With the high level of bonkers shenanigans (in both quantity and quality) we have come to expect from the series, I appreciate getting Doom Patrol Season 4 Episode 1 and Doom Patrol Season 4 Episode 2 together as a kickstart to the season.
The first hour situates the audience, providing information such as how much time has passed and how the team members are adjusting to yet another new abnormal when they realize they are the cause of the future Butt-pocalypse.
And the second hour focuses on their attempts to derail the Butt-pocalypse as well as — you guessed it — the Butts.
In all honesty, I’m not sure I can handle recognizing the Butts as sentient, intelligent, and emotionally complex creatures.
Only time will tell, but from their violent, if temporary, disruption of the Ant Farm on Doom Patrol Season 1 Episode 12 to their zombifying on Doom Patrol Season 3 Episode 4, the Butts have been, at best IMHO, an incredibly quirky facet of the Doom Patrol world.
But it looks like they’re a significant Season 4 feature, and now they have names.
If Nicholas is hanging out with Dr. Yu, my money’s on the zombie Butt in the cooler at Doom Manor being his brother, Teddy.
I can already hear Jane and Cliff’s reactions to that.
What is intriguing is how the prophecy of the Butts ties into the Rise of Immortus. I’m always game for more Willoughby Kipling, so bring that on, please.
Sometimes I wonder how long we can be entertained by dysfunction. This premiere marks the thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth hour of watching this team self-sabotage and implode.
But the writers obviously recognize that there’s such a thing as Fuck-Up Fatigue, so they give us Dr. Harrison’s snarky yet professional-sounding diagnoses of each team member.
Rita tries to control the team’s every move because she can’t bear to lose another loved one. Diagnosis, a textbook perfectionist slash narcissist, with survivor’s guilt and PTSD.
Rita’s growth into the team leader was practically the entire arc of Doom Patrol Season 3. When April Bowlby spoke with TV Fanatic, she agreed that Rita’s growth from blob to boss was a satisfying and impressive path to some level of wellness for the character.
For that to fall apart so quickly is really on brand for the team.
You act like this was some great betrayal, but I had my reasons. And even if I didn’t, you were actually a pretty shitty team leader. All you did was tell everyone what to do, holding us to impossible standards, giving out gold stars and demerits like we were all little school children. After a while, it didn’t even feel like we were doing good for the right reasons. We were just going through the motions as part of a misguided vanity play.
It’s Larry who spells it out for Rita, who — let’s face it — is never going to naturally accept responsibility for the unpleasant things that happen to her.
Of course, then there’s Larry, who assumes he’s to blame for every abandonment or emotional regression.
Dr. Hamilton identifies Larry as the one member of the team who seems to be doing better lately, but her prognosis is still bleak.
Larry and Keeg have been getting on like a house on fire. It may be the first recorded case of a host developing Stockholm Syndrome towards its parasite. Larry’s managed to let go of himself enough to share his life and body with Keeg in a way he never could with the Negative Spirit or his human family. And though Larry tells himself the new life he’s forged with the neon leech is fulfilling enough, the truth is he yearns for more. Diagnosis, good old-fashioned self-loathing with a healthy dash of codependency.
I suspect we won’t have an answer to what Future Keeg shares with Current Keeg until when into the season. Is it Larry’s fault Keeg no longer merges with him? If that’s the case, why is Keeg still hanging around Doom Manor in 2042?
Who knew energy beings would have ghosts?
If Larry genuinely wants a meaningful connection with someone corporeal, I feel like Danny the Street holds the answer. Maybe Keeg knows this too.
When Vic decided to reject his tech and seek his bliss, there probably should’ve been a handbook. His transition is pretty clearly a rough one.
How does one adjust to being un-superpowered when still driven to be a hero?
Though Vic fearlessly jumped into the fray against a nimrod with a rump cannon, he’s far less courageous when it comes to following through on the promise he made himself to find his happiness. Diagnosis, personality dysmorphia and social cowardice.
Of all the instances of Rita’s poor leadership, her view of Vic as a liability due to his lack of tech is probably the most obvious blunder.
The fact she gives him the codename “Cyborg” seems insensitive at best and cruel at worst.
As with his foray into dating, I can’t see Vic’s bro reunion being a resounding success.
However, it may be the first step in decyphering Future Vic’s message, “U CANt HAV IT ALL.” Silas’s dream was to give Vic the world. Now that their dynamic has changed, I’d like to see Silas weigh in on that scrawled missive.
I think I’ll sit this one out. I’m allergic to jellyfish AND experimental fringe science.
The most heartbreaking plotline has to be Cliff’s impulsive but sincere vow to save his first touch for his grandson.
Since Cliff’s destined for eternal disappointment, it’s not surprising he is foiled in this intention like all his others.
Despite knowing intellectually that killing Darren Jones was necessary, the moment he takes to process his loss is weighty. That he sees something sympathetic in the frozen zombie Butt also indicates the toll killing others is taking on him.
I’m saving my first touch for my family. End of discussion. Save the world, then allow myself to feel again. Anything else would be a waste.
Rouge’s reaction to overhearing Cliff’s struggle hearkens to her job for the Bureau, deciding whether people would be “Weapon”s or “Not A Weapon”s.
Unsurprisingly, Dr. Harrison has a lot to say about Rouge. Rouge makes choices worth examining. She chooses to stay with the Doom Patrol. She chooses to take Rita’s vitriol. She chooses to forget when they time travel.
Rouge’s memories always return with a vengeance and she’s created a nasty ritual which is a form of psychological self-harm. The results are always the same and she’s forced to face the fact that she’s relegated hundreds of people to obsolescence. Though all-encompassing, her pain is a quiet one, the kind that’s always there, just under the surface, smoldering, looking for something to catch but never finding anything. Diagnosis, self-loathing doormat with sociopathic tendencies.
Leading the Doom Patrol may be retreading old tracks for Rouge.
She already carries the guilt for the deaths of Malcolm and the Sisterhood. Will she be able to shoulder the responsibility for the Doom Patrol’s safety as well?
Dr. Harrison’s stint as primary is a clever way to provide the exposition for the team. However, I did not expect her to exit so suddenly once that purpose was served.
It’s a fascinating dilemma Kay presents to Vic in her interview. How can the personality constructs she created find new purpose?
In a way, Dr. Harrison did exactly that by staying on to observe the Doom Patrol. She put her ego as a therapist and interest as a researcher ahead of Kay’s well-being.
This ‘doomed’ patrol is the El Dorado of psychological dysfunction.
And that didn’t end well for her.
Now that Jane knows Kay expects her to figure things out on her own, the pressure is on.
Ultimately, the “healthy” goal for dissociative personalities is integration. Is that what Kay means by putting the pieces together?
How did this finale land for you, Fanatics?
Did the Doom bring the boom? Or are you done with the neediness?
Hit our comments below with your wishlist for the season!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.