Hasitha Fernando reviews the fourth episode of Doom Patrol…
Episode 3 concluded with our weird-some fivesome being whisked away from Paraguay on a jet. The misadventures in Fuchtopia, raised more troublesome questions than definitive answers. Why was Dr. Caulder present during Mr. Nobody’s transformation? What was the ‘important item’ that he stole from Von Fuchs on that fateful day? And is our good doctor the benevolent do-gooder we’ve all made him out to be? Only time will tell…
The opening of episode 4 finds our assembly of outcasts scattered and broken, in the aftermath of the Paraguayan incident. Cliff’s violent killing spree has left him in a PTSD-like trance, unable to come to grips with what he committed. Larry ruminates on his erstwhile encounter with the negative entity. And Elasti-Woman and Cyborg’s verbal jousts continue to increase in frequency and bitterness. In short, our team is more conflicted than ever. But nothing will prepare them for what’s in store next. Enter, dipsomaniacal occult extraordinaire Willoughby Kipling (Mark Sheppard), Member of the Knights Templar and renowned chaos magician. Half-drunk he stumbles into Doom Manor seeking the assistance of Dr. Caulder to prevent a cataclysmic event that would bring about the end of the world. Instead what he finds are a group of reluctant superheroes who despise the very word ‘team work.’ But in spite of their misgivings they get lassoed in to Kipling’s audacious plan, which involves abducting a tattooed youth who’s the key to a death cult hell-bent on summoning an Inter-dimensional entity called the De-creator.
Following the advice of a magical dusky-blue serenading horse head, they quickly find and secure this 18-year-old lad named Elliot. Cliff and Crazy Jane are then sent by Kipling to locate a stigmatized Spanish priest. Their mission? Sew these wounds shut, which incidentally also happens to be a doorway to the lost city of Nurnheim. Well, things turn topsy-turvy pretty darn fast and our duo of misfits are sucked in through the glowing lesions, appearing on the other side where they are promptly taken prisoner. Dazed and confused Cliff and Crazy Jane are taken before the demented High Priestess of Nurnheim who dispatches her elite guard to retrieve Elliot. These otherworldly lackeys plough through our team of misfits in Doom Manor and succeed in their mission. The episode comes to a close, with the appearance of a colossally eye in the sky as the cult commences their ritual.
I cannot begin to describe how absurdly outlandish this episode was! This is by far the series most ‘out-there’ instalment and that’s saying something. So many strange and surreal incidents take place in succession, that it’s hard to single out one in particular to elaborate on. Throw in a plethora of bizarrely new characters into the mix and boy, that is one heady mash-up indeed. This viewer for one, will require a second viewing of said episode to take it all in. The lack of sufficient backstories for this barrage of hitherto unknown characters, made their introductions feel rushed and less relatable.
Akin to an over-extended preview to what’ll happen as the series progresses, me thinks. On a more positive note though, this installment poignantly explored the toll a traumatic incident takes on an individual. Cliff is torn apart by his vicious behavior in the episode prior. So much so, he starts doubting if he even has a shred of humanity left. His platonic relationship with Crazy Jane doesn’t make matters easy either. Being at the receiving end of her myriad bat-shit-crazy temper tantrums ain’t easy. I’ve said it before and I will say it again…Robotman is the heart and soul of this series. Mark Shepard too, shines as the double-dealing conjurer Willoughby Kipling. Supernatural fans will no doubt draw comparisons to his performance as the devious Crowley when watching this. In conclusion; despite it being the weakest episode thus far, I will continue my free-fall into this rabbit hole of weirdness… to find out where it leads.