Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Doom Patrol: Tomb Patrol

"I always get my butt."

The Doom Patrol does what they do best. They give up.

Until they don't.

There's a general air of 'wrapping up the emotional threads' going on in this one. Indeed, that's kind of what antepenultimate episodes of long running TV series are for.

Yes, this week's pretentious vocabulary word is 'antepenultimate.' It means 'second to the last.' And in TV terms it means 'finally confront the emotional underpinnings of the character interactions and bring them to a satisfying resolution so that we can spend the last two parter happily blowing things up, safe in the knowledge that all that has been dealt with.'

Full disclosure, I have not yet watched the last two episodes, so I don't know for certain that that's what happens. I do feel reasonably certain about assuming it, though.

It's interesting, and by interesting, I mean nice and a good decision, that this episode splits off the core four of the Doom Patrol from everyone else. Rama is off on his own (literal) suicide mission. Madame Rouge is off to try and fix things on her own. Vic is off dealing with his own thing. Casey and Dorothy are... well, God only knows. They don't even get a mention in this one which is actually a little odd when you think about it.

We'll talk about several of those in a moment.

This episode, very wisely, dials down hard into the core four of Larry, Rita, Jane, and Cliff. And benefits from it enormously.

The great truth about this team has always been that when things get hard they are totally willing to immediately give up. Because they don't believe in themselves. They don't think they're worthy of love. They don't think they deserve friendship. They think they're alone and destined to fail. And we're finally confronting that here, head on. And it's so past time we did.

Larry, confronting his imminent death which will cause a catastrophic explosion, has decided his best course of action is to dig his own grave and syphon Keeg off into some orchids. Cliff, Parkinson's disease rapidly progressing, just wants to get to his daughter to give her a muscle car for his grandson before he dies. Jane, with dementia rapidly destroying all of her alters and the underground, has given up hope and is just along for the ride to see toilets get blown up. And also, because, at the end of the day, Cliff is the person she really cares about. And Rita, inspired by their time in the Immortimas continuum, just wants to have one nice dinner together before they all die.

The lion's share of this episode is the four of them each desperately pursuing their own goal in what little time they have left and none of them are actually making the effort to listen to one another.

It's all exemplified in Larry and Rita's argument when they're alone at dinner. Rita is clearly saying that she needs to feel like she has people who love her via those people sitting down at table and sharing a meal together as a symbol of the bond they share. And Larry's response is 'I don't eat.'

They're arguing about the surface situation, but neither of them is listening to what the other is actually saying. Rita is screaming as loud as she can, 'I need to know that you love me before I die!', but Larry is so busy shouting 'I'm so cut off and alone that I can't even imagine being loved by another human being!' that he can't hear it.

Which is heartbreaking.

Which is why the emotional core of the episode is that last scene of the four of them, reminiscing by the fireplace. Jane and Cliff having returned, they have a wonderful moment of talking over all of the ridiculous shit this series has thrown at them over the last four seasons and just simply being with each other. As family. More than that, as a family that they acknowledge to one another they are.

It's poetically right that it's the threat of Rita dying that ultimately galvanizes them into getting off of their self-pitying asses and trying to do something. She was the first of the DP, and she's been the one trying hardest to pull them together – a fact that she herself repeatedly points out. It makes sense that her finally giving out is what it takes to motivate them. The antepenultimate episode has resolved its issues and is ready to bring the fight to Immortus.

If that was all this episode had focused on it still would have been a great hour of television. But, with only two episodes left, they had a few other things to get through. Vic's emotional resolution with his dad was perfectly handled as a vehicle for him to bring back his tech and become Cyborg again, just in time for the finale. I love the way that Deric's support resonates throughout his ability to come to peace with Silas. I'm not completely sure that it should have been that easy to give him back all of his tech, but who cares when we get his return to the team just as they face their greatest threat at the end of the episode.

Madame Rouge, meanwhile, has gone to see Isabel Feathers' one woman show, heading to Broadway next week (one expects). I spent a lot of the episode a little confused about what Rouge's plan was here. At times it seemed like she was honestly bonding with Isabel over their shared experience of being outcasts. Which Rouge has totally earned, I should add. She's been trying so hard to make amends to her newfound family and the universe just keeps relentlessly putting her in terrible positions to undermine her efforts. But I think we're supposed to ultimately understand that her plan all along was to get close enough to Isabel so that she could cut off her skin tag of infinity and fix her friends. If I have one criticism of this episode it's that they could have made that point a little clearer one way or another.

And then there are the Butts.

Apparently, the leader of the Butts is named 'Teddy,' which I genuinely kind of love. He appears to be the kind of 'young rabble rouser' member of an oppressed community not unlike in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, or the Doctor Who episodes 'The Zygon Invasion' and 'The Zygon Inversion.' This actually humanizes the butts quite a bit and made me more interested in what's happening with them. Also, are we supposed to infer that Teddy is the son of Doctor Yu and Nicholas? That's certainly what it seemed like, although it begs a number of questions.

And so, as we enter the penultimate episode, Larry, Jane, Cliff, Vic, and Madame Rouge have been flung into the time stream. Rita is at home quietly dying in bed. Casey and Dorothy are God only knows where, and we've conveniently forgotten that Shelley existed.

Bring on the finale.

Father and son closure. With arm cannons.
Bits and Pieces:

-- It appears that I've been laboring under a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of Isabel/Immortus. It would appear that they aren't two separate beings with Immortus latching onto Isabel when she was in the Time Stream as I'd been assuming. It looks like Isabel was in the Time Stream so long that she gradually warped and mutated until she became Immortus. At least that's what I currently think was happening.

-- It does feel a lot like we're heading for a Steven Moffat style loop in which the events of the series finale are what lead the skin tag of evil to be severed from Immortus and find its way into Niles Caulder's hands, thus starting this whole sequence of events in the first place. Again, I haven't seen the last two episodes yet, that's just a feeling.

-- It makes sense that the onset of dementia would be responsible for what's happening to the Underground. Has there been a reputable study on the effects of dementia on patients with DID? I'll have to look that up.

-- Why are Jane's puzzle pieces putting themselves together?

-- I'm hoping that the frequency with which they mention Deric means that we'll get to see him again before the end.

-- Really nicely handled moment of 'Nothing has changed!' followed by the re-cyborged Vic coming in.

-- I can't even imagine how much fun they must have had filming all of the shots of Isabel's one woman show.

-- Was it Doctor Yu that the Butt Hunter was sent to find? I feel like we could have lost that whole sequence.

-- It's interesting how far out of her way Isabel has gone so far to not use her Immortus powers until she loses her temper.

-- Maybe not a great plan to coach an all powerful being about how great it is to be a supervillain, Rouge.

-- I get that they were just sidelining him for this episode, but Rama's decision to go drown himself in his hometown lake seemed uncharacteristically dark and nihlistic.

-- It actually makes a ton of sense that 'blobbing out' would ease Rita's arthritis.


Madame Rouge: "So, if it is revenge that you want, you are going to have to go through all of them please don’t kill me I don’t want to die."

Isabel: "It wasn’t super cool to force all of humanity to love me. I’m not Disney."

Larry: "Fuck you for giving me hope."

Madame Rouge: "This is Immortus. A supervillain."
Rita: "Is she though?"

Madame Rouge: "And that’s why it looks like Julia Child went on cocaine binge then, is it?"

Larry: "But… How did it…"
Madame Rouge: "Come off her body? I don’t know. And I don’t care to."

Silas: "For the record, we started fighting when I could not pull you away from that Xbox. Not for sleep, church, school."
Vic: "How dare you. It was a PlayStation."

Rita: "All I have is us. And it would have been nice if somebody had stepped up for me the way that I have stepped up for them. And, at the very least, come to dinner."

Jane: "At least you weren’t a third to a rat-and-cockroach three-way like Cliff."
Cliff: "This coming from the woman who shoved a baby up a sex demon."
Jane: "That was a Hammerhead."

Cliff: "Better times."
Larry: "Were they?"

Teddy: "Un Clench!!!!"

A really wonderful emotional wrap up which clears the stage for the big finale to come. There are still a lot of moving pieces here. I can't wait to see how they end up locking together.

Nine out of ten lovely family meals.

Mikey Heinrich is, among other things, a freelance writer, retired firefighter, and roughly 78% water. You can find more of his work at the 42nd Vizsla. If you'd like to see his raw notes for this and other reviews, you can find them at What Was Mikey Thinking.


  1. Mikey, a huge thanks to you for your splendid work reviewing this series - I’ve laughed out loud several times reading your humorous approach that was not unlike the tone of Doom Patrol themselves. :) I feel like I’ll miss your company for the final two eps! Yet it’s been lovely and I’m so grateful to have found Doux, a while back watching Supernatural, and it’s felt less lonely in a variety of shows ever since due to all of you here and an engaging, thoughtful and humorous style of reviewing. Thanks Mikey, thanks Doux. Best, Kotre

    1. Thank you so much, that's very kind. :) you'll have my company for the final two episodes very soon. It's been a constant joy to get to review this show, and I'm eternally grateful to Billie for letting me get away with it for this long. I'll miss it and all of your comments terribly.


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.