Comics On TV

Doom Patrol’s Abigail Shapiro Teases The Candlemaker's Terrifying Arrival

The HBO Max/DC Universe series' breakout star breaks down her part in this week's episode, "Dad Patrol," and what's to come from her most powerful not-totally-imaginary friend.

by | July 30, 2020 | Comments

Doom Patrol season 2 new addition Abigail Shapiro has injected a little heart and a little horror into dark, wacky, and super-violent HBO Max/DC Universe series so far. Shapiro plays Niles Caulder’s (Timothy Dalton) peculiar young daughter Dorothy Spinner.

While it’s one thing to have an 11-year-old child running around Doom Manor, it’s a whole other issue to learn that this kid has a set of powerful imaginary friends who can cause some serious damage — one fiery bloke, in particular, can bring on the apocalypse at a moment’s notice. And with each episode this season, world-ending monster The Candlemaker has continued to grow stronger.

Spoiler alert: This article discusses plot details of Doom Patrol episode 208, “Dad Patrol.” Stop here if you haven’t watched the episode. 

Niles has tried his best to keep his daughter sheltered from the world, while also sheltering all of humanity from her supremely dangerous potential. Now Dorothy is growing up, which causes Niles a lot of anxiety —  a universal experience all parents can relate to really.

As the episodes have progressed, we’ve watched Dorothy piece together the truth about her experience living under Danny the Street and her father’s true motivations in keeping her there. But as much as Niles has worked to keep Dorothy a child forever, the girl’s desire to be taken seriously (along with that pesky getting older thing) has made her father’s fear an inevitable reality.

Abigail Shapiro and Timothy Dalton in Doom Patrol episode 208 Dad Patrol

(Photo by DC Universe)

The majority of the story that plays out in Thursday’s episode, “Dad Patrol,” is setting up this tragedy to take place. Niles wants to put Dorothy back into captivity.  And Dorothy, who experienced getting her first period earlier in the episode, decides it’s best not to tell her father. She’s growing up. And while a trip to the carnival gives them a fun daddy-daughter day away from it all, no one can keep Dorothy from maturing. Not even Niles.

Rotten Tomatoes had the opportunity to speak with Shapiro about Thursday’s “Dad Patrol” episode. During our chat, the 20-year-old actress discussed the challenges she faced while wearing prosthetics, the fractured trust issues Dorothy has with her father, and the impact The Candlemaker’s arrival will potentially have on the series moving forward. Considering the fact that Doom Patrol is the actress’s first-ever television role, her perspective of Dorothy’s growth — and the fear that comes with it — adds a welcome sense of clarity and humor to the girl’s challenging journey.

Abigail Shapiro

(Photo by Photography: Emily Assiran; Hair/Makeup: Chelsea Gehr)

Aaron Pruner for Rotten Tomatoes: I want to start this off by talking about the possible challenges you faced as a 20-year-old woman playing an 11-year-old girl.

Abigail Shapiro: It wasn’t actually too much of a challenge because I’m very small. And I look pretty young for my age. I’ve been playing kids for a very long time. So it wasn’t something that was very new to me. Also, when you’re that young you don’t think of yourself as a little kid, you kind of think you’re already grown up. So I tried to put myself in that mindset and let my inner freedom child run free.

Dorothy’s a little girl but she’s also roughly 175-years-old. So there is an element of maturity, but also a yearning to hold on to her childlike wonder. Was that a fun dynamic to play?

Shapiro: Yeah, definitely. She’s been kept away for so long, so she really hasn’t seen much of the world. Her growing up has kind of been put on hold for all of these decades if you think about it. And I don’t think she actually started to grow up until the minute they saved her out of the dark. That’s the first time in years she actually got a glimpse of the world and something other than Danny and her dad, occasionally.

Abigail Shapiro in Doom Patrol episode 201

(Photo by Mark Hill/ 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Since you’re covered in makeup, did you find your facial expressions stifled? Because the emotionality of the character really comes across a lot more through the use of her voice. Did you find that to be the case when working to bring Dorothy to life?

Shapiro: Yeah, I focused on it a bit more actually. My sister, I was rehearsing with her, my younger sister Milly Shapiro (Hereditary). She helps me with a lot of my work. I was rehearsing with her and she was like, “You really need to focus on your voice acting because your face movements are going to be compromised.” And I was like, you’re right. So it’s because of her I really started to focus on that a little bit more.

Was it a lengthy application process?

Shapiro: The process took about three hours in the beginning, and then we got it down to two hours. And I wear a prosthetic chin, nose, and lips, a little bit of the cheeks, the forehead, then the fake hair and I wear the fake teeth. And actually, the fake teeth were the most difficult part because I had to do the British accent and my diction was already compromised from wearing these giant fake teeth. So that was the biggest challenge with the process.

Abigail Shapiro in Doom Patrol episode 204

(Photo by DC Universe)

You mentioned Danny the Street, earlier. In episode 4, “Sex Patrol,” Dorothy learns he wasn’t just her friend but also the prison that held her captive all these years. Was that the moment she started really listening to this darker voice, The Candlemaker, in her head?

Shapiro: I think so, definitely. She’s been trapped away for so long and she lived underneath Danny for decades and she’s only heard the parties going on. She’s never been able to actually go. So actually going to a Danny party and seeing everything makes her realize that she’s been trapped for so long and hasn’t had the chance to experience the world and everyone who she thought cared about her were not the people who she thought they were. She basically realizes her father doesn’t want her to grow up; no one really does. And she has been unable to experience anything. It’s the moment she realizes that the world isn’t all rainbows and daisies. You have to experience the darker sides of the world, too, in order to grow up. And she’s never experienced the darker sides of the world. I think she starts to listen to The Candlemaker because she no longer really trusts everyone around her, completely, as a child would.

Still, Danny the Street represented friendship and safety to Dorothy. What do you think The Candlemaker represents to her?

Shapiro: The Candlemaker, I think, represents the parts of herself that she doesn’t like. Her inner demons. And throughout the season, especially in episode 8, she learns that she needs to actually face her inner demons in order to embrace them and ultimately grow up, because it isn’t until your face these inner demons and the parts of yourself that you don’t like that you can really take control of your life and build your own path and grow up.

Abigail Shapiro in Doom Patrol episode 208

(Photo by DC Universe)

There’s a pivotal scene in this week’s episode where Dorothy is in a gas station and experiences her first real puberty moment. It feels like this is a shocking instance where she is being forced to confront herself and her body for the first time, and acknowledge she can’t stop herself from maturing into a young woman.

Shapiro: Yeah, she gets a period. And she doesn’t really know what a period is. It’s kind of like her Carrie White moment.

That’s a great way of putting it.

Shapiro: And it’s the moment she realizes that she’s growing up whether she likes it or not. She can’t stop it, it’s inevitable. And she can’t be who everyone wants her to be. She can only be who she wants to be. But it’s that moment of panicking of like, Oh my god, I’m no longer the same person. I am no longer a little girl. What’s going to happen? Like, what will the future hold? It’s that kind of situation that’s saying, like, OK, you’re growing up! You’re grown up now! And it’s just slapping her in the face.

That said, there is a lovely interaction between her and the woman in the gas station who ultimately helps her. After the constant protection and sheltering Niles has put her through, and the, sort of, lessons of not trusting those in the world, this woman provides Dorothy a reprieve. It’s a nice little bit of hope amid the chaos.

Shapiro: It’s a beautiful moment of women helping women. I feel like you don’t see that very often, that kind of specific bond. That’s definitely a beautiful moment and Dorothy realizes she’s not alone. That everyone goes through [something like] this.

Abigail Shapiro in Doom Patrol episode 209

(Photo by DC Universe)

Niles just wants to protect Dorothy, but he also wants to protect the world from Dorothy. How do you think The Candlemaker’s arrival, which is teased at the end of this episode, impact their relationship moving forward?

Shapiro: I can’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything … I feel like there’s definitely regret on not being completely honest. But I feel like, just that moment of the candle wax exploding and The Candlemaker emerging is everything she’s been hiding, everything she’s been holding deep down inside her for so long. It’s just bursting at the seams. All those emotions she was holding in are just exploding.

The Candlemaker is all about granting wishes because, after the third one, he becomes real. What do you think Dorothy’s biggest wish is?

Shapiro: I think her biggest wish is really anyone’s biggest wish: just to be accepted, to have a family, and to be loved.

Doom Patrol season 2 is now streaming on HBO Max and DC Universe.

Tag Cloud

television Teen movies Emmys Lifetime Christmas Summer franchise Interview Marvel Amazon Studios spanish language tv talk crime stop motion 007 Hear Us Out Peacock VICE Polls and Games jamie lee curtis satire Creative Arts Emmys Schedule Superheroes DC Universe binge james bond Sundance Now twilight parents Video Games indie Paramount series TBS The Arrangement TCA 2017 Brie Larson spain Spike AMC Year in Review zero dark thirty Sneak Peek YouTube robots Academy Awards Travel Channel mutant GoT Grammys Sci-Fi YouTube Premium NBC Country PaleyFest police drama comic books laika Heroines Fox News Television Critics Association natural history Tubi thriller reviews halloween aliens Emmy Nominations The CW YouTube Red APB New York Comic Con MCU Western Arrowverse comic singing competition films The Walking Dead crossover Shondaland Song of Ice and Fire Lionsgate Pop Ovation Elton John comiccon Nat Geo name the review children's TV Apple spy thriller Animation cartoon National Geographic witnail screenings E3 2015 Crackle japanese criterion universal monsters SundanceTV french doctor who canceled scorecard renewed TV shows deadpool Red Carpet slashers adventure HBO Max Hallmark Universal cancelled nbcuniversal YA cults TV video on demand Action DC Comics period drama independent LGBTQ diversity Rocketman 2019 Sony Pictures ABC Binge Guide true crime Dark Horse Comics GIFs Alien critics Mary Tyler Moore all-time strong female leads First Look Discovery Channel Stephen King TV renewals Vudu space Oscars The Academy Biopics 21st Century Fox Bravo Television Academy crime drama RT21 Family VH1 45 Super Bowl joker chucky TNT TCM versus Mary Poppins Returns HBO Go Character Guide USA Network Amazon Prime Video HBO dark BET Awards Netflix Trivia Fall TV Mudbound a nightmare on elm street ratings See It Skip It miniseries Valentine's Day WarnerMedia vampires theme song First Reviews Holidays black FX on Hulu romantic comedy Disney werewolf Anna Paquin Acorn TV Pet Sematary mockumentary Watching Series blockbuster dramedy spinoff spanish Comedy Certified Fresh The Purge Captain marvel sag awards screen actors guild Freeform Tumblr Extras zombie dogs Disney Plus Fox Searchlight TruTV Best and Worst CW Seed Baby Yoda nature Turner Premiere Dates Warner Bros. Syfy streaming CNN Columbia Pictures sequel cooking worst movies TCA Winter 2020 2020 remakes venice NYCC sports boxoffice classics RT History unscripted CBS All Access Photos asian-american Crunchyroll DGA dragons Marvel Studios Avengers Apple TV Plus 2018 batman halloween tv blaxploitation Britbox Reality sitcom historical drama south america Masterpiece latino mission: impossible harry potter golden globes Trophy Talk Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt superhero Funimation cops anime WGN Thanksgiving Chilling Adventures of Sabrina PlayStation ESPN video 24 frames Cartoon Network what to watch Apple TV+ psycho obituary 71st Emmy Awards documentary VOD Winter TV Paramount Network stand-up comedy directors Set visit travel Epix war Disney Channel Drama Chernobyl American Society of Cinematographers Nickelodeon animated cancelled television Horror Netflix Christmas movies FXX medical drama X-Men Opinion zombies serial killer The Witch History Musical green book romance toy story FOX Winners Mary poppins Music Writers Guild of America hist Spectrum Originals justice league Walt Disney Pictures supernatural Adult Swim social media child's play ABC Family SXSW Toys casting Ghostbusters TIFF Tarantino ID movie nfl Awards Tour hollywood OneApp rt archives 20th Century Fox politics Musicals Amazon Prime scary movies 2017 BBC One worst rotten E! cinemax cats festival Kids & Family LGBT stoner Star Trek Spring TV Turner Classic Movies CBS anthology transformers Nominations CMT Marathons talk show Film Festival Disney streaming service free movies Black Mirror Calendar Shudder Quiz Showtime Comedy Central Starz Esquire adaptation quibi toronto San Diego Comic-Con Cannes A24 Amazon IFC science fiction Pixar Film Cosplay rotten movies we love boxing Fantasy TLC El Rey discovery Hulu Election Marvel Television football BAFTA indiana jones italian based on movie psychological thriller kids TV Land archives MTV disaster 99% Sundance TV BBC technology game of thrones political drama finale docudrama crime thriller festivals DC streaming service reboot Holiday breaking bad TCA SDCC Lucasfilm A&E Women's History Month Ellie Kemper spider-man Mindy Kaling Star Wars cars fast and furious Comics on TV Sundance christmas movies sequels award winner ITV comics OWN President hispanic Comic Book Classic Film Lifetime Christmas movies FX documentaries MSNBC Tomatazos BET Podcast 2016 Pride Month composers richard e. Grant australia Food Network 4/20 72 Emmy Awards Trailer die hard cancelled TV series DirecTV elevated horror Black History Month Rocky emmy awards Reality Competition USA game show dc Martial Arts Endgame Superheroe Rock book Rom-Com Countdown foreign ghosts best news Pirates BBC America Box Office revenge Mystery canceled TV shows concert TCA Awards IFC Films Infographic teaser cancelled TV shows GLAAD comedies biography Hallmark Christmas movies PBS Pop TV Awards dceu fresh facebook Logo Disney+ Disney Plus