REVIEW: Doom Patrol, S1E9 – Jane Patrol

As promised in the final moments of last week’s Doom Patrol episode, “Jane Patrol” took a trip deep into the eponymous character’s Underground and introduced more of her personalities than ever before. Despite not moving the needle on the Chief and Mr. Nobody mystery or even featuring most of the cast for more than a minute, the hour was still an important and necessary exploration of Jane’s (or rather Kay’s) psyche and a tour de force for Diane Guerrero.

Pretty white Janes, all in a row…

Although it would have been spectacular to watch Guerrero juggle all 64 personalities in “Jane Patrol,” the decision to cast other actors for most of the roles made a lot of creative and narrative sense. After all, there are no realistic limits within Jane’s mind and it makes perfect sense for her to see her alter egos as being very different from herself. She is a fragmented person, after all. The only question I had was why so many of her other selves were white, and whether that was extremely subtle commentary I missed or just another case of a casting director not widening their net. Regardless, watching Guerrero literally play off of Jane’s other personalities was a great way to provide insight into the designated roles they play in her life. This contrasted nicely with the alters that were still played by Guerrero, such as Driver 8, allowing viewers to witness the sliding scale of self spread out throughout Kay Challis’ interior.

One of the more interesting revelations of the night was that Jane was not the first primary personality. Of course, it was Kay who splintered off in the first place – and the flashbacks to the sexual abuse in her childhood were mercifully veiled but still triggering – but she created an alter ego named Monica first. Learning about another alter who became consumed by Kay’s trauma and disappeared put Jane’s current predicament into perspective. Given that Guerrero would play any personality that surfaced, there was a very real possibility that Jane could follow Monica’s footsteps all the way to the dreaded Well and become consumed herself. There was also a hint of Legion throughout the episode, giving the impression that some of Jane’s personalities (such as the Sisters) would be perfectly happy to see her end herself even as the rest of them felt Jane as the primary persona was integral to their harmonious existence.

Cliff’ll do anything for love, but he won’t do that.

Which is where Cliff (Brendan Fraser) stepped in, thanks to some powerful maneuvering from Negative Man. Unwilling to lose Jane inside herself, Cliff was projected into her mind and set off to bring her back before she did something irrevocable. This may have been the longest Fraser played Cliff in a single episode – he shares the Robotman duties with Riley Shanahan just as Matt Bomer shares Negative Man with actor Matthew Zuk – because his trip to Jane’s mind reverted him to a human male instead of a robot. Doom Patrol confirmed romantic intentions in Cliff’s actions for the first time via Karen, and in a rather Freudian twist, his lack of male parts played a large role in allowing him to be Jane’s hero. Given her traumatic history, a romantic connection with an apparent father figure feels somewhat twisted – but it’s also somewhat neutralized by Cliff being “no man.” However fans may feel about their relationship, though, “Jane Patrol” went a long way towards solidifying it. Not only was Cliff the one most desperate to get Jane back, but him being in danger was the one thing that gave Jane the strength to fight back against her father and step away from the Well.

By the end of “Jane Patrol,” Jane was safe and sound back at Doom Mansion and Cliff told Rita (April Bowlby) and Vic (Joivan Wade) that she seemed better. But the whispering voice of her father continued to run through her mind, signifying that her adventures this episode would have more consequences down the line. Cliff may stay by herself to help fight her demons in the future, but only Jane herself can conquer them.

New episodes of Doom Patrol can be found on DC Universe’s streaming service weekly.