WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Doom Patrol Season 1 episode "Hair Patrol," streaming now on DC Universe.
The central pillar of Doom Patrol is family, but without patriarch Niles Caulder as a foundation, the relationships have begun to crack. But quirky, weird or angry as the teammates get, they usually have each other's back. That comes to a grinding halt in this week's episode with a betrayal by the person you least expect: The Chief himself.
Played by Timothy Dalton, Niles has been held prisoner for most of the season by Alan Tudyk's Mr. Nobody in a secret dimension. But this hasn't stopped the team from trying to him by any means necessary, with Danny the Street offering the latest clue on how to proceed. In "Hair Patrol," as we learn more about Niles' past, it's clear he's willing to betray those closest to him in the name of love.
Here, Nobody is attempting to find the location of Slava (Pisay Pao), the cavewoman with whom Niles fell in love in 1914, and who granted him near-immortality. To keep her safe, Niles returned to civilization to ensure the Bureau of Normalcy wouldn't be able to track her down. But in the final moments of the episode, as the villain presses for Slava's location, he makes a threat toward the Doom Patrol, thinking the Chief will spill the beans. However, Niles keep his mouth shut and demonstrates a willingness to sacrifice those who view him as a father figure.
It's a shocking moment, because Niles has always done whatever it takes to protect the group of misfits. Nobody insists he'll torture every member of the team, past and present, but Niles is unwavering in his commitment to Slava. Now, don't get us wrong, we do adore his resolve, but that's not the only reason the Chief remains silent.
Niles confesses his ego won't allow him to give his lifelong rival the pleasure of knowing he broke him. His narcissism takes priority as he views his conflict with Nobody as a decades-long game. The episode foreshadowed that when Niles left an old colleague to die after he fell into an icey lake, to keep Slava's location secret.
The Chief's behavior went from altruistic and sympathetic to that of a downright bastard, because he knows that Nobody will make the Doom Patrol suffer. That he's willing to allow that while they're doing everything within their power to find him is despicable, and seeing as how Niles has deemed the Doom Patrol expendable, it will be difficult to ever view him as heroic again.
Streaming now on DC Universe, Doom Patrol stars Brendan Fraser as Cliff Steele, Matt Bomer as Larry Trainor, Diana Guerrero as Crazy Jane, Alan Tudyk as Mr. Nobody, April Bowlby as Rita Farr, Joivan Wade as Vic Stone, and Timothy Dalton as Niles Caulder.