'The Boys' keeps packing heat episode by episode, gearing up for a finale that's somehow supposed to surpass, well, the carnage depicted in this episode.
- ✋ Hughie and Starlight chemistry.
- ✋ Lamplighter channels his heroism.
- ✋ Butcher confronts his father.
- ✋ Kimiko needs more to do.
- ✋ Revels in punishment.
This post contains spoilers for The Boys.
Check out last week’s review here.
Tonight’s episode of The Boys unites Congresswoman Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit), Grace Mallory (Laila Robins), and their surprise witness, Lamplighter (Shawn Ashmore). Neuman’s Congressional Hearing against Vought International aims to hold the mega-corporation accountable for its Compound V atrocities, but the AOC stand-in needs a surefire win. Lamplighter’s testimony involving Sage Grove Center is something, but quoting Neuman, “if you take a shot at the king, you can’t fucking miss.” Mallory’s gears start whirring. Before long, she’s in a car alongside Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) heading to Jonah Vogelbaum’s (John Doman) mansion, former Vought CSO, to persuade a slam-dunk witness. All very narrative-basic storytelling.
The two retirees trade pleasantries, mock one another, but Vogelbaum declines. He’s got a family to worry about and doesn’t care to tempt Mallory’s tortured fate. We’ll return to this note.
Meanwhile, Frenchie (Tomer Capon) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) are ordered to escort Neuman home and protect the outspoken advocate against Vought Industries from mounting protests. Stormfront’s (Aya Cash) right-wing meme blitzkrieg proves itself successful during the opening minutes, where some basement "patriot" allows forum chatter and Vought-sponsored news shows to inspire fear through "super terrorist" rhetoric. Enough to gun-down an immigrant convenience store clerk based on discriminatory presumptions. It’s a heartwrenching scene inspired by nothing by hatred, which leads to an infuriatingly too-real public address by Stormfront and Homelander (Antony Starr) at Vought’s doorstep. Thoughts and prayers are offered, but crowds are riled with talk of border invaders dragging pure-bred Americans into their mud. “Has anyone been more persecuted just for wanting to protect our own?” Brainwashing in action. Repugnant, deplorable evilness on levels other episodic series cannot parallel at the moment. Kudos and goddamn you, The Boys.
Elsewhere, Butcher (Karl Urban) is lured into a father-son ambush by his mum Connie (Lesley Nicol). Butcher would rather save one final meetup with his father for when cancer finishes its job and he can spit on the dead bastard’s grave, but Connie intervenes. Sam Butcher (John Noble) explains Billy Butcher’s defensive, callus personality based on the old man’s tough-love temperament. Sam provokes his son, recalling Lenny’s name and cowardice, taking pride in Butcher’s rage-fueled existence. Butcher leaves furious, starts slamming whiskey in a nearby dive, then gets the call about Vogelbaum’s non-compliant answer. That’s until Butcher pays a visit and the right “c-word” side of Billy comes out, threatening Vogelbaum’s surviving family with brutally graphic deaths. Vogelbaum, cowering in his wheelchair, changes his tune at the behest of Butcher’s promises.
While this is all going down, Hughie (Jack Quaid) has one job: keep Lamplighter in Mallory’s safe house, watching ripoff pornography based on The Seven. It's a task he fails miserably. The episode’s most gratifying arc sees Hughie stumble upon a breaking news announcement about Starlight (Erin Moriarty), Vought’s newest superstar, being outed as a mole. Lamplighter, dejected and all but terminated, lets slip that if Starlight is alive, she’s being held captive in Vought Tower, in “42D.” Hughie convinces the flamethrowing smut addict, through metaphors involving fake Homelander jackhammering a “cuck’s” wife in front of him, to aid in a break-in extraction using secret entrances (where Lamplighter used to sneak college girls through). It’s nothing Hughie approves of, but this is romantic, lovestruck Hughie jumping into action - and Lamplighter’s last chance at being a hero.
What transpires is saccharine sincerity. In an episode loaded with gut-punch takeaways - the introductory murder, Queen Maeve’s (Dominique McElligott) rebound with two hunks after Elena (Nicola Correia-Damude) splits, Homelander and Stormfront polluting Ryan’s (Cameron Crovetti) mind so he’ll forever hate Becca (Shantel VanSanten) - Hughie’s rescue is the slightest inkling of hope. Sure, he’s forced to sever Lamplighter’s toasted arm after the rejected supe sacrificially lights himself ablaze in The Seven’s meeting room. Yes, he appears standing in front of bewildered Starlight and mother Donna January (Ann Cusack), grasping a detached hand for fingerprint scanning purposes. Still, Starlight’s misty-eyed sensation of comfort and compassion when seeing Hughie standing in Vought Tower, a mortal there to save his superpowered crush, it’s the eternal balance. Especially for what happens next.
It’s the day of Vought’s hearing. Butcher’s gang gathers around a drug den couch, watching the proceedings on television. The Deep (Chace Crawford) and A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) do the same in a bar somewhere out of town. Vogelbaum is summoned to the stand, and a hush falls over the assembly. C-SPAN cuts to Homelander’s face, and even he projects even the slightest edginess when Vogelbaum wheels to the microphone. Then it happens. POP. The presiding questioner’s head explodes—another burst from a few rows back. Vogelbaum’s melon splatters outward next, on national cable channels.
Everyones. Heads. Start. Exploding.
Ashley (Colby Minifie) is covered with bloody brain matter as Vought’s attending pride watch in disbelief. Shockwave (Mishka Thébaud), A-Train’s speedster replacement, sees his career end when his cranium goes kaboom. No one is safe, the room becomes a symphony of at-random splats and screams, but Mallory ushers Neuman to safety. It’s utter chaos as Butcher watches all his team’s planning, and exhaustion, and bare-knuckle efforts vanish in a matter of seconds while an undefined force continues redecorating the government building with human insides. What’s next? Zoom in on Butcher’s exasperated face, fade to black.
The truth is, we have no idea who’s triggering these violent and messy assassinations. Susan Raynor (Jennifer Esposito) endures the same fate when she digs too deep into Stormfront’s secrets. Except, what about the last episode when Sage Grove patient Cindy (Ess Hödlmoser) flashes telekinetic powers that turn a guard inside-out, much like Raynor’s death? There’s a line to be drawn between Stormfront and Cindy, possibly forcing Cindy into a mercenary-by-captivity scenario, and how Cindy’s now on her own as per her hitchhiking getaway. Is Cindy seeking revenge against Vought, given Vogelbaum’s historical connection to Sage Grove? It’s a thin line, but all we viewers have to ponder at the moment. If it is Cindy, why was Stormfront spared given the white supremacist superhero’s relationship to Sage Grove? Why pardon those still breathing? Don’t ask me, but I’m dangling off this cliff in desperate need to find out what happens next.
Before we leave, a few stray thoughts…
- A-Train gives The Deep a fishbowl as an olive branch, and it’s adorable. Also, that church is bad news. Give us more.
- In a show where Stormfront and Homelander are leading a Nazi uprising in America, what Homelander does to Becca, destroying her relationship with Ryan, is his vilest move yet.
- “For once in your life, be a fucking human being,” a vaping, grieving Queen Maeve barks at Ashley. I love this line.
- “Cooking has this way of giving port in a storm.” I love the bond growing between Frenchie and Kimiko, finally. More of that, since Kimiko feels an afterthought these last few episodes.
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