REVIEW: Doom Patrol, S1E14 – Penultimate Patrol

With “Penultimate Patrol,” Doom Patrol has officially cemented its status as the best show that no one is watching. The team set off to find Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk) and free the Chief (Timothy Dalton, finally back in full force after a half-season of minor appearances) with the help of Flex Mentallo and Danny the Street, but the confrontation ends up being more mental than physical. Meanwhile, Vic (Joivan Wade) learned the whole truth and nothing but the truth from his father, and chose which side to stick with once and for all.

Friendships and character arcs will be tested.

After a sweet reunion with Danny the Street led to an awkward moment of Flex accidentally giving the entire street orgasms – which Cliff (Brendan Fraser) hilariously had to fake to fit in – the Doom Patrol made it into Mr. Nobody’s White Space to confront him once and for all. Once there, they were thrown into their lives before their respective accidents in a kind of thought experiment of how their lives could have gone if not for the Chief. In a way, it was reminiscent of the Titans finale, but including everyone and actually showcasing their growth and character arcs over the course of the season. Rita (April Bowlby) realized she was a monster long before she was goop, Larry (Matt Bomer) rejected his previously duplicitous and selfish self, and Cliff decided that he had long since destroyed his family. Jane (Diane Guerrero), whose powers were also her illness, had the hardest time deciding whether to stay or go – eventually Hammerhead made the choice for her.

Once they had broken free of Mr. Nobody’s mind prison, the truth behind his complexes was revealed. Rita narrated her friends back together and Jane’s psychiatrist personality got him to admit that his neuroses were due to an ex-girlfriend who dumped him for not being villain enough. Not much more was revealed, though, because just then the villain himself was blown to smithereens by Victor. Or was he? See, Vic had stayed by Silas’ side while he regained consciousness, and it seemed like father and son had finally patched up their differences. But Silas knew it was time to come clean about his son’s memories, so both Vic and the audience learned that his mother hadn’t died directly after the accident. Instead, Silas attempted to save them both and wound up having to choose only one. Naturally, he chose his son

Vic had a lot to ponder in “Penultimate Patrol.”

because it was what his wife (and Niles, but that’s another story) would want, but then he felt so guilty that he erased Vic’s memories of the ordeal. Although it’s unfortunate that Cyborg was still indirectly responsible for his mother’s death, at least he now knew everything that went down. And his father’s deception was enough to return to Doom Patrol‘s side just in time for “Penultimate Patrol” to break out of their final imaginary test.

Because, no, it wasn’t Vic who stopped Mr. Nobody. It was Mr. Nobody himself, who tricked the team into entering a never-ending loop of battling his giant robot and dying. It was more torture for Niles than anyone else, and eventually he clued into the fact that they were repeating the same few minutes over and over again, which was when the real Cyborg showed up. But, of course, Chief was the one Mr. Nobody had the real beef with, which is why he then forced Niles to tell the Doom Patrol yet another devastating truth. He was the real reason behind their accidents, having somehow engineered their lives to turn out this way. How could that be? It’s almost certain next week will give us flashbacks to explain, but what’s less certain is whether the team can move past this betrayal to take down Mr. Nobody… Or if they even should. Either way, “Penultimate Patrol” was a stellar episode that delved into each main character’s struggles and managed to give them moments of triumph while still setting up a finale with the potential to destroy it all.

Doom Patrol drops new episodes Fridays on the DC Universe streaming service.