Diane Guerrero on Doom Patrol Season 4 Mid-Season Finale & Facing Mortality
Jan 6, 2023
The lovable misfits of Doom Patrol are back with Season 4, featuring an all-new series of whacky and insane adventures. Comprising of Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), Rita Farr (April Bowlby), Vic Stone (Joivan Wade), Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer / Matthew Zuk), Cliff Steele (Brendan Fraser / Riley Shanahan), and recent addition Madame Rouge (Michelle Gomez), the team has gone up against many surreal and world-ending enemies over their previous seasons. What makes this show so unique though, is the way in which it portrays the characters as deeply-flawed and traumatized people who help each other grow, evolve, and heal. It’s easily one of the best superhero shows currently running and with Season 4, things have gotten better than ever.
This season, the titular team faces a threat unlike anything they’ve seen before: the followers of a god-like being called Immortus who want to steal the Doomies’ youth and longevity to bring their deity to life. In the process, we’ve seen the members of Doom Patrol confront serious questions about their lives and the choices they’ve made over the years. Ahead of Episode 6 “Hope Patrol”, the mid-season finale, Collider caught up with series star Diane Guerrero (who’s also known for her brilliant voice work in Disney’s Encanto) for an interview where we talked about the most recent episode, Jane’s growth and evolution over the course of the season, and how excited she is about the musical episode that is due to arrive with the second batch of Season 4 episodes.
Image via HBO Max
COLLIDER: What can you tell us about Episode 6 and your favorite part of the story?
DIANE GUERRERO: I love that… I mean, we’re getting deeper into every character and kind of what makes them tick under extreme pressure. I mean, we just learned that they lose their longevity, so they’re really facing their mortality after years and years and years of not… I don’t want to say not getting it, but I want to say of a very long overdue sort of kick in the butt. It happens to a lot of us when we’re faced with death, is that we sort of kind of come into a perspective really, into what really matters, what matters, what doesn’t.
And I think we’ve seen with the Doomies, everyone has their own idiosyncrasies. There are things that they want to hang on to, things that they don’t want to let go, personal attachments to anger, grieving, sadness. And now they’re sort of in a race to save themselves, save the world, and hopefully, do right with everything that they’ve learned.
So yeah, now we see them sort of on this mission, and they’re trying to get the longevity back because this is their one shot. They’re like, “Okay, we’ve seen the future, we’re dead. Now we kind of finally all understand that life is precious that time…” I mean, I guess they don’t have a clear understanding of time, but for right now, they understand with everything that’s gone on, that nothing matters other than love and being yourself and working together. And so now they’re doing that, they’re working together so that they can achieve, I don’t know what, have some solace or just to give it their best under these circumstances. And they have a lot less information, and now they don’t have their longevity. So I mean, they’re working against the biggest odds that they’ve had to face.
COLLIDER: Right. So in the previous episode, in Episode 5, we had the whole de-aging thing. A lot of fun. I loved the teen look, by the way. The costumes are just great this season.
GUERRERO: Oh, yeah. They’re really good. I think everyone’s really coming into their own and the wardrobe reflects that. It’s cool.
Image via HBO
Absolutely. So Jane’s been through her teen years now in the weirdest way possible, and now that her longevity is gone, she’s older Jane. I’m not going to say old Jane, but she’s older Jane.
GUERRERO: She’s older Jane, yeah. Yeah. You see her sort of… They’re all getting older at a rapid pace, which is… jarring for them.
So, like you said, so now they’re all facing down mortality. And until Episode 5, this never really hit me that the reason why Jane can sometimes come off as a rebellious teenager is she’s never had a chance to be a rebellious teenager. And now she’s just tasted that, and she’s thrust into this position where, “Oh, my God, I’m probably going to die soon.” How do you unpack that? How does that make her feel?
GUERRERO: Yeah, I think she’s never really experienced or had to care about her personal experiences or her personal feelings. She’s existing to protect Kay. And so even though she says, or she’s never really understood the importance of having an adolescence for someone’s growth, right? In order for one to get from A to B, there needs to be that experience from A to B. And she’s never really understood or thought that she needed that. But as soon as she starts to live that, she understands a little more about her surroundings, about her wants and her needs. And I think she begins to get why Kay is saying, “Hey, you need to have your own purpose. You need to live your own life. What I need in order for me to be okay, is for you to have these experiences, to care about yourself.” Because if someone doesn’t care about themselves or understands themselves, how the hell are they going to help anyone else or be of any service?
And she’s showing Jane that growth is good, even though that’s exactly what Jane wants for Kay but she doesn’t totally, totally get it. And that’s why she’s living through this experience. And I guess to live the adolescent part a little bit, Jane’s like, “Okay, I get it. I act like this pretty much 24/7. I think it’s time to mature.”
GUERRERO: [Laughs] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Because I mean, she’s smoking jays and she’s just kind of “whatevering” everyone, but she’s in her 70s, really, in reality. And so she didn’t understand that that was an immature way to behave. And I think that she realizes that after that experience, and then as soon as she’s thrust into old age and to the idea where she has to face her own mortality, she has to sort of leave that all behind. And she can, she can easily, but she wouldn’t have been able to if she didn’t have that experience.
And I think that’s what progress looks like. That’s what growth is. That’s why we can’t really skip these times in our lives and when we do, which many of us do, there is trauma, and there are problems later on. And I think that’s what you see in the show, which I think is done so beautifully. I think Jane’s incredibly nuanced, especially this season. I think she has so much more flavor to her, which I can appreciate. It’s like a baby learning to walk quickly. You know walk, and then have geriatric problems all at the same time. Some sort of weird Benjamin Button thing. But yeah, you see her facing the end of her, and what a shame it is to all of a sudden understand a little bit more about yourself, and all of a sudden, now you have to die. So now you’re in this race to make it all right, to make it all worthwhile. And that’s what makes this season so exciting. It just keeps moving forward and forward and forward.
Image via HBO Max
Yeah, that honestly is something that I’ve always loved about the show. Everything seems weird and splintered, but it all sort of ties together.
GUERRERO: Oh, yeah. Yeah, there’s a method to the madness, for sure. I mean, if you took a video camera and pointed it to us on a day-to-day, it would look exactly like Doom Patrol, for sure.
Yes, I suppose it would.
GUERRERO: [Laughs] You think about it.
You’ve mentioned Jane’s relationship with Kay and that’s another thing that I noticed after I watched Episode 5 is that there’s an almost parent-child relationship that Jane has with Kay. That’s something that’s always been there, but I personally at least didn’t really see it that way until I saw that episode, and the whole moment with the pool and the conversation that Jane has with Kay. And that might actually be relatable to people, even people who don’t have 64 superpowered personalities in their heads.
GUERRERO: Sure. Yeah, I think that sometimes we forget that we don’t need to… we have more than just one purpose, right? And if we see that growth is happening, then we should not be stopping it, right? Jane was so focused on protecting Kay that she forgot about what happens when there is some healing involved, that it’s not just protecting someone, it’s helping someone heal or being alongside someone in their healing process. I think that she forgot about that. And of course, you would forget about that when you’re not paying attention to your own healing and your own growth.
And that’s when Kay says, “Hey, you don’t have to be my parent. You can actually work on yourself because I’m doing okay. And what I want is for you to figure out what you want for your life because you will no longer serve me if I’m growing, and you’re still trying to do the same thing and operate in the same way. That’s not a help to me,” Kay is saying, and Jane realizes this, and that’s why it’s such a beautiful moment in Episode 5 when Kay talks to Jane almost in… The roles actually reverse: Kay is being the parent and telling Jane that she’s allowed to be herself and to make mistakes and to enjoy herself and to have all of these feelings because Jane is already experiencing all of these. And what she’s doing is repressing, and that’s no help to anyone. There’s not going to be any growth with repression. And that’s what she learns with that trip that she has at the pool. And I think that with us, it’s true of us too. We try to parent people around us who need help, and we parent them so much that we don’t let them be free and be themselves and actually grow. And I think that’s just a good sign of when you see healing happening, let it happen and get some healing for yourself.
Image via HBO Max
Last question. Are we allowed to talk about the musical episode? Because I really want to ask you about the musical episode.
GUERRERO: What do you want to ask about it? I don’t think I could give too much.
I just wanted to ask generally, how’s it feel? That must have been pretty amazing to do. I mean, we all know you can sing, but doing it on the show must have been something else.
GUERRERO: Yeah. Oh, gosh, it was like a dream come true. I love singing and I just love musical episodes in series. And I was just really hoping and wishing that it would happen for Doom Patrol because it makes so much sense. I mean, the whole show is a musical anyway. You know what I mean?
GUERRERO: Essentially, it really is. It’s so over-the-top dramatic and so musical that I thought it was such a great exercise for all of us. So I’m really excited for people to watch it. It’s really cool.
Doom Patrol Season 4 premiered on December 8, 2022, and released its midseason finale on January 5, 2023. There’s no word yet on when the show will return with Part 2 of the season but all six released episodes of Season 4 are currently available for streaming on HBO Max.
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