Season 3, Episode 6 of Doom Patrol, titled “1917 Patrol,” finally gives the origin story to the Sisterhood of Dada and reveals more about who the amnesia-ridden Laura De Mille is. The episode for the most part may be a bit of a detour, but it feels like an extremely necessary and overdue one. The episode gives many meaningful individual moments and is one of the bigger individual characters episode, as the lead characters hardly interact with one another. Instead, we are given characters moving their own individual plotlines and motivations further instead of the main plotline.
The episode begins with Rita making her trip throughout time, having stolen the time travel machine in the last episode. As she is traveling, a narration of Rita’s life begins to play, which after hearing and seeing moments from Rita we have seen previously, the narration calls Rita a “blank slate.” It seems that time traveling causes memory loss which explains Laura De Mille’s amnesia. When Rita exits the time travel machine, it is revealed that she traveled to Iowa in 1917.
The Bureau of Normalcy arrives to take her away and we see that The Brain and Monsieur Mallah are observing from the sidelines the time travel machine, which would explain how they were aware of Rita in episode 2. A fear that I have with the show is that since there are so many plots being introduced, that the show itself will even forget about a lot of them, so seeing the Bureau of Normalcy, along with The Brain and Monsieur Mallah is exciting. The Bureau was just only quickly shown last season, so hopefully this season will continue to give more of them and with Darren Jones still out there and coming to town, I think it is safe to say that we will see more.
Rita meets the Laura De Mille who is in 1917 and is revealed to work for the Bureau of Normalcy. After Laura figures out what exactly Rita can do with her powers, she marks her as not being a weapon and puts her to work in the mailroom. Rita meets the other powered people, who are outcasts within the bureau just like her, so in response, they have formed the sisterhood. An organization formed by Laura De Mille, where they can be free to be themselves and love one another. The Bureau seemingly isn’t aware of Laura De Mille being aware of this group and especially that she herself has powers to shape-shift into anyone. It is nice seeing the Sisterhood of Dada when they were originally forming and humanizing the characters. It makes last episode a whole lot more interesting now that we have this history.
Rita, nicknamed Bendy by the other members as she has no memory of her own name, gets taken into another reality by The Fog, where the group is able to express themselves and party. They have a place where they can have a good time. Rita interacts with a man named Malcolm who has a cage for a canary, instead of a heart. The two are immediately drawn to one another and look to have a romantic connection. The Sisterhood of Dada end up dancing around, while “Poker Face,” by Lady Gaga plays in the background for the audience. Doom Patrol has from the very beginning, been a show about representing people who are shunned from society, so this scene is a touching continuation of that representation. The playing of LGBTQ+ icon, Lady Gaga, only furthers the connection and meaningfulness of the scene.
After talking to Laura about the Sisterhood, Rita decides to lead the others in a sit-in so that they aren’t being separated from the others during lunch and Laura transforms into a guard to help them escape. Rita and Malcolm look over the time machine and the two of them make a heart out of a paperclip for him to put in his cage. The two of them almost kiss and Rita decides that since she doesn’t know what or if she has anything to go back to, that she will stay behind in 1917. Malcolm is most likely the man that Rita meant when she was dead earlier in the season, so hopefully, we will get a reunion between the two in the present and learn how Malcolm’s fate came to be.
There are other storylines that are seen sprinkled throughout this Rita and Sisterhood centric episode, like Cyborg’s storyline. After going on a hike and reflecting on what his mother, father, and what Lloyd told him last episode, he decides that he is going to make his own choices going forward, which leads to him showing up at Orsus labs to try to get synthetic skin. This season has been pretty light on the development of Cyborg’s character, so it is excellent to see that his character is getting something more to do.
Larry is spending time with his son, who he rescued at the end of the last episode. They discuss his son’s decision to join the Bureau and how Larry has forgiven himself for his mistakes as a father that he has made. This takes Larry’s son aback and he leaves quickly after, seemingly reflecting on what his father has just said. Larry has taken more of a back seat this season, especially with the Negative Spirit being gone, so this was a nice scene and one that I hope we see more of. Larry and his son still have not resolved things, which for better or worse must be done this season. Larry is then pained by the moving tumor within him, again.
Jane is busy letting Kay take control back of her body, something the other personalities do not approve of. Even though Kay returns to the Underground with a bike and looks to be the happiest we have ever seen her, the other personalities do not approve, particularly Doctor Harrison. Doctor H. declares, after Jane leaves, that the rest of them will no longer make “idle threats.”
Cliff is busy getting high on his meds, in debt gambling, and paying for an online performer named “Ginger.” Seeing Cliff sell his friend’s stuff and especially his own blueprints, is something that will most certainly come back to haunt him, but we will have to wait and see on that. It is a realistic portrayal of someone who is struggling with mental illness, however, it is certainly the weakest part of the episode.
At the end of the episode, the present-day, amnesia-filled, Laura De Mille is further researching into the Sisterhood of Dada, only to have the group reach out to her using the fireplace. The fire spells out the word “pitter patter,” something the group often said with Rita. There is also a bird in the fire, most likely a canary which seems to reference Malcolm.
Doom Patrol season 3 continues to deliver the wacky, yet serious messages that fans of the show have come to expect. A tough part of the show is trying to figure out what plotlines introduced will be important to the season as a whole, or just in a few episodes, but this season tends to have more season-long plotlines more so than the other seasons. All in all, most characters are given interesting things to do and while this episode doesn’t move the overall plot forward too much, it gives many necessary individual character moments. With next episode, “Bird Patrol,” hopefully we will learn what the Sisterhood of Dada’s goal is in the present day and what exactly the Eternal Flatulence is.
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Joel Tapia is a contributing writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow him on Twitter @tapioca621