spitfire character, so to see her handle darker emotions with such a hilarious coping technique is on the ball.
After stealing the head of Niles Calder and then having it taken from him by an unseen figure, frequent ally Willoughby (Mark Sheppard) comes to Doom Manor looking for the team. Willoughby is always a fun character. His status as a sorcerer opens up the episode to obscure quirky scenes like Willoughby attempting to use Niles’ undead head to convince the horse Baphomet to love Willoughby.
Willoughby reveals he received a videotape saying that for the head of Niles to be returned, the Doom Patrol must meet the guy in a barn. However, because the Doom Patrol is trying to eat Willoughby and Laura, the pair wear raccoon hats to cover the smell of their brains.
The caps are yet another humorous moment, and Sheppard and Gomez are electric together. Through a portal created by Willoughby, the group goes to the barn and discovers that it is one of the members of the Ant Farm at the end of Season 1. The zombie versions of the Doom Patrol reveal the funniest thoughts, making jabs at his failure of a life. They communicate, of course, through zombie guttural grunts.
The man reveals that during the Doom Patrol’s escape, he was turned into a Werebutts and then calls the rest of his Werebutts, who the Doom Patrol zombies gladly destroy.
The montage of the fight is the funniest scene in the show. It shows the diversity of the actors as they portray both realistic zombies while maintaining their characters’ personalities. Rita gracefully tears apart the Werebutts but stops to fix her hair while Victor uses a curse word and then stops to question why he said it. Questioning his morality for cursing in the situation is very on point for Vic’s character.
Tearing apart the Werebutts, is aggressive for Jane, as she deals with her earlier feelings of anger about Niles.
Laura attempts to help the team, using her shapeshifting powers but can only turn into a velvet ottoman and falls directly into the barn from the roof. Eventually, the team retrieves Niles’ head, eating all the Werebutts.
Niles’ reanimated head advises the team that they must consume brains to turn the zombies back into people again. Out of the desire to make amends, he allows his head to be fed to his friends.
Laura says she will only agree to feed Niles to them if he tells her who she is. Niles speaks with such anger in his voice that even though Laura has proven herself loyal to the team, she accepts the deal that she will not cause any harm to the team in exchange for information on her identity.
It turns out that Laura is an enemy of Niles, who he advocated to have executed for her crimes. This realization profoundly hurts Laura. While her journey into her identity has only begun, the rest of the cast has finally been able to settle their grief over Niles’ death.
While they cannot forgive him for his hand in their accidents, they accept his form of apology by offering them his last bit of himself. A hilarious way to explore the rebirth of the characters, it also closes out the first part of the season by wrapping up the characters’ dealing with Niles’ departure.
A montage of the characters ends the episode featuring Rita realizing that in the film of Laura, there is a figure in the reflection of a mirror who looks just like her, Cliff buying mysterious pop-up ads, and Larry throwing up once more with a considerable growth on his stomach.
Creating such a funny premise for the episode dealing with the finale of the team’s grief was a great choice, as it makes the heavy material more manageable. It also ties together the past seasons, bringing back in elements of Niles’ past to build Laura’s recovery of her memories further and make the show feel cohesive rather than just for giggles.
Doom Patrol Season 3 drops new episodes every Thursday on HBO Max.