Doom Patrol, Doom Patrol, Doom Patrol. Only just back for your third season and you’ve already introduced a smorgasboard of new deep cut DC characters. Yes, everyone’s favorite found family of monsters, robots, and sex ghosts have returned and they’ve bought some new recruits. The end of the first episode introduces us to a mysterious new femme fatale who arrives in a giant drill. As this was originally set to be the end of season two, it’s a huge tease that implies the jumpsuit-wearing woman will play a big role in the new season. The fact that she’s played by Michelle Gomez just makes it even more exciting. So who is she? And what does her arrival mean for the Doom Patrol? Let’s get to know Madame Rouge!
Meeting Madame Rouge
Madame Rouge first appeared in 1964’s Doom Patrol #86. It’s a startlingly great issue that begins with each of the Patrol trying to find the best birthday present for the Chief. It’s the sort of sincere sci-fi storytelling we rarely get in modern superhero comics. Madame made her debut in the latter half of the issue after a giant robot that the Chief built for the government is stolen by a villain known only as Rog. While Rog lays waste to the city, a teacher in an elite girls school in Paris is interrupted during her class. But we quickly discover that she is in fact a member of the Brotherhood of Evil. Working alongside the Brain, she sends Rog on his way to defeat the Doom Patrol, which he fails miserably at. But that isn’t the last that fans saw of Madame Rouge and her nefarious schemes.
Her Impact on the Doom Patrol
Madame Rouge appeared soon after as a spy for the Brotherhood of Evil. Her skill as a master of disguise was transformed into shape-shifting powers after a surgery that “sublimated” any goodness within her, making her a villain at the beck and call of the Brain. It was an interesting inversion of Rita Farr’s own powers and in Doom Patrol #90, the comic played into that, having Madame disguise herself as Rita to ambush Cliff. In the wild issue she disguises herself as each of the Doom Patrol, showing off her “skin molding” skills.
Rouge wasn’t always a straight antagonist, though. Like anyone who gets involved with the Doom Patrol, she’s far more complex. Since her debut in 1964, she’s been a recurring presence for the heroes and even had a romantic entanglement with the Chief. The duality of her personality after the Brain’s surgery meant that Madame found herself split between her evil side and her good one. As her “good” self, she wanted to aid the Doom Patrol and help them in their quests. But her “bad” side often fought back. It seems like this will likely play a large part in her arc going forward in Doom Patrol season three.
Like many of our favorite comic book characters, her journey has been a weird one. There’s some particularly interesting stuff in the 2008 Doom Patrol series. During a resurgence of her bad side, Rouge returned to kill both the Brotherhood of Evil and the Doom Patrol. And, honestly, who can blame her? Much of Doom Patrol season three is dealing with the fallout of the truth about the Chief and his experiments, so it would make sense to see Madame Rouge perhaps deal with the damage that these warring men have done to her.
What Her Arrival Means for Our Favorite Freaks
From her comics history we know that Madame Rouge is a member of the Brotherhood of Evil. But she has been on both sides of the Doom Patrol as both antagonist and ally. If we’re going by her comic book past then it’s likely she’s been sent to infiltrate the group. We know that just like her comics debut she’s been pretending to be Rita. And when she was disguised as Rita in episode two, she trapped the real Rita in the ballroom and left her to die. That definitely seems like something a spy for the Brotherhood would do. There’s also the fact that we know Niles left Rita with his “secret,” so that could be what Madame Rouge is searching for.
At the end of episode three when the crew meet her, it’s revealed she doesn’t remember who she actually is. And perhaps, more importantly, what her mission is. Could it be that The Brain did the same surgery on this Madame Rouge as in the comics? Perhaps her sublimated personalities have caused her to have amnesia. Or there’s a chance that she’s a figure from the Chief’s past who came to warn the Patrol of the Brotherhood’s plans. We’ve already seen a version of the Brotherhood in episode two, so there’s also the possibility that she traveled from the past to infiltrate and destroy the Doom Patrol in the future?
No matter what, the arrival of Madame Rouge spells trouble for our heroic weirdos! And we can’t wait to see what Michelle Gomez does with this dynamic and dreadful new character.