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The untold truth of Dorothy Spinner from Doom Patrol season 2

Before Doom Patrol hit the DC Universe streaming service in 2019, the group was relatively unknown. In a world full of heroes like Batman and Wonder Woman, there isn't much room for Robotman and Crazy Jane. Nonetheless, the show allowed these misfit characters to carve out their niche in the live-action superhero world. The risk paid off, and the Doom Patrol members are gaining in popularity.

After a highly successful first season, Doom Patrol is revving up for its second. HBO Max now hosts DC's crudest team of wannabe superheroes, who have miraculously saved the world on more than one occasion. In addition to the existing team members, the upcoming season will also feature some fresh faces to spice things up a bit. One, in particular, may very well flip the entire show on its head.

Season 2 will pick things up from the season 1 finale "Ezekiel Patrol." Niles "The Chief" Caulder (Timothy Dalton) is free of Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk) and the team is, finally, coming together as a cohesive unit. In the closing moments of the episode, Caulder's adoptive daughter, Dorothy Spinner, is introduced to viewers, and she's another obscure DC character with a lot to bring to the table.

Dorothy Spinner's sad, yet hopeful, beginnings

Dorothy's comics origins are depressing, to say the least. As written by creator Paul Kupperberg, she was put up for adoption by her parents as a child, finding a home with a new family some time later. As she got older, her face formed into that of an ape, prompting her family to hide her from the outside world. She couldn't go to school, make friends or do much of anything, and was left only with her imagination.

Dorothy's downtime led her to come up with imaginary friends to keep her occupied, since her parents attested that her appearance would frighten other kids. She soon discovered she didn't need other people, because she could make her imaginary friends come to life with only her mind. They even helped her learn to read and write, since her access to education was nonexistent. So long as she was alive and they were unaware of how they came to be, they were permanent.

While this sounds lovely at first, it is worth noting that she isn't always in control of her abilities. Not only do her creations turn against her now and again, but sometimes, beings manifest against her will. She can also create copies of virtually anyone and access psychic entities residing deep in her subconscious.

The bond between Dorothy Spinner and her creations

Wielding such a powerful imagination — and thanks to an isolated upbringing — Dorothy became attached to most of her creations. Many of them have nicknames she uses to identify them so that she doesn't lose track of them and potentially put herself and others in danger. She's named over 20 of her companions-slash-nuisances based upon their appearance and personality. One of the most prevalent is Damn All, who's married to Darling-Come-Home, and their son, Flying Robert.

One unique aspect of her powers is the ability to manifest clones of virtually anyone. In Doom Patrol vol. 3 (2001), she uses a false Robotman to lead the real one back to her. Since she was on life support while in a comatose state, she wanted her old teammate to lay her to rest. In another instance, following the dissolution of the Doom Patrol, she cloned members of the faction just to spend time with them, longing for her old life.

Dorothy Spinner's dealings with the Candlemaker

Due to the nature of her powers and her inexperience, Dorothy is incredibly vulnerable to mental intrusion. A dark entity known as the Candlemaker saw this weakness and sought to expose it for his gain. Banished from the physical plane of existence, the Candlemaker appeared to her as a humanoid with a candle crown about his head. He saw Dorothy as his ticket back into the real world. All he had to do was convince her to release him from his purgatory.

He came to Dorothy at first as a helpful, yet violent, ally, disemboweling a kid that was bullying her in an act that made her push him back in her mind for some time. He later freed her from the Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., a group that wanted to use her mind to summon the Telephone Avatar. Candlemaker got his freedom at last when Dorothy asked him to resurrect her Doom Patrol teammate Joshua Clay. He granted her wish, only to kill Clay moments later in villainous fashion.

Dorothy Spinner's connection to The Wizard of Oz

Yes, the psychic girl with the face of a primate is based on Judy Garland's character from 1939's The Wizard of Oz. Looking at her sense of fashion and hairstyling, the resemblance is unmistakable. In her first appearance and the TV series, she is depicted as wearing a blue and white checkered dress with a white undershirt. Also, two white bows style her brown hair into a set of pigtails. This is the exact outfit Dorothy Gale is wearing in The Wizard of Oz — all Spinner's missing is a set of red ruby slippers to complete the look.

Kupperberg wasn't very subtle with this creation, as the similarities go beyond her physical design. Her first and last names are also allusions to the iconic character. "Dorothy" speaks for itself, but "Spinner" is a little bit more creative. In The Wizard of Oz, a tornado sweeps Dorothy up and delivers her from her native Kansas to Oz. Tornadoes spin — therefore, the last name "Spinner" was born.

She was a later addition to the Doom Patrol

While Dorothy may be synonymous with the Doom Patrol today, she did not make the cut right out of the gate. Kupperberg kept her as a background character in favor of the rest of the crew when she first arrived. Under his creative direction, she only got to see a handful of issues without really anything substantial to do. She was rife with unrealized potential, waiting for the right author to pick up her narrative torch.

Her time in the spotlight didn't come until Grant Morrison got ahold of the Doom Patrol in the early '90s. While Dorothy still wasn't necessarily the main character, she gained a lot of depth in the time that Morrison was writing the team. His vision for the Patrol was very abstract and odd, leaning heavily into the curiosities that they are on a base level. Sure enough, it was the perfect tone for Dorothy to come into her own.

Niles Caulder is dangerously protective of her

Dorothy is the adopted daughter of Niles Caulder in the television series. He loves her, so much so that he's going to immoral lengths to protect her. At the end of Doom Patrol's first season, he reveals that he played a hand in each of the team's respective accidents. As it turns out, he's been trying to unlock the secret of immortality for decades, and the Patrol members just so happen to be his guinea pigs. He isn't doing it for fun or power, but because he wants to protect Dorothy, and the world, at all costs.

As Dorothy is very powerful and not quite in tune with her psychic abilities, Caulder wants to ensure he's around to keep her in check — outliving her, if he has to. In the meantime, he did his best to keep her hidden until he had no choice but to reveal her. He's well aware of the danger she poses to everyone — claiming in the season 2 trailer that, "She will unleash Hell on Earth, and you will be powerless to stop it." With such unique powers in the hands of a young girl, it's no wonder he's afraid for her, and for the entire human population.

Abigail Shapiro will bring Dorothy Spinner to live-action for the first time

Being an obscure character, Dorothy Spinner hasn't appeared in live action up to this point. She was introduced in Doom Patrol vol. 2, #14 (November 1988), so it makes sense her TV debut would be on their program. Her arrival at the end of season 1 was brief, as she didn't have any lines, and didn't show her face. She will feature more prominently in season 2 as one of its most important characters. Relative newcomer Abigail Shapiro is responsible for bringing the young psychic to life.

Shapiro is very early in her film and television career, with most of her work to-date happening on the stage. Her breakout role was as Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at 12 years of age. She's also well known for the cabaret she put together with her sister — aptly titled "The Shapiro Sisters" — which made them the only two minors to write and perform their own act at New York City's 54 Below club. With impressive credentials like that, she'll surely knock her role as Dorothy Spinner out of the park.