Last week’s episode of The Boys concluded with Homelander deciding he didn’t need anyone’s help achieving the greatness he already possessed. This is dangerous thinking for any narcissistic sociopath, but it’s especially concerning when the person in question is also the most powerful superhuman in the world.
Meanwhile, Butcher finally found Becca, who refused to escape with him on account of her son. As you might imagine, he didn’t take it very well.
The episode opens with Maeve filming a scene from The Seven’s upcoming movie. To capitalize on her being outed as gay (despite actually being bisexual), the producers added an extremely forced female love interest/subplot. Maeve is clearly not happy, but Homelander’s loving it. She begs him to stop using her sexual orientation as a source of personal amusement, but he refuses.
His malicious joy is cut short when Ashley shows him a video shot by a bystander during a recent (and unsanctioned) mission. While saving a village from a super terrorist, he carelessly slaughtered an innocent boy before nonchalantly flying off. What initially looked like an easy win has now become a PR nightmare.
Homelander is predictably more distressed about the hit his image has taken than the boy’s life. Ashley begs him not to do anything rash until their crisis team has developed a strategy. Stormfront takes the opportunity to mock him a bit while also providing gentle reminder that she’s available to help.
Meanwhile, Butcher deals with Becca choosing Ryan over him by starting a bar fight–which, to be fair, is extremely on brand.
After thoroughly getting his ass kicked, he gets a call from Hughie, who informs him that Mallory’s lead revealed that Stormfront used to be the superhero Liberty. Butcher is barely interested by the news, but comes to life a bit when Hughie says he wished he’d said goodbye before going off the grid. Butcher responds with a more proper farewell this time before hanging up, crushing his sim card, and buying a squeak toy.
Back at the hideout, Hughie tells Mother’s Milk that he thinks something’s seriously wrong with Butcher (at least more than usual). He seemed surprisingly nice/sentimental and also referred to him as his “canary.” That last part alerts MM that something is definitely up with his old friend that requires their immediate attention/involvement.
Out on the streets of New York, Frenchie continues stalking Kimiko, which officially edges him past the Deep on the leaderboard for the show’s most insufferable character.
He tracks her to a bar where she brutally murders a trio of Russian gangsters. After that, he tails her to a church, where he’s surprised to find Kimiko accepting payment from his ex-girlfriend (Cherie) for the hit job she’d just completed and accepting another assignment.
Cherie tries to explain that she’s only a middleman, but that does little to assuage Frenchie’s horror and disgust at seeing the way she’s using his teammate/friend/unrequited love. He tries to convince Kimiko not to continue down her current path. She furiously responds (via signing) by confessing that she feels solely responsible/guilty for getting her brother killed.
Frenchie’s frustration at not understanding Kimiko’s sign language pushes him past his own breaking point. He unleashes a heartfelt “f*** you” (the nerve) and tells her to go be a monster if she wants before storming off.
Back on the movie set, Starlight, Stormfront, and Maeve are directed in a cringe-inducing girl power scene. During a break in filming, Stormfront asks why Starlight has been staring at her so much. Rather than admit her shock/revulsion over discovering her teammate is an ageless murderer, she plays it off as being impressed with Stormfront’s acting.
Later, A-Train tells the film’s director (Adam) that he refuses to do his farewell scene unless it’s rewritten to be more vague/open ended. Adam tells him that the decision is above his pay grade and to take it up with Ashley.
As bad as A-Train’s day is going, Starlight’s gets arguably worse when she spots Stormfront chatting with her estranged mother (Donna) in the craft services tent. She tries to apologize for lying to her daughter about Compound V, which gets significantly more uncomfortable when Stormfront urges Starlight to forgive her. She also strongly implies that she knows Annie is the one who leaked the Compound V story to the press.
Meanwhile, the Deep sits down for an interview with Katie Couric with his new Church of the Collective-approved wife, Cassandra. They might be totally faking it for the cameras, but the couple actually comes off extremely well.
Elsewhere, Butcher makes a surprise visit to see his aunt (Judy), who begs him to contact his estranged mother and father. Despite his dad being in the final stages of cancer, he refuses, instead asking repeatedly to see his boy…who ends up being his dog, Terror!
Look, even if you’re not a fan (or familiar) with the comics, you’ve gotta be happy about an adorable bulldog making an appearance on the show.
But I digress…Butcher takes his four-legged son on a walk and laments the life he thought they’d have together with Becca. When he returns, Hughie and MM are sitting in Judy’s living room. She points out how much Hughie reminds her of Butcher’s deceased brother Lenny, which he tersely disagrees with.
MM then reveals that they figured out his location due to the dog toy Hughie heard him squeaking over the phone. Things get even more awkward when he asks where Becca is, shocking Judy.
Butcher attempts to get in his truck and leave, but spots Black Noire staking out his aunt’s home. He comes back inside and quickly explains that Becca didn’t want to come with him before revealing the danger lurking nearby. MM calls in a fake natural gas leak, which brings a swarm of emergency vehicles and buys them a bit more time.
As the group prepares to take on the supe assassin, Butcher decides to go out in a blaze of glory to give his friends time to escape. Hughie refuses to let him go through with it, admitting that he still struggles with wanting to end his own life after losing Robin. He and the rest of the team have all lost everything, but at least they still have each other.
Butcher responds to this touching sentiment by calling Hughie pathetic for how afraid he is to be alone. The accusation stings (and is 100% accurate), but he refuses to move and let Butcher by. His resolve is rewarded when MM steps up and blocks Butcher’s path, as well.
Maeve and Elena sit uncomfortably through a pitch from two Vought ad execs about how to sell their relationship as a huge LGBTQ advertising campaign. While Maeve is all types of annoyed, Elena is legitimately offended at the way they want to change her appearance along with the assumption of her involvement.
She tries to leave, but Maeve begs her to stay, explaining that her walking away is virtually guaranteed to incur the wrath of Homelander. When Elena asks what they’re going to do, Maeve assures her that they’ll find a way to take him down.
Meanwhile, A-Train watches a new commercial the Deep shot for the Church of the Collective and promptly declares it to be bulls***. Stormfront pops up and corrects him, explaining that the church used to be good and “pure” before they started letting anyone in. She then proceeds to heavily imply that “anyone” refers people of color.
Things nearly reach a boiling point when Ashley interrupts to speak with A-Train about his refusal to do the farewell scene. He pleads with her for a chance to talk to Homelander, but she wisely shoots that down as a catastrophically bad idea. When A-Train holds firm on his stance, Ashley informs him that he can either retire with dignity and a hefty severance package or have his contract voided for abusing Compound V and walk away with nothing.
A-Train must be hard up for cash, because the very next scene shows him filming his farewell with a Homelander body double. It goes incredibly well thanks to the genuine sadness the speedster feels at being cast aside.
Congresswoman Victoria Neuman is leading a protest over Homelander’s war crimes when the man himself shows up. He asks for the microphone from the stunned lawmaker and proceeds to explain/downplay what happened on the video. It predictably backfires and foments even more negative sentiment against him. After fantasizing about lasering all of them to death, Homelander returns the mic back to Neumann and flies off.
Back on the movie set, Ashley watches everything unfold in stunned disbelief. The incident spikes her anxiety so badly that her hair begins to fall out. Meanwhile, Homelander returns and has a freakout of his own while watching a replay of his performance. The moment pushes him to do something that was previously unthinkable for him: Take Stormfront up on her offer.
He arrives at her trailer just as she’s finishing up a cryptic phone call with Lamplighter (I know they didn’t reveal his identity in the episode’s script, but we all knew who Shawn Ashmore was playing). A little while later, her internet troll/PR team has a wave of pro Homelander memes flooding the internet.
After the army of emergency vehicles leaves, Judy leads everyone into her “taffy room” (where she makes drugs) to bunker down for Black Noire’s impending strike. While they wait for the inevitable confrontation, Hughie asks her about Lenny. She explains that Butcher was extremely protective of his little brother, but that Lenny also had a way of always pulling him back from his dark/violent impulses. Before Judy can explain how he died, Black Noir attacks.
After tripping the multitude of traps they set for him, he forces the group out of the basement with a smoke grenade. Butcher evacuates everyone outside, then locks them out so he can take on Black Noire alone. His plan to martyr himself is thwarted when MM and Hughie burst in with guns blazing. Despite having the element of surprise on their side, however, Black Noire easily neutralizes all three of them.
Hughie is about to be put down for good when Butcher threatens to release pictures of his presumed dead wife and the son Homelander fathered by raping her. Black Noire reacts to this threat by choking Butcher out, but stops short of killing him when he gets a call from Stan Edgar (who’s watching the proceedings via a camera in Black Noire’s visor).
The Vought CEO offers to call off his assassin if Butcher promises the pictures will never see the light of day. Butcher agrees, saving everyone and while also showing that that he cares about Hughie far more than he’s ever let on. After Black Noire leaves, the two share a wry smile when Butcher implies that the pictures never even existed.
I’m just relieved the dog wasn’t killed.
Speaking of the adorable little fella, Butcher promises Terror that he’ll get his mom back. After saying goodbye to his boy (and giving him a new squeak to hump) and bidding farewell to his aunt, he returns to his team.
Normally when we see Butcher smile, it’s born out of sneer. This time, however, it comes from of a renewed sense of purpose. In addition to his dedication to Becca, he’s finally accepted the fact that Hughie’s belief in him might be worth fighting for…or at least not giving up.
Maeve visits the Deep at a homeless outreach event for the Church of the Collective. After reminding her former teammate that he’s still garbage (agreed), she offers to help him get back into The Seven if he helps her take down Homelander.
Back on the movie set, Starlight sneaks into Stormfront’s trailer and gains access to her computer via the worst password guessing trope in existence. She finds multiple correspondences about a place called Sage Grove, but is prevented from searching further when Stormfront returns. Starlight deftly plays off as her presence as a confrontation over talking with her mother.
Unfortunately, Stormfront sees right through the ruse. She also bluntly reveals that she knows Starlight is the one who leaked the Compound V intel to the press. After realizing that her repeated denials aren’t working, Starlight threatens to reveal her adversary’s former life/identity as Liberty. Instead of reacting with shock or anger, Stormfront appears completely unbothered. She also tells Starlight that she’s going to be a “big help” to her.
Before that statement can be properly explained, their confrontation is put on ice by the appearance of Homelander.
Stormfront lies and says the two were just having a friendly chat. After Starlight leaves, Homelander uncharacteristically shows genuine gratitude to his former nemesis for helping his current (and very successful) image recovery efforts.
The pair celebrate by having incredibly rough sex in Stormfront’s apartment. Homelander’s lust takes a sharp turn into real feelings when he realizes he can unleash every bit of his power against her and receive the same level of passionate brutality in return.
For the folks who were bent out of shape about Stormfront being gender-swapped from the comics, this episode should serve as yet another example why it was a good idea. Amping up the attack on Homelander’s narcissism via a secondary assault on his misogyny was already paying major dividends. Now we have a great new subplot that could easily grow into something even more combustable.
We’ve already seen how crazy things can get when Homelander is obsessed with a “regular” woman. I’m not sure the world is ready for the version of him that’s lustfully fixated on someone who’s arguably even more intelligent/manipulative than Stillwell (and definitely more powerful).
Antony Starr once again provided an Emmy-worthy performance. Aya Cash was also superb, providing her character with new layers that have made her far more interesting than who we met in the season premiere. Watching these two together during the next few episodes should be all types of good/horrifying.
As with most episodes of The Boys, there were multiple subplots swirling around Homelander’s narrative. Most of them were great with the exception of the Frenchie/Kimiko one. It’s bad enough how unlikable his character has become, but things plunged into eye roll territory when they threw in the absurd involvement of his ex-girlfriend.
Other than that, though, every other part of “We Gotta Go” worked incredibly well. Even the Deep’s subplot managed to be engrossing (and a meaningful part of the story). Jessie T. Usher continued his impressive feat of making us feel genuine sympathy for a colossal a-----e like A-Train. Meanwhile, Dominique McElligott has helped turn Maeve’s story into something much bigger than a cliche tale of forbidden love.
I’m sure there’ll be some action scenes with her in the future, but watching Maeve wage a covert a war for the woman she loves without throwing a single punch is far more engaging than I’d anticipated.
Something else I didn’t anticipate was the heart warming experience of Butcher and Hughie having a major breakthrough. If you’d told me that was going to happen without any context, I would’ve dismissed it as cheesy and inorganic. Much to my surprise, it actually made me like both characters much more, especially Hughie. He’ll never be as badass as Butcher, but his unwavering resolve to be a loyal friend was both impressive and refreshing.
When you add in getting to see Black Noire in action and Terror’s first adorable on screen appearance, this episode edges out last week’s for my favorite storyline featuring the primary team. It could be that Hughie has finally grown on me–or perhaps the recipe is more Mother’s Milk and less Frenchie (although I still enjoy Kimiko’s individual scenes immensely).
Hopefully we can have a subplot in the coming weeks that puts all of The Boys back together while also returning Frenchie to the beloved character he used to be. That would make this season damn near perfect.
As it stands now, we’ll just have to settle for it be unquestionably great thus far.