The last time we saw the Doom Patrol heroes, they were in a bad place. No, literally: The team had been sent to an eerie pocket dimension called Orqwith. That's where the second half of the fourth and final season of DC's most surreal superhero show picks up: With the characters surrounded by architecture made of bones, in danger of getting their longevity stolen.
"The show creator [Jeremy Carver] really wanted to present Orqwith to the fans, because they've been talking about it since season 1," midseason premiere director Bosede Wiliams tells EW. "We knew that it should be dark and completely disorienting, because the characters have never seen anything like it. It should be gloomy, just to really take them out of their elements."
Williams continues, "We worked very closely with the production designer to put it together and figure out: What was the lighting going to be? How big were the bones? What were the flowers going to look like? There were so many details. It was really fun putting together that world."
Warner Bros. TV The 'Doom Patrol' heroes in the dark dimensions of Orqwith
The heroes of Doom Patrol — Robotman (Brendan Fraser and Riley Shanahan), Jane (Diane Guerrero), Rita (April Bowlby), Cyborg (Joivan Wade), and Negative Man (Matt Bomer and Matthew Zuk) — mostly hail from different time periods. What has kept them together is their shared longevity. But in Orqwith, the force called Immortus has proven capable of stripping them of their longevity. We'll see them all cope with the loss of what they had previously taken for granted.
"They are deeply affected," Williams says. "It's a real turning point for every single character. It's a massive thing that they're going to be struggling with, and some of them are conflicted. Some of them are okay with that and want to move on, but then others are not so sure."
All hope is not lost, though. For as gloomy as the main Doom Patrol characters can get, especially after losing their longevity, they do have allies in their corner who bring a more positive attitude. The first half of season 4 brought the TV debut of Casey Brinke (Madeline Zima), who is as cheerful as a classic Silver Age comic superhero, and the return of Dorothy (Abi Monterey).
"They're the beacons of light, and I think we do need that," Williams says. "Doom Patrol is dark, it is about trauma and dysfunction. But Casey evokes a simpler time. They bring the brightness, and it's really nice to see them come running in when they do."
Zac Popik / Max Robotman (Brendan Fraser/Riley Shanahan) and Jane (Diane Guerrero) in 'Doom Patrol' season 4
There are more surprises in store, too. Fans of Doom Patrol should be pleased to know that even into the home stretch, the show refuses to stop experimenting with different styles and structures. After returning from Orqwith (for now, at least), the characters keep getting interrupted by meta TV segments that resemble the aesthetic of '60s talk shows.
"The thing about Doom Patrol is that really, anything goes," Williams says. "And that's so much fun as a filmmaker, are you kidding me? To be able to pull from other eras and other worlds, it's like a dream come true. Working with the set decorator, I was like, 'No, I think we're kind of going for a look like Sears and Roebuck, like your grandmother's sofa'. It's just so much fun. Between the characters, the storylines, the locations, and the sets, there's just so much going on. It's so rich, it's so fulfilling, and you really want to just be as wacky as you can."
See how wacky things get when Doom Patrol season 4 premieres this October on Max.