Though Doom Patrol’s second season has already placed its heroes smack dab in the middle of yet another apocalypse-in-progress, the series has been careful to give each of its characters moments of some much-needed levity. It reminds us all that they’re still a bunch of oddballs with the sort of perfectly pedestrian, ridiculous fantasies we all indulge ourselves in from time to time.
When the members of the Doom Patrol haven’t been roped into dealing with the latest twist of fate involving Niles Caulder’s incredibly powerful daughter Dorothy, they’ve been dealing with more personal issues. Both Larry and Cliff, for instance, have been struggling to bond with their still-living family members while Jane’s been lost in the psychic maze of her own mind trying to figure out whether the newly resurfaced alter Miranda is purposefully murdering other personalities.
For Rita, though, things have been somewhat different as she’s worked through some deep-seated psychological trauma involving her mother, and come to the realisation that out of everyone living in the manor, she might actually be the only one who truly wants to be a proper superhero. In addition to getting back into the community theatre scene, Rita’s dreams have broadened to include a future in the sort of costumed crime-fighting that would make her more famous than any mere movie star.
After saving a man’s life while wearing a beekeeper costume, Rita inadvertently becomes something of a local unknown hero, which sounds ridiculous until you remember that this is a world littered with superheroes wearing strange getups. While “The Beekeeper” isn’t really a classic DC character, Rita can’t help but wonder what life would be like were she to leave her days of throwing her elastic mass around behind in favour of a more chic, insect-themed approach to heroism.
When Rita explains her feelings to Cyborg, he’s upfront with her about how ridiculous it all sounds, but he also pushes her to consider just what it is she wants from, and would get out of, a new hero identity. Because Rita’s always had a flair for the dramatic, rather than let her explain it, Doom Patrol instead gives us a glimpse into an elseworlds where the Beekeeper and Cyborg are the stars of spy show reminiscent of the Associated British Corporation’s The Avengers series.
Like Steele & Stone before it, Beekeeper & Borg doesn’t seem to be much more than another flight of fancy that Cyborg, who actually has an established career as a notable superhero, inspires in the people who, on some level, look up to and want to be like him. But unlike Cliff’s Steele & Stone idea, which doesn’t feel like something that could ever come to fruition because of Cliff’s lack of work ethic, Beekeeper & Borg feels somewhat more within Rita’s grasp because of the way that she’s been genuinely working to become a better, stronger, more capable version of herself over the course of this season.
With just one episode left, chances are slim that Rita’s going to have the time to embrace her fame as the Beekeeper just yet, but should this episode be any indication for her arc in potential future seasons, it’s likely that this drive is only going to get stronger.