Season 3 Episode 1 “Dorothy and the Candlemaker finally face-off, while the Doom Patrol – now freed from their wax encasings – face troubling side effects. Rita holds the key, but is she ready to answer the call?”
What I Liked
1. The episode opens with one giant gut punch as once Dorothy returns from her confrontation with the Candlemaker, she discovers that her father is dead. I was not expecting to see Niles die at the beginning of the season so this came as quite a shock. Abigail Shapiro once again does an incredible job at showing emotion through the massive amount of makeup that she wears as the character.
2. The group is understandably not too torn up about Niles’ death. However, they are far from relieved or satisfied with what has happened. Each character does a terrific job at showcasing how conflicted they feel about the death of the Chief. Rita in particular has a mental breakdown as she exposes herself as the “blob lady,” the focus of the play that Cloverton was doing.
3. Jane being able to defeat Daddy and finding a new way to the surface from the Underground. As an audience member it was easy to feel the same amount of relief that she and the other personalities felt when they finally became free of him.
4. It was nice to see a scene between Larry and Dorothy. The two had very little interaction with each-other last season so this was a welcome change of pace.
5. Cliff venting out his resentment towards the ghost of Niles was a hilarious yet extremely tragic moment and serves as a great final scene between the two characters if Timothy Dalton is indeed done with the show.
6. Vic becoming enemies with Roni is a very heartbreaking scene as despite the fact that she was about to do a very horrible thing by blowing up a building, the two had a very sweet and endearing romance during the second season. It will be very interesting to see Roni as an antagonist if she returns.
7. Dorothy leaving the mansion with Danny (who is now an ambulance) was a quiet but surprisingly sweet moment as she and Jane give a nod to each-other now that they have worked out their conflict from last season.
8. Rita giving Larry her approval for him to go to space despite his reluctance to leave her was an extremely touching moment and proves that the bond between these two is unbreakable.
9. Cliff is shown to be suffering from brain damage. This will no doubt impact his story and sets up a fascinating conflict for him.
10. We get our first look at Madame Rouge (played by the always wonderful Michelle Gomez), as she confuses both the audience and a random bystander before announcing her desire to find Niles Caulder. I can already tell that her character will be a ton of fun to watch.
What I Disliked
1. I only have one criticism with the episode but it sadly is a massive one. The conclusion with the Candlemaker is horrible. We waited over a year to see how Dorothy would defeat the big bad of season 2 and the fact that all it took for her to win her fight was to give him an order is unbelievably disappointing. The Candlemaker was previously shown to be an unstoppable demon who loves to cause chaos and kill people. He was the reason Niles locked Dorothy away and committed several horrific crimes in the name of his daughter. He is arguably the reason why the story of the show happened, and all it took to defeat him was for Dorothy to break tradition and not kill him? Are we seriously supposed to believe that this thing had her best interests at heart the whole time? As someone who found this villain to be terrifying during the previous season, I feel very let down by how quickly things were wrapped up.
Cliff holding his grandson for the first time was a beautiful moment and one of the most heartbreaking scenes from the entire show. I especially love the way he remembers holding his daughter Clara for the first time as a way of helping him cope with the fact that he can’t physically touch him.
I have to give the MVP award for this episode to Jane. Her escape from the well to her epic showdown with Daddy was a captivating experience. I especially love how she was able to mend her relationship with the other personalities and solidify herself as the right person to be the primary persona for Kay.
This was a great return to the series after a long hiatus because of the pandemic. Like all of the episodes before it, it was packed with terrific character development, heartbreaking drama and bizarre comedy, However, due to the very underwhelming conclusion with the Candlemaker at the beginning, I cannot say that this episode is perfect.
Photo: Doom Patrol Season 3 Episode 1.