Doom Patrol is finished, for now. While we don’t have any official confirmation of a second season and Warner Bros announcement of its own streaming service leaves the future of DC Universe uncertain, it is almost without question that we will see the return of the world’s strangest heroes. As far as endings go, “Ezekiel Patrol” is a strange beast, and not just because it features a giant rat and cockroach canoodling. Here are five thoughts on the season finale of Doom Patrol. As always, you should beware of spoilers .
1. Oh, Danny Boy
I’ve spoken at length about the idea of suspension of disbelief on my podcast but Doom Patrol–and this finale in particular–really stretches the limits of just how much an audience is willing to suspend that disbelief. Often, when the components of a film or television show don’t add together to make an enjoyable product, the audience is more likely to pick it apart in regards to plot holes, scientific inaccuracies, or generally less-than-believable human behaviors of characters. Doom Patrol‘s only saving grace is just how damned good it is despite its own narrative issues.
Moments like the team entering the painting of Danny the Street, Niles pulling himself back into his chair, or the team emerging from Ezekiel the cockroach don’t make sense. As a conclusion to a story “Ezekiel Patrol” is weak, yet is receiving glowing reviews across the board. So why are reviewers and fans so keen on a show that refers to itself as having a meandering plot in its fourth-wall-breaking moments? Because it is a blast to watch, plain and simple.
2. How Does It Feel to Be a Nobody?
One of the reasons Doom Patrol has been such a joy to watch has been the work of Alan Tudyk, who sees his character Mr. Nobody’s arc come to a conclusion with “Ezekiel Patrol.” Nobody has found everything he wants in the first half of this episode only to realize something is missing, and his decimation of the team and Nile Caulder feels empty, resulting in a blue curacao-fueled moment of depression and self-loathing. Seeing Tudyk go from his own white space dance party to angrily reading a review of the show while on a toilet to wallowing his blue-lipped frame on the floor is a perfect embodiment of his contributions to this show and his talents as an actor.
As Nobody teams up with and is later betrayed by Ezekiel and Admiral Whiskers his depressed and drunken state Tudyk chews up every scene in the best way and his narration powers, both as a character and a performer, are a force to be reckoned with.
3. Niles Caulder, You Are an Awful, Vermin-Infested, Garbage…Person.
Much of this show has been about how the five team members had acted like horrible people, whether overall or simply in a moment as is the case for Vic. While Rita, Cliff, Larry, Jane, and Vic have been narcissistic, selfish, obstinate, reckless, and immature, no one is worse than the team’s leader and mentor. Despite learning his motivations, Niles has spent a century committing horrid acts against the very people he has claimed to care about with a belief that the means would justify the ends.
He didn’t just cause the accidents that created the Doom Patrol, he didn’t just withhold that information for decades, the final scene shows that he clearly still holds no remorse for his actions and believes himself to be right. Niles didn’t just treat the team like lab rats, he recklessly conceived a child with a forest deity who he was less in love with than obsessed with her immortality, then created the Doom Patrol as a means to attain that same ability for eternal life so he could keep that child locked up in a basement on a sentient, teleporting, genderqueer street. Also, that sentence hurts my brain.
4. I Do Not Deserve This Shit!
“Ezekiel Patrol” also sees the unraveling of every bit of growth and redemption for the Doom Patrol across this season. These characters have been forced to face their own shortcomings and abhorrent behaviors and became stronger for it. They’ve come to terms with the fact that, no matter how broken or inhuman they may be now, they’re better people than they were before their accidents. Accidents which, again, were caused by Niles Caulder. This is not to say they’re better because of what Niles turned them into. Niles made them monsters. Then, after they managed to find themselves and each other and discovered his duplicitous deceptions, he dragged them back into his own personal crises.Continued below
None of them deserve this, despite what they did in their first lives or before the beginning of this season. They deserve to be free of Niles Caulder and all of his deceptions. Yet, in the end, there they are all together again.
5. Not Even a Hawk, With Its Loud and Mighty Squawk?
Nor does Dorothy deserve the life she has been burdened with, a child with limitless powers and no autonomy. That said, the reveal that classic Doom Patrol character Spinner is, in the canon of this show, Niles’s daughter is a welcome one. A more versed fan of the comics and team might have picked up on the ending of “Hair Patrol” but as someone who didn’t see this coming, it was a nice surprise. In the comics, Spinner has the ability to bring imaginary friends to life which seems in keeping with the Niles Caulder doll and Oyewah spirit beast we saw at the end of that episode–though not with her ability to make Ezekiel and Admiral Whiskers into giant kaiju monsters.
This show has been quite the raucous ride, maybe not from start but certainly to finish. Forbes writers can push their glasses up to opine how “Doom Patrol is as bad as Titans is good” but that show was crap and, despite a rocky start, Doom Patrol blew me away with how fun, inventive, quirky, hilarious, and full of heart it was. This show stands as, without question in my mind, the very best television adaptation of a DC Comics property. Wherever a second season lands, it damn well better because I did not get enough of this stellar cast delivering some of the most entertaining tales I have ever had the pleasure of reviewing.