The tension was high and emotions were raw on last week's Doom Patrol episode “Therapy Patrol.” We got to see the team open up about their fears, which resulted in a few nods to the comics. Let’s take a look at some of the Easter eggs and comic references from this week’s episode…
Victor seemed surprise when Janice told him that “Booyah!” was his catchphrase. He shouldn’t be shocked, because ever since the 2003 Teen Titans episode “Sisters,” he’s used the phrase multiple times in animation, comics, and even in live-action. It’s kind of become his thing. So it’s nice to see the Doom Patrol version of Cyborg begin to embrace it.
Rita’s Morning Routine
Waking up in the morning is hard enough for most people, but poor Rita can barely keep her body together. This episode gave us a glimpse of the painful routine Rita goes through each and every morning -- as she leaves her bed, and stares at photographs until she can shape her body. This tragic ritual was first discovered by her teammates in 2010’s Doom Patrol #13 (written by Keith Giffen, penciled by Matthew Clark and Ron Randall). Cliff and Larry were horrified to learn of her protoplasmic troubles, which Rita had kept from them because she was ashamed of her blob-like appearance. Her teammates offered their emotional support, but mornings continued to be difficult. Perhaps the comics version of Elasti-Girl should’ve tried the mantra that Rita uses in "Therapy Patrol".
This week Robotman faced one of his biggest challenges: his own physical limitations. Cliff was in so much emotional pain that his brain wanted to cry, but his robot body was simply unable to shed tears, leading to an intense moment in which Cliff emotionally broke down. Cliff had a similar moment in 1989’s Doom Patrol #19 (written by Grant Morrison and penciled by Richard Case). Robotman had checked himself into a sanatorium, and Doc Magnus tried in vain to cheer up his broken friend. In the comic, as in the show, Cliff lashes out emotionally as he curses the limitations of his robot body to express pain. Poor Cliff. Rat or no rat, it's not easy being a Robotman.
In a flashback this week, viewers caught a glimpse of Larry’s mother, a woman who had an uneasy relationship with her son due to her inability to accept his sexuality. Larry had a rough relationship with his mother in the comics as well, but for different reasons. We first met Larry's mom in 1966’s Doom Patrol #106 (written by Arnold Drake and Jack Schiff, penciled by Bruno Premiani and Morris Waldinger). Here, we learned that Larry has emotionally distanced himself from his mother because he didn’t want his radioactive condition to harm her. His life with the Doom Patrol continued to keep him from her, and, in 1991’s Doom Patrol #47 (written by Grant Morrison and penciled by Richard Case), Josh Clay informed Larry that his mother had passed away after a heart attack. Although he hid his grief from Josh, Larry privately regretted the fact that he never got to say goodbye to her. Hopefully the latest version version of Larry will have a less tragic relationship with his mother.
The Lost Memories of Victor Stone
During the Doom Patrol’s therapy session, Victor confesses that he’s started to suspect his father Silas has altered his memories. While the notion may seem paranoid, it’s not without precedent. In 2016’s Cyborg #4 (written by John Semper Jr and penciled by Timothy Green II), Victor began accessing lost memories from his time before the accident – memories his father had previously turned off. We can’t blame Cyborg for being paranoid. After all, if you can’t trust your own mind, what can you trust?
The Negative Dreams of Larry Trainor
What happens to Larry Trainor when the Negative Spirit leaves his body? In "Therapy Patrol", we learned that Larry relives key moments of his life. How close is that to the comics? The answer has evolved over the years. In the original Doom Patrol stories, Larry’s body became an empty husk while his consciousness controlled the Negative Spirit. In writer Grant Morrison's run, Larry, a physician named Eleanor, and the Negative Spirit fused together to form a being called Rebis. During that union, the human body of Larry/Eleanor remained fully conscious and active whenever the Negative Spirit was released. In 2017’s Doom Patrol #4 (written by Gerard Way, penciled by Brandon Bird and Nick Derington), Larry was brought to the Negative Spirit’s home dimension to reunite with the Spirit. The Negative Beings rewarded Larry with a gift -- from now on his consciousness would experience a simulated lifetime when the Negative Spirit was released. Even if the Negative Spirit only left Larry’s body for a minute, his mind would experience a full life's worth of hopes, dreams, and fears. It was the Negative Being's hope that Larry would learn crucial lessions from all of this. Could this be what the Negative Spirit was trying to do with Larry during those dreams of his past? Larry did seem to be reexperiencing his own lifetime. Hmmm...