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What fans can expect from April Bowlby's Rita on Doom Patrol season 2 - Exclusive

Doom Patrol is an unorthodox superhero show for many reasons — even beyond the general weirdness of the various villains and strange events the title team encounters on each and every episode. While the DC Universe series thrives when its dynamic ensemble works together on their adventures, it's also just as defined by the individual journeys of its characters, each of them damaged people trying to find their own paths forward in a world that doesn't always seem to want them. That means characters go through a lot of pain — but with determination and a sense of humor, they ultimately also go through a lot of growth. On season 2 of Doom Patrol, that's particularly true for Rita Farr, the arrogant-actress-turned-mutated-Elasti-Woman ... turned, hopefully, superhero. 

As season 2 opens, Rita, played by April Bowlby, is doing her best to take the lessons she learned during season 1 and apply them to her life going forward. Rita is learning to control her strange gift, which typically causes her to melt into a kind of human puddle, and transform it into a stretching power. Even as she's doing her best to perfect her new superhero dynamic, though, Rita and the rest of the Doom Patrol team are still shaken from the fallout of season 1. 

"Rita is pretty heartbroken about the betrayal of Chief [played by Timothy Dalton], as the whole Doom Patrol is," Bowlby told Looper in an exclusive interview. "So we're a very broken unit at this point. When we came into the first episode, it actually felt a little heartbroken."

During our chat with the actress, Bowlby opened up about what Rita's journey on Doom Patrol season 2 will be like, and what fans can expect from the character moving forward.

Learning to grow as Rita

Throughout the early episodes of Doom Patrol season 2, Rita is driven to move beyond her past — both physically and emotionally. Before, her control of her powers was largely limited to keeping herself in the correct shape, and even that was sometimes a struggle. Now, spurred on by her friends, Rita is working to quite literally grow into a new role by taking control of her gifts — something Bowlby found rewarding in returning to the character.

"Rita is learning how to express herself emotionally, not just with Chief, but also in general," said Bowlby. "And she's trying to learn how to become a superhero. She's leading missions, she's talking with Cyborg [played by Joivan Wade], she's trying to be a good student, and she's learning how to use her anger when she gets uncomfortable. Instead of melting when she gets stressed out, she's actually stretching. She's growing into a better person who can protect people. So, that's her journey: just facing that and learning how to grow."

On Doom Patrol season 2, Rita has a special connection to the Chief's daughter

Part of this growth arrives for Rita — and for the rest of the Doom Patrol — in the form of an unlikely little package named Dorothy Spinner. Played by Abigail Shapiro, Dorothy is the Chief's long-lost daughter, and she just might be the most powerful member of the team. Her gift is imagination, which allows her to manifest just about anything she can dream up, including some rather frightening friends. Dorothy's arrival has major implications for every member of the Doom Patrol, but for Rita, it means a chance to be a bit of a mother figure in ways she hadn't imagined before.

"Abigail is incredibly talented, and I can't imagine anyone else playing this role. She changed the dynamic of the Doom Patrol," Bowlby said. "I think it's a very special season because it's different. She adds so much — her choices were so strong and magical, and she made really heartbreaking choices in this season. Rita gets to see this child, who's a danger, but also completely vulnerable, like herself."

She continued, "Rita has never been a mother, and so there are these really nice moments where Rita connects to Dorothy Skinner and tries to mother her a little bit. There are really beautiful, gentle moments of that aspect. And Abby, just having her there completely changed the dynamic. Now we're all focused on Dorothy Skinner and hating the Chief. And [the question is], 'How do we get out of this, once again?'"

Season 2 of Doom Patrol is now streaming on DC Universe and HBO Max. Episode 5, "Finger Patrol," drops today (Thursday, July 9). New episodes arrive every Thursday.