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

Tomatazos crossover Brie Larson 93rd Oscars Academy Awards tv talk Superheroes concert Television Academy suspense GLAAD Syfy rotten movies we love Photos book adaptation composers films streaming movies criterion mutant Amazon Studios japanese Drama 90s telelvision Tumblr teaser OWN HBO Go Pixar psychological thriller thriller slashers Comic-Con@Home 2021 indie FXX El Rey discovery Binge Guide Pride Month Writers Guild of America Columbia Pictures independent venice Bravo TV movies Marathons foreign Amazon book unscripted toronto Television Critics Association chucky anime adventure 21st Century Fox hidden camera Universal Pictures batman travel Biopics TCM Stephen King Rocketman Quiz Fargo New York Comic Con satire Warner Bros. reboot ABC Signature CBS documentaries Cannes Spring TV Emmy Nominations SDCC IMDb TV IFC spider-verse mockumentary Year in Review TCA Winter 2020 Fox News boxing TCA Mystery streaming witnail ID comiccon Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt natural history period drama biography politics Paramount Plus Creative Arts Emmys emmy awards twilight breaking bad 1990s justice league Kids & Family Black Mirror rom-coms History comic book movies DGA 45 zombie ghosts PaleyFest First Look Neflix game show olympics SundanceTV Showtime directors animated Mary Poppins Returns dreamworks scary movies children's TV finale supernatural Sundance Now doctor who DC Universe Avengers quibi award winner spanish parents spain sequels Turner TV One Pacific Islander Starz razzies live event Classic Film free movies Trailer comic Trivia President NYCC kaiju hispanic heritage month 2019 french all-time CBS All Access christmas movies TNT RT History rt labs Musicals docuseries Winners TCA 2017 Shudder Mary poppins Pet Sematary popular Travel Channel franchise slasher Teen BET comics cults TV Netflix FX APB blockbuster singing competition cartoon dark Paramount what to watch MTV festivals worst movies Christmas cops Sundance cancelled TV shows nature Certified Fresh Logo women archives Shondaland golden globes Rom-Com Anna Paquin australia WarnerMedia Tubi Chilling Adventures of Sabrina LGBT Spike rotten jamie lee curtis Grammys 2017 Apple richard e. Grant Women's History Month BBC America talk show scene in color japan San Diego Comic-Con blaxploitation The Arrangement Character Guide stoner 2018 Polls and Games First Reviews Marvel Studios heist movie black comedy comedies movies marvel comics halloween godzilla Spectrum Originals Alien Comedy Central harry potter target Red Carpet Pop Emmys PlayStation 72 Emmy Awards Fantasy joker live action dragons Image Comics Broadway Baby Yoda debate The CW Oscars TIFF RT21 007 rt labs critics edition asian-american spanish language screenings DirecTV video on demand Premiere Dates know your critic Apple TV Plus 2016 Ellie Kemper young adult hispanic Disney streaming service Lifetime Christmas movies Discovery Channel Hear Us Out Britbox international robots cars science fiction mcc Animation 20th Century Fox kids crime drama Awards Tour spider-man DC streaming service Podcast Disney+ Disney Plus docudrama Dark Horse Comics movie aapi transformers trailers Box Office ABC kong Lucasfilm Food Network serial killer NBA legend golden globe awards pirates of the caribbean Superheroe hollywood Horror a nightmare on elm street remakes die hard 24 frames Elton John nfl Chernobyl BBC MCU Reality Competition green book game of thrones Star Trek halloween tv VOD documentary political drama historical drama sag awards Vudu DC Comics E! YouTube Musical television revenge OneApp crime thriller Tokyo Olympics ESPN Holidays superman TV renewals universal monsters GoT Thanksgiving anthology mission: impossible A24 spinoff deadpool art house mob cats news YouTube Red Video Games Country screen actors guild Arrowverse TBS BET Awards 4/20 Best and Worst 2015 Opinion Disney Channel werewolf true crime Walt Disney Pictures Rocky VH1 Countdown BBC One 2020 latino versus GIFs technology Wes Anderson critic resources genre rt archives cooking disaster Comic Book Exclusive Video Peacock vampires action-comedy indiana jones Disney Plus NBC lord of the rings sequel high school 99% space blockbusters based on movie Fox Searchlight comic books Watching Series The Witch Crunchyroll nbcuniversal SXSW adaptation WGN basketball Rock The Walking Dead Masterpiece Nickelodeon reviews war dexter AMC Plus boxoffice saw hist black Sci-Fi A&E new star wars movies Toys comic book movie Apple TV+ video Ovation 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards MSNBC scorecard zero dark thirty Star Wars Song of Ice and Fire best sopranos italian Awards Paramount Network Crackle elevated horror spy thriller Winter TV strong female leads facebook Election Lionsgate ABC Family FX on Hulu Turner Classic Movies casting TCA Awards Instagram Live Hallmark 71st Emmy Awards new zealand Family Esquire Amazon Prime social media IFC Films romantic comedy Ghostbusters Comedy Valentine's Day Martial Arts Cosplay Pop TV dceu series Comics on TV marvel cinematic universe BAFTA prank worst TruTV Calendar PBS Music Endgame Interview Nat Geo theme song YouTube Premium ratings critics USA Network child's play adenture canceled TV shows dc Super Bowl The Academy 2021 American Society of Cinematographers Summer Heroines Nominations Film Acorn TV romance USA Funimation National Geographic FOX festival HBO Sundance TV Reality Freeform renewed TV shows AMC Lifetime Mindy Kaling police drama jurassic park Tarantino ITV psycho Legendary medical drama vs. ViacomCBS VICE Cartoon Network superhero Mudbound laika miniseries 73rd Emmy Awards Marvel Television monster movies Holiday Pirates zombies cancelled TV series name the review stand-up comedy biopic YA Sneak Peek Trophy Talk wonder woman king arthur Captain marvel sports Sony Pictures Infographic Amazon Prime Video dramedy james bond Set visit Hulu Universal Mary Tyler Moore toy story scary Extras cancelled television king kong TV Land posters fast and furious south america cancelled Netflix Christmas movies Action canceled Hallmark Christmas movies E3 HBO Max new york diversity Disney fresh Black History Month CW Seed aliens Marvel CMT See It Skip It Epix royal family Western sitcom Fall TV Schedule cinemax The Walt Disney Company crime Adult Swim feel good The Purge CNN gangster stop motion dogs obituary classics X-Men football Film Festival TLC binge LGBTQ