Doom Patrol: Why Kay Is Suddenly Lashing Out
In Doom Patrol season 3, the alters have squashed Kay’s trauma, at least for now. But Kay’s lashing out might lead to a huge paradigm shift.
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Warning: Contains spoilers for Doom Patrol season 3, episode 7, “Bird Patrol.”
In Doom Patrol season 3, Kay has been lashing out as she becomes a more central figure to the story, but this is actually part of her healing process. Kay Challis (Skye Roberts) lives with dissociative identity disorder, complicated by the fact that each of her alters, i.e. different personalities, has a different superpower. For the first two seasons, Kay is almost entirely silent and only spoken for by her primary, Jane (Diane Guerrero), and her many alters.
At the start of Doom Patrol season 3, Jane and the alters defeat the manifestation of Kay’s trauma and symbolically eat the jigsaw pieces that remain, noting that the trauma is not gone forever, but merely quelled. Since then, Kay has started to voice her own desires more directly and has been interested in “going up” to take control of her body for brief periods. While Jane has been supportive of this, the majority of the alters are against it and, despite stating that they want what’s best for Kay and to protect her, begin locking her up and keeping Jane away. When Kay eventually goes up and comes back with a bike, the alters steal it and Kay lashes out at Jane as she tries to sort the problem.
While Kay’s outbursts of aggression towards Jane can seem problematic and certainly worries Jane, they are really a great sign for Kay’s healing as Doom Patrol continues in season 3 and beyond. As she is able to unpack and accept some of her past trauma, she is beginning to grow as an individual in her own right, effectively entering her teenage years. Teenagers naturally lash out and they naturally push their boundaries to try and identify what the true social limits are as they establish their independence. It’s a good sign that Kay is having healthy development as a person for the first time in her life. However, it causes large issues for the alters as, if Kay “gets better” as Jane opines, then she will no longer have the same need for the alters as her coping mechanisms. The alters are trying to impose stricter control on Kay in an attempt at self-preservation, which only makes her more likely to lash out at the closest person, in this case, Jane.
Doom Patrol’s new narrative angle for Kay suggests that a huge paradigm shift might be in Jane’s future. If the alters get their way and their mutiny is successful, then Kay and Jane may be either imprisoned within their own brain or erased entirely, as was seen with Miranda’s ploy in Doom Patrol season 2. If Kay and Jane are successful, then the other alters might start disappearing, and it’s not clear whether Jane herself would also ultimately be in danger of disappearing. Some of this might be averted if the trauma returns in some way, but this would be a very dark storyline to pursue so soon. Another possibility, however, is hinted at by Shelley Byron/The Fog in Doom Patrol season 3, episode 5 “Dada Patrol.” In that episode, Shelley offers to help Jane live her own life, possibly by being able to silo off different parts of her mind.
Depending on how this paradigm shift manifests, this storyline could be a setup that leads to Jane leaving her role as a main character on Doom Patrol. In the comics, Jane leaves the Doom Patrol and goes to live on Danny the World (a future manifestation of Danny the Ambulance). If Jane and Kay’s story runs its full course in Doom Patrol season 3, then this might make sense going forward as a way for the character to no longer be a central focus but still make occasional smaller appearances, as with Dorothy (Abi Monterey).