Doom Patrol: Dorothy's Imaginary Friends Explained

Last season on Doom Patrol, the team discovered the existence of Niles Caulder/The Chief's daughter, Dorothy, but at the time very little was known about her. What was known was that Danny the Street had been protecting Dorothy for a very long time and that the young girl had dangerous powers that made her a danger for the world. With the first three episodes of the second season now on DC Universe and HBO Max, we're getting a deeper look at what those powers are with her "imaginary friends". Now, we're breaking down some of those friends and why Dorothy's powers have the potential to end the world.

Warning: Spoilers from the first three episodes of Doom Patrol's second season below.

In the Season 2 premiere of Doom Patrol, "Fun Size Patrol", we are properly introduced to Dorothy as well as her general powers, though in the saddest way possible. "Fun Size Patrol" opens up with Dorothy caged as a carnival freak show exhibit in London, 1927, forced to conjure up creatures from her imagination as part of her "act". In the series, the "terrifying creature" she conjures is actually one we've seen before, a wendigo-like creature that Niles encountered while in the Yukon where he met the primitive woman he fell in love with. We soon learn that there are others in Dorothy's mind, however, including a terrifying creature that asks Dorothy to make a wish -- someone who is almost certainly the Candlemaker.

So how does having some pretty scary-seeming imaginary friends translate to a potentially world-destroying power? For that we need to look to the comics. While the character's origin is different from what we see on Doom Patrol, her powers and inner world is very similar. In comics, Dorothy suffered from a facial deformity that gave an ape-like appearance, Put up for adoption, her adoptive family kept her isolated due to her appearance and that in turn caused Dorothy to turn inward to her imaginary friends who she could bring to life.

While we've seen a few of those "friends" on Doom Patrol -- the wendigo, someone she calls Darling and a spider-creature called Herschel -- but in comics there are many, many more including Damn All, Darling-Come-Home (the show adapts her to Darling), Flying Robert, Baby Twig Lady, Honey Pie, and even false versions of Robotman and Niles Caulder among many more. These "friends" can be good or bad, and don't even have to particularly like Dorothy in order to spring from her mind. They can also exist in a physical space but can only survive as long as Dorothy is alive.

However, Dorothy's abilities also have a darker component beyond her imaginary friends. Dorothy also has the ability to manifest beings from other planes of being and that's where that ominous voice asking her to make wishes comes in. In comics the Candlemaker was a malignant egregore removed from existence long ago but wanted to use Dorothy's unique abilities to come back into existence. When Dorothy is brutally bullied, the Candlemaker offered to protect her if she'd wish for it. She did -- wishing one of the bullies dead -- and the next day, he was found having been horribly killed.

We get a taste of that in this season of Doom Patrol, when the ominous voice has Dorothy make a wish and blow out a candle that forms in her palm before brutally killing all of the people in the carnival audience -- save for Niles. Later, the voice tries to get Dorothy to make further wishes, something that Niles tells her she is never to do and while the monstrous being that is behind that voice is never actually called by the Candlemaker name (at least at this point) it's pretty clear that if Dorothy were to give in and make those wishes, the monstrous creature would be loosed on the world again, something that could truly endanger existence as we know it.

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New episodes of Doom Patrol land Thursdays on both DC Universe and HBO Max.

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