The Doom Patrol just cannot catch a break. First they were sucked in by the sanity draining mosaic of a man Mr. Nobody. Then came their bloodsoaked run-in with the fascist purveyor of Fuchtopia, Dr. Von Fuchs. Both encounters left the Doomers in various states of psychological fragility with Larry and Jane taking diametrically different approaches to understanding what lives within them. Compound that with the collective existential dilemmas each member faced and you have a mentally hindered team in no condition to take on a death cult that believes in nothing. Too bad. The nihilists of Nurnheim are already at the door.
The Horse Head’s Song
The team take a much needed minute of rest following their Paraguayan escapades. Cliff wakes up to find Baby Doll asleep on his chest. The image mirrors a dream where Clara napped with him. The only problem is that Baby Doll isn’t present; Hammerhead is. She storms out yelling about Paraguay as Vic brings the team together for a briefing. The meeting barely begins before Hammerhead rips into Vic, stating they aren’t a team. Rita seconds that notion when she points out that Vic didn’t even invite her to the proceedings. Vic incredulously reminds her that she doesn’t believe herself to be a hero. Her ire turns to Larry for not defending her.
Their argument ends with the arrival of an old associate of Chief’s, Kipling. The drunk magician is here looking for Chief because the world is being threatened once again by the cult of the Unwritten Book. The group continually tries to protect the book, which is actually a person, as it is written so that they might read it upon completion and summon the eye of the Decreator to end all existence. Kipling summons the oracle Baphomet to reveal the location of book, bringing forth a singing glowing horse head. The oracle names Elliott, an 18 year old boy who just saw his mother kill his father for trying to convince him to escape, as the latest incarnation of the book.Kipling opens a portal through which the team retrieves him.
The squad doesn’t agree with Kipling’s plan to kill Elliott, forcing them to close the gates to the city, which actually manifest as a stigmata, that spawned the cult, Nurnheim. A piece of “knowing gum” reveals the stigmata formed on a Spanish priest’s hands and Cliff and Hammerhead head out to sew the gates shut.
Not So Different
Larry and the negative energy being living within him still can’t see eye-to-eye. The energy tries to make Larry watch footage of his therapy sessions with Chief, but Larry has no desire to relieve such traumas With Cliff and Hammerhead on assignment, Larry stays behind to guard Elliott. The young man is in bad shape mentally. The shock of his father’s death proves disenfranchising, leading him to believe he should’ve given in to his mother’s desires. Larry talks him down somewhat before the energy leaves his body, releases Elliott and brings Larry back to Chief’s tapes. Larry finally pays attention as the tape shows Chief interacting with the energy. The creature that lives within Larry is allowed to speak via a special device. The only word he utters is “torture.” Larry isn’t the only one struggling with being bound to an undesired partner.
Elliott makes a beeline to a second story window following his escape. Rita happens to see him sitting on the open window and talks him off the ledge. They might not be heroes but Rita convinces him to let them try to save him.
Cliff and Hammerhead’s time in Spain gets off to a bumpy start when Hammerhead brings up Paraguay. The experience was an “eye opener” that exposed Cliff as a monster with no reason to exist. The two approach the church and Hammerhead’s demeanor changes quickly once they enter. She tries to kill the priest but Cliff pulls her off just before the stigmata gates open wider and transport the duo to Nurnheim. Penny Farthing takes over for Hammerhead and they are soon overtaken by Hoodmen.
The twosome wake up at the feet of the Archons of Nurnheim, who just so happen to be Elliott’s parents. Ascending to the throne of Nurnheim is their reward, though Elliott’s father remains dead with a slit throat upon his throne. Cliff taunts them about the cloaking spell places up Elliott, but Mother Archon isn’t bothered. She sees everything and all of Nurnheim’s forces have been sent to recover the book. Cliff shifts to ridiculing her for how she treated her son, but those insults are also shot down in favor of philosophy. There is no reality in the eyes of Mother Archon. All reality is a construct of perception. She forces the two to face their own self-perceptions, with Jane staring into a shattered mirror reflected her many personas and Cliff back in human form. Next comes their perceptions of each other, with Cliff covered in blood and Jane resembling Cliff’s daughter. Finally, they are forced to see what they actually are, with Jane reduced to a young frightened girl named Kay and Cliff striped away to only his brain. Mother Archon celebrates the impending end of existence as the city of Nurnheim is revealed to be contained within a snowglobe in Doom Manor.
Still Aren’t Heroes
Mother Archon wasn’t lying, but Doom Manor’s defenses are on point. Vic and Kipling combine their science and magic to fight of Nurnheim’s assassins. Larry allows the energy to escape his body and join the fight as well. Rita and Elliott remain safely away from the fight but they break a rosary enchanted with sriracha while rushing back into the lab. Kipling dips out of the fight and enters the lab intent on killing Elliott but Rita stops him, pinning him to the wall with an elongated arm. It’s the first example of controlled use of her elasticity. There’s little time to celebrate though as a trio of straight razor wielding nuns break in and whisk Elliott away. The team runs out to find the nuns reading Elliott. They’re too late. The eye of the Decreator fills the sky. The prophecy has come to pass.
What do you think about Doom Patrol season 1 episode 4? Let us know in the comment section below!