Doom Patrol is back for a second season with new episodes having hit both DC Universe and HBO Max and while the series picks up pretty much where Season 1 left off in terms of events, the series is also charting all new territory when it comes to the characters' experiences and emotions -- especially when it comes to those surrounding Niles Caulder/The Chief. The heroes learned, much to their horror, that Niles was actually responsible for the traumas and accidents that ruined their lives and ultimately led them to be the Doom Patrol. It was a major betrayal, one that colors their interactions with Niles in Season 2 but according to series star Timothy Dalton, Niles is determined to do better -- and make amends -- as the story continues.
Speaking with TV Line, Dalton explained that while Niles' motivations haven't changed, he's now aware that what he's done has caused grave harm to those he's interacted with -- namely Larry (Matt Bomer), Rita (April Bowlby), Cliff (Brendan Fraser), Jane (Diane Guerrero), and Vic (Joivan Wade). Now that he knows, he wants to somehow make things right.
"A leopard doesn't change his spots, but a leopard can change his understanding of things," Dalton said. "You can fall in love with something you created, but that doesn't stop you from using it... [He] has been awakened to the fact that his creations are suffering. He wants to make amends."
And even in the first three episodes of Doom Patrol's second season, we've already gotten to see Niles come to this epiphany of sorts, especially in the third episode, "Pain Patrol". In that episode, Niles is summoned by Red Jack -- after Red Jack has kidnapped and is torturing Larry -- who wants Niles to become his apprentice. While Red Jack rightly calls Niles on his propensity for cruelty and the torture of others, Niles rejects the offer, something that prompts Red Jack to torture Niles instead. Niles is forced to endure a small taste of what Cliff endures. When Red Jack is ultimately defeated and everyone returns to Doom Manor, Niles is seen having a breakdown while alone as he realizes the harm he's caused. The episode ends with Niles working on a Robotman 2.0 -- something that will, hopefully, improve Cliff's quality of life.
It's something that may be a hard sell, but series showrunner Jeremy Carver recently told ComicBook.com that all the members of Doom Patrol are on a journey in Season 2 and everyone has to do some growing up.
"For us, it's first and foremost about character," Carver explained. "We had a very important sort of shift happen at the end of Season 1, which was the revelation that Niles had caused all of their accidents. So that immediately shifts the dynamic in ways that are, from a story perspective, very rich for a new season. And when we decided to introduce Dorothy to the Season 2 story, we now had a sort of surrogate adult/daughter relationship going on between all the Doom Patrol members and this 11-year-old living in their house. And that was trigger for us to explore a season in which everyone has to deal with all their own issues when it came to either being a kid and being on the blunt end of some family trauma or having been an adult and dealt out some of that trauma themselves. And we start to explore that in the first couple of episodes, when Larry starts to reconnect with one of his sons. You'll see that across the board with our characters, which is sort of leading to this dramatic arc for the season. One way or another child or adult, we all have to grow up."
New episodes of Doom Patrol land Thursdays on both DC Universe and HBO Max.