“1917 Patrol” starts to piece together the plot for the third season of Doom Patrol, when its profound moments are configured in a very fun way it hasn’t explored before.
From where the last episode left off, Rita Farr (April Bowlby) travels back in time and loses her memory. When she finally arrives, she lands in 1917 and is quickly taken in by the Bureau of Normalcy. She only has the note in her pocket, which leads her to claim herself to be Laura de Mille.
They quickly take custody of Rita, and she is taken to an office where she is interviewed by the real Laura de Mille (Michelle Gomez). She is revealed to be a recruiter for the Bureau, and upon deducing that Rita’s powers don’t make her a weapon, she is placed into a job as a mail sorter and earns the name “Bendy.”
Thinking that the Bureau accepts her, Rita is overjoyed to find a place to fit in but soon discovers this is not the truth when she is shunned from the cafeteria only to be accepted by a group of familiar strangers.
As the viewer, we’re aware that the characters we’re watching are the Sisterhood of Dada aspiring to purge the world, but in the moments of this episode, they are still young misfits looking for acceptance. They welcome Rita into their group of metahumans.
Back to the mailroom after her lunch break, Rita sees the mail of Niles Caulder, the man who took care of her for many years, but because she has no memory of her life before 1917, she does not recognize the name.
Taking pity on her, she is brought into the secret world of the Sisterhood of Dada, revealed to be the metahumans who work at the Bureau. They dress up and dance to old-time music. The scene enhances the understanding of the group for what the rest of the season will set up. This group of people has been ostracized and has tried their best to be happy otherwise. What strikes me is that the one Sisterhood member we didn’t meet in the future was Malcolm, whom Rita seems particularly fond of, and it leads me to guess at a not-so-happy ending for the sisterhood of 1917.
Michelle Gomez’s energy in the scene where they dance and celebrate together is centering. She feels like the mother hen to a group of ugly ducklings, and it is truly mesmerizing. Unfortunately, we know that the group in the future hates Laura de Mille, meaning this scene of them connecting is even more heartbreaking.
Contrary to how Rita’s portrayal in this episode compared to the rest of the series, she is most comfortable in this group of people. Whether or not this is because she has no memory of her trauma, Rita is finally pleased in a space that she’s never had before. It’s relieving to see her interact with new faces and finally get a fresh start, but it’s unsure if this even will be her fresh start.
Back in the present, the rest of the Doom Patrol is also dealing with confronting their feelings. Vic (Jovian Wade) is attempting to schedule a synthetic skin surgery. He does this after debating for the past few episodes whether he wants to be Cyborg. It’s a reasonable plot continuance and, in terms of Vic’s character, shows how far he’s come into being himself. Cliff (Brendan Fraser) deals with his feelings of incompleteness through an online poker and cam girl addiction. This point of the episode falls flat for me as Cliff has already had two episodes dealing with his internet addiction. It just didn’t feel like an improvement upon any other discussions about Cliff’s character.
Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer) develops tension with him as they argue about whether or not Larry has the right to care for him after rescuing him from The Fog. For the first time, Larry finally realizes that Paul not only works for the Bureau but volunteered to do so. Finally able to let go of the unsupportive family, Larry is set free of his guilt by asking his son to leave.
Larry has been on a long journey of self-acceptance, and while it would be nice to have his son in his life, Larry accepting that his son does not support him and finally closing that chapter opens up doors for his future.
The most significant change aside from Rita’s journey, Jane (Diane Guerrero) supports Kay Challis to “go up” for the first time in seventy years. As someone with DID, Kay hasn’t been the dominant personality in a very long time, so Jane’s support of her points towards her role as the host personality, choosing to protect her. Kay’s exploration of the world has a childlike wonder, and Jane’s support of her was a good exploration of Jane’s acceptance of her role in the system of alters.
The episode was a fun exploration of the character’s current journeys into their internal issues. In terms of the season plotline, the episode gives some enlightenment on the characters in the Sisterhood of Dada and Laura De Mille. Hopefully, the payoff to these will still live up to how it’s being set up now.