If you’ve been watching Doom Patrol on HBO Max, then you know that Cyborg has fought carnivorous butts, been transformed into a zombie, had a life-changing conversation with a plastic doll and encountered more than a few sex ghosts. And yet, the biggest surprise this season has been Victor Stone’s decision to become…normal. Cyborg recently made the decision to remake his body with synthetic skin, giving himself a more human appearance, but taking away his powers as Cyborg. So, where does the man end and the Cyborg begin? How does a powerless Victor Stone fit in with the Doom Patrol? We recently had a chance to chat with Joivan Wade, who gave some interesting insight on the latest chapter in Cyborg’s life while hyping us up for today’s Doom Patrol season three finale.
This series has had everything from killer butts to a love scene between a cockroach and a rat. What do you feel the strangest moment of the series has been?
I'll give you a couple because it's hard to tie down. The butts I think is maybe the wackiest. It was just so weird. We had an element of that in season one, but how it was displayed in this season, when you first see it as the pants are pulled down and the butt just comes out. It was just so crazy, and it was such a beautiful moment to band together and to fight off these butts. It was a real kind of super-team moment.
And then the sex ghosts. That has to be high up on the list. That was wild. And then one of the elements I'd have to say is Danny the Street. All of its craziness, but specifically, the moment of the orgasm in the middle of the street with Flex Mentallo was just TV gold. I don't think that you had ever seen anything like it before. I've never seen anything like those moments, and every season I wonder how we're going to beat that, and we always do, so I can't wait to see what's going to take place moving forward.
When Cyborg was introduced in season one, he felt like he was the only sane one on the team. He was the voice of reason. Can you talk about that dynamic, and do you feel that that has changed over time?
When Vic comes in, he's the only real superhero of the bunch. He's come in and essentially, he's trying to put together a team, he's trying to band together this band of misfits or antiheroes if you will. They’re superheroes who don't want to be superheroes, and Vic feels a responsibility and also an opportunity to be able to flex himself as a superhero and try to create a superteam.
Victor being the straitjacket and the most sane at the beginning of the series is something that definitely takes precedent. But as the series goes on, yes, there is definitely a shift. For the first time he actually gets to meet people who share very similar worlds when it comes to acceptance and exploring who they actually are, and they are a reflection of him. So, when he looks at everyone else, and he looks at the rest of the Doom Patrol, it allows him to look at himself. And so, he gets pulled into all of the weird wacky exploration that allows him to understand who he is, who he isn't, and how he's kind of jacked up himself to the point where he's gone in and is being chewed up and spat out to reflect on himself.
It's making him a better man, and it's making him a stronger hero. And you know, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. He's been forced to explore that and to deal with these issues and problems. If it wasn't for the Doom Patrol, he wouldn't be in this position. It's a great time.
Victor's relationship with Roni Evers remains very complicated. Last season, he let her go and he's put a lot at risk for her. This season, there's a scene where he's facing a crossroads and he turns to her for advice. Why is Roni the one that he turns to, and what's your take on their complicated relationship?
Yeah, I think Roni is the one that he turns to. When he's sitting in the lab and he's told that he should talk to someone, Roni is the only person that he knows that would give him a perspective that he essentially can trust. Although it's only been a short time in the development of their relationship, it's created a solid bond. He does love her. He's in a position where he can't help but be connected to her in some way.
And who else is he going to call? He can't call his mom, she's not here. He's already spoken with her and got what he needed from her. He's definitely not going to call his dad. As for the Doom Patrol, he doesn't want to talk to or ask any of them because they will just talk him out of it. Roni is the one person that he feels will support him and understands what he's going through because of what she shares, and because of the cybernetics that live in her. I think that relatability aspect is something that he really latches on to. And on top of that, she is someone that he can trust, that he loves, and he feels like she will also be real with him. And I think things shift when he doesn't hear what he wants to hear—when she tells him her honest truth. That's really the reason why he goes after Roni and asks her for her advice.
It is also an opportunity for him to really speak with Roni and reach out, because he really wants to talk with her and this presents an opportunity for him to reconnect.
Going from one complicated relationship to another, Victor's relationship with his dad has been very complex from day one. How do you feel it's evolved between season one and season three?
This is the most complex relationship for Victor in his world. Victor was under his dad’s thumb in season one. He's always asked questions, and always questioned himself and wanted to question his dad. We see in the Ant Farm, when he ends up nearly killing his dad, that he's constantly had this battle. But I think when we get to season three, he's in this place now where he's going to take things into his own hands. He no longer is going to be the little boy or the little baby underneath his dad's instruction, and only do what his dad tells him to do. I think he has become a man between season one and season three. He's making his own choices, battling with his dad and doing what he believes is right.
He gets to the point where he realizes that there was another way he could have been saved—there was another opportunity and his dad didn't tell him or give him a choice. That was the real catalyst where he decided, “Look, I don't even know who I am right now, and I'm questioning who I am, and I'm going on this journey. And maybe I am Cyborg, or maybe I should be Vic. But I didn't get that opportunity for myself to explore that, so I'm going to take the opportunity now. I'm going to be a man, and I'm going to go through what I need to go through in order to answer my own questions, whether you like it or not.”
I think he's always trying to appease his father, and by the time we get to season three, he decides that it's going to be about what he wants, and it's going to be about who he needs to be. As he says in that speech in episode nine, “I'm going to be the man that I was born to be, and I want to have my own choice as to who I am, rather than being the creature that you created me into, that you were so fearful of, to the point where you've actually projected your fear onto me and created the very beast which you knew you didn't want me to become.”
With this new status quo for Victor, he no longer has the abilities he once had. How does this new dynamic change how he looks at his relationship with the rest of the group? Does he still see a place for himself on the team?
I think it shifts. When he first comes in and he is now Vic with the synth-skin, he doesn't really feel like anything's changed. He comes back in and he's ready for war. And I feel like, as time goes on, Vic is looking in the mirror and seeing that things have changed. He goes through that himself, both seeing the reflection of that from what he is, and also being in those moments in those trials, where he takes out his arm cannon and realizes it's not there. He is told to find how long it's going to take for them to travel, and he asks Grid and then he realizes, “Oh, I don't even have Grid anymore.”
He starts to realize how much this thing he didn’t want was a part of him. Now after losing this, he realizes that whether he likes it or not, it does change things. But the one thing that doesn't change is how he sees himself in regard to being a hero, and the heart that he has as a hero. He displays and challenges that in our finale, and it's exciting to see what it means for him to be a superhero. I think that as time goes on, we're going to explore even more. He is feeling what it feels like to be Vic and to be a young black man and actually live that out, because he hasn't had the opportunity to do so.
You mentioned that fight where he tries to take out his arm cannon. That was a hilariously choreographed fight with baby Madame Rouge. Can you talk about the experience filming that?
It was sick! We didn't have anything, so it's as funny as it looks because in the moment, where we're doing this choreography and trying to hit baby Madame Rouge, we can't see anything. It's all CGI, and it is placed in afterwards. They told us, “Now, she's in the middle of the table.” Whack! “Okay cool, now she's coming around the bend. She's coming around the pole. And 3-2-1, she kicks you!”
We're playing with this whole scene as if she's here, but we can't see anything or connect to anything other than our imaginations. I think that one of the funnest parts of being an actor is your imagination. That's why we do this. We want to imagine, we want to connect, and we want to be in that space. Scenes like that allow us the full opportunity to do so, and so when I saw it on the screen for the first time, I thought it was amazing. It literally corresponded and presented itself exactly how it was explained to us. We trust the process, we trust our staff coordinators, and they deliver every single time.
Without giving away any spoilers, is there anything that you can tell viewers to hype them up for the finale?
For one, we actually got a finale this season. Last season was heart-wrenching because we didn't get an opportunity to have that because of Covid. So, having a finale is huge for us. We finally get to wrap our season in a way that a season finale should. It is wacky, it is unexpected, it is wonderful, it is heart-wrenching, and it allows you to come full circle. So many questions get answered, but at the same time, it leaves so much to explore.
The characters get to really live out and are forced to come together and be who they are in order to continue down this road as the Doom Patrol. But at the same time, by the end of our episode, there are so many cliffhangers that open us up perfectly for season four. Everyone is going to love it, and I just can't wait to see everyone's reaction.
The Doom Patrol season three finale premieres today on HBO Max. Want to have a difficult chat with your subconscious? Visit our official Doom Patrol series page.