Our marvelous misfits discover pain can traverse the years and ruin their tomorrows … and a bad time is had by all.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for the third episode of the sophomore season of “Doom Patrol”!
In “Pain Patrol,” written by Tom Farrell and Tamara Becher-Wilkinson and directed by Samira Radsi, in 1888 Whitechapel, London, a young pickpocket named Niles Caulder is enjoying his latest heist when a woman emerges screaming from a dark billowing fog.
Behind her steps Red Jack, also known as Jack the Ripper. If you are a fan of Grant Morrison’s run on “Doom Patrol,” you know the character, but credit must be given to the makeup team. They have translated Red Jack’s look perfectly into something truly chilling.
Red Jack stabs the woman, and butterflies soar from her corpse.
At Doom Manor in the present, Cliff (Brendan Fraser) again rants at Chief (Timothy Dalton) for destroying his life and separating him from his daughter.
Chief tries to be conciliatory, but points out Cliff was a terrible husband and father. Cliff becomes enraged, and set outs out with Jane (Diane Guerrero) to give his now grown daughter Clara a stuffed giraffe, introduce himself as her presumed-dead daddy and just have the bestest family reunion.
As plans go, this is pretty bad.
Almost immediately after they depart, a kaleidoscope of butterflies descend on Doom Manor. Dorothy (Abigail Shapiro) is delighted. Rita (April Bowlby) rightfully fears it is something more than a seasonal migration.
Chief recognizes this, along with a bit of Larry’s (Matt Bomer) bandages, as an invitation to dinner from Red Jack.
He tells Rita that Red Jack is a being who lives in an interdimensional palace and drops in on earth to refill on fresh pain.
Rita, still reeling from Tyme’s taunts, wants no part of a rescue mission, but Chief gives her no choice. They are both needed to save Larry.
The two step outside – and are swarmed by butterflies.
Now I don’t want to be Dr. Buzzkill (unless “Doom Patrol” needs me, and then I’m in), but just walking out without a single thought to a little girl who can create fabulous beasties with her mind doesn’t strike me as the brightest idea. Who is going to look after Dorothy? Is this some sort of meta-comment on Chief’s parenting ability after he criticized Cliff?
And there are consequences: Dorothy plays hide ‘n’ seek with her pals Herschel the giant spider and Darling, the housewife with a mirror face, and accidentally breaks Danny the Brick in two.
Cliff thinks Jane has just fallen asleep in the van. She’s actually been sucked down into the Underground by her alters for an intervention.
They demand she leave Chief and the Doom Patrol.
“Those annoying fuck-ups that I live with are my family. They may be spineless and selfish, but deep down, I know they care about me. Even the Chief,” Jane says.
It’s not a negotiation: Leave them or she will no longer be the primary personality.
Victor (Joivan Wade) and Roni (Karen Obilom) compare scars and make love. Then Roni tries to rush Victor out the door. Victor convinces her to give him one more chance, with a real date.
Roni stands Victor up but sends an email that he can access on his system: It reveals her military record includes a charge of voluntary manslaughter, apparently for prisoners of war. She wants him to know she was no angel while serving overseas. Victor leaves the restaurant dejected while Roni watches from a distance.
Larry hangs from a dungeon, his bandages unspooling, the radiation apparently killing the captive people around him.
Flashbacks to 1966 show Larry’s arrival to Doom Manor and how Rita welcomed him. He was a fan of her acting career – he felt the pain she was hiding.
Cliffs screws up the courage to knock on his daughter’s door and introduce himself in a blast of chatter that would have anyone running to call 911. While Clara realizes he is telling the truth, she asks him to leave. Cliff realizes she is pregnant and that she’s about to host a baby shower – and now he’ll be a grandfather.
That 911 call? Clara makes it anyway.
As Chief feared, he and Rita are immediately separated by Red Jack. While Rita wanders the halls, past exhibits of mounted butterflies, Chief is the guest of honor at a torture fest. Red Jack takes delight in stabbing and mutilating his house musicians.
“Tell me, when you ruined the lives of that pathetic pack of simpletons, what did the pain taste like?”
“Dust and ash,” Chief says.
Red Jack wants Chief to join him – as his protege.
He wants an equal who revels in the agony of others, and he saw something in that little boy all those decades ago.
Chief seems to be tempted when Red Jack mentions that whole immortality thing that comes with being a monster, but quickly rejects the offer.
Red Jack has no use for him – other than to torture him.
Rita discovers Larry, and despite the risk to herself, frees him those hooks.
Despite the savage pain he experiences as giant butterfly wings tear from his back, the Chief manages to stab Red Jack.
Seems ole Red has never actually experienced his own pain. Chief is satisfied to make up for lost time and keeps stabbing him.
Red Jack explodes into butterflies.
Rita and Larry have recovered as well, but as they walk past those butterfly display, they see the mounted butterflies strain against those pins. Larry realizes these are all Red Jack’s victims, and the two smash every single display case, freeing the butterflies.
Back at Doom Manor, Dorothy apologizes for breaking Danny. The Chief tries in vain to fix the brick.
Rita affirms to Larry that she will always be there for him, but Larry says that’s a mistake. Anyone who gets close to him ends up hurt. He’s a lost cause.
“Lost causes aren’t lost if there’s someone to fight for them,” Rita says.
He impulsively grabs her in a hug.
Jane sleeps again – and awakens in the Underground – in a prison cell.
Those alters weren’t kidding around.