After four seasons and three streaming services, Doom Patrol is done. The series finale, Season 4, Episode 12, “Done Patrol” is now on Max. And with the Doom Patrol series finale comes some big questions, most notably: is this a Season 4 finale or a series finale?
Thankfully, it’s the latter. Even with what seemed like a relatively sudden cancellation for the series halfway through airing Season 4, “Done Patrol” is definitively a series finale. It brings the story of the residents of Doom Manor to a fitting and poignant close. It’s sweet, it’s sad. There won’t be a dry eye in the house at the end of the episode written by Shoshana Sachi and Ezra Claytan Daniels, and directed by Christopher Manley.
With that in mind, you might need a little bit of an explanation about how doomed everyone was at the end of the episode. Turns out: some more doomed than others, though all of the main characters got closure of a sort. Here’s a bit of a recap for the Doom Patrol Season 4 finale… Followed by an explanation about the ending, in case you were confused. Or just need to cry a little more.
Spoilers, obviously, past this point.
Doom Patrol Series Finale Recap:
After escaping from the time stream in last week’s episode “Portal Patrol,” the team is stuck between Isabel Feathers (Charity Cervantes), aka the vengeful time god Immortus, and a horde of rampaging zombie butts. Despite their best efforts to be an honest-to-goodness superhero team, ultimately they don’t beat the threats so much as slowly back out of the Cloverton Playhouse while everyone sings a reprise from the “Our Town” musical back in Season 3. The Cloverton Playhouse disappears in time, and the Doom Patrol is left… Victorious?
Back at Doom Manor, the gang gathers for a big pancake breakfast cooked by Larry (Matt Bomer), and for the first time in a long time, it’s just nice. No arguing, though still some light ribbing. And Rita (April Bowlby), who is now very, very old due to the team losing their longevity, is happy. She decides she wants to put on her costume one last time, and goes upstairs to do just that. Uh-oh.
Enter: Isabel Feathers. Turns out she and the butts have made a successful career for the past thousand years (it’s time travel, just go with it) in musical theater together. As a thank you, she grants the Doom Patrol her toenails to eat so they can become young again and gain their longevity back. She also gives Cliff a crystal to use “later.” Jane (Diane Guerrero), Cliff (Brendan Fraser), and Larry all eat the toenails, and Laura (Michelle Gomez) runs upstairs to give Rita the good news. Rita, of course, is dead.
The good (?) news is that ghosts exist, and so Ghost Rita explains to the team that she doesn’t want to be resurrected a la what they did for most of the team back in “Dead Patrol.” Instead, she just wants to rest. And more than that, she gives a speech about how they’ve been holding each other back by sticking together. Larry agrees: every time they’ve tried to make things better, they’ve made them worse. The only way of breaking the cycle is to leave Doom Manor and grow.
That brings us to the second half of the episode, so let’s get into how everyone ends up.
Doom Patrol Series Finale Ending, Explained:
After a disgusting funeral pyre tribute to Rita, she disappears and one by one, the gang all leaves Doom Manor.
Cliff is the first to leave, after a night of watching Rita’s old movies on repeat. He heads to Florida to be with his family and finally takes off his oven mitt to touch his grandson Rory. We’ll get back to him in a second.
Jane, who is now in control of her powers, realizes that her new name — Kaleidoscope — could also be shortened to “Kay.” AKA, the name she was born with, now that she’s a fully integrated personality and has owned her trauma. That also allows her to leave for space with Casey (Madeline Zima). After an unspecified time when they fly around the galaxy, Kay/Jane paints, and Casey somehow finds a space kitten, they kiss. After four seasons, Kay/Jane is finally ready to find intimacy with someone else.
Larry, realizing he doesn’t need to be around Doom Manor, has the giddy catharsis he’s been putting off for decades. He flies into the ocean and grabs Rama (Sendhil Ramamurthy), and the two go into space together (presumably a different part of space than Casey and Kay). Larry’s bandages fly off, he assures Rama it’s safe because he’s finally integrated with his energy being Keeg, and the two also kiss. Also, they probably turn into a sun, though it’s not explicitly stated.
Cyborg (Joivan Wade), meanwhile, reached his catharsis in the previous episode. So all he does is complete his time loop. He joins up with his friend Derrick, and the two of them teach a robotics class together. He knows he’ll be happy and satisfied because that’s what he told himself in the previous episode.
Laura, aka Madame Rouge, meanwhile, finds her own violent catharsis. After talking to Cyborg about how she isn’t sure if she can be good, and he says he’ll keep her in check if she goes too evil, she grabs a flamethrower and torches the Ant Farm, the experimental lab she worked at for decades. We last see her gleefully murdering people in the light of the flame.
There’s one more bit for Rita before we go. In the afterlife, she’s reunited with Malcolm DuPont (Micah Joe Parker), the metahuman she was in love with when she went back in time and worked at the Ant Farm. They also kiss and fade away into light.
Okay, back to Cliff, who of course gets the last word on the show. Cliff is briefly happy in Florida, and can even feel it when Rory bites his finger. Unfortunately, he still has Parkinson’s. Cliff realizes that he hasn’t come back to Florida to live; he’s come back to die. While fixing up a car with his daughter, Rory in the passenger’s seat, he realizes it’s time. That’s when he looks in Isabel’s crystal and discovers what it’s for… He sees Rory’s entire future, all the good and bad, all the heartache and mistakes. And ultimately he sees Rory becoming a grandfather, just like Cliff. He also sees a montage of his own life, and how it was ultimately all about the highs and lows of being with his family — not all the garbage in between.
Cliff looks at Rory. He looks at his daughter. And Cliff says, “It’s okay. I made it home.” The light fades from his robot eyes, and we cut to credits.
In case it isn’t abundantly clear, that was always Cliff’s stated motivation… He wanted his body back, he wanted to get home; but what was preventing him wasn’t Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton), the Doom Patrol, or the non-stop array of weird supervillains. It was exactly what Ghost Rita explained in her speech to the team: it was themselves. By accepting that, Cliff was finally, for real, able to come home.