the boys The Female Of The Species
Photo credit Jan Thijs/Amazon Prime Video

“What if she’s a Spice Girl?”

Butcher and the Boys continue the task of tracking down Compound-V when they run into an unsuspecting but extremely deadly woman who could be their downfall—or a major weapon in the fight to take down the Seven.

It’s been a few weeks since Butcher and the gang caught Popclaw’s head-crushing encounter that left her landlord dead and the Boys with the perfect in to find out more about V, the steroid for Supes. It finally pays off when they track down A-Train’s drop location. Things go a bit off the rails when Frenchie, known for going off-book, releases the Female (Karen Fukuhara, Suicide Squad, She-Ra and the Princess of Power) prisoner the gunmen have locked up.

She earns that capital “F” when, upon release, she goes through the gunmen like a buzz saw. Another variable to the V equation, the Boys end up tracking her down and, in the process, we learn a bit more about Frenchie. The connection he makes with her when he shares a bit about his own abusive upbringing is both vital and completely understandable. He knows she wants to get home and in his struggle to escape his bastard of a father, Frenchie tried and failed many, many times. Though he does reach her, a big part of the Female seems almost feral, thus can only intuit so long before outside stimulus resets her to that fight or flight phase. Whether that is solely due to her imprisonment, unspoken abuses, or a combination of the two, remains to be seen but Frenchie’s ability to relate to the Female’s struggles will be critical for any sort of relationship she develops with the Boys.

If the Boys can integrate the Female into the group–another Spice Girl, if you will–then maybe they’ll have a chance to take Homelander down. (Photo: Jan Thijs)

Outside of the Compound-V narrative, Butcher once again finds a situation to use to his advantage. Annie’s text to Hughie reminds him of the pair’s serendipitous connection and in that, he sees it as an opportunity to get an in on the Seven by having Hughie bug her phone. On their ensuing bowling date,  the two bond over adolescent relationships and first kisses. Despite the fun their having, Hughie’s not yet over Robin’s death or killing Translucent; the latter hits him even harder when Annie mentions Translucent’s kid, where the Supe spent his time when not spying on the women or doing his duty for the Seven. It’s difficult for him to dissociate the job from the man he killed, a reasonable position considering Hughie’s not trained in the art of murder and still holds a firm grip on his own humanity. Still, he works through the ghosts from the past and reluctantly carries out the mission, though it will most likely come back to bite him in the ass.

“The Female of the Species” takes us deeper into the world of Supes as well as offering glimpses into the psyches of both the Seven and the Boys themselves. Butcher’s Spartan lifestyle is that of a man who’s lost everything and his only goal is to make the one responsible pay in blood. For him, that one is Homelander, who continues to display even a sliver of human empathy. The more I watch him, the more the Seven’s greatest hero sociopathic tendencies are on display. Like Maeve’s body language suggests, every time he touches another person or offers a smile that fails to reach his eyes, I’m uncomfortable, half expecting him to punch a hole through someone else. His relationship with Madelyn is still one of those unclear plot points, though he does her proud with his “heartfelt” speech regarding the terrorist plane crash. Like the slimiest politician, he uses the tragedy as a weapon, tearfully declaring that, had Supes been a part of the military, it never would have happened. He knows that, right or wrong, people are quite pliable in the aftermath of disaster, fueled more by their emotions than logical thought. Powerful as his words are, they are hollow, a means to an end. And in that, both Homelander and Billy Butcher are more alike than either would ever admit.

Answering the Call of Duty

  • Had he not been such a vile bastard to Starlight, Deep’s arc would have garnered a fair amount of empathy. His “I’m the diversity hire” while hilarious, exposes Deep’s (or Kevin) feelings of inferiority. Starlight’s harsh (but wholly justified) insult during their team-up that he was the joke of the group only intensified his doubts. The empathy I have for the character is there in spite of his actions and yet, paradoxically, I don’t feel pity for him. My heart does go out to his poor smushed dolphin lover whose name we shall never know.
  • Watching A-Train and Popclaw gave us a much different perspective on the brash, Seven Star. Similar to Deep, it’s hard to dissociate his recklessly deadly collision with Robin and assault on the Female (though that entire situation has unanswered questions) from the caring boyfriend (minus a few tense moments of anger). The same can be said for Maeve and the deceased Translucent. Though Maeve has been the least dickish Seven outside of Starlight, her aloofness was replaced by anger and despair over Homelander’s callous reaction to a plane full of passengers crashing to their deaths. Pervert as he was, even Translucent had a life away from the glitz of being a Supe; a young son he spent his time with. The Boys has done an excellent job framing these Supes as, underneath their power sets and negative traits, they are still people that, as difficult as it is to acknowledge, have redeeming qualities.