WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the Doom Patrol season 4 premiere.
The misfit superheroes of Doom Patrol are in a weird place as season 4 begins. For starters, many of them have lost or reduced their superpowers: Cyborg (Joivan Wade) has regained his full humanity at the cost of his cybernetic implants, while Jane (Diane Guerrero) has lost access to many of her powerful alternate personalities.
On top of that, the season 4 premiere (now streaming on HBO Max) sees the team take a time machine into the future. Much of the show so far has seen the characters explore their rich, complicated pasts, but now they see what's coming — and it isn't very nice. In this dark future, everyone but Cyborg is dead.
EW caught up with Doom Patrol showrunner Jeremy Carver to discuss how this time travel will shape the rest of the season — not just for Cyborg and Jane, but also for Cliff/Robotman (Brendan Fraser and Riley Shanahan) and Larry/Negative Man (Matt Bomer and Matthew Zuk).
HBO Max The misfit superheroes of 'Doom Patrol' face an apocalyptic future in season 4
"They all have slightly different reactions to seeing this future," Carver tells EW. "It's not just 'I don't want to end up there.' For some of them, there's also 'If I am going to end up there, then I need to get my affairs in order first.' Larry is looking for how he can take care of Keeg. That weighs very heavily on him: How can he protect his latest child from the dark future? Cliff certainly has family loose ends that he wants to act upon in order to be the best dad and grandfather he can be. So I think that each of the Doom Patrol has a slightly different reaction to seeing this apocalyptic future."
Carver continues: "Vic intentionally losing his cyborg powers and Jane finding herself suddenly alone in her body absolutely forces them to stretch and think about themselves in a way they hadn't in a very long time. It forces them to mature a little bit and decide the kind of person they want to be. Certainly Vic had several grand designs in mind when he decided not to be a cyborg. So the question is, is he going to finally follow through and find his 'bliss,' as he put it last season? I think with the two of them, plus a few of the other characters, in opening themselves up emotionally this way and being a little bit more vulnerable, they're going to open pathways for themselves personally that maybe had seemed closed off in seasons past."
HBO Max Jane (Diane Guerrero) and Cyborg (Joivan Wade) in 'Doom Patrol' season 4
Preventing such a dark future will take a lot of effort, and that will prompt the team to reconsider their organization. Madame Rouge (Michelle Gomez) joined the team last season after previously being a member of the Brotherhood of Evil, and her no-nonsense attitude will lead her to take on an even bigger role in season 4.
"When you start to think of yourselves as a team, it's like when you start to think of yourselves as a band with your friends in high school. You have to start thinking about what kind of band you are going to be," Carver says. "Having seen their imminent demise in the future from episode 1, they have to make some of these decisions pretty quickly. And ultimately, at least in episode 2, they're in the position of saying, 'We need someone who's a bit more ruthlessly efficient.' And that is Madame Rouge."
HBO Max Madame Rouge (Michelle Gomez) in 'Doom Patrol' season 4
Carver adds, "Michelle Gomez is an absolute shot in the arm for the show. She's just absolutely wonderful at everything she does. From a character standpoint, if Madam Rouge has a major internal conflict, it's trying to settle once and for all, 'Am I good or am I bad?' That struggle continues, particularly when the team will lean on her for reasons that maybe don't make her feel so great."
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