With a show as weird as Doom Patrol, you really never know what you’re going to get. Going into the season finale, Alan Tudyk provides a Mr. Nobody voiceover for a rhyming recap of the season. It was really well done. The man has some excellent comic delivery. When the rhyme ends, we begin “Ezekiel Patrol,” which wraps the season, but the Patrol will be back for season two. With this being a season finale, there will be some spoilers below.
On the heels of the Chief’s coerced confession, the team confronts the man they’ve been struggling to save for so long. His obvious regret isn’t enough, and one of the team rushes to attack him, but Nobody freezes everyone in place, probably just to draw out the agonizing moment for Caulder. Nobody sends the team away, taunting the Chief about what he’ll do next. After some over the top boasting from Nobody, he sends the Chief away, too. This leads us to a flashback of the Ant Farm in 1961. The Chief is clearly quite at home here as he arranges the accident that will forever alter Larry Trainor’s life. He’s working with Joshua Clay, who we met with the Doom Patrol. Clay has some grave concerns about this project, that Caulder dismisses. The project he’s working on is referred to as Immortus. General Immortus, in the comics, is a frequent foe of the Doom Patrol. This is a very different version of the Chief than we’ve seen before, cold, relentless, and bordering on sociopathic.
Back in the now, Larry and Rita have apparently moved out of the Manor and in with each other. Rita is very excited, since it‘s scene presentation day in her drama class. She’s evidently become a teacher since the team broke up. We learn it’s been six months since the team split up, and Larry is doing some special training with the Negative Spirit. The scenes don’t go that well, and one of the kids is as unflinchingly brutal as only a teenage girl can be. Rita does not have a good day.
In 1976, Doom Manor celebrates New Years with the Chief, Rita, and Larry playing Monopoly. The Chief goes to answer the door for an unexpected visitor, and is shocked to see one of his people from the Ant Farm there. This becomes the set up for Niles “acquiring” Crazy Jane. In the present, Jane herself goes looking for Joshua, enraged at Caulder’s betrayal. Joshua makes his own confession, and upsets Jane even more in the process. Eventually, he reveals something Caulder left behind, and Jane doesn’t exactly use it as recommended. It has an immediate, and surprising, effect in the Underground.
1988 is the scene of the next visit to the Chief’s sordid past, and he has a chat with Elinore Stone. This is a part of Robotman’s origin, and we get to see Caulder is finally having some doubts about the rightness of his path. The present-day Cliff is acting as a caretaker, leaving food for someone who isn’t taking care of themselves. It’s not a big story detail, per se, but I can’t help wonder where he’s getting his money. The next stop is 2014, where Caulder and Silas Stone have a vicious argument in the wake of the accident that transformed Victor Stone to Cyborg. Both score some points, and it’s a conversation I’d hate to be near in real life. Back in the present, Victor has an ugly nightmare and wakes to have a chat with his dad. Things seem to be going better on that score, at least.
Off in white space, Mr. Nobody is celebrating his victory. It’s a bit sad, as he’s on his own, summoning random props to hype the party atmosphere. Continuing Nobody’s very meta role here, he reads reviews for the Doom Patrol show and doesn’t like what the critics have to say about him. Nobody gets a visitor, and, after a very strange conversation with the titular Ezekiel, embarks on a new plan. They recruit Admiral Whiskers, the rat Nobody talked into going after Cliff, and the master villain thinks of a way to hurt Caulder just a little more. I’m not sure if they ever really explain what the source of Nobody’s grudge is here. I don’t think Caulder was part of the mad scientist shop in South America.
In the wake of her bad day in class, Rita is passed out at the table as Larry wanders by. They’ve switched roles on good outlook vs not so much. They debate what they’re doing with their lives when they get distracted by a random song that seems to be coming from nowhere. They agree that disembodied music isn’t a good sign, but Rita pushes Larry into going to track it down. Jane’s vacation in the Underground comes to an end with some rational, if not warm, words from The Secretary. Forced back “up,” Jane discovers it’s Cliff that has been leaving food for her. They both hear the music as well, and, in typical Jane fashion, want to go deal with the source of it. Cyborg has heard the tune as well, and, as Cliff puts it, a disembodied Chumbawamba has brought them all together again, at Doom Manor. Inside, they find the Chief, who tells them Nobody has somehow kidnapped Danny the Street. How even he could pull that off, I’m not sure.
The Chief tells them about why he did the evil things he did, in order to live longer than his daughter so he could protect her. No one is happy about this turn of events, but, eventually, they all agree to help Danny and the Chief’s daughter. The Chief goes with them for this one, and they get to Danny, trapped inside a painting, without a clear idea of how they’re getting out. Danny is largely deserted, and, via blown newspaper, tells them everyone else got out via last minute rescue from Flex Mentallo. I’m not quite sure how to square everyone being gone with the cabaret being needed to keep Danny alive. Their next few surprises come back to back as a gigantic Ezekiel towers over all of them, promising destruction, and an apparently legitimately terrified Mr. Nobody runs down the street, swearing and looking for cover. They all go in the cabaret where the source of the music turns out to be Ernest the Beard Hunter at karaoke night. There’s a lot of bringing up to speed from Nobody and Ernest both, and finally Cyborg starts to put together a plan.
Exiting the cabaret, and mercifully away from Ernest’s singing, the Chief guides them to a Doll Hospital, where his daughter is hiding. Things go wrong immediately, as Admiral Whiskers, also roughly Godzilla-sized, emerges from nowhere and promptly eats Cliff. Cyborg goes to help him, and Jane is about to when the Chief detours her away to get to his daughter. She goes down a very odd set of stairs in a dark void as the battle goes on topside. Mr. Nobody is sulking in the cabaret, and gets a pep talk from Rita. She’s uniquely suited to stroke his ego in this situation, and manages to get through to him.
Nobody starts narrating again, getting Ezekiel’s attention and beginning to direct the action again. This seems to be going in a bad direction when Ezekiel eats Cyborg. It’s not exactly what you’d hope for in a rescue plan, but it’s not a normal hero team, either. Nobody keeps narrating, and things get even weirder. Jane finally gets to the bottom of the stairs, where the Chief comes out of some suddenly appearing elevator to join her. They go to a big door and Niles does his best to coax his daughter out. Eventually, they get an exit and make it back to the real world, or most of them do. The ones that escaped have a new problem to deal with which none of them are happy about, but it’s an appropriately odd place to end the story.
What I liked: It was well written, and, as always, Tudyk’s Nobody was amazing to listen to. Rita did a great job with him. I’m glad Cliff kept looking after Jane, and didn’t take any credit for it or even let her know it was him. I think that’s a good step for Cliff. The different stages in Niles’ history were interesting to see, and Joshua managed to stay as on the right side as possible in all that.
What I didn’t: I really don’t like this version of the Chief, another Morrison retcon. The man seems to be allergic to anything approaching a real “hero” story. All things considered, I think the team forgave him a bit quickly.
I’ll give this a 3 out of 5, and the season a 4 out of 5. The Doom Patrol will be back sometime in 2020 on DC Universe and HBO Max both, apparently.