Time Travel, Songs and Dancing Butts: Inside Doom Patrol's New Season -

Time Travel, Songs and Dancing Butts: Inside Doom Patrol’s New Season

When it comes to television shows, there isn’t anything quite like Doom Patrol. Can anyone else think of a series where a giant cockroach with a god complex makes out with a rat while standing on a genderqueer sentient street? Read that sentence as many times as you need to because that’s Doom Patrol. DC’s strangest series has given us killer carnivorous butts, sex ghosts, modern art-loving super-villains and killer puppets. And believe it or not, there’s plenty more where that came from.

Doom Patrol’s new season premieres on HBO Max this week, and fans can expect the series to continue to embrace the unexpected and unusual.

“We have a fabulous musical episode this year, where everyone sings and dances in an alternate universe,” Rita Farr actress April Bowlby teases. “I don’t even know how many universes we travel to this year. There’s dimension upon dimension, and then time-traveling, but somehow, they string it together and there’s this cohesive story about relationships and growth.”

This season will also feature more Danny, who took the form of an ambulance when we last saw them in season three.

“You can’t have a season without Danny,” Bowlby notes. “There are butts this season. More butts. More sex ghosts.”

Of course, Doom Patrol is more than craziness thrown everywhere. The show has a lot of heart, with plenty of character development and emotional scenes.

“The season is incredibly heartbreaking,” Bowlby promises. “It doesn’t start off that way, but it evolves in that way.”

Victor Stone will continue his series-long journey of self-discovery. Last season the hero known as Cyborg went through a procedure that replaced most of his cybernetics with synthetic skin. Now Victor must find out who he is outside of his Cyborg persona.

“He’s lost the cybernetics and is just trying to work out what it means to be a human being, and a black man in Detroit,” Cyborg actor Joivan Wade shares. “We get to see him connect with himself, with some of his old friends, with Detroit, and find himself within all of that.”

“He’s now lost what gives him his power,” he continues. “We really do see that in season four—he’s not the same guy that he usually is. He’s losing a bit of respect as well from the rest of the team. He’s having to use a bit more of his noodle than anything else because he doesn’t have the brawn to fight his way through, so he’s having to use the brain.”

While Victor Stone struggled to adapt to life without cybernetics, Wade found that it made things easier for him as an actor. After all, filming while wearing the Cyborg makeup and costume can be complicated.

“I can’t see through the mask, and it kind of messes up depth perception,” he reveals. “So it’s nice, especially when there’s combat. Vic’s a lot more free in his movement, and it’s great because he has an opportunity to really experience life without being connected to cybernetics. Without that, he’s now having to find new ways of doing things. His second nature is to go and call for Grid and he realizes Grid is not here anymore.”

This will also lead to a shift in Vic’s complicated relationship with his father, who is played by Phil Morris.

“We really get an opportunity for some healing to take place, and part of that for Vic is trying to connect with his father,” Wade reveals. “At the end of season three, that was the real burden with him really confronting his dad and telling him exactly how he feels. Now, having the opportunity for him to be given what he wants, it creates that bridge and creates more of a common ground between the two of them. We get to explore that and see that version of the relationship this season. It’s really nice and really fun.”

Another relationship that will take center stage is the one between Rita Farr and Laura De Mille, aka Madame Rouge. Last season presented a complex rivalry between the two characters, which took a turn for the worst after Rouge killed Rita’s lover, Malcolm.

“I think that Madame Rouge is still trying to curry favor with her, because she put her through a lot,” Rouge actress Michelle Gomez says. “So, she’s having to gain her trust. I think that’s interesting, watching Madame Rouge shift into another gear that isn’t necessarily all powerful, but is actually looking for acceptance.”

Although the two made an uneasy peace with one another last season, Bowlby says Rita won’t be so quick to forgive and forget.

“In the beginning, she starts to punish her, and then eventually, they come to forgive each other,” she teases. “There’s this really lovely scene where they’re drunk, and they walk through a portal and time-travel into another dimension. And all is forgiven! Rita is growing all the time, and I think in the arc of season four, you’ll see that she is becoming more caring and honorable, and more of a whole person than anyone in the Doom Patrol. She surpasses our greatest expectations.”

This growing means that Rita will try to take a more active role as team leader, which might not go well.

“She’ll become the de facto leader, and because she takes the role so seriously, she ends up pushing the Doom Patrol away,” Bowlby acknowledges. “She doesn’t realize it. It’s so important to her, but it pushes them away, and then she feels very ostracized and heartbroken. A few things happen, and then she steps into the role again and really becomes the leader she always wanted to be.”

Laura De Mille will also be learning how to play well with others.

“She’s swimming in the gray right now, and gray is the new black this season,” Gomez muses. “At the end of the day, we’re all here for ourselves right? The altruistic stuff is all very well, but there may be a moment where she has to choose. That’s where the challenge of her question of goodness comes about.”

“We do travel into the future, and we desperately want to change the future, because it’s not what we thought it would be,” Bowlby reveals. “As you can imagine, we also try to go back in time and right our wrongs, and what ends up happening is we make it worse. Because that’s what we do! That’s the show.”

New episodes of Doom Patrol drop Thursdays on HBO Max. Take a walk on the weird site on our official Doom Patrol series page.

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DC.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.