The following contains massive spoilers for Doom Patrol Episode 12 “Cyborg Patrol.”
Is Victor Stone man, machine, or monster? That’s the question viewers are left with at the end of the newest Doom Patrol episode. “Cyborg Patrol” ends with Cyborg beating his father, possibly to death, after being manipulated by Mr. Nobody.
For Joivan Wade, the actor who portrays Vic, his character’s descent – as he edges closer to the bloody imagery of Jane’s prophetic painting that showed him murdering his DP team – is all the more tragic because he is supposed to be the superhero, and future Justice Leaguer, Cyborg.
“I was shocked,” Wade told us. “He is the jock of the group, and the jock of the DC Universe, so experiencing him be so vulnerable makes you care a lot more.”
After being kidnapped by the Bureau of Normalcy last week, Cyborg is held captive at the Ant Farm facility, and the Doom Patrol, led by Vic’s father Silas Stone (Phill Morris), hatches a plan to spring him out. However, the character breaks down because he believes his operating system Grid is taking over, and upgrading the human parts of Vic’s body. The culmination is Silas’ brutal beatdown at the hands of his suspicious son.
Wade said Vic’s journey, especially in this episode, has been a “beautiful” treat as an actor because superhero stories don’t often allow for deep dives into character. This is especially true in feature films, such as Justice League, where audiences weren’t able to spend as much time with Cyborg because the plot was juggling multiple characters.
“We haven’t gotten to live in that space with Cy, because he is very boisterous, confident, and cocksure, so being in a position where we see him breaking down is something we haven’t seen with him in live-action.”
Although Wade said he and Morris had worked to develop the tumultuous, emotionally strained father/son bond between their characters, he wasn’t told far in advance about Vic’s unraveling. Instead, Wade and Morris received the Episode 12 script only two weeks before shooting it. But from the beginning, the pair wanted to do justice to the Vic/Silas relationship.
“When it came to laying the foundations, the writing lent to those relationships from the jump, but me and Phil have a strong chemistry, and we’re huge comic fans, so we wanted to make sure everyone got the dynamic seen in the books,” he said. “We knew this would be a good opportunity to explore Cyborg and Silas, but we had no idea which way it was going to go.”
Although he takes out Grid, Victor continues to have Mr. Nobody in his head, misleading, and deceiving him. Still, without Grid, or his father, Cyborg is operating independently. But while he is striving to find out who he is, he’s also engaging in “self-sabotage,” Wade says.
“For the first time, you’re seeing Vic being independent, and trying to work out what he’s missing, and why he’s not the person he thought he was. But he is thinking so much about what’s going on, he makes his own conclusions, and that puts him in the place where he is.”
Wade said that’s why his character needs the Doom Patrol so much.
“He came in in order to help this antihero team find the superhero within themselves, so it’s amazing to be in the position where he needs them,” he said. “His family has been replaced by the family with the Doom Patrol, and that’s why he is so keen on finding Niles: he’s the only guy he can trust, and his search to finding Niles is the key to finding himself.”
Of course, before he can find himself, Victor Stone must deal with the fact he was manipulated by the villain, and maybe beating his father to death (with his adopted family seeing the bloody aftermath).
Joivan Wade said Vic has to learn to breathe again, but with three episodes to go, there’s not bound to be much breathing room.
Listen to the Doom Patrol discussion on our Sci Fi Fidelity podcast: