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The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 136: ‘Doom Patrol – Pilot’

The Arkham Sessions, hosted by Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the psychological analysis of Batman: The Animated Series. Nostalgic, humorous, and even a little educational, each episode promises to lend some insight into the heroes, villains, and classic stories of the Dark Knight!

The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 136 – “Doom Patrol – Pilot”

Our journey continues in the DC Universe, but with a completely new collection of characters to explore. We are delighted to begin our analysis of the 2019 live-action show, Doom Patrol! Episode by episode, we’ll narrow down the psychological themes and lessons of this adventurous, eccentric series–and because this series is weirder, darker, and edgier than most things we cover, we’re going to accept the challenge and dive right into the strangeness with a mission to explain it!

In the pilot episode, we’re introduced to a team of dejected, traumatized, and reluctant superheroes. Each has suffered some kind of personal adverse event, something that catalyzed their superhuman abilities but also left them scarred, disfigured, and angry. They’re all ambivalent about what it means to “get better.” The team lives in Doom Manor, which is a large estate/peculiar research facility run by the Chief. Their new caregiver and host is a bit of an odd and mysterious man, but his determination to give the dysfunctional family a sense of purpose may be what keeps them together.

Over the course of exploring the story of Robotman, who is recovering from a car accident, we explain the psychological phenomenon known as dissociative memory, which refers to deficits in our ability to remember details of a traumatic event. We also discuss the concept of growth mindset. As Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, Ph.D., asserts, “In growth mindset, we believe that our most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work–brains and talent are just the starting point.” She posits that we can expand our mental aptitude if we simply work at it. Intelligence is not as fixed as people think it is.

Growth mindset may be the foundational idea that Doom Patrol is based on — what if it is true that we can overcome mental barriers simply through focused determination? What if we could expand our conscious and unconscious states beyond expectations, even stretch our existing abilities past the limits of what we could ever have imagined? But the growth mindset–in the supernatural comic book world–has its dangers. What would happen if someone with evil intent learned to harness the power to grow the mind? Is this what Mr. Nobody means when he ominously whispers, “The Mind is the Limit?”

Listen below for our thoughts and continue on to Episode 137 for the continuation of our analysis of Doom Patrol!



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