(AUTHOR’S NOTE: This review covers both episode 4 and 5 since they’re directly connected.)
Episodes 4 and 5 of Doom Patrol enter into the world of magic by introducing us to Willoughby Kipling. Comic book fans should be familiar with Kipling, who is an agent of The Knights Templar and has appeared many times in the Doom Patrol series. He comes to Doom Manor looking for the assistance of Dr. Caulder because of a pending apocalyptic event surrounding an 18-year-old boy named Elliot and involving The Cult of the Unwritten Book.
When Kipling learns that Dr. Caulder has been kidnapped and isn’t available he enlists the help of the team in finding and killing Elliot, who is actually the unwritten book. Since birth, Elliot’s parents have been inscribing an incantation on his body which upon his 18th birthday is to be ready to summon the De-Creator. In his efforts to prove to the Doom Patrol how important this is we see various types of Kipling’s sorcery. He opens portals using cigarettes, summons a blue horse/demon/oracle named Baphomet to sing of prophecy, and creates protecting spells using hot sauce and Rosary beads. All of it seems outrageous but fits with Doom Patrol’s style.
The team knows they cannot kill an innocent 18-year-old boy, so in order to save the world they must journey to the cult’s origin city of Nurnheim and close the gates. Cliff and Jane are sent there by Kipling but the minions of the Cult of the Unwritten Book have found where Elliot is and infiltrate Doom Manor. Despite some really valiant fighting, the cult is able to get Elliot and read the message, and the De-Creator (the eye in the sky) arrives.
Episode 5 picks up right there and we are once again introduced to the talking cockroach who is relishing in the arrival of the De-Creator. Fans of Thanos in Infinity War will love the De-Creator, as it also has the ability to make life disappear just by willing it. Not wanting this to end his torture of Dr. Caulder, Mr. Nobody once again returns to make things right. Knowing he can’t do it alone, he releases Dr. Caulder who has an idea that would reverse everything that has been done.
This plan involves going back in time to access one of Jane’s other personalities, Dr. Harrison, who has the power to manipulate people, and create a new cult that would summon the Re-Creator. This would seem absurd on any other show, but not Doom Patrol, which relishes in its absurdity.
There are a lot of really good moments in this episode. Dr. Caulder is reunited with the team for a brief time and is able to help each one navigate through everything that is going on. He also gets reacquainted with Kipling and we get more insight into their relationship, which is pretty funny. Timothy Dalton does some excellent work and really shines. He is the father figure to all of the characters and we see that develop even more here. Dr. Nobody’s narration also returns and guides us through what is going on, specifically with Dr. Harrison. It seems whenever Dalton and Tudyk are in an episode together the stakes are that much higher.
The way things unfold is not something I am going to spoil. I enjoyed it so much I want everyone to experience fresh as I did. All I will say is it is a very satisfying conclusion to this arc and it ends on a note that makes the audience believe we are going to be seeing some team building coming very soon. – Eric Holzman