“Everything comes with a price.”
Hughie labors with the reality of killing Translucent and The Boys get their first potential weapon in the fight against the Supes in Compound-V, discovered when A-Train mentions it ahead of the race to keep his title as the fastest man alive.
For your normal, well-adjusted human being, blowing someone into pieces, deserved or not, is going to have a profound effect on that person. After cleaning up Translucent fragments and viscera, Hughie is still struggling to accept what just happened. It’s really not until he heads home for a change of clothes and takes in the Seven paraphernalia littering his room that he snaps back into reality. Hughie’s glimpsed what’s under the façade of all the smiles, waves, and Vought marketing of Supes and he wants no part of it. Destroying his room is an act of cleansing and, with it, Hughie purges the naïve man he used to be from the world, accepting the truth of how the world really is. It’s the same lesson Annie has learned in her short time as Starlight, the newest member of the Seven.
From the first episode, we’ve been connected with both Hughie and Annie on their painful road of discovery and that the realities we face are not the same as the beautiful fiction we tell ourselves. Despite getting a boost in her ratings for the beat down of two would-be rapists, Annie’s exhilaration is short-lived.
At Madelyn’s behest, Annie is forced from her demure roots and given a newer, more risqué outfit. Madelyn overrules her objections to the new suit and makes it clear that the partnership between Annie and Vought is more of what they say goes. She says as much to Hughie when they bump into one another during the Boys’ mission to procure a sample of Compound-V. “I don’t know if they really want you to be a hero,” she laments to him, “I think they just want you to look like one”.
So much of the throughline in The Boys has been an accurate representation of this social media society and the pitfalls those chasing their dreams can sometimes fall into. Though their experiences are vastly different, both Annie and Hughie are recognizing the harsh truth that, sometimes, it doesn’t pay to meet your idols. At best, you realize they’re not this perfect representation of humanity; they’re just people, capable of the same selfish behaviors as anyone else. On a more cynical end, they could be monsters whose selfish and sadistic behaviors make you question the entire show that’s played out before you. If these so-called paragons of virtue, gifted with powers of the gods, are this corrupt, what does that say for the hope for the rest of us?
Philosophical lessons aside, “Get Some” also furthers the series plot. Knowing that Frenchie and an inexperienced Hughie aren’t nearly enough to take on the Seven, Butcher recruits Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso, Avatar, Fast & Furious, Detroit), a former ally who’s done his best to get out of the game and live a semi-normal life. His mention of Mallory as well as Butcher’s own mission to take Homelander down reveals that much more of the story.
With Mother’s Milk reluctantly in the fold, the boys use the intel gained from Translucent to spy on Popclaw (Brittany Allen, Falling Water, It Stains the Sand Red), A-Train’s number one woman. Thanks to Hughie’s tech savvy, they spy on the couple and catch their first hint of Compound-V, an apparent PED for Supes. A-Train takes a hit of it before his big race against Shockwave (Mishka Thebaud, Bitten, Dark Matter, Falling Water), a Supe vying for his crown of the world’s fastest man. Though the op to procure a sample from A-Train falls short, the Boys have better luck when they discover Popclaw has kept a few doses for herself and when she kills her landlord in the throes of passion, Butcher recognizes it’s the perfect opportunity to get exactly what they want.
The slick, irreverent storytelling of The Boys continues to impress. The social commentary on the prices of fame and the sacrifices some must make to attain it are both relevant and not overly preachy. Additionally, it touches on our hero-worship of these people and how the mega-marketing machine of clout, fame, and notoriety can mask the truth of just how human and flawed these people we place on pedestals really are. And then there’s the overall story about revenge and the lengths we’re capable of going to when wronged. Adding in the dark humor, the overt facsimiles of well-known heroes, and some kick-ass action, The Boys is firmly in the running for best superhero show out there.
Answering the Call of Duty
- While most of the Seven have been caricatures of well-known DC heroes (Homelander =Superman, Maeve = Wonder Woman, etc), Popclaw gives us the first blatant take on a Marvel character (Wolverine…or X-23, if you like). It should be a fun time seeing what else the show has in regards to Marvel/DC characters.
- Not to be crass, but Popclaw’s ‘situation’ after accidentally killing her landlord Alex adds another truth bomb to the hero-worship/fame commentary. These Supes, like a lot of stars, are built on their reputations. If that is besmirched by their deeds, true or imaginary, the persona they’re trying to see just falls by the wayside. This may explain why someone like Homelander, who openly questions why they’re taking orders from humans still toes the company line. Despite his emotionally unstable and narcissistic personality (his veiled threat to Maeve regarding their breakup is the picture perfect example of a psychotic control freak), he’s smart enough to understand that, for now at least, he can’t do it alone.
- Whereas I initially thought Madelyn was in charge of the whole shebang, turns out she’s just the Senior VP of Marketing Strategy. Her boss, Mr. Edgar (on 82) sounds like the man who runs the show. Homelander’s reaction to Madelyn’s mention of Mr. Edgar is a reminder to an adult who still defers to his father, the awe most children carry for their parents still there, even into adulthood. Whether he’s just a man or something more, Mr. Edgar (on 82) has the clout to make even the most mighty Homelander think twice about going against him.