DC Universe’s Doom Patrol season 1, episode 14 recap: Penultimate Patrol


The first season of Doom Patrol is almost over and the team is close to locating the Chief. But, what does Mr. Nobody have in store for them in White Space?

The penultimate episode of Doom Patrol season one begins with some huge name-drops – in 1946, the Brotherhood of Evil was terrorizing the city, and one of their members was none other than Mr. Nobody. Or rather, Eric Morden. Eric was let go by the Brotherhood for his ineptitude, though Brain didn’t execute him. Eric was replaced, instead, by Monsieur Mallah (who, comic readers know, has a very intimate connection with Brain). When Eric reveals this to his bloodthirsty partner, Millie (Victoria Blade), it’s the last straw for her. She can’t stand to be with a nobody anymore and leaves Eric once and for all.

Victor and Silas

Victor Stone/ Cyborg feels guilty for being played by Mr. Nobody and almost killing his father. Silas is on the path to recovery and reveals a disturbing truth – Vic had reason to distrust Silas. Not all of his memories are real.

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The aftermath of the explosion that killed Vic’s mother and turned him into Cyborg didn’t play out exactly as Vic remembers it. His mother was alive, but barely hanging on. Silas knew that he could only save one person; it was Niles who suggested he save Vic because his body would be more receptive to the technological implants. Silas believed that his wife would also have wanted Vic to live instead of her. To spare Vic the pain of the truth, the story of his mother being killed immediately was repeated until it became a memory.

Vic is furious. He has blamed himself for his mother’s death for years when Silas should have shouldered some of that guilt. Silas doesn’t ask for forgiveness but is insistent that the fake story made Vic into the hero Cyborg. With their relationship on the rocks once again, Vic leaves to find the people he actually trusts – Doom Patrol.

Doom Patrol — Ep. 114 — “Penultimate Patrol” — Photo Credit: Annette Brown / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Doom Patrol Head to White Space

Flex Mentallo briefly united with his long-lost wife in the previous episode, before she was killed by the Bureau of Normalcy. While Larry Trainor/ Negative Man tries to console him, the rest of the Doom Patrol (minus Vic) come across a street in the middle of nowhere. The street is Danny Street!

Flex and Danny know each other, and they are saddened by Dolores’ death, but the moment is ruined when Rita Farr/ Elasti-Girl spots the Beardhunter. Danny has given him a new lease on life, but he doesn’t know where Niles Caulder/ the Chief is. Danny does. Danny’s known the whole time but they were too afraid of Mr. Nobody to reveal Chief has been kept captive in White Space. Flex knows of White Space and he can send the team there.

Except, the White Space is a trap. The four members of Doom Patrol end up back in the past, on the precise days that changed their lives forever. Cliff Steele/ Robotman is human again, re-living the hours before the car crash that killed his wife and turned him into a living brain; Rita is on the set of Forbidden Congo and Larry is home with his family on the day of his fatal test flight. Elsewhere, Crazy Jane finds herself barricaded in the hospital, awaiting the experiment that gave all her personalities superpowers.

Mr. Nobody dangles the enticing carrot of returning them to their former lives as long as they give up their search for Niles. But the team have grown since the last time Nobody used this trick. Rita realizes that she was a monster long before her accident, but now she’s a better person and Niles has been a part of that journey. Cliff was horrible to his family and he knows he’ll be back at square one, ruining everyone’s life if he stays in the past. Larry was selfish, too, destroying his family through his dishonesty. Even if he wanted to stay because of John Bowers, John lived his life and it’s time for Larry to live his (is that a dig at Avengers: Endgame?).

Jane is the only one who has second thoughts – she and Hammerhead argue about returning to real life, and how the world would be safer without them. But Hammerhead doesn’t care. The superpowers allow them to keep Kay safe, and that’s all that matters.

The team enters White Space, and despite Mr. Nobody’s taunting, Rita is able to grab hold of the narrative and find the rest of Doom Patrol, as well as Niles. Crazy Jane’s Dr. Harrison personality susses out Nobody’s insecurity – he’s a villain because Nobody was dumped.

The showrunners purposely subvert the big superhero battle scenario with Doom Patrol deciding not to fight Nobody. He’s a cliché, and not as unique as he’d like to be. When Nobody insists they don’t pity him, he’s blasted away by Cyborg’s cannon. Having saved the day, the team finally return home.

Happily, Ever After?

A year later, Doom Patrol is a changed team now. Niles Caulder holds morning briefings and expects the team to be prompt. Larry is back to cooking up storms, as he did in the Titans episode, and the team is dressed in similar clothes with Rita wearing a facsimile of her original comic book uniform. But all is not as it seems.

When the Brotherhood of Evil attacks another city, Doom Patrol are on hand to protect the people. But the giant robot they encounter incinerates the team in a flash, while Niles watches from afar. Viewers will recognize this robot from the first scene of this episode. Considering who created the robot, maybe the Doom Patrol didn’t escape Mr. Nobody.

Then the timeline resets with Niles calling for the morning briefing. Once again, the team is killed, this time there are stomped on by the robot. Another temporal loop and the team are killed even though Niles tells them to run. Niles goes through the worst kind of Groundhog’s Day, watching his team murdered by the robot hundreds of times. Finally, Niles stops them from leaving Doom Manor.

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As they try and discuss Niles’ change of heart, Vic shows up, still dressed in the Ant Farm jumpsuit he was wearing at the hospital. The ‘Cyborg’ who killed Mr. Nobody was an illusion. The team never left White Space, and now Cyborg’s stuck there too. There’s only one way out of this – Niles has to tell the team the truth.

"‘The tragedies that befell you, they weren’t accidents. I was responsible for everything that has happened to each of you.’"

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