Last week we visited some old friends and acquaintances of the Doom Patrol. In episode 5, we’re checking in to see how the team is faring after Rita’s brush with Doctor Janus in “Nostalgia Patrol” two episodes ago, and we see our heroes hampered by an unexpected spell.
Doom Manor is peaceful in the opening shot. The outside is quiet and calm. Within, Larry is mediating in his room — and that’s where the relaxing air ends, as we see his flashbacks to battling against Dr. Janus and Mr. 104, and images of a woodland cabin. Reluctantly, Larry leaves a pensive Vic to watch Rita, who hasn’t woken since their adventures in her old movies and goes searching for Keeg.
Jane is taking a little time for herself, setting the mood with some music, a drag from a packed glass pipe, and a piece of candy before getting down to business. She doesn’t get far. A few moments after closing her eyes she appears in the Underground with her pants still undone. Awkward. After a bumbling explanation to the residents of her own psyche of exactly what she definitely wasn’t doing, and how not cool it was for them to pull her down there, she is told that they didn’t summon her at all. She arrived of her own accord at that moment. More awkward.
Meanwhile, Rouge has been fixing the car they found while hunting for zombie Darren Jones. Rouge thinks it will be a good distraction for Cliff. She’s right, he’s immensely grateful and loving the experience, despite the car still being junk. Suddenly, Willoughby materializes in the backseat and orders the Doom Patrol to assemble.
Rita wakes. Immediately, she notices age spots on her hands and runs to a mirror. She’s met with gray hair and wrinkles — a horror, to Rita.
In the woods, Larry is searching for Keeg. He is assailed by visions again before passing out. As he sprawls in the leaf litter, Mr. 104 can be seen over him.
Immortus Will Rise
Back at Doom Manor, Willoughby is helping himself to a drink. When the team is gathered (minus Rita, who is rifling through Niles’ old office for a cure for her salt and pepper hair situation), Willoughby updates them: Immortus will rise.
The question of who exactly Immortus is finally gets answered: a forgotten deity who could eat reality as they know it whole. Willoughby gives them some information: Cliff, Jane, Rita, and Larry all look the same as they did years ago because Niles imbued them with pieces of the immortality amulet he took from Eric Morden. The amulet is made from a piece of Immortus. As long as the Doom Patrol avoid the evil entities working for Immortus and keep their longevity, everything will be fine, and Immortus won’t rise.
Rita, definitely aging after her run-in with Dr. Janus, finds a box marked “Experimental, Untested, and Dangerous.” She digs out a potion that she hopes will deage her.
Cliff charges into the room, the rest of the team and Willoughby in tow. They were concerned by the chaos magician’s explanation that their longevity can be “extracted” from them, so they ran to find the person who has recently, mysteriously, had emotions extracted by an evil entity.
Rita jumps at Cliff’s sudden entry and drops the potion. A purple cloud fills the room.
It certainly is a deaging spell, though not a very good one. The team looks almost exactly the same except for Vic, who has developed clusters of pimples and some impressive train-track braces. Cliff is still Robotman, but he’s developed a throwback cowboy look. Rita’s clothes and glasses date back to 1937, and Jane looks like she’s found a major sale at Hot Topic. Willoughby has ye olde clothes and a medieval floppy hat and, because of the strange way chaos magicians age, has also developed a shampoo commercial-worthy head of hair. Rouge, however, hasn’t changed at all. She was the only one who thought to hold her breath, thanks to her Bureau training.
Larry comes to in an interrogation room, but he isn’t the one being interrogated. The vision is of Mr. 104 sitting in the chair being cross-examined. He learns that his name is Rama, and he was born in 1928. He moved to London to study science. Mr. 104 swears to the interrogator that he believes this information is true. A line of “subjects” surround his chair. Mr. 104 is commanded to begin air augmentation. When he hesitates, one of the subjects pulls a gun. Reluctantly, he draws all of the water out of the subjects’ bodies, killing them.
Leaving the vision, Larry finds himself in a cabin. Mr. 104 is also there, and Keeg can be seen glowing in his chest. When Larry approaches, Mr. 104 pins him against a wall. Larry tells him he only wants his kid, but Mr. 104 says he’s been trying to get rid of him and he won’t leave. Keeg zaps out of Mr. 104 only to bounce off Larry’s chest and catapult straight back in. Larry’s out cold again.
Willoughby uses a map and pendulum to find his old mentor, Ms. April, before the deaging spell sends them back even further, to children, then babies, then…. “We’ll be jizz-ified?!” Cliff gasps in horror. Thankfully, Ms. April’s teleporting tearoom is in Toledo, two towns over.
Larry wakes up in an old-fashioned radiation suit. This time he’s the one in the chair. More subjects enter and surround him. Against his will, Larry’s mask is removed, and the subjects all die.
On the way to Toledo, the Doom Patrol stop at a gas station. Heading to get Vic snacks for his teen metabolism, Cliff asks Jane if she thinks they’d have been friends in school. She’s glad she missed out on the hormonal-driven school years. Cliff argues that those years help make you who you are, and some of those experiences saved him. Their conversation gets waylaid when Jane spots some teens hanging out next to the store, and they strike a deal to buy beer in exchange for a smoke.
Rita and Rouge brave the gas station restroom. Rouge attempts to have a heart-to-heart with Rita while peeing, but Rita refuses to do so while being stared at by a used condom. When Rouge cautions her to lower her expectations of Ms. April being able to deage her, Rita leaves.
Outside, Cliff, Jane, and their new friends argue with Willoughby until he agrees to let them detour to a party. “Just for five minutes,” he agrees eventually.
Rita storms off. Rouge follows, telling Willoughby they will catch up.
In the visions, Larry is not partying. He’s back in the chair with his mask being removed. As the subjects around him are overtaken by radiation sickness and drop, he cries and shouts out, begging Keeg to make it stop. Mr. 104 watches, affected. He reappears next to Larry and reaches out to him, despite Larry not wearing his mask. “It’s okay,” he comforts. Turns out that Mr. 104 is the one person Larry can’t hurt because he can turn his skin to lead.
The vision ends, and the pair are sprawled on the cabin floor, fingertips touching.
The Doom Patrol and Willoughby are thriving at an illicit pool party en route to Toledo. Willoughby is smoking his wizard-strength kush, Cliff is doing keggers, and Jane is relaxing at the edge of the pool. The whole team loosens up (though Vic’s “loosening up” seems to be removing his shirt to swim).
Jane offers Vic a smoke before admitting she never had any teenage years because Kay didn’t create her until later. Vic opens up about his friends back home, and his fears he’s missed the chance to reconnect. Jane encourages him to try again, telling him that if she had something like that, she’d try anything to get it back.
As Vic goes to rejoin the party, Jane takes a drag and puffs out glowy rainbow clouds. No longer in the party world, she sheds a tear. A trail of stepping stones appears, heading across the pool to Kay.
Jane approaches Kay, who ignores her. “I’m sorry, I know I f*cked up,” Jane implores her, referring to her earlier alone time. “[This body’s] not mine. It’s always been yours.”
Finally, Kay looks directly at Jane and reaches across to cradle her cheek and wipe her tears. “It’s our body, Jane,” she tells her before the vision fades away and Jane is returned to the party.
Across the pool, Jane sees Willoughby—still in his medieval garb, but younger. “Jane?” Child-Willoughby exclaims, causing her to look down at herself and see that she too has deaged further.
A Heart to Heart
At a dark bus terminal, Rouge catches up with an even younger Rita. She admits that the deaging spell did actually affect her, but she couldn’t bear to look at her teenage self and be reminded of a painful time, so she used her abilities to change back.
Rouge tells Rita that when her powers manifested, people didn’t react as expected. She lost a lot of people, people she thought cared. Heartbreak, she says, stains the soul. Except for her, it’s a void. Maybe that’s the way she is — she’s become the void. It’s a chasm between her and a meaningful connection with anybody.
Rita reflects on how meaningful their connection once was. That Rouge was her best friend, and she misses her.
Sobbing, Rouge tells Rita how sorry she is — there’s not a day that goes by that she doesn’t think about how she hurt her and what she did to Malcolm and the Sisterhood; she will never deserve an ounce of forgiveness.
Rouge reveals her teenage self, and they hug.
Jane and Willoughby go to get Cliff, but he won’t leave. An argument ensues, with Jane asking why he would choose a group of burnout teens over his actual friends.
“You mean the actual friends who just want me to punch shit for them? The actual friends who didn’t even care to ask if I was doing okay when clearly, I am not?” Cliff throws back. Ouch.
As Cliff walks away to party on, Willoughby asks where the hell Vic is.
Vic, it turns out, is at his friend Deric’s apartment, knocking on the door. He took Jane’s advice it seems, and while looking like a kid, he’s gone to seek out his old best friend. “Vic?” Deric asks, unsure. Stepping forward, Vic pushes in for a hug.
In the distant, mysterious cabin, Larry wakes up again. Mr. 104 is still slumped against the bed. He confesses that it isn’t the first time he’s seen a bit of Larry’s past and calls Keeg Larry’s guardian angel.
Mr. 104 admits to Larry that he won’t always be able to control his powers, and when he loses control, he will cause a massive extinction event. That’s why he made his pledge to Immortus, to “return their longevity.” That makes no sense to Larry, but he recognizes a devil’s bargain when he sees one.
“Let me help you,” Larry offers. “What you’re going through, I get it.” He believes there has to be another way that doesn’t involve violence or pledges. He reaches out a hand to help Mr. 104 up, reintroducing himself. “Larry.”
“Rama,” Mr. 104 says in return after a moment, smiling.
Keeg jumps out of Rama and back into Larry. This was his plan all along!
With a snipping sound, a portal opens up behind Larry and he tumbles into it. Yelling, Rama dives in after him.
Bunbury Taketh Away
Jane and Willoughby are, predictably, squabbling. Jane is telling Willoughby to shut up and let her revert to splooge in peace when the Knights Templar turn up with Bunbury. They’ve come to rescue Willoughby.
Released from their cage, Bunbury chitters away. They berate and belittle Willoughby before, with a magical sneeze, removing the spell’s effects. Turning to Jane, Bunbury attempts the same. She begins to run, but the spell progresses once more and reduces her to a baby. Bunbury coos over her for a moment before Willoughby urges her to “Take what you need and be done with it.”
Bunbury extracts a glowing, purple energy from Jane as the credits roll.
Doom Patrol season 4 is streaming now on HBO Max. A new episode releases every Thursday. Be sure to stay up to date with all of our coverage, including news and recaps.