Michelle Gomez is always a welcome addition to any series, whether playing the Master on Doctor Who or Madame Satan on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. So we were thrilled to learn she was joining the cast for the upcoming third season of Doom Patrol. And now we have our first good look at her portrayal of Madame Rouge in the official S3 trailer.
(Spoilers for S2 below.)
A S3 teaser dropped a few weeks ago, largely focused on the lingering plot line from the pandemic-curtailed S2: namely, Dorothy Spinner’s (Abigail Shapiro) confrontation with The Candlemaker. Dorothy, as fans will know, is Caulder’s (Timothy Dalton) daughter, who has a special ability to bring imaginary friends to life. That’s not so bad when it was a friendly giant beast named Manny or Herschel the giant spider. But The Candlemaker is linked to a tribal curse and is a far more insidious creature. He emerges whenever Dorothy makes a wish, and widespread slaughter is usually the result. In the S2 finale, Dorothy got her first period, marking her transition into womanhood, and The Candlemaker’s powers began to manifest in the real world.
And then, the season just… ended. The first episode or two of S3 will almost certainly resolve that particular storyline, and HBO Max has hinted at a “devastating loss.” Neither Dorothy nor Caulder is anywhere to be seen in this new trailer, so it’s possible the show will be continuing on without them (much as the Doom Patrol in the comics moves on without Caulder). We do know that Willoughby Kipling (Mark Sheppard), the occult detective and chaos magician, will be back, however.
Instead, the official trailer is mostly all about Gomez’s Madame Rouge, a supervillain who first appeared in the Doom Patrol comics in 1964. A former actress with a split personality, Rouge flips between good and evil in the comics. She’s also a shapeshifter/master of disguise and was the only female member of the Brotherhood of Evil—until a romantic bond with Caulder helped her beat back her evil personality and join forces with the Doom Patrol.
Madame Rouge arrives in a time machine to warn the Doom Patrol of a great threat to the world, although she can’t remember precisely what that danger might be. Whatever it is, the Brotherhood of Evil appears to be involved. Bringing the Brotherhood into the S3 narrative arc is a neat callback to S1’s archvillain Eric Morden, aka Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk), who could travel through dimensions and alter reality. Morden was a former member of the Brotherhood, and in a flashback we learned that he was kicked out by the group’s leader, The Brain, and replaced by a superintelligent French gorilla named Monsieur Mallah. Monsieur Mallah definitely makes a brief appearance in the trailer along with the Brain and possibly the alien Garguax.
And as Gizmodo’s sharp-eyed Charles Pulliam-Moore noted, “There’s a very brief mention of the Sisterhood of Dada also factoring into this season of Doom Patrol, which may be an indication that the show will borrow elements of the comics where the Brotherhood of Evil rebrands itself as the Brotherhood of Dada.” That group—devoted to all things absurd and bizarre—is named after the Dada art movement, and its founder is none other than Morden/Mr. Nobody.
That does appear to be Dada member Frenzy with the two bicycle wheels on his back. (In the comics, he can transform into a whirling cyclone.) Is that The Fog that Crazy Jane encounters in one brief scene? In the comics, The Fog is a psychedelic death cloud that absorbs people. Absorbing Crazy Jane, however, proved to be a mistake. That might be The Quiz changing everyone into clown costumes at a club. We don’t get a very good look at her, but she certainly has the trademark long gown and mask, only without the question marks—so she looks more like a nurse/nun. The talking bicycle Robotman encounters is definitely a nod to when the Brotherhood of Dada stole the bicycle of Albert Hoffman, which has “lysergic resonance.”
As for other adventures, it looks like the Doom Patrol’s members will become zombies at some point in their journey toward self discovery and will likely face a group of talking butts, because why not? And who knows what complications messing with time travel will bring—or whether Madame Rouge has something else in mind entirely?
The first three episodes of Doom Patrol S3 will air on HBO Max on September 23, 2021, followed by weekly installments after that. If you haven’t seen this underappreciated series, now’s the time to catch up.
Listing image by HBO Max