After taking a detour in the fourth episode by weaving a tale of metanarrative as a part of Dorothy Spinner’s journey, “Doom Patrol” returns to its central plotline to deal with the aftermath of “Nostalgia Patrol.” The team found itself in a tough spot after a certain Dr. Janus stole Rita’s emotional essence and left her in a catatonic state. Larry’s negative energy offspring, Keeg, rescues the team but goes away after bonding with the reluctant villain, Mr. 104. Vic caught up with his friend group from his teenage days and found out the distance with his friends had widened during the aftermath of his accident and career as the superhero Cyborg. Rouge lamented her actions during her villainous career, especially how she had hurt Rita, who used to be her best friend. A number of these situations are addressed in the fifth episode of “Doom Patrol” Season 4, which also hints at the upcoming appearance of this season’s big bad, Immortus.
Season 4, Episode 5: Recap And Ending
As Episode 5 of “Doom Patrol” Season 4 begins, we see Larry trying to reach Keeg by forming some sort of telepathic connection, and he sees a vision of a place where Mr. 104 might reside at the moment. Before leaving to find him, Larry checks on Rita, who is still unconscious. Getting some privacy amidst all the turbulence, Jane feels the urge to engage in some “me time,” only to get abruptly transported to her subconscious platform—the Underground. Initially thinking it to be a reaction to her self-indulgent behaviors, Jane is corrected by the rest of the personalities residing in the Underground who tell her that nobody pulled her under, and she suddenly dropped on her own. Elsewhere, Rouge has bought Cliff the ’74 Gran Torino, which reminded him so much of his past life as a racecar driver and memories with his father. Cliff is elated by this gesture and begins to reminisce about the good old days when he is frightened by the sudden appearance of a familiar face, the occult detective Willoughby Kipling.
Rita wakes up from her catatonic state and finds out she is aging, something which had previously been impossible due to her elastic physiology. Kipling gathers the rest of the present Doom members to warn them about the imminent danger of Immortus, an interdimensional deity who can devour their reality as a whole. Kipling states that the late Niles Caulder, aka Chief, managed to procure a piece of Immortus by himself—in his immortality talisman. As a part of the Immortus Project, each of the Doom Patrol members’ current selves was created from Niles’ orchestrated tragedies, and Niles injected bits of Immortus into their systems via their food. Their prolonged longevity due to pieces of Immortus is also the reason for their unchanged appearance through the decades. If the pieces inside them are extracted, Immortus will rise. To add to their misery, they speculate that the Janus experiment was the initiation of the extraction process.
In her desperation to get her former ageless physiology back, Rita searches through Chief’s experiments and stumbles across a certain de-aging potion, a vial of which she mistakenly breaks. Except for Rouge, who holds her breath, the team, along with Kipling, inhales the potion and turns into their teenage selves. The de-aging potion turns out to be a Khepri Hax, which eternally reverses the aging process to the point that the victim’s existence is removed. In order to undo the effects of the Hax. Kipling decides to search for his mentor and drag Doom Patrol along with him.
Larry goes to the wilderness, a location he saw in his visions while searching for Keeg. Soon he is rendered unconscious and is rescued by Mr. 104. In a vision, Larry peeks into Mr. 104’s troubled past, where much like Larry, he too was tortured by “The Bureau of Normalcy” into killing people. Larry wakes up from his vision to see Mr. 104 in front of him and the latter states that he has been trying to get rid of Keeg to no avail. In a turn of events, Larry’s past is now shown to Mr. 104 by Keeg, whom we see being restrained by the Bureau as his extremely radioactive skin is exposed to test subjects who die horribly. 104 reaches out to Larry, transmutes himself into lead, and comforts him. Through their shared tragic past, they bond. Mr. 104 reveals that he joined Dr. Janus to stop the chances of a global-scale mass extinction event, which can happen given his current uncontained state of power. He adds that by returning his share of Immortus’ longevity, he wanted to have justice. Larry extends 104 his help, and as they introduce themselves to each other, Keeg re-enters Larry’s body, hinting that this had been his plan all along. Suddenly, a scissor cuts Larry and Keeg out of their reality and takes them in, with Mr. 104 following the duo at once.
On the other hand, Willoughby is unable to control the ragtag group as, during a break en route to Toledo (where Kipling’s mentor, Ms. April, resides), they go their separate ways. Rita, concerned over Rouge’s warning that April might only cure their Hax and not her aging condition, moves away from the team. Cliff and Jane discuss the thrills of teenage years as Jane reveals she never got to experience them as she was created by Kay long after her teenage years were over. They spot a group of teenagers and somehow convince Vic and Kipling to stay there for a high school party. During the party, Vic and Jane share a joint as they discuss their thoughts on the teenage life experience. Jane explores a new side of life, while Vic remembers his golden years with friends. In a marijuana-induced trippy delirium, Jane meets Kay in her psyche and apologizes to her for using her body for personal reasons. Kay assures her that it is as much her body as it is Jane’s or the other personalities’. Suddenly, after waking up from the bout of delirium, Jane sees Kipling has turned into a young boy, and we see Jane has turned into a teenager named Kay. Reminded of their mission, they regroup to continue, only to find Vic missing and Cliff unwilling to go with them.
Rouge finds out that Rita has turned into a little girl and tries to reason with her. Rita is furious at the fact that Rouge was not affected and wishes to have shapeshifting powers like her. It is revealed that Rouge was affected, and with her teenage memories being very sordid, she did not want to see her past self all over again, so she remained shapeshifted to her original form. Rita laments about missing Rouge, who used to be her best friend, and about how everything went downhill after Rouge’s betrayal. Rouge bares herself to Rita as she remorsefully confesses her actions and how she has been grief-stricken ever since. Rouge breaks down, and her shape changes to her teenage self, an impoverished kid. Kid Rita embraces her former best friend.
Vic reaches his best buddy Derrick’s house and introduces himself to his confused friend. Cliff calls out Jane for never checking up on him. Later, Bunbury, accompanied by Templar Knights, tracks down Kipling and Jane. Kipling is given his older form back by Bunbury, and as kid Jane attempts to flee, she is turned into a child by the power of the Hax. As the episode draws to a close, Bunbury pulls out an energy-like thing from baby Jane’s (or Kay’s) mouth.
The fifth episode of “Doom Patrol” Season 4 exemplified the hallmark admixture of silliness and melancholy that defines the “Doom Patrol.” The series is known for dealing with heavy themes, and this episode beautifully showcases that. The fun romp of high-school recklessness is juxtaposed with Rita and Rouge’s painful, aching reconciliation, and Michelle Gomez’s exceptional performance as Madam Rouge attained a new height in this episode despite having limited screen time. Her losing her grip on the shapeshifting form at her most emotionally vulnerable moment almost mirrors an emotionally charged Rita being unable to control her elasticity during the initial days. Jane’s self-reflecting hours accentuate what Rouge already said in the episode: that everybody deserves their own private slice of peace. The character-centered approach is executed with ample time given for their development, which is most noticeable in Larry and Keeg’s cases.
The rise of Immortus has been hinted at since the very first episode of “Doom Patrol” Season 4, and cards have been dealt from the other side so far to put the larger picture in perspective. The eponymous team was created by Niles Caulder to jot out a plan for sustained immortality, which he needed to stay with his daughter. Now, as we have learned from the last episode, Dorothy stole the immortality talisman with the help of the Dead Boy Detectives, an object that has a direct connection with the deity. In comics, General Immortus is a villainous character who has lived through millennia and has been stopped by the “Doom Patrol” on multiple occasions from hatching his nefarious schemes. The series, however, depicted him as an interdimensional deity, and his connection to the team is associated on a personal level, too (being the reason for the team’s creation). Eric Morden, aka Mr. Nobody, was mentioned in this episode, and fans are eagerly waiting for his re-appearance too. As the midseason finale of the series approaches, we are hoping to get answers regarding Larry’s fate, the omniscient narrator, and what happened with Jane in the sixth episode of “Doom Patrol” Season 4.