Every character on Doom Patrol is going through it in season 4. Having experienced a post-apocalyptic future in the season premiere where almost all the team members wind up dead, many of the “Doomies” have also lost access to their superpowers. Cyborg (Joivan Wade) no longer has his technological implants, while Jane (Diane Guerrero) doesn’t have the same control over her many powerful personalities as she once did.
For Guerrero, that means season 4 has been a welcome chance to explore Jane’s own psychology without constantly switching between moods belonging to the aggressive Hammerhead or the coldly calculating Dr. Harrison.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment because Jane was always showing up to clean up other people’s messes. Now she’s cleaning up her own mess,” Guerrero tells EW. “So how does she behave within this new ecosystem? I found that Jane had to learn a lot about people and how to be with others. That change in attitude has been interesting for me to explore this season. There’s a softer side to her, and I think you see that this season, which is really exciting for me.”
Like so much in Doom Patrol, Jane’s colorful facade hides a darker truth beneath. Jane’s array of multiple personalities, each with their own superpower, came into being as a response to childhood sex abuse at the hands of her father. The purpose of this personality matrix (conceptualized as “the Underground” and visualized as a subway station) is to protect the original self, Kay Challis, from further harm.
But now that Jane has been separated from Kay and the other alters, she has had more time to explore herself and her own body this season. After being temporarily de-aged into a teenager with her teammates in the episode “Youth Patrol,” Jane even tried masturbating for the first time — indicating that she may be getting ready to move beyond the sexual trauma of her past.
“I think it’s so important. I’m so happy that the writing took this turn,” Guerrero says. “Jane came into Kay’s life to protect her in this moment where she was very vulnerable. She understands that Kay is very hurt from her early experiences and basically took a vow that her whole identity is wrapped up in: ‘I will protect Kay from any harm, especially sexual harm.’ Because she herself is like this fortress, Jane doesn’t even allow herself to get close to anybody. We’ve seen her starting to get close to Cliff, and to Vic a little bit. She has this responsibility, but now she’s trying to figure out what Kay actually wants.”
Guerrero continues, “you see that she had never even experienced an adolescence. That was completely new for Jane. And so Jane is having these natural feelings of feeling her own body, having sexual attraction to the Fog. All of that she has been repressing. I feel like she goes there because she’s trying to give Kay what she wants. But she also needs to figure out how to be a human being, how to be an individual, and one has to figure out how their body feels and how they feel in their own body to do that. I’m so happy that the writers explored that this season because I think it’s such an important part of the human experience.”
As part of moving forward, Jane is also testing the waters with Shelley Byron (Wynn Everett), a.k.a. the Fog, with whom she definitely has a connection.
“Her character is so secure of herself and who she is and is so unapologetic about what she wants and her feelings at any given moment, that I think that it’s so captivating for someone like Jane who doesn’t know herself at all, who wouldn’t ever dare to share her feelings,” Guerrero says of working with Everett. “It’s very easy for me to play with the Fog because I mean, she kind of does all the work. Honestly, she mesmerizes me in a way, and she does it so well. I’m getting hot just thinking about it!”
Jane and Shelley haven’t yet cemented their connection, but there’s always hope for the future. That was the title of the most recent episode, after all: “Hope Patrol.”
The first six episodes of Doom Patrol season 4 are streaming now on HBO Max. The next six will arrive later this year.