As the midseason finale approaches, we find the team at a critical juncture. The last episode of “Doom Patrol” Season 4 saw Larry reuniting with Keeg and getting close to Mr. 104 by gaining his trust. The rest of the team, along with Willoughby Kipling (who came to warn them of the threat of Immortus), de-aged rapidly thanks to Rita’s blunder. After prolonging their internal tension through half the season, Rita and Rouge have an emotional confrontation and apparently reconcile at the end. Vic turns into a teenager and goes to his best friend Dereck’s place. Zane turns into a baby Kay and is approached by an order of the Knights of the Templar, led by the bunny Bunbury, who extracts some mysterious substance from her. Underneath these shenanigans, the undertone of the season—that of loving oneself—brings out different coping mechanisms in each character. “Doom Patrol” has always prioritized the tribulations of the characters over an expected linear progression of the plot, and the midseason finale isn’t an exception in that regard.
Season 4, Episode 6: Recap And Ending
The scene opens showing Cliff working on his Gran Torino as Jane wakes up in the backseat – now in her mature appearance. She recalls the incidents of the previous night as a dream. Cliff corrects her by saying those incidents were real and the de-aging spell was reversed. However, it seems like the reversal worked a little too well in Jane, as physical signs of aging indicate she has lost her longevity. They speculate that Kipling has double-crossed them and stolen her longevity to aid Immortus. Jane grows anxious and horrified at the prospect of aging, and she wants Cliff to assist her in getting her longevity back. Cliff has been dealing with his own concerns with mortality as he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the last season. Hence, he wants to use whatever he has left of his life to give his grandson Rory memories to live by and advises Jane to utilize her time accordingly. Unable to persuade Cliff to assist her, Jane storms out of the garage.
Jane goes to the Underground to meet other personalities and warn them about the aging problem, only to find out they are as unbothered as ever. She also learns that Kay doesn’t have company at the moment, so she gives them her personality puzzle to solve. Even more irritated after hearing this, Jane chastises the others and rushes outside. Seeing she has no one else to turn to, Jane visits Shelley Byron, aka Mist, and confesses her feelings for her. It seems like, heeding Kay’s advice, Jane wants to live her own life, finally. However, just as Jane and Shelley are about to get any closer, Jane springs off, implying this isn’t what she truly wants either. She locks herself up in her room and mopes in sorrow.
We see scissor-wielding henchmen escorting Keeg-bound Larry in a pocket dimension named Orqwith as they proceed toward a bone temple of sorts. Rama, aka Mr. 104, rescues him using his powers and reveals to Larry that it was his mission as part of the Immortus cult to steal his longevity, something he isn’t willing to participate in anymore due to the risk of hurting people (Bureau of Normalcy PTSD). Larry assures Rama that he will find a non-violent way of curing him. Rama places his absolute faith in Larry as they share a romantic moment. Rama opens a portal to Doom Manor.
Cliff is bewildered to find his mitten-covered new hand gaining sentience—or is it the manifestation of his Parkinson’s? Anyway, after a bout of self-loathing conversation with his hand, who is pretending to be his grandchild Rory, it is revealed that months earlier, as the team tried to avert Buttpocalypse, Cliff spared a single zombie butt that was brought by Jane and Vic. In the midst of the conversation, Cliff sees Larry appearing through a portal, assisted by Rama. Due to their past experience with Dr. Janus, Cliff finds it hard to trust him again, but Larry momentarily convinces him of Rama’s changed motives. However, all of a sudden, Keeg emerges, pushes Rama and Larry back to the pocket dimension through the portal, and incapacitates Cliff.
Vic returns to Doom Manor, accompanied by Dereck. They find a knocked-down Cliff and an open portal. Upon learning Larry and Keeg are trapped on the other side, Vic quickly jumps through and asks Dereck not to follow. Much to his displeasure, Dereck follows him. Dereck being a family man, Vic gets angry at him for drawing himself into a dangerous situation. Dereck quickly reminds him that Vic is powerless too and that subconsciously he knows that Dereck has always got his back. After having another brief round of honest altercations, the two friends patch things up for good. In Orqwith, they encounter the scissor men, and Dereck uses his quick wit to deduce the magical pocket dimension filled with paper and a pen, which is set up like a clue for wish fulfillment. He uses his Dungeons and Dragons nerd cred to make their previously designed robot, “Mr. Invincible,” come to life!
On the other hand, Rita wakes up as her former self and remembers the previous night’s misadventures of de-aging, reconciliation, and confessions. She urges that they return to Doom Manor but finds Rouge to be adamant about completing the mission of getting Rita’s longevity back. Rouge speculates that Caulder’s Immortus project might have been continued at the Bureau of Normalcy, and someone could have found a way to conjure this malevolent deity, Immortus. Rita is hesitant due to their past traumatic experiences regarding the Bureau, but Rouge manages to convince her by reinstituting her as the leader of Doom Patrol. The duo infiltrates the Bureau and, upon investigating, finds out that Wally Sage, the metahuman with powers to create a life by drawing, is behind the Immortus crisis. Rouge is at once taken aback, as during her villainous years, she was responsible in the first place for handing the once innocent boy to the Bureau so they could weaponize him. Rita takes hold of the situation and comforts her as they proceed to Wally’s cell.
The duo arrives at Wally’s cell to find numerous sketches and illegible gibberish fixed to the walls, among which “Immortus will rise,” and “Orqwith” is mentioned. They find a broken, unhinged Wally trapped inside the cell, and Rouge attempts to free him as a form of making amends. They find no satisfying answer from him regarding Immortus; instead, as Rouge manages to break Wally open, Rita hallucinates about Malcolm’s death and loses control over her body. In a brief moment of panic, Rita turns into a blob, Rouge flees, and Wally is apparently mushed to death by Rita. Upon gaining consciousness, Rita is horrified over her actions, but her lamentation is cut short as Rouge reminds her they have to escape the Bureau.
Larry is once again captured by the scissors and repeatedly urges Keeg to disclose the reason for his non-cooperation. Keeg shows him a vision of the future, where a zombie butt-mauled Larry, and he had to sacrifice himself by flying to the sun in order to save humanity. For Keeg, Larry continuously getting into misadventures will only trigger that inevitable future, so he wants a normal life for his father. Larry understands Keeg’s insecurity and agrees to sever his longevity if it means Keeg’s happiness. Cliff apologizes to a downhearted Jane and clasps her hand with his new hand (a tactile sensation he was saving for his grandson) as a sign of rekindling their strong friendship. As they move out to confront Immortus, they are visited by a gravely injured Kipling, who warns them of the cult of Immortus, which has gotten even stronger by gaining Rita and Jane’s longevity. He also adds that, contrary to their speculation, the knights, along with Bunbury, were protecting Jane’s longevity from the cult. His warnings don’t faze the high spirits of Cliff and Jane, who reach Orqwith to stop Immortus from rising. Vic and Dereck utter the iconic “booyah” catchphrase of Cyborg as they see their creation confronting the scissors and the cult, but their happiness is short-lived as a cult member turns the robot into paper without breaking a sweat. At this moment, the real identity of the cult leader is revealed the audience, who is Wally Sage. Cliff’s hand starts talking again and promptly reminds him that he has left the refrigerator door open where he had stored the zombie butt. As the sixth episode of “Doom Patrol” Season 4 ends, we see the thawed-out butt escaping from its captivity.
The midseason finale of “Doom Patrol” Season 4 did a good job of tying multiple plotlines associated with each character into a central thread, as the imminent threat of Immortus dangles above. The sixth episode encounters the theme of mortality, in some aspects questioning the nature of fiction by adding a metanarrative element of the fictional character getting bothered by the thought of death and aging. In doing so, the character selection has been top-notch with Cliff and Jane, with the former never truly feeling alive in his decades of robot-bodied existence while the latter has never grappled with the concept of life and death earlier due to being a personality and not an entity. The episode finally brings the best pals together once again after letting them adrift separately throughout earlier episodes. Cliff’s portion of longevity is holding off his Parkinson’s somewhat; if that is extracted, he might fall too deep into the abyss and never get to make amends with his daughter and grandson—an extremely agonizing possibility for his ever-tragic condition.
Larry and Keeg’s predicament is tragic but feels bittersweet in the sense that their decision to let go is only motivated by their wish to stay content with each other. Larry has outlived everyone he held close (except for Doom friends), and the survivor’s guilt that has affected him so far has strengthened its hold enough that he doesn’t want anything except not to be lonely. Rita and Rouge, as usual, make a great dynamic duo, and their reconciliation in the last episode helped their best parts to be expressed even more in each other’s presence. Vic deals with his non-superhero life at his own pace and learns that sharing the burden of the world with near and dear ones can be as heroic. Was Wally Sage the omniscient creator, and was he behind the creation of Space Case? Speaking of Space Case, we haven’t seen Dorothy and Casey Brinke since episode four, when they set out for Cloverton to meet the Doom Patrol. Will they be able to rescue the team in time, or have things gone out of hand already? Now that the last remaining zombie butt, Nicholas, has set itself free, is the Buttpocalypse inevitable, or can the linguist Dr. Wu help to avert that? We will get these answers after the midseason break ends and our favorite team of nuts returns.