Last week’s episode of The Boys concluded with Butcher finding a new purpose. Unfortunately, Homelander also got his groove back via a coupling with Stormfront. In addition to helping him repair his battered public image, she now holds the heart of the world’s most powerful man.
Also, what the heck has she been doing that involves ex-Seven member Lamplighter?
The episode opens with a flashback to eight years ago. Frenchie is enjoying some drugs and camaraderie with Cherie and another friend named Jay. After giving an impassioned defense of the Golden Girls, he leads the trio out on a bank robbery.
From there, we revisit Frenchie’s past throughout the episode. After the bank robbery goes wrong and Frenchie is captured, Mallory offers him a chance to put his impressive supe-neutralizing services to work for her. When he refuses, she threatens to put Cherie and Jay in prison. If he joins her team, however, they can both go free.
Three years later, Frenchie is a fully invested member of Mallory and Butcher’s team. After celebrating with Mother’s Milk about his impending engagement, they bring in Lamplight for a bit of good old fashion extortion. Mallory shows him some compromising photos they have before informing the pyrokinetic supe that he’s now their official mole within Vought Tower (with Butcher putting special emphasis on tracking Homelander).
After Lamplighter leaves, Mallory sends Frenchie to tale him, explicitly instructing him to never let the supe out of his sight. He does as she says until Cherie calls and demands Frenchie run home to help her save Jay from an overdose. He reluctantly does so (and manages to get Jay stabilized), but is chastised for leaving again by the very same people he once sacrificed his freedom for.
We later learn that Frenchie’s brief trip home was all it took to let Lamplighter slip away and kill Mallory’s children. He also never saw Jay again, who ended up dying of another overdose a few months later.
In the present, Frenchie prepares to help Annie remove Vought’s tracking chip from the space between her neck and shoulder. Hughie isn’t thrilled about the graphic procedure, but Annie insists it’s necessary now that they know for certain Stormfront is aware she leaked the Compound V info.
Meanwhile, Homelander and Stormfront easily stop and subdue a petty thief. Homelander initially suggests they take him to the police, but Stormfront suggests they kill the man rather than letting him go through the revolving door of America’s justice system. Homelander obliges, crushing the man’s head while Stormfront kisses him and fondles his crotch. The pair then have sex in a back alley next to the thief’s corpse.
So yeah…Stormlander or Homefront or whatever name you want to give this terrifying coupling is really happening.
Back at The Boys’ hideout, Butcher and Kimiko come to the same conclusion while watching the two shamelessly flirt during a television interview. Their viewing is interrupted by a freshly de-chipped Annie along with Hughie and Frenchie. Frenchie immediately gives Kimiko grief about her life decision because he’s a massive tool. Kimiko responds by flipping him the bird. She also welcomes Annie with a warm hug.
One person who isn’t thrilled to have another supe in their presence is Butcher. After reminding him that he’s the one who shot her with a 50-caliber bullet last season, Annie wins Butcher over a bit by revealing some intel. During her brief look into Stormfront’s computer, she learned that The Seven’s newest member has been in communication with a psychiatric hospital in Pennsylvania named Sage Grove Center.
Butcher then decides they should all go make a visit. He even invites Annie, but mostly so she’ll take the heat off of them if things go badly.
Over at the movie set, the Deep visits Maeve and reveals he found a passenger’s camera from the plane Homelander allowed to crash into the ocean. Later, A-Train glumly watches a demo with Ashley for his new anthem. He walks off and runs into the Deep, who begins recruiting him into the Church of the Collective.
Meanwhile, Homelander asks Stormfront to join him in his trailer for a “surprise”. She responds by asking him to wait 20 minutes while she goes back to Vought Tower and meets with her social team. Homelander is rightfully suspicious that his fiercely independent new girlfriend would put a boring PR meeting over him–especially when the “surprise” was actually a beautiful bouquet of roses he got for her.
If you think this means Homelander is actually a sweet guy, then just give it a few more paragraphs before you latch onto that analysis.
Lighting the Fuse
Butcher & Co. arrive at Sage Grover and get to work on infiltrating it. Mother’s Milk, Kimiko, and Frenchie disguise themselves as orderlies and sneak in courtesy of a hole quietly blown through a perimeter fence by Annie. After a brief/hilarious silent argument, Kimiko makes Frenchie get into one of the hospital beds so they look like they’re wheeling a patient somewhere.
Back outside, Hughie and Butcher keep watch and wait for Annie to return. Butcher briefly considers blowing her head off with his sniper rifle, but thinks better of it. When she gets back, though, Annie immediately senses the resentment wafting off him and decides to have it out right there.
Things gets all types of uncomfortable when she compares Butcher’s bullying behavior to Homelander, but the potential confrontation is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Stormfront.
Back inside the sanatorium, MM convinces a guard to let them into the main security room. When he realizes it’s a ruse and reaches for his gun, Frenchie shoots him dead.
MM sits down at the main control panel and stares in disbelief at the video feed, which shows multiple rooms filled with imprisoned supes. This gets even more weird/awful when Stormfront walks into one of them with an orderly who looks extremely familiar. The patient shows them his improved ability to levitate objects before demanding he be released back to his family. Stormfront responds by motioning to the orderly, who roasts him alive. Frenchie finally recognizes the man as Lamplighter and demands they find/kill him, but MM convinces his teammate to stick to the plan.
As the trio begins unloading servers, Hughie calls to warn them about Stormfront. Just as he’s doing that, however, she takes off from the hospital grounds and departs the area. In most cases, this would be a huge break for the good guys. Since this is The Boys, however, we all know how things are about to go down.
After getting Frenchie and the servers loaded into the bed, MM and Kimiko begin rolling him down the main hallway toward the exit. When they pass Lamplighter, Frenchie can’t help but glare directly at him before leaping into a direct confrontation. Lamplighter manages to get off a fireblast, but Frenchie jerks his arm and redirects it into one of the nearby prison/hospital room doors.
That room just happened to be holding a psychotic supe named Cindy who can telekinetically crush objects with her mind. When she steps out into the hallway, both Lamplighter and MM attempt to talk their way out of getting imploded. Fortunately for them, a very unlucky guard runs up behind Cindy and begins spraying bullets, which have no effect other than to piss her off. She turns around, implodes the guard, and begins freeing all her fellow prisoners.
Our trio and Lamplighter use the momentary distraction to run back into the security center, where they immediately enter a standoff. As the sanatorium descends into bloody chaos, MM explains to Lamplighter that he can kill them, but not Kimiko. She also might be his best chance of making it out of the hospital if they work together.
Just as Lamplighter is refusing MM’s offer, a supe who vomits bursts into the room and attempts to kill him by vomiting acid. Kimiko quickly neutralizes the attacker (in the most hilarious/awesome way possible), which inspires Lamplighter to change his mind about the power of teamwork.
Back outside, a very mentally unstable supe who can also create an EMP wanders near Butcher’s van. To his credit, Butcher tries to calm the poor kid down, but he still freaks out and unleashes a blast. After being blown back several feet, Butcher gets up and pumps him full of lead.
Unfortunately, Annie and Butcher weren’t the only ones to get knocked on their asses. Hughie was still inside the van, which rolled at least three full rotations before landing right side up and impaling him on a torn piece of metal. Annie tries to cauterize the wound, but is unable due to the effect of the EMP.
Butcher makes the call to take Hughie to a doctor (on foot for now), leaving MM, Kimiko, and Frenchie on their own.
Sleight of Hand
Homelander begins freaking out over the fact that Stormfront’s been gone for more than 20 minutes. While most obsessive guys might start texting their girlfriends or checking their social media, Homelander blows up his trailer.
Later, as emergency crews deal with the destruction caused by an “electrical fire”, Stormfront casually returns and asks what happened. He feeds her the “electrical fire” story before asking how her meeting went. She lies and tells him that it ran a little long, which is a big no-no when you’re dealing with a narcissist–especially one who can fly to Vought Tower himself and see that there was never any meeting. It’s okay for them to lie about things (like electrical fires), but never to the people they are obsessed with.
Stormfront tries to explain things, but Homelander wraps his hand around her throat before menacingly assuring her that everything’s fine and walking away.
Meanwhile, A-Train sits down for lunch at the Church of the Collective headquarters with the Deep and the church’s chairman, Alastair Adana. Everything about the meal is pleasant (right down to Enya playing in the background) until the Deep reveals his belief that A-Train sabotaged his career. He also fantasizes about killing him, but wishes to have a “truth exchange” to clear the air and excise the malice poisoning his soul.
A-Train immediately recognizes the cult shenanigans taking place and gets up to leave, but stops when Adana mentions the superhero’s heart condition and massive financial debts. The church leader goes on to say that the same resources he used to find out those secrets can be utilized to help A-Train return to The Seven
That process starts if he’s willing to sit down and hash things out with his former teammate.
Back at Sage Grove, Lamplighter leads the group into a room filled with all manner of drugs and chemicals. While Frenchie marvels at the bounty before them, MM asks why Stormfront and Lamplighter are turning people into supes before roasting them to death.
Lamplighter responds with a crack about how he likes watching people burn, which draws the attention/ire of Frenchie. He then admits remembering how Frenchie was tailing him the night he burned Mallory’s grandchildren. Things devolve even further when he asks why Frenchie didn’t stop him, suggesting that maybe he likes “watching things burn” too.
After being held back by MM and taking his anger out on some hospital equipment, Frenchie busies himself making a chemical bomb to knock out the supes between them and the exit. He also asks Lamplighter why he and The Seven didn’t go after them after the extortion attempt.
At first, Lamplighter tries to claim it was because they weren’t worth the effort. Frenchie cuts through the B.S. and deduces that Lamplighter never even told his former teammates about the incident–especially the part involving Mallory’s children. Frenchie berates and pushes Lamplighter into unexpectedly admitting that he didn’t even know the children were in the room he attacked. After showing genuine remorse over his actions, he reiterates his memory of Frenchie tailing him before asking again why he didn’t try to stop him. We know thanks to the flashbacks, but Frenchie is unable to answer.
Once Frenchie is finished making his supe bomb, Lamplighter informs the group that Vought is using the facility to develop a way to stabilize Compound V in adults (as opposed to injecting it into newborns). He doesn’t know why they’re doing it, though. They only have him there to burn the evidence.
Frenchie then admits to MM why he wasn’t there to stop Lamplighter. It’s an incredibly poignant moment that’s interrupted in the most bizarre way imaginable when a supe’s giant penis crashes through the door. It wraps around MM and begins choking him, but Kimiko is able to save MM’s life (and dignity).
The trio exits the room and almost makes it to the front door when Cindy shows up. Frenchie attempts to use his knock out bomb, but it fails when Cindy sees and neutralizes it. Just when it appears they’re about to get imploded, Stormfront shows up and fries her. She then calls for Lamplighter, who walks out and explains that the carnage around them was the result of a doctor giving Cindy the wrong sedative dose.
Stormfront buys the story, allowing Lamplighter to return with his former (and grateful) adversaries and escape.
Back in Pennsylvania, Annie gets a car to pull over and asks the driver to give up his car. Butcher appears with the badly injured Hughie and attempts to back up Annie’s request by identifying himself as an FBI agent. The man offers to take them to a hospital, but refuses to give up his vehicle. This prompts Butcher to reach for his weapon. Unfortunately, their car jacking victim suspects something is up and draws his first.
Annie tries to diffuse the situation, but sees the man is about to shoot and fires a blast that ends up killing him. After cauterizing Hughie’s wound and starting the car, she gets in the backseat and notices a baby seat (oof).
As they drive to the hospital, Butcher tries to reassure Annie that she didn’t have any choice in what happened. She responds by lamenting that the man’s death didn’t effect her as much as it should have. Instead, she saw him as just another obstacle in their way. When Butcher gives her a knowing look, Annie is quick to insist that they are nothing alike.
The pair manage to get Hughie to the hospital in time to save him, but he’s still in rough shape. After sharing a few jokes about Hughie’s adorable/embarrassing idiosyncrasies, both admit that he’s too good of a person for either of them.
Back at Sage Grove, our heroes manage to escape with Lamplighter in an ambulance. While waiting for an extraction, Frenchie apologizes to Kimiko for channeling his own issues into an obsession with saving her. He also offers to leave her alone.
Mallory shows up, blows off Frenchie’s attempt to make amends, and pulls a gun on Lamplighter, who came willingly and is ready/willing to accept his fate. She’s about to kill him when Frenchie assures her that the man who killed her grandchildren can face no greater torment than the one he’s already putting himself through. After a few moments of hesitation, she puts down her gun and ponders what they should do with him instead.
Over at Vought Tower, Elena accidentally comes across the video footage Deep found of Maeve and Homelander abandoning the passengers on Transoceanic Flight 37. Maeve tries to explain how the footage will leverage Homelander out of their lives, but her girlfriend is understandably shaken and disgusted by what she saw.
Meanwhile, Stormfront returns to her apartment and finds Homelander waiting for her. She apologies for lying and promises to tell him everything–starting with the fact that she’s actually a 100+ Nazi who was both Frederick Vought‘s wife and the first successful Compound V test subject. Homelander seems wary of her master race mantra at first, but immediately buys in when she says that he’s the great leader they have always dreamed of…and that she loves him.
As if that moment weren’t chilling enough, the episode’s final seconds show us a very alive Cindy hitchhiking away from Sage Grove.
Before we dive into the meat of another great episode, it should be noted that the subplots for the Deep and Maeve are significantly more engaging than before.
In Maeve’s case, her covert mission against Homelander is brilliantly juxtaposed with Elena getting a stark example of why her girlfriend didn’t want to bring work home. It also weaved in the Deep’s story, which continues to be silly, but at least feels more connected to the main plot. The parallels between The Church of the Collective and Scientology are obvious, but A-Train getting roped into things make it much more interesting.
As far as the primary narratives are concerned, the Homelander/Stormfront one continues to be fantastic. The revelation about Stormfront being a Nazi wasn’t a surprise, but it’s execution was still chilling and effective. It also made this meme that’s been floating around the last couple weeks even funnier.
Watching Stormfront manipulate Homelander has been the real treat, too. You might think he’d be susceptible to a master race narrative, but the dude’s superiority complex is not bound by the limits of racism. He simply thinks he’s better than everyone regardless of the color of their skin. Stormfront used that weakness to deftly recruit him into a plan over a century in the making.
Antony Starr is still the best out of this exceptional cast, but Aya Cash has done an incredible job turning her character from snarky comic relief into a genuinely terrifying presence–all without any personality leaps or out of character moments, Stormfront’s dedication to the most vile ideology imaginable is also devoid of camp and is horrifyingly sincere. That’s no small feat coming from someone who looks at everything else in life through a darkly comedic lens.
This episode also features my favorite story involving Butcher & Co–and not just because Shawn Ashmore did such a great job as Lamplighter. In addition to a ton of great action sequences and world building, we can finally like Frenchie again. His heartbreaking backstory doesn’t make up for taking out his despair on Kimiko, but it made his apology to her a heck of a lot more believable.
Butcher and Annie’s moment of understanding could have been cheesy, but was handled incredibly well against the backdrop of Hughie’s life hanging in the balance and the erosion of Annie’s soul.
Also, how good was Laila Robbins as Colonel Mallory? Most of us knew Lamplighter was coming back for the next episode, but that moment where she considered executing him almost made me believe she was going to do it.
About the only thing I didn’t like were the multiple instances of too perfect timing. Too many things occurred inorganically to move the story forward (Elena finding Maeve’s footage) or for comedic effect (Lamplighter getting attacked and saved by Kimiko).
On the surface, believability might not seem very important in an episode where someone was nearly choked to death by a giant penis. From a narrative standpoint, however, The Boys is typically good about keeping its story beats from devolving into sitcom paced notches. That being said, even the moments I just criticized were admittedly entertaining–just not quite at the same superb level as everything else.
A few final thoughts as we gear up for what I can assure you are an incredible next two episodes:
- Laz Alosno’s portrayal of Mother’s Milk doesn’t get enough credit. He’s the glue that keeps the team together, but without being woodenly stoic. MM manages to always be interesting without ever being insufferable.
- Cindy is terrifying. I hope we see her again soon.
- Any episode that starts with an explanation why The Golden Girls is amazing and ends with the show’s theme song pretty much has to be good.