As far as turning points go, Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 6 pivots like a top and it leaves us all a little confused.
If I counted correctly, we have five separate adventures, one for each team member (not counting Niles).
And while each is dealing with a context pretty suited to them (eg. Rita in a theatre, Larry with astronauts), none of them end up where they expected to be.
Through it all, there runs a theme of family and how families deal with problems.
Larry is fresh off his son's betrayal when he is thrust into the role of host to a trio of astronauts Niles sent into space in 1955.
Larry: I'm sorry my son sold us out.
Rita: Why are you apologizing? You were trying to make amends.
Larry: And apparently they'd all be better off if I were dead.
Rita: Well, that may be true but I would be bereft.
A trio of astronauts wherein only one is actually alive -- Valentina Vostok -- and she just happens to have a negative spirit in her too.
We've been in space for sixty-five years. It's gotten... weird.Valentina
For the first time, Larry has someone who actually knows what he's going through and it turns out that she's so in tune with her spirit that she's shed much of her humanity.
Larry's time with Valentina sheds a light for him on how to deal with his family.
Initially, he's pretty surly with her advice to let go of the past in order to move forward and become more accepting of his spirit buddy.
Valentina: The past can chain us to old wounds, traumas from our youth. There is relief in letting the past go.
Larry: You don't know what you're talking about. And this zen master bullshit isn't helpful. It's inhuman. My son killed himself because he was obsessed with his absentee father and if that's worth being tormented by, I don't know what is.
But Larry's not stupid. He eventually realizes that Valentina is who he could become if he severed his ties to family and friends and home.
Her presence lends clarity to his options and, in the end, he chooses to return to his family and try to reconnect.
I know Valentina has a completely different canonical backstory in the DC-verse but I thought the parallels between her and Larry here were really well-done.
Moreover, it's just nice to see Larry have someone to identify with. A kindred spirit, you could even say. LOL.
If you ever need a new perspective on Earth, I highly recommend space.Valentina
The most dramatic reversal award goes to Cliff whose first appearance here is to throw a severed finger into Niles' lap.
His concern for Jane is touching (if Cliff-crass in expression) and his reluctance to fly off in pursuit of Dorothy is obvious and pretty understandable.
Niles: In the Fifties, science still hadn't mastered basic rocketry so I mixed my science with ... a little bit of borrowed magic.
Cliff: You know what? I think you can solo this one, Chief. I'm not in a rush to get stranded in space on your homebrew devil ship.
Especially when he sees the navigation/propulsion system.
Cliff is the character whose spectrum of emotion has always been angry at one end, depressed at the other, and sort of confused in the middle.
Occasionally (usually with Jane), he has these really heart-felt moments and I feel like, had he lived, he might not have been the BEST dad in the world but he would've tried to be and that counts for something.
Sometimes a person hurts so bad, all they can imagine is that everyone wants to hurt each other. But that's not true,Cliff
Niles probably picked Cliff to come along because he doesn't need a spacesuit but he also picked the team member who had a daughter and that comes into play when Cliff has to convince Dorothy to come back with him.
Dorothy: I'm going to stay up here away from anyone I can hurt. Forever.
Cliff: Mm. I don't think that's how oxygen works.
And Cliff's pledge to be Dorothy's family if Niles were to die was such a genuine moment of emotional commitment from a guy who likes to act like his heart is as mechanical as the rest of him.
SO for Niles to just jettison him into space after that declaration was a real jerk-move.
My theory is that Cliff will be able to survive, floating in space, until someone retrieves him.
Mind you, if Niles has his second ship and Dorothy took the Icarus (but is now traveling with Niles), Doom Mansion seems to be out of spaceships at the moment.
I isolated her. And in her terror, she spawned imaginary creatures but, as she got older, the creatures became more dangerous. Even here, left to her own devices, she could unleash a being so powerful, it would cleave the earth in two. All it would take is for Dorothy to wish it so.Niles
And it's just Niles and Dorothy (and all her friends) heading who knows where. Since the ship is partially magic-powered, I figure they'll be heading somewhere ... interesting.
Jane's path takes more than a U-turn on this outing. Her attempt to direct the alters after the attacks on Baby Doll and Flaming Katy is met with little or no compliance.
Her observations are astute though. The Mourning Alter is new so does that mean that Kay's able to just sprout alters for specific need. Did the Mourning Alter appear when Miranda "died" or did one of the other alters play the part then?
Secretary, I'm gonna need you to be, like, ten percent more self-aware. This. Is. A. Construct.Jane
For Jane to go to Kay herself is a huge admission of insecurity, I think.
We rarely see "the girl" and I wonder if she's actually all that accessible most of the time.
Miranda springing out of the well probably should have caused more of a stir/shock than it did. There was a lot of acceptance for an alter who threw herself into a pit, let her station collapse, and then wasn't seen again for decades, to just reappear, looking completely different.
The clinical path of treatment for dissociative personality disorder is usually something called "integration" wherein the personalities are able to combine or be eliminated, leaving only the primary.
I feel like Miranda's return may be Kay's desire to become a single personality again.
Jane stepped aside pretty quickly. The real test may come when she tries to regain the primary position from Miranda.
The truth is we're all struggling to figure out what kind of people we are. Jane included. She'll understand. I promise you.Cliff
Vic's contact with his father regarding Roni's tech is awkward and unsatisfactory on multiple levels.
Silas is obviously hiding something and does the bad-dad thing where he deflects blame for doing nasty things for the military by telling Vic that the money was needed to make Cyborg.
Vic: Okay, I'm hacking the military.
Vic: If I can figure out what's inside of you, I can figure out how to neutralize it.
Roni: Uh-uh. Don't you dare make me your project. I am not your redemption story, okay? And, if you're so worried about being a bad guy, how about NOT hacking the government on my behalf?
Meanwhile, Roni continues to be the best influence in the whole cast. I'm going to be really sad if she turns on Vic since that's the thing this show seems to do consistently.
Rita's "family" is a newly-formed one in the collective of the show's cast.
When she realizes that the show was based on Mr. Nobody's attack on Cloverton, I was impressed that she didn't run screaming from the building.
Mickey: The script is woven from first person testimonies, newspaper reports, journals, and what we know in hindsight about the day our town was sucked into the ground. Tonally, kind of like The Laramie Project.
Isabelle: But more important.
And to remain even after seeing how she, the OG "Blob Lady", is portrayed in the play is galling to a degree that borders on masochistic.
As the rehearsals progress, I predict some backstage shenanigans. Finding her nemesis may be the impetus Rita needs to focus her energy on controlling her elastic powers.
So, once again, Niles has taken off to parts unknown, leaving team members dangling (or floating) in various positions of distress.
How will the team resume team activities?
Can they even, with Miranda driving the Jane-body around now?
What do you think Cliff's going to do, given the chance, the next team he sees Niles?
Will the Candlemaker allow Dorothy to be abducted by her father?
Candlemaker: You need a new friend. A new protector.
Dorothy: Shut up. You don't even sound like yourself. Since when do you use so many words?
Candlemaker: As you grow up, so do I.
As you watch Doom Patrol online, imagine any other super-powered team dealing with the ri-donkey-lousness of the Doom Patrol's encounters.
So far this season, they've dealt with a wizard un-immortalizing Niles, the supernatural embodiment of Jack the Ripper, a dude with a time-travel device in his disco-loving brain, a sex demon, the seX-Men, and space spore-animated Pioneers of the Uncharted.
Not to mention, the mansion is still infested with sex ghosts.
Considering all that, solving an unfortunate community theatre play and a runaway hybrid child with imaginary friends should be a piece of cake, right?
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.