WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the fourth episode of Titans, “Doom Patrol,” streaming now on DC Universe.
This week's episode of Titans brings the eagerly awaited live-action debut of DC's original Doom Patrol, and with them, an origin for Garfield Logan, aka Beast Boy. However, it doesn't end with Elasti-Girl, Robotman, Negative Man and The Chief; another member of the "World's Strangest Heroes" is introduced. It's just a question of which one she is, Celsius or Fever.
Written by Geoff Johns, "Doom Patrol" is effectively a back-door pilot that relies on a major coincidence -- the convent in which Rachel Roth spent her early life, and to which she recently returned, just happens to be down the road from Niles Caulder's mansion -- to bring the nascent Titans into contact with this group of "conventionally challenged" misfits. But that's OK, because it results in moments like Negative Man (voiced by Matt Bomer) cooking and dancing to AD/DC's "Thunderstruck," Robotman (voiced by Brendan Fraser) enjoying food vicariously through the descriptions of Rachel Roth (Teagan Croft), and Elasti-Girl (April Bowlby) struggling to hold together her form in front of their dinner guest.
The episode shifts tone with the early return of Niles Caulder (Bruno Bichir), the mad scientist who saved each of the Doom Patrol, with a new patient: a young woman injured in a violent protest when a nearby tanker exploded and engulfed her in liquid nitrogen. To save her life, The Chief injects his patient with his experimental purple serum which, as always, comes with unpredictable side effects.
The temperature in the lab plummets, altered by the patient herself, which might lead longtime DC fans to believe she's Arani Desai, aka Celsius, who in the comics the previously unknown wife of Niles Caulder who founded a new Doom Patrol following the death of the original. Heck, photos released before the episode's premiere even identified actress Hina Abdullah as Arani Desai.
But in the episode itself, The Chief refers to the woman as Shyleen Lao.
A comic book character by that name does indeed exist, and possesses connections to both the Doom Patrol and the Teen Titans. Introduced in 2001, in the largely forgotten third volume of Doom Patrol, the Chinese-American Shyleen was recruited as a member of eccentric millionaire Thayer Jost's incarnation of the team. Known as Fever, she possessed pyrokinetic abilities that gave her control over heat transference and, to an extent, fire. Years after the disbanding of that version of the Doom Patrol, Fever was among the heroes captured and brainwashed to act as a combatant in the underground fighting ring known as the Dark Side Club. She was killed in 2008 in Terror Titans #1.
We're left to wonder what may have led to the seemingly last-minute change from Arani Desai, a better-known DC hero, to the rather obscure Shayleen Lao, and whether the character will make the transition to the Doom Patrol spinoff, or if this is merely a (somewhat-confusing) Easter egg.
Now streaming on DC Universe, Titans stars Brenton Thwaites as Robin, Anna Diop as Starfire, Teagan Croft as Raven and Ryan Potter as Beast Boy, with April Bowlby as Rita Farr, Jake Michaels and Brendan Fraser as Clifford Steele, Jake Michaels and Matt Bomer as Larry Trainor, and Bruno Bichir as Dr. Niles Caulder, aka The Chief.