This article contains spoilers for Doom Patrol season 4 episode 12.
After four seasons, the fan-favorite DC Comics superhero series Doom Patrol has come to an end, signaling the end of an era for superhero programming on Max. The final season saw the misfit superhero team talk on multiple apocalyptic threats while continuing to find their humanity amidst their respectively monstrous transformations. In typical Doom Patrol fashion, this superhero action and emotional introspection is punctuated with raunchy, irreverent humor, even a full-on musical episode before the end credits roll on the series finale.
Here is how the Doom Patrol series finale resolves its final battle, leaves each of its main characters, and provides the Max original series with a surprisingly emotional send-off, both triumphant and thoroughly bittersweet by the end.
The Story So Far…
Doom Patrol season 4 began with Rita Farr a.k.a. the Elasti-Woman leading the team after the death of the original chief Niles Caulder in season 3. Joining them since season 3 is Madam Rouge, seeking redemption for her previous wicked ways. The team is temporarily drawn into an alternate future which has been overrun by zombified were-butts, with an older version of Cyborg warning them to avert this apocalypse from coming to pass in their timeline.
Back in their native time period, the team seemingly stops this future from occurring by defeating the were-butts when they escape from the Ant Farm, a secret lab where the were-butts were weaponized. The team can hardly rest easy, however, when a cabal of supervillains steals the source of the heroes’ immortality to resurrect the omnipotent enemy Immortus. Rapidly aged to their natural physical states, the Doom Patrol faces another potential extinction-level event as Larry Trainor, the Negative Man, grows dangerously unstable, with the explosive energy within him powerful enough to wipe out all life on Earth.
The Final Battle Against Immortus and the Butts
With Rita’s advancing age placing her on her deathbed, the Doom Patrol confronts Immortus at a theater in the small Midwestern town of Cloverton, where the team had taken up residence. This coincides with the were-butts growing in number from a sole survivor that Robotman accidentally let escape from his freezer in the midseason finale. As the Doom Patrol faces Immortus in the theater, the were-butts storm their way inside, effectively making it a three-way confrontation.
Frustrated that her big moment is being derailed by the upstart were-butts, Immortus launches into a full song-and-dance number on stage, with the were-butts joining her as her cosmic power consumes the building. In the musical confusion, the Doom Patrol discreetly slip outside before they’re whisked away with the were-butts in the imploding theater. A grateful Immortus reappears and gives the team objects to consume to restore their youth before apparently departing for good.
Though most of the heroes regain their youth in time to survive, Rita passes away peacefully from natural causes back in the comfort of her bedroom at Doom Manor. Rita’s ghost appears and assures her friends that she is comfortable and accepting of her death, instructing them to incinerate her corpse before crossing over to the afterlife. However, Rita isn’t the only member of the Doom Patrol to die in the series finale, with Cliff Steele, Robotman, dying in the episode’s final scene.
The entire last season, Cliff wanted to reunite with his daughter Clara and grandson Rory, complicated by his superhero commitments. As Cliff moves in with his family only to discover that his robotic body is beginning to fail him, realizing that his new lease on life was really just intended for him to die with his loving family around him. In his final moments, Cliff repairs a classic car with Clara and Rory only to have his and Rory’s life flash before his eyes, quietly deactivating as his life comes to a definitive end.
At the start of Doom Patrol season 4, Vic Stone reclaims his humanity, apart from his superhero status as Cyborg, and reconnects with his childhood friend Deric. By the end of the season, Vic embraces his Cyborg alter ego and decides to help Deric’s students learn how to change the world in their own way. Rouge’s last scene is less inspirational, but no less cathartic, with the one-time supervillain launching a one-woman attack on the Ant Farm, gleefully armed with a flamethrower.
As Larry reconciles with Keeg, the ethereal being inside him that gives him his power, he rescues his new lover Rama from the bottom of the ocean. Together, they fly into the depths of space where Larry safely releases his pent-up energy, no longer a danger to Earth. Meanwhile, Jane is reunited with Casey Brinke, an imaginary character from a comic book series that manifested in the real world. As the two depart from Doom Manor in Casey’s spaceship, they give into the attraction between them, happily flying away as a thriving couple, with Jane now referring to herself as Kay as she controls her multiple personalities.
Doom Patrol consistently puts its main characters through the wringer and a completely happy ending was never really in the cards. But, for a series filled with tortured heroes, it ends with these protagonists now finally at peace, either in love or passing away in comfort and surrounded by those that love them. And for the quirky figures on the Doom Patrol, that ending is more than happy enough.
All four seasons of Doom Patrol are currently available to stream on Max.