Last week’s episode of The Boys concluded with a number of plotlines taking a dramatic turn:
- Soldier Boy, Butcher, and Hughie nearly killed Homelander. While the trio was disappointed over not completing their mission, Homelander was shaken to discover that he could actually be hurt.
- Annie/Starlight publicly revealed how shady Vought truly is before officially quitting The Seven. She also broke off her relationship with Hughie, who showed some darker aspects of himself after taking V-24.
- Victoria Neuman casually revealed that she knows Annie/Starlight knew about her secretly being the head-popping supe. She also tried getting Annie to help her take down Homelander, but was firmly rejected.
- In the chaos caused by Soldier Boy’s explosion at “Herogasm,” A-Train used the opportunity to kill Blue Hawk in retaliation for harming his brother (Nathan). Unfortunately, he may have also killed himself in the process.
- Kimiko, Frenchie, and Cherie were able to escape from Nina. Kimiko also thinks she is still a “monster” despite losing her powers.
- Ashley continues to feel the incredible strain of being the Vought CEO.
- Maeve is still missing.
- Black Noir is still missing.
- Soldier Boy is still hunting down the members of Payback who betrayed him in Nicaragua during the 1980s.
This week, the tension ratchets up to a surprising degree in some truly unexpected ways.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers. The sequence of events has also been streamlined a bit for the sake of clarity.
The episode opens with Ashley going on Cameron Coleman‘s show to do some damage control. In addition to dismissing Annie/Starlight’s claims of Soldier Boy still being alive, she links her to the Shining Light Liberation Army via Kimiko.
Meanwhile, Hughie, Butcher, and Soldier Boy have taken refuge with The Legend, who’s none too pleased about his new house guests. When Hughie asks if Soldier Boy really was a World War II hero, Legend reveals that the photos of him storming the beaches of Normandy were staged. He also tells Hughie that the supe was involved in some of the United States’ worst moments, including:
- Turning firehoses on civil rights protestors in Birmingham.
- The Kent State massacre.
- The JFK assassination.
Later, the trio interrupts Soldier Boy as he’s about to have sex with Legend’s housemaids. Butcher tells him that he’s struggling to find the other members of Payback, but Soldier Boy isn’t much help. He also refuses to help them kill Homelander until the rest of his old team is dealt with.
Soldier Boy then mentions that Mindstorm was extremely paranoid and bought remote cabins all over the place. He also calls Mindstorm “crazy,” prompting Legend to declare that the supe was actually bipolar, a condition he took medication for. Considering that sort of prescription isn’t very common, Hughie figures they can match isolated cabins with nearby pharmacies to narrow down where Mindstorm may be hiding out.
Over at Vought Tower, Homelander goes to visit Maeve inside a fortified solitary confinement cell. He asks where Butcher and Solider Boy are hiding out, but she’s barely phased by the question. Instead, Maeve is fascinated by the fact that Homelander is wearing concealer to hide what’s obviously a bruise on his face.
Homelander then informs her that Soldier Boy has killed Crimson Countess along with seven other (unnamed) supes. The ones who did survive the Herogasm explosion no longer have powers. It’s as if the Compound V was fried right out of their blood. When Homelander points out that this could happen to any of them now, Maeve doesn’t seem to care. Unlike him, she doesn’t need to be a supe.
In fact, she can’t wait until she’s not.
Maeve then asks why Homelander is letting her live. He begins by admitting that when they were together, he dreamt of how wonderful it would be for them to have children. When Maeve responds that she won’t let him force himself on her, Homelander assures his former lover that he’d never do such a thing. Instead, he’ll simply harvest her eggs to fertilize later. It’s the main reason that he’s still keeping her alive.
As Homelander departs, Maeve informs him that this is still one of the top three days of her life because she got to see him scared.
Butcher, Hughie, and Soldier Boy locate Mindstorm’s cabin and get ready to attack. Before going in, Soldier Boy tells them to close their eyes if the supe tries to make eye contact with them.
As Soldier Boy walks away to smoke a joint, Hughie asks Butcher why he keeps buying him such large quantities of weed. Butcher responds that it’s to help him manage his PTSD, which is the trigger for his involuntary explosions. Hughie tries to point out how dangerous it is to self-medicate, but is silenced when Butcher pointedly hands him a needle filled with V-24.
As the group closes in on the cabin, Soldier Boy becomes more paranoid due to all the weed he’s been smoking. Meanwhile, Hughie tells Butcher that he has an odd green substance oozing out of his ear.
Moments later, Soldier Boy crosses a trip wire, resulting in an explosion that knocks them all back. Butcher looks up and finds himself face-to-face with Mindstorm. Before he can close his eyes, the supe makes him hallucinate that he’s back in his childhood home. Butcher tries to exit through a nearby door, but is unable to do so.
Back in the real world, Mindstorm manages to escape before he can be caught. Hughie tries to wake up Butcher, but Soldier Boy tells him it’s pointless. Mindstorm has the ability to put his victims in a never-ending nightmare until they die of dehydration. He’s also the only one who can snap the victim out of it.
Hughie frantically asks if they can force Mindstorm to wake up Butcher before they kill him, but Soldier Boy says it isn’t worth the risk. He does, however, pledge to keep his promise to help kill Homelander as long as Hughie continues to assist him. Hughie is reluctant to go along with this, but relents when Soldier Boy points out that Butcher would gladly sacrifice his life if it meant ending Homelander’s, as well.
Back in Butcher’s mind, he sees himself as a teenager playing with his younger brother, Lenny.
*Side Note: As most of us suspected, this was the person we occasionally saw Butcher having visions of throughout the season. In case you forgot Butcher’s back story from Season 1, Lenny and Billy were severely abused by their father, Sam. This eventually led to Lenny committing suicide.
When the boys hear Sam calling for Lenny, Billy hides his younger brother in a closet seconds before their father storms into the room. He demands to know where Lenny is, but Billy refuses to tell him. Butcher tries to stop what’s about to happen, but can only watch as Sam beats his younger self with his belt. As this is happening, Butcher flashes back to him killing Gunpowder (back in episode 2), which looks/feels eerily similar.
Once Sam leaves, Lenny comes out and tenderly wipes the blood from his brother’s face.
Elsewhere, Black Noir walks into an abandoned family entertainment center called Buster Beaver’s Pizza Restaurant.
*Side Note: If the logo on the marquee looks familiar, it’s because we saw Black Noir drawing Buster during a meeting back in episode four.
After walking in and staring at a mural of anthropomorphic cartoons, Black Noir begins scooping baked beans into multiple bowls on one of the tables. Turns out that the beans aren’t for him, but walking/talking versions of the same cartoons, which he sees in his head.
Buster himself eventually comes out, referring to Black Noir by his real name (Earving) and insisting that he’s going to have to talk about Soldier Boy. When Black Noir refuses, Buster reminds him of the time he was nine years old and hid in the ball pit after accidentally paralyzing another kid. Just like back then, this situation with Soldier Boy isn’t something he can hide from while hoping it just goes away.
Buster then points out how he and the other cartoons they’ve gotten him through lots of things, including normal growing pains and atrocities he’s had to participate in since becoming a supe. Just like those situations, he and the rest of the Buster Beaver gang (who’re his best friends) are there for him now.
Instead of opening up to his animated pals, Black Noir pulls a chair to another part of the restaurant and turns his back to them.
Frenchie and Kimiko arrive at MM’s home looking for a safe place to lay low and recuperate. As Annie helps Kimiko to bed, Frenchie (who is very high) declares that Butcher is everyone’s problem now. He also pledges to help take him down.
Later, Frenchie and MM look through their videos/files to learn what gas the Russians used to successfully knock out Soldier Boy (which clearly wasn’t halothane). Despite both of them being in bad shape mentally and physically from their recent trials, they continue working.
Meanwhile, Annie helps clean the area around Kimiko’s stitches. When she’s done, the two share a drink, which turns out to be the first one Kimiko’s ever had. After struggling to keep the liquor down, she asks Annie what she plans to do about Hughie. Annie responds that she tried to help, but Hughie doesn’t want to be saved — especially by her.
Kimiko then asks Annie to help get her some regular/permanent Compound V so she can have her powers back. When Annie refuses, Kimiko presents a pre-typed plea that appears to change her mind.
Elsewhere, Soldier Boy’s paranoia continues to get worse as he and Hughie search for Mindstorm. Soldier Boy also chastises him for being upset about Butcher, going so far as to cite his service in World War II to prove how manly he is. As if that weren’t galling enough, he proceeds to explain how being a true soldier means not letting your emotions get in the way of completing the mission.
When Hughie reveals that he knows the supe never actually stormed the beaches of Normandy, Soldier Boy responds by punching him in the face.
Over at Vought Tower, Deep tells Cassandra that he’s been booked to be on Sean Hannity’s show that evening. Cassandra is thrilled at the news, but wants to immediately begin doing some prep work. Deep manages to convince her to relax before revealing that he wants to spice up their sex life a bit by introducing a new partner.
Cassandra is totally open to the idea until her husband reveals that it’s an octopus named Ambrosia (the same cephalopod he was with at Herogasm).
Cassandra is understandably disgusted by the idea, but still agrees to try after Deep pleads with her that he needs this. When the time comes for her to actually interact with the octopus, however, she refuses.
She then asks how long Deep has been screwing around with a mollusk behind her back before pointing out how much she’s done for him. When Deep responds that he could’ve made his comeback without her, she decides to let him try things on his own from now on and leaves.
Two Dimensional Trauma
Buster eventually convinces Black Noir to watch a performance by the cartoons depicting some of his darkest repressed memories.
First up is a flashback to Black Noir confronting Soldier Boy about telling Hollywood producer Don Simpson not to cast him in Beverly Hills Cop. Soldier Boy responds by belittling Black Noir before beating the hell out of him despite his teammates’ pleas to stop. After challenging anyone else on Payback to make a stand, he warns that further attempts by Black Noir to make a name for himself (and potentially outshine him) will merit a lethal response.
The performance then moves forward to Nicaragua in 1984. Stan Edgar tells Black Noir that he’d like him and the rest of Payback to take Soldier Boy out. When Black Noir asks why, Edgar responds that Jonah Vogelbaum has created a child (Homelander) who his team fully expects to grow into a much stronger supe than Payback’s current leader/tormentor. When Edgar asks if the rest of the team will help, Black Noir assures him that everyone but Gunpowder is on board.
We then see another part of the incident in Nicaragua that Colonel Mallory wasn’t awake for (albeit in animated form). All the members of Payback except for Gunpowder surround Soldier Boy and attack. They manage to get him down, but Soldier Boy recovers and throws them off. Before he can hurt anyone, Black Noir lunges at him.
Soldier Boy grabs Black Noir and slams his face against a burning jeep, causing the severe burns we saw on him with his mask off. He also slams the tip of his shield repeatedly into Black Noir’s head, partially lobotomizing him.
When Soldier Boy turns around to take down the rest of his team, he’s immediately hypnotized by Mindstorm. Crimson Countess then uses a gas attack to knock Soldier Boy out, allowing the Russians to take him.
When the performance is over, Buster reminds Black Noir that when Payback gave Soldier Boy up to the Russians, he knew his tormentor would return someday. Now he needs to face him.
Black Noir struggles to accept what he has to do, but Buster assures him it’s okay to be scared. He then gives a surprisingly poignant piece of advice:
Bravery isn’t having no fear. Bravery is having fear, but you do it anyway.
With some extra encouragement from two mouthy little birds, Black Noir silently resolves to finish what he started and purposefully marches out of Buster Beaver’s Pizza Restaurant.
Meanwhile, Butcher’s Mindstorm-induced flashback takes him to his boarding school days, where he’s being busted for selling pot. After the headmaster says he doesn’t want to see him end up like his father, Billy grabs a stapler and begins beating him senselessly. While this is happening, Butcher sees flashes of the violence he’s committed throughout the season.
Lenny hears what’s happening from outside and rushes into the office to stop his brother, causing Billy to accidentally punch him before apologizing profusely.
Later, the two boys meet with their father at a bar, where he actually lauds his older son for beating up the headmaster. After giving Billy a beer to celebrate, he belittles Lenny for not showing the same level of gumption/violence. Present-day Butcher tries to tell Lenny not to listen, but can’t get through to him.
Elsewhere, Hughie and Soldier Boy come across a priest and a nun whose car is broken down. Soldier Boy pretends to offer assistance before shooting the priest in the head. He explains to a shocked/horrified Hughie that the pair were under the influence of Mindstorm and that everyone they encounter is their enemy now.
Hughie steps in front of the nun and informs Soldier Boy that he has PTSD. He also implies that all the weed he’s been smoking has likely made him incredibly paranoid. Just as Hughie is ramping up his defense of human life, the nun lunges on his back and screams “DIE YOU F***ING COCKSUCKER!” before biting into his neck.
*Side Note: I’m not sure this 100% proves that the nun and priest were under Mindstorm’s influence, but it’s a pretty safe bet she was, at least.
After Soldier Boy calmly executes her, he claims not to have PTSD before pointing out that this is exactly what he meant about being a true soldier.
The pair eventually finds Mindstorm’s cabin. Just as Soldier Boy is about to make his move, Hughie teleports him out of the cabin and back to where they left Butcher.
Mindstorm is initially furious over being hunted (and naked) when all he wants is to be left alone. Hughie is able to calm him down with a fresh change of clothes and by revealing that he’s not there to hurt him. He also admits to having lost his way before realizing what an awful person Soldier Boy truly is.
Now all he wants is for Mindstorm to bring his friend back so they can go home.
Mindstorm reveals that after being inside Butcher’s mind, he doesn’t believe the man deserves to live. Hughie counters that Butcher has become like family to him, meaning that he can’t leave him behind. He also promises to teleport Mindstorm wherever he wants and never tell a soul where that is. After taking a moment to consider things, Mindstorm agrees and enters Butcher’s mind.
Unfortunately, Butcher’s horrific trip through his past is at the point where he left home.
Lenny begs Billy not to leave him alone with their father, but Billy says it’s for the best. He also expresses his belief that he’s the one Sam really hates, so things should be better once he’s gone.
Butcher desperately tries to tell his younger self that he’s wrong but to no avail. Before walking out the door, Billy cruelly tells his brother that it’s not his job to watch after him and to stop being scared. His tone and language during this diatribe are eerily reminiscent of their father’s.
Butcher’s hallucination then jumps forward to the day Lenny killed himself. Unlike before, Lenny is able to interact with the present-day version of his older brother. He tells Butcher that by leaving, he basically served him up to their father on a plate.
Before shooting himself, Lenny reminds Butcher that anyone who loves him ends up on a collision course with death — including Hughie, who made a genuine effort to him resist his darker nature. Instead of accepting his help, Butcher dragged Hughie down into the dark with him.
Now he’s going to die and it’s all his fault.
Mindstorm wakes up Butcher seconds after Lenny commits suicide. As soon as his eyes pop open, he begins apologizing to Hughie, who’s just happy to have him back.
Hughie then prepares to teleport Mindstorm away, but is interrupted when a knife flies through the air and slices into the supe’s right eye. Soldier Boy appears moments later and wraps Mindstorm’s head in a cloth bag before throwing him to the ground and punching him in the head. Hughie moves to stop him and ends up getting knocked back several feet through the air. Butcher begins to power up his laser vision, but steps away to check on Hughie, instead.
Soldier Boy demands that Mindstorm tell him who marshaled the rest of Payback to betray him. He knows it was Black Noir, but there’s no way a rule follower like him would’ve done something like that without getting the green light from someone much higher up the chain.
Butcher and Hughie don’t hear Mindstorm’s answer (which we already know from Black Noir’s visions), but they do see Soldier Boy’s reaction to it, which results in Mindstorm’s head getting beaten to a bloody pulp. As he walks away, Butcher asks what Mindstorm said, but doesn’t get a response.
The trio then heads back to Legend’s mansion, where Butcher and Soldier Boy struggle under the emotional weight of what they’ve both learned about their respective pasts.
Homelander speaks at a rally for Robert Singer‘s presidential campaign, which is being held at a country fair. He uses the platform to imply that Starlight’s outreach program for runaway teens is part of a human trafficking ring. Singer and his advisors are mortified, but the crowd loves it — including Todd, who’s there with MM’s daughter (Janine).
Congresswoman Victoria Neuman is also in attendance, watching everything with great interest.
As Homelander whips the crowd into a frenzy, he hallucinates seeing Soldier Boy and nearly lasers someone. With his previous confidence now shaken, he abruptly ends his speech and walks away to collect himself. After wandering the fairgrounds a bit, he finds a cattle pen and begins milking one of the cows (and enjoying the process way too much).
He’s about to drink the milk straight from the bucket when Neuman interrupts him. She berates Homelander for nearly losing it on stage before telling him to admit that Soldier Boy is out there and to handle the situation. Homelander grabs her by the throat, but Neuman refuses to back down. Instead, she says that he needs someone like her that can get things done — like how she helped him get rid of Stanley Edgar.
She then proposes that they help each other before handing him a piece of paper. We don’t get to see/hear what’s written on it, but the contents cause Homelander to let go of Neuman’s neck and ask where she got it from.
Over at Vought Tower, A-Train awakens in a medical center, where Ashley cheerfully reveals the official story of what happened at Herogasm:
Soldier Boy is not only alive, but attacked both him and Blue Hawk at Herogasm. A-Train valiantly attempted to save his fellow supe, but couldn’t
Ashley then informs him that they were able to save Blue Hawk’s heart and put it into his body. The supe heart transplant means he can now operate with his powers at full capacity again.
Upon hearing this, A-Train is flooded with conflicting emotions. On one hand, he can finally be a supe again. On the other, he now has the heart of a racist monster who permanently crippled his brother beating inside his chest.
Before he can even begin to process his feelings about this, Ashley informs him they’re working on a biopic about how he was saved from a life of violence by a track coach, who will potentially be played by Tom Hanks. When A-Train points out that none of that actually happened (and that his brother Nathan was his track coach), Ashley pretends not to hear him and gleefully departs.
Meanwhile, MM is watching the Robert Singer rally on television when he’s interrupted by Frenchie, who deduces that what they saw the Russians using on Soldier Boy wasn’t halothane. It was actually a deadly nerve agent that’s normally lethal, but would only knock out a mega-powerful supe. Unfortunately, the only place to get the substance is in Russia.
Before they can start making a plan, MM gets a notification on his phone for his daughter’s Instagram account. He pulls it up, sees that Janine was with Todd during Homelander’s speech, and storms off to confront him.
After MM is gone, Kimiko walks out of the bedroom and asks Frenchie to dance with her. He’s hesitant due to her still being hurt (and him still being high), but agrees. As the two begin swaying to “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” Kimiko tells him that she could never feel his arms when she had powers. Now she wants to feel them one last time before injecting herself with the Compound V Annie is getting her.
When Frenchie protests, Kimiko shows him the note she wrote to Annie. It explains that she previously hated Compound V being in her body because it wasn’t her choice. This time, however, the decision would be completely hers. She also explains her newfound belief that Compound V isn’t good or bad; it just depends on the person using it. She wanted to use her powers for good and to fight for the people she loves. Without them, she nearly lost Frenchie — something she can’t ever risk happening again.
After Frenchie is done reading, Kimiko adds that he’s her family now. That means she wants to do everything possible to protect him.
Meanwhile, MM arrives at Monique‘s house and waits in the driveway for Todd and Janine to return. Once they arrive, he demands Todd get out of the car before telling Janine to go inside with her mother. When Monique comes outside and learns why MM is there, she’s furious at Todd for taking Janine to a Homelander rally without telling her.
Once Monique ushers Janine inside, MM explains to her boyfriend that his anger isn’t just about ideological differences. Soldier Boy is out there, which means taking his daughter to an event with Homelander put her in severe danger. Todd brushes off MM’s concerns as fake news, declaring that the mainstream media can’t be trusted and that Starlight is the real threat he should be worried about.
*Side Note: Anyone who’s had family members sucked into Q-Anon knows how frustrating conversations like this can be.
As the two men continue arguing, Monique steps back outside and demands them to stop. MM concludes by telling Todd that he has no right to put his daughter in danger and that he’s not her father. Todd responds that “someone’s gotta be,” prompting MM to slug him in the face and knock him out.
Unfortunately, Janine stepped back outside just in time to see her father punch out her mother’s boyfriend, which shocks and terrifies her.
Over at Vought Tower, Annie sneaks into the research wing and uses her powers to disable the security cameras. After grabbing a vial of Compound V, she notices some notes on V-24, which reveals that the side effects are much worse than Hughie and Butcher realize.
The notes also state that injecting the substance 3-5 times will result in the subject’s death.
As Annie begins slipping back out of Vought Tower, she’s intercepted at an elevator by Homelander. She tries to play her presence off as a visit to get her things, but Homelander isn’t buying it. He orders her to march into VNN Studios and recant everything she’s said about him and Vought.
Instead of acquiescing to his demands, Annie says she plans to stop Soldier Boy and find Maeve (assuming she’s still alive). Homelander responds by briefly changing tact, encouraging her to think things over before throwing away everything she’s worked for. He then reminds his former teammate that her fame is the only thing keeping her alive. Annie replies that she isn’t scared of him anymore — especially now that she realizes how small he truly is.
That became crystal clear to her the night he killed Supersonic.
Homelander counters by threatening to do the same thing to Hughie if she doesn’t fall in line. Instead of backing down, Annie wishes him good luck before revealing that she was on a livestream to her 190 million social media followers the entire time.
*Side Note: Props to Annie/Starlight here for the absolutely baller move.
After barely recovering from his shock/embarrassment, Homelander tries to play off their conversation as them running lines for a media project. As the elevator doors close, however, it’s clear the narcissistic supe knows just how colossally he screwed up.
Annie exits Vought Tower and calls Butcher to warn him and Hughie (who isn’t answering his phone) about V-24’s lethality. Butcher lies about the number of doses they’ve taken, but promises to tell Hughie and hangs up just as he’s returning from a trip to get food. Butcher starts to warn him about taking additional doses of V-24, but instead declares that they need to swing by The Boys’ headquarters to get more so they can finish the mission.
Meanwhile, Annie arrives back at MM’s place. After unsuccessfully trying to reach Butcher/Hughie again, she decides to go save Hughie whether he wants her to or not. She also gives the regular Compound V to Kimiko, who has Frenchie stay with her through the painful process of injecting it and regaining her powers.
Over at Vought Tower, Homelander is working on PR damage control with Ashley when he gets an unexpected call from Soldier Boy. Instead of threatening him, the supe makes a startling revelation: In 1980, he was called into Vogelbaum’s lab to provide a sperm sample. That same sample was used to create a superpowered boy.
As Homelander puts two and two together, Soldier Boy expresses his frustration with how Vought has handled this entire situation. If they’d simply kept him around, he would’ve gladly stepped aside to let Homelander take the spotlight.
After all, what father wouldn’t want that for his son?
While Antony Starr continues what should be an Emmy-winning performance this season, the rest of The Boys cast appear to be on a weekly rotation to make their cases to the awards committee.
This week unquestionably belonged to Karl Urban, who infused Butcher with soul-shattering grief that also never strayed from the character we’ve known for 23 episodes. He’s still frustratingly selfish and self-destructive, but damn if you can’t keep yourself from feeling bad for him.
We’ve seen plenty of times where Butcher showed remorse/pain, but never like this. Watching him revisit his brother’s suicide (and the aftermath) was the emotional equivalent of getting punched in the chest by Homelander. That would have been powerful enough, but it added an extra knife twist when struggling before ultimately deciding to sacrifice Hughie for his own vengeful desire.
If you didn’t remember Butcher’s mom saying how similar Hughie was to Lenny back in Season 2 (and how much Hughie reminds Butcher of his little brother), then this episode made it tragically clear.
On the story side of things, The Boys‘ writers did a brilliant job taking multiple explosive plotlines and organically/believably escalating them even further:
- After being set on a collision course to kill each other, Soldier Boy and Homelander discover a familial bond — one that the latter has craved and hunted for throughout the series (and especially this season).
- Homelander’s confrontation with Annie would have been plenty intense if it ended with him promising to kill Hughie. Instead, she deftly turned it into something that could finally bring about his social downfall.
- Not only did A-Train survive getting his revenge on Blue Hawk, but the rash (heh) decision resulted in him getting full use of his powers back. Unfortunately, he must now exist and thrive with the heart of the man who crippled his brother.
- Instead of being killed, Maeve learns she’s being kept alive to have her eggs harvested, thereby forcing her to help Homelander continue his legacy via her children.
- MM’s extremely legitimate concern about how Todd is with his daughter (something Monique even seems to agree with her ex-husband about) results in him traumatizing his daughter.
- Just like Stanely Edgar taught her, Victoria Neuman deftly played both sides of a conflict to put herself in the best position to consolidate power. We still don’t know what was on that paper she gave Homelander, but it’s sure to be something big.
- In addition to completely grossing out Cassandra, Deep has potentially created a new enemy who could hurt him worse than any obstacle he’s previously faced during his comeback.
The only plotline that didn’t land was Frenchie and Kimiko’s, which predictably resulted in her regaining her powers. The episode went to great lengths to present this as a major sacrifice, but it didn’t feel like it. That’s not Tomer Kapon and Karen Fukuhara’s fault, though. Those two acted their hearts out. It was simply a predictable/stale plotline surrounded by much, much better ones.
I’m honestly not sure how people will react to the trip inside Black Noir’s damaged mind, but I absolutely loved it. While some folks may consider the cartoons a cheap ploy for laughs, it actually tracks with much of what we’ve seen from him.
When he’s not kicking names and taking ass, Noir has often displayed childlike kindness and sensitivity. Don’t just take Buster’s word for it, though. A few of the bigger examples from past episodes include:
- Attempting to comfort Naquib‘s son after brutally assassinating his father (Season 2, Episode 1)
- Comforting the Deep after Butcher killed the whale (Lucy) he was riding on (Season 2, Episode 3)
- Crying when he learned the truth about Compound V (Season 2, Episode 3).
And then you have his earnest desire to act along with how hurt he was when Soldier Boy took that away from him. It’s also worth remembering what Bucky said about how Black Noir/Earving hid in a ball pit after paralyzing another child.
After Soldier Boy severely disfigured/lobotomized him, those sensitive traits would struggle to co-exist with Black Noir’s violent nature — especially with all the violence he’s been forced to inflict over the ensuing decades while operating with a damaged brain. Watching him manifest his repressed nature as cartoons from his youth might be funny, but it’s also surprisingly believable.
The result of Black Noir’s animated journey of self-discovery also sets him up for an explosive confrontation with Soldier Boy…or Homelander…or maybe both.
That’s just one of many plotlines that The Boys has perfectly set up for a great payoff during next week’s season finale. If the episode is anything like the ones preceding it, it’ll be a close call on whether the action or emotion packs the bigger punch.
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