‘Doom Patrol’: Michelle Gomez Says the ‘Doctor Who’ References Made Her Feel at Home

Michelle Gomez as Laura in Doom Patrol
Spoiler Alert
Bob Mahoney/HBO Max

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Doom Patrol Season 3 Episode 5 “Dada Patrol.”]

Laura De Mille/Madame Rouge (Michelle Gomez) sends most of the Doom Patrol on a mission to track down the Sisterhood of Dada in the October 7 episode, while she stays back and has a heart-to-heart of sorts (and drinks) with Rita Farr (April Bowlby) as she’s still trying to figure out just who she is.

But first, Doom Patrol had a bit of fun with a reference to one of Gomez’s past projects as Jane (Diane Guerrero) referred to her as “Doctor Who.” Hey, it makes sense: Laura arrived in a time machine. And speaking of that mode of transportation, at the end of the episode, Rita climbed inside.

Gomez discusses that fun callback to the show on which she played the villain Missy, why Laura confides in Rita, and more.

I absolutely loved that Doctor Who reference. Did you expect at least one?

Michelle Gomez: I didn’t. That was such a surprise to me. From the moment I came onto the show, I felt like I’d come home, because if you are a Doctor Who fan, you’ll know that the Master never got his or her own TARDIS, and the fandom was always really up in arms about that. And then of course, ta-da! I get my own TARDIS. I get my time machine in the first episode of Season 3, so I thought that was as close as we were gonna get to drawing any kind of comparison. And then in Episode 5, there’s the actual Doctor Who moment which as far as cross-fandom references go, I was just so delighted. There’s going to be a lot of Doctor Who fans out there just punching the air.

Brendan Fraser, Dianne Guerrero, Michelle Gomez, Joivan Wade, April Bowlby, Matt Bomer in Doom Patrol

Bob Mahoney/HBO Max

What is it about Rita that makes Laura confide in her?

I think it’s that classic thing when you have to talk to someone and you tend to be more open with a stranger than you would be with somebody who you’ve known before, who may come with preconceived notions about who you are or with judgment. There was just a sort of openness and generosity about Rita’s character and also about the way that April Bowlby plays her. It’s just so beautiful. There’s just a moment of vulnerability that’s presented there that I think my character kind of leans into and is possibly relieved to be able to just open up.

It was heartbreaking, when Laura said how every time she finds another piece of the puzzle, she doesn’t know if she is that woman in the letter that Niles (Timothy Dalton) wrote about.

That’s what’s devastating about it, and I think that’s where the tragedy comes as the flip side of the comedy where you’ve got a character who’s dealing with some demons that have clearly been pushed into the darkest recesses of her memory and now she’s having to face up to them. She’s having to face up to who she is and also how disturbing it must be to be coming out of some kind of perhaps an emotional blackout where you’re still waking up to yourself and who you are, who you have been. What do you choose to do with that information? That’s what’s interesting about moving forward: How do you evolve and change if you want to? Does she even want to change? What does she do with that information?

Michelle Gomez as Laura, April Bowlby as Rita in Doom Patrol

Bob Mahoney/HBO Max

The episode ends with Rita climbing into the time machine and starting it up. What can you tease about what’s next?

Just hold on, people. If I can turn into an ottoman, anything can happen. It’s all really intriguing. Hold on to your hats. I don’t know if anybody’s wearing a hat, but if you are. Hold on to it.

What can you tease about Laura’s reaction to what Rita has done?

Everything about this show is unexpected. And the reactions to each character, I can never gauge until I read it on the page. It’s not what you think it’s going to be, ever.

What’s coming up with the Sisterhood of Dada?

There is a slow unraveling with the Sisterhood and it’s on the right side of sex — can I say about it? Is that a thing? Is there a right side of sexy? There seems to be a lot of touching in there emotionally and physically. There’s a lot of coming together as a kind of a strange family that’s really very broken but they need one another. There’s a lot of limbs in the Sisterhood, put it that way… there’s a lot of dancing as well.

Doom Patrol, Thursdays, HBO Max