Including this episode, we have just three episodes of Doom Patrol left. I’m still hopeful that we’ll get a sufficiently weird and heartfelt ending that ranks up there with some of the series’ best moments. But this episode leaves me feeling like maybe Season 4 is the right time for the show–at least in this iteration–to end. Spoilers follow for Doom Patrol Season 4, Episode 10, “Tomb Patrol.”
It’s all about repetition. Doom Patrol is built on a foundation of weirdness, and the more you do something, the less weird it becomes. It’s just normalcy–the very thing that our non-heroes have been fighting against since Season 1.
Isabel Feathers, also known as Immortus, has taken the heroes’ longevity for herself and wishes to control the entire world to feed her massive ego. As a result, the heroes have begun to age. It was primarily cosmetic in the previous episode, but here we can really see how it affects them. Rita relaxes her legs into blob form to ease her arthritis. Larry’s radioactive skin is thinning and bleeding through. Cliff’s preexisting conditions are more apparent than ever.
Madame Rouge didn’t have longevity and, being a shapeshifter, can look however she likes. She’s watching these people she now thinks of as friends and maybe even family, fall apart before her eyes. What Immortus took from them, more than anything, is hope. They’re dying, and melancholy is setting in.
The different members are all ready to give up. Cliff and Jane decide to take a road trip to Florida. Rita is cooking a meal for the group, regardless of the fact that Cliff and Larry don’t eat and that Cliff and Jane won’t even be there for it. Larry, meanwhile, is literally digging his own grave.
Taking Back Cyborg
Vic is kind of the only one doing something interesting here, moving his character forward. He visits his father, Silas, at Star Labs. The shift in their relationship over the four seasons of this show has been one of the most rewarding parts of sticking with it.
Despite the fact that it’s about a father turning his son into a cyborg, this almost feels like a how-to guide for learning from your mistakes and reconciling with a loved one. Silas did some really screwed-up stuff with the best of intentions, and it took a long time for him to understand why what he did was wrong, and how to talk about that with his son.
Vic, meanwhile, gave up his cybernetic parts some time ago. Despite not having any superhero tools, though, he keeps running toward situations that demand superheroism. Whether he’ll admit it or not, superheroics are in his blood. Vic’s journey has been about realizing that part of the misery of being Cyborg was centered on the fact that he was still not over his mother’s death, his perceived role in it, and his lack of communication with his father about it. We’ve seen both of the Stone men come to grips with the unspoken difficulties in their relationship. And so when Vic shows up at Star Labs, they have a real, heartfelt conversation. Vic has ideas for what it might look like to be Cyborg again. Silas is reticent to go down that path again, and when Vic asks him his opinion, he straight up refuses to offer it–last time his opinion won out, it caused a massive rift between them. This needs to be Victor’s decision.
These scenes are easily the best in the episode. The other heroes’ scenes are still good because we love these characters by this point, but we’ve seen Cliff be a dickhead, Jane be antisocial, Rita in denial, and Larry lost in depression. We know how this goes. They’re all lost and separated until circumstances push them back together and inspire them to step up.
All of that stuff, we’ve seen before. I feel like I could’ve quoted this episode as I watched it, despite having never seen it before this.
Return of the Zombie Were-Butts
With that said, things are getting back to their roots in the best possible way. The thread of the Zombie Were-Butt Apocalypse is once again looming, and Zombie Were-Butt Darren is back. On the other end, though, is the Were-Butt that a woman who worked for the Ant Farm brought home. He’s happy living a quiet home life with his love, and has no interest in world domination.
How all the Zombie Were-Butt stuff is going to go down, and how Immortus will play into that–that’s the stuff I’m waiting on. That’s where the core Doom Patrol weirdness lives–I hope. I just wish we didn’t have to watch our favorite losers mope around like this one last time.