This show is absolutely bonkers and I love every second of it. Episode four of the series takes a slight deviation from the main narrative of finding Niles Caulder aka The Chief (Timothy Dalton) by introducing one of Niles’s old friends, Willoughby Kipling (Mark Sheppard). Kipling is a chaos magician on a mission to thwart a nihilistic cult in their attempt to bring about the apocalypse. Sound pretty crazy? You have no idea.
I know this has been mentioned in all my previous reviews but I just have to reiterate, this show knows exactly what it is and what it wants to be, and it dives in full force. It is utterly insane, wacky, hilarious, and somehow at the same time one of the most solemn and heartfelt shows I have watched. The magic that Kipling brings to this episode is clever, funny, and generally awesome to see. As a huge fan of the magic side of the DC Universe, seeing it so brazenly on display here was a treat. There are a handful of magical deus ex machina moments but they fit well and are presented in a witty enough way that it’s forgivable.
Kipling’s heroic (I use the term very loosely) magic is countered by the evil conjurations of the Cult of the Unwritten Book (It is as weird as it sounds) and this series again presents some terrifying villains who challenge our ragtag team on multiple levels. Their costume designs are ripped from a child’s nightmare and the levels of their cult are on the nose without going overboard, and even if it does go a tad overboard it fits the tone of the show so well it manages to work.
I mentioned that the villains challenge our team on multiple levels and part of that is a psychological toll we see again on each member. This continues to offer some of the best character building I have seen in a comic book show. You deeply care about each character and continue to learn and understand them more with each episode. Every actor continues to bring their A game, and it’s to be expected at this point but the team chemistry is still such a strong part of the series. Everyone gets their time to shine and is given proper development while introducing another new supporting character.
The technical production elements of the show continue to stay on par with what has been established. I want to again give props especially to the make-up, costume, and set design crews. These elements really take the show to another level. The ending of this episode is insanely cool and has some kick-ass moments including a few that will make some comic fans really happy. I found myself on the edge of my seat for the final fifteen minutes, smiling ear to ear, and cheering the team on. It also ends with one of the most “Why do I have to wait another week for the next episode?” cliffhangers in recent memory.
Overall “Cult Patrol” delivers yet another incredible episode for this series. The teams personal and interpersonal continue to receive a great amount of attention and care. There is laugh out loud moments throughout and tons of great comic easter eggs and moments. The action is my personal favorite on display so far this season, and while the central plot takes a momentary backseat there’s never a moment you wish you were following it instead of the story currently unfolding.