As we head into the mid-season finale for Doom Patrol, the show gets back to its roots of asking these broken and traumatized people to help each other survive. Spoilers follow for Doom Patrol Season 4, Episode 6, “Hope Patrol.”
Doom Patrol is rife with wackiness and the truly bizarre. Like its comic counterpart, Doom Patrol has never been afraid to take the long way around to get to its point in the strangest way possible if it means the idea lands better. This season, though, has seemed scattered with some weirdness for the sake of weirdness.
This week feels a bit more directed. We see the group paired off: Rita wakes up on the bench that she and Rouge cried on, and the two set off on a mission. Stuck between her own needs and those of Kay, Jane gets a pep talk from Cliff. Larry seems to have a blossoming romance with Mr. 104, and the two try to meet in the middle about Immortus and the Patrol’s longevity. Finally, Vic and his friend Derek end up in the strange world of Orqwith, which will seemingly become a big part of this season in the back half.
The throughline that intersects these stories–especially with Rita/Rouge, Cliff/Jane, and Vic/Derek–is the necessity of communication and intimacy with people we care about. After their intensely emotional time in last week’s episode, Rita and Rouge seem to have an easier time being vulnerable with each other, and when they sneak into the Ant Farm to find information about the Immortus project, Rouge is forced to come face to face with one of her biggest regrets. Michelle Gomez brings all of her talent to bear on this, making these scenes hit like a truck.
Meanwhile, Cliff–who has been talking to his hand, literally–needs Jane to know that she’s loved, and how easy it is to forget about making sure the people close to us know that. He takes off his oven mitt to hold her hand in a moment that reminds us of how difficult it is for both of these characters to interface earnestly with their emotions due to all of the trauma they’ve gone through.
When Vic and Derek are heading back to Doom Manor following Vic’s return to adulthood, the two are at odds. It’s not until they jump through a portal into a strange world patrolled by men with giant scissors that they start to really talk and realize they should’ve verbalized their feelings a long time ago instead of assuming how the other felt and responding to that.
Larry and Mr. 104 have their own discussion, but there’s a blossoming romance there, too, both helping and complicating the Patrol’s fight against Immortus.
This season has felt a little scattershot, but the proper introduction of Orqwith is starting to clarify things. In the comics, Orqwith is a fictional world created by philosophers that begins to exert influence on reality, and acted in the comics as a sort of conversation between ideas and actuality. Casey Brinke coming to life two weeks ago, for example, is a direct result of this. As the episode ends, most of the Patrol is together–Cliff, Jane, Larry, Vic, as well as Derek and Mr. 104–after spending quite a bit of time apart.
So now we have these two big ideas going on: Immortus stealing the Patrol’s longevity, and a fictional world that intrudes on the real one. Is Immortus seeking the immortality of being part of a story? It seems unlikely, but that idea is one direction the story could push in. This episode takes us up to the Doom Patrol mid-season finale, after which we’ll likely get more of Titans season 4. Bringing the crew back together is a great cliffhanger to leave on, and I can’t wait to see what the show does with the strange new place they’ve found themselves in.