If there's one message that Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 5 drives home with a sledgehammer, it's that Niles should never be left in charge of children.
Oh, he means well and I believe he genuinely cares for both Dorothy and Baby Doll but, holy heck, who in their right mind sets up a playdate for those two and then leaves them completely unsupervised?
On the one hand, you have a child-shaped one hundred and three-quarters years old human-missing link hybrid with a passel of mystical beings in her head.
On the other, you have a perpetually preschool child-minded alter persona of a severely traumatized enhanced human with dozens of other alters, most of whom have incredibly dangerous powers.
Like Cliff notes right off the top, Baby Doll and Dorothy are "two little masters of disaster" and, knowing the reactive nature of children, probably the most adorable little danger grenades ever. Stickers and all.
Cliff: They put stickers on us.
Vic: Oh, I know. And the puffy ones are hard to get off.
So, yeah, let two unsocialized, unpredictable, emotionally damaged, and lethally powerful munchkins run loose with no ground rules or prescribed exit strategies. How could anything go wrong? *facepalm*
I'm unclear if Candlemaker killed both Baby Doll and Flaming Katy. It would make sense as Flaming Katy was probably the alter who killed Nanny but it depends on what Dorothy's wish was.
What is truly frightening is that Candlemaker is capable of crossing into any sort of space to fulfill Dorothy's wishes. He doesn't physically kill the body. He enters The Underground to deliberately kill the Baby Doll alter.
This may be because, with all the powers contained within the alters, the body may not be killable. After all, with Niles seeking eternal life, the Doom Patrol team members all seemed to have achieved a level of immortality.
At the very least, they've all died and come back at least once to varying levels of success.
Which brings us to Steele and Stone themselves, Cliff and Vic.
While the actual finger referenced in the title seems to foreshadow something yet to be revealed (or a new and weird collection for Cliff), the theme of touch is more obvious in the B Plotline than the girls' narrative.
There's a poetic balance in the boys' adventure. (Also, the 70s-esque fantasy buddy-cop show is awesome.)
While Cliff is obsessing about being able to physically feel the world around him again, Vic is focused on reconnecting with Roni, the first person he's been emotionally touched by since his transformation into Cyborg.
You know how they say the longer you're away from people, the harder it is to remember what they look like? Well, I have that but with sensations. I used to hold my arm out when it was raining, feeling the drops hit my skin. I remember doing that but not the feeling. Running my hands through my wife's hair. In my head, I know it felt amazing. But I don't know at the same time. It's all floating away from me.Cliff
As delightfully foul-mouthed as Cliff is, there are some sparkling moments of description that Brendan Fraser's voice absolutely nails.
I don't think it was an accident that Niles' most terrifying moment with Red Jack on Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 3 was when he experienced life from Cliff's perspective.
It's probably what motivated Niles' upgrade plans.
A living brain in a mechanical body, interacting with the world but never feeling it, remembering sensations but never experiencing them... The Doom Patrol members all live in their own sort of hell but Cliff's is particularly horrific.
So whether that severed finger turns out to be a key or a souvenir, I figure Cliff's allowed to have a little leeway with his strange.
Vic: Next time, you can hide in the garbage and I'll wear the wig.
Cliff: Please. We know who's prettiest.
Meanwhile, Vic's getting educated by Roni on what it takes to be a partner in a relationship.
Their pillow-talk never fails to deliver on the exposition. Quorum? Really?
Between the Department of Defence showing up on the Trainor farm, the Bureau of Normalcy still running around, and now Quorum, the Patrol doesn't really need a supernatural baddie, does it?
I'd like Roni to be exactly as she presents herself but, with Paul calling the DoD on his own long-lost father, I can't help but feel like her comment about whether or not her worst action is actually in her past is foreshadowing a future betrayal.
Vic: So you made some bad choices. Everyone does.
Roni: It's easy to make bad choices when all you have are bad options.
Paul's choice to call in the DoD on Larry had immediate and tragic consequences in Dex's death. Of course, he immediately blames Larry which only illustrates the extent of the emotional baggage he just got through describing.
Did we know that the Negative Spirit would fly Larry around like that? Also, I thought that Larry passed out whenever Negative Spirit exited him? Well, I guess it served a purpose to have Larry conscious during the fight, especially considering the casualty.
Rita's ability to absorb bullets was an interesting development. It's sort of a metaphorical power becoming real, isn't it? Hollywood actresses need to be bulletproof to survive. And Rita Farr has been pretty thick-skinned in the past.
With her new foray onto the stage hobbled by the intrusive image of her mother's sextortion on their couch, returning to the spotlight may prove a challenge. And if she were to lose focus (ie. solidity) while on-stage, there may be consequences for that publicity.
But consequences are a part of this reality.
And that brings us back to Dorothy and Jane.
Is this the beginning of a war between the multitudes? They've each lost (at least) one of their collective. Does Jane even have an alter capable of taking on Candlemaker?
How will Niles react to these casualties?
Will Baby Doll's death trigger Miranda's return? Or will another alter rise up in her absence?
When you watch Doom Patrol online, be sure to note the Russian nesting doll Larry recovers from his late wife's belongings. How symbolic is that?
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.