One of the more popular superhero properties courtesy of Amazon Prime Video finally releases its fourth season, whereby it again showcases the creators’ proclivities to craft allegories and cynical commentaries on real-life issues through a dark version of the world of “The Boys.” In this world, the superheroes are, as one character states in the third episode of “The Boys” season 4, “reality television stars” under contract by Vought International, who is responsible for the creation of these super-powered individuals and monetizing them. As the show inches slowly towards its endgame (season 5 has just been announced to be the final season for this show), the war between the supes and the Boys (the vigilante group led by Billy Butcher) will hopefully reach a fever pitch. Now that the Season 4 Finale of The Boys is up, the possibilities and changes that the ending would bring to the show are currently endless. 

The Boys (Season 4) Episode 1 “Department of Dirty Tricks” Recap: 

The episode opens with the presidential campaign of Robert Singer and Victoria Neumann in high spirits, as they are currently on a winning streak. The boys, meanwhile, under the leadership of Mother’s Milk, have decided to break into the hotel where the campaign party is taking place. While Frenchie prepares the acid concoction, Hughie, with Annie, aka Starlight, jacks into the camera feed of the hotel. While Frenchie and Kimiko would disguise themselves as service workers and infiltrate Neumann’s suite, Butcher would cover their exit.

It’s a proposition he couldn’t be less happy about because he has been stripped of his leadership, but what the team doesn’t know yet is that he has a tumor on his head as a result of using Temp V in the previous season to level the playing field against Homelander and Soldier Boy. Now he has months to live, with the tumor also forcing Butcher to witness hallucinations.

Speaking of Homelander, we see the psychopathic Superman having arrived at the Neumann campaign party with his son in tow, a wildcard the boys hadn’t accounted for. Homelander dismisses Ryan and Neumann’s daughter Julie to have ice cream while the two discuss the current climate. That would entail the events of last season, where Homelander killed one of the protestors in broad daylight, and his supporters applauded, allowing him to twist the narrative of him throwing a projectile (a plastic bottle) that might have contained anthrax.

While Victoria knows that she can keep herself safe because of her secret identity as a supe with the power to blow people’s heads off, she also knows that the transaction between her and Homelander, whereby she injected her daughter with Compound V, is not something Homelander would let go of—especially considering the endgame of inducting supes into the military, which Homeland Security equivocally supports.

In the kitchen, where Butcher is covering the team’s exit, he comes across Ryan and Julie. Taking Ryan to the side, Butcher tries to apologize and convince Ryan to go with him at this very moment, as Homelander had lied to him. Ryan denies it, though he is still partly uncertain, but Billy couldn’t make too much headway because Homelander broke up their meeting. As Billy braces for instant death, Homelander suddenly realizes that Billy is dying and expresses sorrow sarcastically that they won’t be having “the last dance together” before walking away.

Meanwhile, at Neumann’s suite, while the security guards under The Boys’ payroll stand guard, Frenchie and Kimiko sneak into her bathroom to slip in the poison capsules. However, they are discovered by Zoe, Neumann’s daughter, who realizes that something is amiss and immediately begins to use her powers induced as a result of Compound V, that being tentacles emerging from her mouth with ends shaped like sharp teeth that make mincemeats of the security guards. While Frenchie tries to escape, Kimiko fights with Zoe, but her face tentacles are strong enough to wrap themselves around her left arm and trap her.

Kimiko manages to escape, but only after cutting her arm off. MM and Annie rush towards the hotel window facing the alleyway. As Frenchie and Kimiko make a run for it, Annie tries to use her newly-developed powers of flight from last season to catch Kimiko but is unable to because her arm hasn’t developed yet. She manages to catch Frenchie, who basically jumped on top of her, while Kimiko falls to the street, and her bloody body becomes a bloody, splattered mess on the ground. Her healing factor kicks in, and she begins to get up, even as her skin is peeling off.

Meanwhile, back at the stakeout vehicle, Hughie is met by Neumann, who tries to reconcile with him on account of their history together, even as she reveals that they had been made by a 12-year-old. During their conversation, Hughie throws the acid concoction at Neumann’s face, but it has no impact except for her dress being ruined. She responds to Hughie’s threats that if he exposes her identity as a supe due to the Red River files he has stored safely, she will kill everyone he loves. It’s a pattern of mutually assured destruction, and even Butcher suddenly shooting at her temple has no impact, except the bullet ricocheting off the walls of the van. Neumann has augmented herself to ensure she is protected. Their mission, in the end, fails, as we see Neumann effectively getting elected as Singer’s running mate for Singer’s President-Elect.

The next morning, MM is called into the CIA office, sans Butcher, as Grace, the head of the CIA, is still cross with him, considering his obsession with taking down Homelander by any means necessary and, more importantly, his inability to rescue Ryan from Homelander’s clutches. As Butcher waits outside, MM is criticized by the leader of the stealth operation, President Singer. He is very much aware that once Congress ratifies the election on January 6 (because, of course, that’s the date the writers would choose), Neumann is just one head-popping away from the presidency. Thus, eliminating her is an essential mission, and unfortunately for Singer and Grace, MM is the only likely candidate to lead this operation.

A still from The Boys (Season 4).
A still from “The Boys” (Season 4).

Meanwhile, Butcher meets Joe Kessler, an old Afghan war buddy whom Butcher had rescued at a horrifying skirmish in the Panjshir Valley. Now working at the CIA, Kessler laments how many agents have been benched because of Grace’s doggedness in eliminating the VP. Kessler effectively wants to recruit Billy under the guise of helping him find any way of killing Homelander. This Kessler reason is essential before the supes start rounding them up in camps.

For Homelander, the situation is dire from an internalized perspective. He is essentially going through a midlife crisis, realizing he is aging. It is coupled with his understanding that he is being surrounded by sycophants who are too scared to challenge him, not realizing that challenging him would mean instant death. Thus, during the team recruitment meeting, Homelander is fixated on Sister Sage (Susan Heyward), an ex-Teenage Kicks member and A-Train’s ex-teammate. Sage, being the smartest person in the world, intrigues Homelander, who visits her incognito, which surprises both her and the audience.

However, Sage also manages to surprise Homelander by immediately deducing that he is aging out and also advising him on how to gain back his pedestal since he is mired in the court case from last season. According to Sage, the best option would be to rile up the public into a frenzy, effectively pitting the Homelander supporters against the Starlighters, who, since the last season, had risen in stature as the alternative protest movement against the Supes. Sage believes that Homelander’s grand gesture would automatically put him in bed with the populace. Homelander invites her to join the seven, which Sage categorically refuses, but he presents her with an offer she can’t refuse: she would essentially become Homelander’s consigliere.

Meanwhile, Butcher is making plans of his own. He meets up in secret at an abandoned arcade with VP Victoria Neumann. Their conversation reveals that Butcher knows about the virus being cooked up at Godolkin (the events of Gen V—Season 1) and how it isn’t strong enough to take down Homelander yet. He wants Neumann’s aid in rescuing Ryan from Homelander, and in exchange, Butcher would help her be insulated from Homelander as well as the CIA. Neumann asks for the Red River files that Hughie has in his possession as collateral.

Annie, meanwhile, is conflicted about her role as the de facto leader of the Starlight movement, knowing full well that the NGO Starlight House, which is a rescue shelter for at-risk teens, would only be able to secure funding if she restarted the moniker of Starlight. Frenchie, meanwhile, has a new friend and romantic interest in the form of Colin Hauser, one of the chief affiliates of the Starlight Movement, and attends the same AA meeting as Frenchie.

For Hughie, however, tragedy strikes in the form of his father having a stroke and being admitted to the hospital in a coma. As Hughie tries to take stock of his bearings and returns to the office for his stuff, he is comforted by a much more mellowed-down Butcher. Hughie, though, isn’t suspicious, as he is the only one who supports Butcher’s presence on the team. However, Butcher had stealthily swiped the thumb drive containing the Red River files.

The final act of “The Boys” season 4, episode 1, begins with MM essentially running an errand for his ex-wife Monique, searching for Monique’s current husband Todd, who is now a fanatic supporter of Homeland. Following Todd via their stakeout van, MM, with Frenchie and Kimiko, sees Todd meet up with three other Homelander supporters, who are finally met by a young black woman unfamiliar to MM. Viewers know her as Sister Sage, and Sage brings up these civilians to essentially have a surprise meet-up with Homelander and members of the Seven, including A-Train, The Deep, and the replacement Black Noir. Except it’s a ruse, with Homelander instructing the three “supes ‘to kill these civilians by beating them to death using baseball bats.

As the three supes begin to execute the bloody deed (A-Train is noticeably conflicted), Homelander walks out of the building and flies off, presumably to the courthouse for his hearing. MM was surprised to see Homelander drive off to the courthouse, where a large group of Homelander supporters and Starlighters had gathered, both in support and opposition. In disguise as a starlighter, Sage throws a coffee mug at one of the Homelander supporters, calling them fascists. This incites a massive riot, further exacerbated by the announcement that Homelander has been acquitted.

As the riot rages on, Homelander walks out and just cursorily, albeit barely, tries to do crowd control. Meanwhile, Annie, who had been training in controlling her flight powers, finally decides that she can’t sit behind the sidelines any longer and decides to fly out to the riot, sincerely pleading for a timeout, but to no avail, as her assistant Kiara, who had been leading the Starlighters, gets brutally beaten up. The riot is finally quelled when, in the middle of the commotion, A-Train drops the three battered dead bodies, indicting the Stralighters to blame in the eyes of the media and catapulting Homelander to the top in the eyes of the media.

Homelander, however, still feels constricted because his love for his son stops him in his tracks. The only reason Butcher is still alive is because Ryan has a soft corner for him. We witness Hughie sitting at his father’s bedside, waiting for him to wake from his coma, when he is visited out of the blue by his estranged mother. Frenchie, meanwhile, had managed to rescue Colin from the riot and also confessed his romantic feelings for him. But that night, after the two of them had sex, we realized that Frenchie has some connection to Colin’s past, related to his parents. Of course, we also have the resident chauvinist weirdo, The Deep, who is devastated at not openly romancing the love of his life, the octopus Ambrosia (voiced by Tina Swinton), whom he keeps in an aquarium hidden in his closet.

The final sequence shows Butcher sitting at the boys’ headquarters, contemplating whether to send the files to Neumann. We realize that the voice that Butcher had been talking to in the ether had been his memory of Becca, a combination of his conscience and his guilt at not being able to kill Homelander even as he had him right in the crosshairs. But Becca, or the butcher’s conscience, asks him to find a better way to get Ryan out of Homelander’s clutches before it is too late. Butcher listens to her advice and sends a mail to Neumann under the guise of sending the files, but instead sends a screenshot of the anus, after which Butcher looks back at the empty office and asks, “Are you happy now?”

The Boys (Season 4) Episode 2 “Life Among the Septics” Recap: 

The episode opens with poor A-Train again caught up in an unfortunate Vought PR mishap, except now he is shooting the film depicting his origin story, Training A-Train. Directed by Adam Rourke, who had also directed Dawn of the Seven, it also stars Coach Rink (played by Will Ferell), who drives up to his area as the white savior, encouraging him to give up a life of crime.

Yes, it is as offensive as you think it is, and in the typical fashion of “The Boys,” Ferrell even asks the director whether he is giving off “Blind Side vibes.” More importantly to the overall narrative, Reggie Franklin, AKA A-Train, is very much in his redemption arc, and his guilt over the deed of the last episode is gnawing at him. Thus, when Noir asks whether Homelander usually assigns the members of the seven such missions, he refuses to answer and instructs Noir to shut up and look menacing, which is his job.

Meanwhile, Hughie is going through an emotional rollercoaster. Not only is his father in a coma, but his mother is back after leaving the two of them six years ago, selling Voughtality beauty products and being given power of attorney over all medical decisions by Hughie’s father, which baffles Hughie. Kimiko, on the other hand, has been working with a therapist to treat her psychological mutism. Considering she breaks the handles of her chair in half when asked about her parents, it isn’t going well.

The Boys Season 4
A still from “The Boys” Season 4

The team, though, gets a rude shock when Butcher finally reveals to them about the tumor in his brain caused by Temp V. While the rest of the team is sympathetic, MM makes the pragmatic decision and kicks Butcher out of the team, which angers Butcher, who reminds MM that he would need all the help he can get. But as MM points out, he is a liability, a dying man with a last bluff.

Back at Vought, preparations are being made to introduce Ryan to the world as the son of Homelander, or Homeboy, with a backstory highlighting good old American values. But Sage immediately shuts down all the PR stunts, reminding them that Ryan is the world’s first natural-born superhero, and thus his brand would need to reflect that assessment. It could only work if the chosen narrative, a la Joseph Campbell reflection on Luke Skywalker, would be utilized. But that would also entail that Ryan would be introduced alone, without the Homelander association burdening him, which, of course, doesn’t sit right with the petty-preening peacock that is Homelander.

Sage’s blunt tactic of speaking the truth also doesn’t sit right with Ashley, who accosts her at the elevator and tries to dissuade her but ends up being advised by Sage as well to get “lactation going” if only to entice Homelander towards her; otherwise, Ashley’s end would be similar to Madelyn Stillwell back in season 1. The interesting aspect of Sage’s character, though, is her feeling a sense of support and kinship towards Deep. This leads to her advising Deep to stand up for himself against Ashley, considering he is effectively the highest stage of evolution humanity has to offer.

The marketing team of Vought (that suspiciously looks and feels like Amazon) plans a “save,”  with a stunt director directing Noir and Deep on their location in the set pieces. He also acts as the robber who kidnaps and holds a girl at gunpoint that Ryan rescues by pushing the director away. The director even advises Ryan to throw him as hard as he can take it. However, Ryan slowly starts to realize the subterfuge and reality television aspect of the entire endeavor, even choosing to ask Homelander whether any of his saves have been genuine. He had to stammer and respond in the affirmative, but it did rattle him.

Meanwhile, at Vought Inn, the team had reached only to find Butcher waiting there. Reluctantly realizing there is nothing MM can do to stop Butcher from being present, the team of MM, Butcher, Kimiko, and Frenchie enter Truth Con, a conspiracy theorist convention held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Modeled after the Q-Anon conspiracy theorists, the team arrived because MM had tracked down Sage to this site. Sage has now become a key person of interest for the boys. They soon follow her into a convention hall that is being set up together by a man only known as Splinter (Rob Benedict) and his clones, which he could replicate by segregating his body into two identical clones, not unlike mitosis.

Splinter, though, is very much attracted to and under the thumb of Firecracker (Valorie Curry), one of the leading voices of the alt-right movement, whose presentation at the current convention is indicting the Starlighters as a child kidnapping cabal. It is more insidious that Sage is here to recruit Firecracker, as her powerset is middling, to put it mildly. It’s more essential that she presents herself as the charismatic storyteller that even Fircracker knows herself to be, as the alternative voice to mainstream media, selling these poor souls a purpose. Seemingly satisfied, Sage asks Firecracker to meet at Deep’s Blue Sea Conference Room.

As both MM and Butcher listen to Sage’s and Firecracker’s conversation, both have a difference of opinion regarding how to handle their operations, which leads to a confrontation at a parking lot. Butcher tries to push MM’s buttons by questioning his leadership skills, but MM remains unwavering. But it’s only when Butcher comments on MM’s ex-wife that MM punches Butcher back to the ground, reminding him that, on top of cleaning up Butcher’s messes, the only reason he had wanted to work together this time around was the notion that things might be different. Dejected, MM tells Butcher to go home.

Meanwhile, Annie and Hughie wait in their cars to catch A-Train, who, according to Annie’s source at the tower, comes every week at the South Riverside Park at 3 PM every Sunday. Hughie and Annie both catch up with the events of their day, with Hughie mentally contemplating what he should have said to his mother. Annie seethes in rage at feeling so helpless as her name is dragged through the mud and the organization associated with her. Hughie advises her to reclaim the moniker and use it as a symbol. Perhaps she could become a true superhero rather than the “supes” of this world. Their conversation is interrupted by them noticing A-Train talking with his nephews, regaling them with his superheroics.

That is until Reggie’s time to catch up with his nephews gets a rude awakening with the appearance of Nathan, Reggie’s brother, who drops cold water on his sons when he reveals that neither of Reggie’s “saves” had ever been real. He had never actually saved anyone. Perhaps it’s a blunt way to telegraph Reggie’s character arc throughout the season, but it makes sense. Hughie barely manages to stop Annie from confronting Reggie immediately, but she needn’t have bothered. A-Train had clocked them following him, and by super-speed, they had reached their location at least an hour before Hughie and Annie managed to return. However, Reggie had come with an olive branch—security camera footage of the two stralighters—being railroaded over the media for the murder—at least 20 blocks away from the time of the murder, giving them an alibi and a chance to clear their name.

Ryan’s choreographed save, however, doesn’t go exactly as planned. Homelander, being the cocky and insecure supe he is, manages to hog the limelight immediately, interrupting Ryan’s save and encouraging him to hit the kidnapper under the watchful eyes of all the individuals. Ryan, a mixture of nervous and terrified, can’t control his power and pushes the robber, AKA stuntman, too hard, who flies and hits the side of the building, becoming a bloody mess. This traumatizes Ryan, who emphatically states that he will never do that again. If saving means preparation and preparing for the camera, Ryan might be better off. That frustrates Homelander, who leaves Ryan with food for thought—he is destined for much more as he is chosen. It’s hard to understand whether Homelander believes that or whether he has drunk the Vought Kool-Aid.

The Boys Season 4
A still from “The Boys” Season 4

Meanwhile, at Truth-Con, the team walks into a trap, laid carefully by Sage, which she deems the “final audition” for Firecracker, whereby she would have to kill these “deep-state moles” of the CIA. As it turns out, that doesn’t happen because Kimiko manages to overpower Firepower. However, the boys team begins to get overpowered due to the sheer number of clones of Splinter, which pushes the team to another conference room to host a birthday party with the theme “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

The hilarious and violent fight finally gets breathing room when Butcher suddenly appears with his trusty crowbar and begins to deliver killing blows left and right. As the clones start overpowering Butcher, he instructs MM to take the rest of the team and run. MM, realizing Butcher’s sincerity, gets back into the fray of the fight and pushes those clones away, giving Butcher space to drive the crowbar through the chin and break through the head. That move kills the prime Splinter, killing off his clones as well. The firecracker in the commotion escapes.

The episode ends with Frenchie, having fallen off the wagon, calling his ex-lover Cherie, who used to work with him for Little Nina, the Russian mobster. Through that conversation, he reveals that Colin Hauser used to be a judge’s son, and Frenchie had murdered his family. He had, however, met Colin, presumably years later, and had given him a job at Starlight’s organization, but now he is too deep and wracked with guilt. The past also begins to hurt Kimiko, who, while at Truth-Con, saw images of child trafficking that dislodged a long-buried memory of being trapped by the terrorist ring.

Hughie’s emotional outburst occurs after the hard day he had when he returns to the hospital and reminds her that her promise isn’t worth much of anything since she left him and his father after promising to take him to a Billy Joel concert. Promises are fragile, and Hughie has had enough of standing by them. He informs her that she won’t make any medical decisions about his father without his consent, and if she doesn’t like it, then he will challenge her in court.

Finally, Butcher arrives to speak with MM at their headquarters, and in a moment of rare vulnerability, he admits that they should have left him to die. He advises MM that, while he appreciates the team saving his hide, the right decision would have been to capture Sage. Butcher then finally pleads for MM’s help in rescuing Ryan, if only to get one thing right in a life filled with so many messes. Unfortunately, MM refuses, citing that it is too late.

The Boys (Season 4) Episode 3 “We Will Keep the Red Flag Flying Here” Recap: 

In a press conference organized by Vought and attended by a sea of Homelnader supporters and Starlighters, Homelander begins an incendiary speech damning the Stralighters, calling them godless and not real Americans, stating that they want to remain superheroes, before praising the real Americans and revealing the updated team of the Seven, which includes newcomers Sage and Firecracker, with the final spot left open for his son to join once he is ready, according to Homelander.

As his son is brought up to the stage, Ryan is uncomfortable being in the spotlight. Watching them on television, Butcher and Joe Kessler plan how to deprogram Ryan and try to convince him to come against Homelander. The Hazlet Safe House would be good for housing him, and until then, he would be dosed up on halothane. Butcher unequivocally wants Ryan to be left alone and not trained as a soldier, which Kessler listens to but disagrees with silently.

At Vought headquarters, while Firecracker holds a press conference spouting conspiracy gibberish, Homelander convinces Sage, much against her beliefs, that popularity is power, even as it will be harder to stage a coup with so many eyes on her. The entire episode is based on confrontations. The boys team plans to confront, but with different sides of the equation.

For one thing, Annie and Hughie, and also Frenchie, go through a bizarre experience whereby an old man walks in brandishing a gun at Satralighter headquarters, asking to see the kids that they have held hostage. While Frenchie can disarm him, it proves beyond a doubt that Sage’s plan is working, that Firecracker’s presence is the alternate voice to Starlight’s reasonable one, and that would only make the other side louder and the discourse more polarizing, which would help Vought’s cause. Meanwhile, Sage’s role as the kingmaker gets reinforced within the headquarters of the Seven when Homelander dismisses Ashley, much to her chagrin.

Sage now starts a thorough examination to find out who leaked the security cam footage to Starlight. Her first step is to remove The Deep as the head of the Department of Crime Analytics. But Sage is still unable to completely control Homelander, even as she identifies the mole who had called Starlight. But even before the mole could properly explain to Sage, Ashley, and Homelander why she had called Starlight, Homeland killed her by letting her brains out through her skull via his eye beams. It is terrifying, showing his psychopathy in full measure and proving beyond a doubt that Homelander is not someone who could be kept on a leash of reasoning. That event traumatizes Ashley, forcing her to shred her resignation letter.

For Annie, the confrontation occurs when she sneaks into Firecracker’s room at the Seven headquarters, which used to be Starlight’s. There, she is shocked to learn that Firecracker and Starlight used to be on the same pageant circuit three years ago, having even qualified for the finals. “Sparkler,” as Firecracker had been known at the time, was forced to drop out of the competition because of a rumor that Annie had started that Sparkler had slept with the judges. For a 13-year-old, that had been a traumatizing experience, but more importantly, it recontextualized Starlight as a flawed human being whose immaturity and upbringing had come back to bite her in the dust, intricately tying up Starlight and Firecracker in a very personal way.

Another still from “The Boys” Season 4.

For Butcher, the confrontation comes in the form of meeting with Ryan, whom he manages to convince after connecting with him via a multiplayer video game resembling Mortal Kombat. Butcher’s plan had been to drug Ryan by mixing the carfentanil supplied by Kessler within Becca’s cookie dough recipe. However, Butcher and Ryan begin to connect because of their connection with Becca. Butcher, in a rare moment of empathy, chooses to listen to Ryan as he breaks down, wracked with remorse over the death of the stuntman that he had inadvertently caused. This convinces Butcher not to drug Ryan for the time being, leading to him throwing away the cookies and joining Ryan in a game of foosball.

Reggie gets a message from his brother asking for a meet-up at the old racetrack, only to realize that MM had hacked Nathan’s phone and used that to communicate with Reggie (A-Train). MM would try to convince Reggie that the current circumstances and choices that Reggie has taken are forcing him to ultimately “give a shit” rather than pretend to care. However, as Reggie points out, caring would only get them killed.

Kimiko and Frenchie are both forced to confront their past while battling members of the Silent Light terrorist cell in New York City. At least Kimiko would have to face them literally by fighting through these armed terrorists and ultimately stopping them from delivering the killing blow upon realizing one of those members has intimate familiarity with her. For Frenchie, however, falling off the wagon has done a number on him as he comes to a battleground completely baked, seeing rubber duckies floating instead of blood spouting from open veins. Then he is confronted by a hallucination of Colin sitting with the corpses of his parents and witnessing all his victims before finally confronting an apparition of Little Nina, who reminds him that, unlike earlier times, she doesn’t have control over him anymore. He is on his own and failing miserably at it.

What is Sage’s plan to ensure Neumann gets elected as president in the future?

MM had enough of a pull with A-Train to learn where Homelander would meet with Neumann—at the Vought Ice Rink. While the musical group rehearses on the ice rink, MM and Hughie, disguised as sweepers, wait for Neumann. MM finally orders Hughie to crawl through the vents and follow Neumann to where she will be meeting Homelander. Hughie does, reaching the vent outlet situated right above the location where Homelander would be meeting with Sage.

Sage lines out their plan: to make a move on Singer, they would have until the election is ratified, and even then, Neumann would need plausible deniability if and when Singer’s head gets popped off. In return, Neumann would have to disband the Bureau of Superhuman Affairs, condemn the “Defund the Supes” movement, remove all teachers and books related to “Critical Supes Theory,” and finally introduce a hero in every town with authority over the police. Once that happens, with a superheroic fascistic state in place, Neumann would get to the Oval Office, where she would announce her identity as a Supe. As Homelander passionately proclaims, it is time that Neumann embraces her identity as a supe, be proud of herself, and create a world where her daughter would also be accepted.

How did Hughie manage to escape?

While the conversation is occurring, a stray drop of sweat from Hughie falls through the vent and onto Homelander’s suit. Homelander immediately smells Hughie and starts blasting his eye beams through the vents. Hughie barely manages to crawl out of there, and to distract him, MM points the floodlights directly at Homelander. That distracts him, and Homelander’s eye beams cut through one of the primary dancers of the musical group, cutting her into two.

The result is an incredibly messy, horrifying affair where, in the chaos, more members of the crew die because of one of the metal blades of the ice skates slicing through and cutting the necks off. In the process, Homelander reaches the roof of the building but can’t catch Hughie. Hughie had been rescued by A-Train, who had used his super-speed to carry Hughie to an alleyway far away from the building and away from Homelander’s eyes.

Why had Hughie’s mother left him and his father?

Hughie finally reaches the hospital, where he learns from his mother that things remain unchanged. As Hughie sits to take a breather, he asks (this time in a much calmer tone) why she had left them. She, too, candidly revealed that she had severe postpartum depression, which would be very painful. To ensure that Hughie never understood her pain, she would double down on spending time with her son.

But one night, she tried to kill herself before throwing up all the medicines she had ingested. The next day, she took Hughie to school and then left him, thinking that maybe she wasn’t cut out to be a parent. She had also stopped calling because her husband had been hurt, and he didn’t want to confuse his son any more than necessary. His mother acknowledging her failures leads to Hughie realizing that she is human, prone to mistakes and that all their actions have consequences.

What is Joe Kessler’s plan to capture Homelander?

Kessler isn’t very pleased that Butcher hadn’t drugged the kid, revealing inadvertently that his plan had always been to turn the kid into an asset. He also divulges to Butcher that he knows of his medical state and that, with time running out, it is necessary to take drastic steps. He reminds Butcher of the question asked about his son, reminding him that he wouldn’t even hesitate. When Butcher tries to dissuade him by stating Ryan’s age, Kessler asks, What if he takes after his dad? The way Kessler sees it, they have two choices: either they train him, or they would have to kill him.

How is Homelander going to solve his existential crisis?

Throughout the first three episodes of this season, Homelander felt lost. He felt adrift due to the realization of growing old and surrounded by sycophants. But more importantly, he couldn’t fathom why, after giving him everything in the whole world, his son chooses not to love him unconditionally. Why does his son want to meet Butcher and hang out with him? As the voices in his head reach a fever pitch, he finally decides—he would have to go back to the past. He would have to visit the laboratory where he had been created.

The Boys (Season 4) Episode 4 “Wisdom of the Ages” Recap: 

Homelander takes a cake and, as if participating in a high school reunion, flies out to the laboratory where he was raised. We first got an inkling of Homelander, AKA John’s, origins in the eighth episode of the animated anthology show “The Boys: Diabolical,” titled “One Plus One Equals Two.” But “Wisdom of the Ages” brings you enough context that you can follow up to speed.

As it turns out, Homelander’s rage and a need to love have been causing him an existential mid-life crisis to the extent that he decides returning to the past might help him purge his humanity. He does follow up on that promise, singling out the veteran lab assistants. First would be Frank, who had been playing waste paper basketball while regulating the knob in the human-sized oven that had been used to test Homelander’s unbreakable skin against extreme heat. Homelander chooses to take advantage of everyone’s nervousness around him by playing a game of wastepaper basketball with Frank before locking him inside the oven and burning him to a crisp.

The next to be tortured is the assistant head of that organization, Marty. Marty might have climbed up the ladder and might have been the nicest to Homelander when he had been young, but his fatal mistake had been to laugh at Homelander once when he had caught the young boy masturbating. Homelander, having the memory of an elephant and the emotional bandwidth of a psychopath, chooses to torture Marty by ordering him to masturbate in front of Homelander and his colleagues, and failing that, Homelander blasts a hole through that region, letting Marty bleed out in a pool of blood, until the head of the department, Barbara finally urges him to put him out of his misery. Homelander obliges by crushing Marty’s skull with his boot.

We now take a hard look at Hughie, who, upon learning that his father had deteriorated to such an extent that he could be pronounced brain dead, made a hard choice. He calls up A-Train and, at the docks, with Kimiko as his bodyguard, asks A-Train to steal a vial of Compound V so that he can resuscitate his father. While A-Train manages to steal a vial from Homelander’s closet (also managing to take a look at all the milk bottles and the jar containing hair follicles), he is caught by Ashley, who coincidentally had been planting a dump at Homelander’s toilet. The two mutually agree to keep each other’s secrets.

Valorie Curry (Firecracker), Chace Crawford (The Deep)

At the docks, Hughie and Kimiko are attacked as retaliation by the Shining Light against Kimiko’s rampage in the last episode. Hughie manages to break his ankle and is trained by Kimiko to defend and kill using a tabletop and a pocket knife. He does so, essentially killing a man, while Kimiko, after healing from a shotgun blast that cut her in half from the waist down, fights the leader of the terrorist cell, who shares a past with Kimiko. Except Kimiko had been her tormentor, and she had been responsible for the scar covering the side of her face. 

Butcher’s visions are getting worse, as if the tumor, able to move at will throughout his body, is causing his vision of Becca to be more and more frequent. However, that doesn’t stop Butcher from being recruited back into the Boys by MM, much to the chagrin of Starlight. But that couldn’t be helped. While Starlight had planned to bring in conservative voters by supporting the Singer campaign and abolishing the superhero act, Sister Sage’s plan to overcharge Firecracker’s rhetoric is fired up a notch. She uses a live stage performance of Firecracker’s podcast, directly opposite The Starlighter office, and broadcasts it to run for the whole day, whereby fringe rhetoric of Starlight would be injected into the mainstream.

Firecracker is all too pleased, and even Butcher, managing to obtain scandalous material and trying to scare Firecracker into backing off, fails, twists the relationship between herself and a 15-year-old boy into a personal reckoning with God, managing to make it all about her and twisting the narrative again. This is until Firecracker reveals confidential medical files that report Starlight had been six months pregnant and had an abortion. Annie loses it, flies out to Firecracker’s stage, and punches her to submission on live television.

Meanwhile, Butcher and MM failed to ensure Firecracker backed down, but Butcher also stole the keys to Firecracker’s trailer and asked Frenchie to look into it. Frenchie’s investigation reveals Annie’s abortion report, but he is too late to stop Firecracker. Meanwhile, Ezekiel, who had been a supe and an evangelical, figured out that Frenchie had been snooping around and attacking him. Butcher and MM, realizing that Frenchie is in trouble, rush to help him.

Does Butcher have a secret power?

Butcher tries to rescue Frenchie from Ezekiel by first destroying his arm with the help of a nitrogen cylinder, freezing it, and then breaking the frozen arm to pieces. Ezekiel, screaming in pain, elongates his other arm and uses it as a chokehold against Butcher. As Butcher loses consciousness, the compound V reptilian-shaped tumor moves toward his eyeballs, and then Butcher loses consciousness. When he wakes up, he sees the trailer caked in blood, with Ezekiel’s body being blown apart. The carnage surprised both MM and Starlight; MM had finally managed to stop Starlight from killing Firecracker, but Sister Sage’s job was done. Starlight’s image gets a massive beatdown, and even Singer chooses to remove all association with Starlight in the process.

Speaking of Sister Sage, one of the final moments of the previous episode showed Sister Sage having a sexual liaison with The Deep. Deep had been blindsided by the almost schizophrenic behavior of Sage, who had been cold and brusque with Deep that morning. As it turns out, being the smartest woman in the world has its drawbacks. Her brain regenerates to an alarming degree, such that she could even recover from death if any fatal injury is caused to her brain. But to enjoy herself with The Deep or anyone with the mental faculty of a goldfish, she has to lobotomize herself. It almost becomes a form of foreplay between her and the Deep, where Deep inserts a steel rod at the corner of her eyelids to temporarily lobotomize Sage’s brain and reduce all inhibitions.

Meanwhile, Homelander converses with Barbara, where she reveals the deep chasm of lack of love that Homelander feels has been implanted in him by a psychologist on their payroll. It had been effective because Homelander could have chosen any time to leave the lab, but instead, he had stayed in the lab dutifully, under the thumb of Stan Edgar and all Vought officials. Until now, Homelander had enough of the latent humanity, and clearly, this torture session had been cathartic for him. It’s a question whether that would help in the long run, but considering Homelander’s bloody but extremely happy face in the final moments of the episode and the “bad room” being utterly filled and covered with the entrails of the lab workers while leaving Barbara alone to watch as her experiment wreaks havoc, it reinforces how terrifying Homelander is.

Finally, Hughie meets up with A-Train and gets Compound V, but in exchange, he legitimately forgives A-Train. That, however, doesn’t sit well with Butcher, who had followed Hughie to the alley and felt betrayed. He even revealed that he had tried to inject Compound V into his veins to keep the cancer at bay, but that had only exacerbated Butcher’s condition. Hughie takes the advice into account because he goes to the hospital and stops himself from injecting the formula. Unfortunately, his mother, whom Hughie had gone to bring coffee for, had managed to swipe the formula and inject it. Thus, his father recovers, but it remains to be seen what the unintended consequences are.

As Butcher asks the vision of Becca what happened to him, Compound V is extremely dangerous, and considering what V’s effects could be having on Butcher, this significantly changes the board.

The Boys (Season 4) Episode 5 “Beware the Jabberwock, My Son” Recap: 

Antony Starr (Homelander), Cameron Crovetti (Ryan)

As far as the boys are concerned, it is very comfortable with splitting all of its characters into groups and sending them off into subplots. It runs the risk of being meandering, but at its best, it also shows how damaged and bizarre the world of this television show is, and yet, because of the satirical nature of the narrative, how similar the show is to the world. For the heroes of this world, adulation is everything, and thus interaction with fandom becomes essential for them.

Thus, Cameron Coleman of Fox News resembling “Seven on Seven” inaugurated the stage of this year’s “V23 Expo” to expound on the new cinematic phases of Vought’s superhero movies or launch a new faith-based channel for Firecracker feels on brand and very much pointed a commentary for Disney and their own expo D23. They even bring in Sam and Cate from the show Gen-V as the final members of the Guardians of Godolkin to talk about a gender-flip show called Freaky Friday. One could sense that the creators had fun designing this satire around the media conglomerate’s obsession with synergy.

Since I brought up Gen-V, it might be a good idea to finally integrate that end-of-season stinger of Gen-V Season 1, as well as the meeting between Neumann and Butcher where they finally converse about the virus. Realizing that the next play to bring down Homelander might be to introduce the virus itself, Butcher (with a bit of backstage nudging and acerbic barbs about his team by Joe Kessler) convinces MM to free Stand Edgar by publishing a presidential pardon.

The reason was to find out through Edgar and Neumann where Victoria Neumann might have stored or experimented with the virus. True to their plan, Edgar (with Giancarlo Esposito in his most snotty mode) takes the boys to their country house, where they find the lab, but it has been trashed and the lead scientist, Sameer, is missing. When Neumann intercepts their search party, they agree to come to a cease-fire due to the mutual deals they have.

This gives the show the space to deal with and explore Frenchie’s degrading relationship with Colin, whom he confessed to in the in the last episode about the murder of Colin’s parents and got a thrashing as a response. It also shows the complicated dynamic between Edgar and his adopted daughter, Edgar’s disappointment at Neumann injecting Zoe with V, while Neumann calls out Edgar on his complicity about hesitating to reveal Neumann’s identity as a Muslim woman, Nadia, as well as the fact that Sameer and her’s progeny would turn out to be Zoe.

But then the plot devolves into a hilarious horror movie, where V-injected farm animals fly and try to swoop all the members of that group and tear them apart. They only manage to repel these animals by injecting a dead body with one last vial of the virus and then leaving them out as bait for those far-away animals to devour. As evidenced in Gen-V, the virus is quick-acting, highly transmissible, and kills all farm animals. 

MM too does the smart trick of putting Edgar back in prison, as the deal entailed Edgar leading the team to the virus, which technically is unsuccessful as the virus is not in the game anymore. 

As for Homelander, who had a mostly supporting role this season, he is playing the supportive father this episode by allowing Ryan to speak his mind and make his own decisions, and when asked what he wanted to do, Ryan revealed that he wanted to help people for real. Homelander, instead of his usual chiding, gives Ryan a chance to help someone for real—rescuing a PA from being sexually harassed by the director, Rourke. With implicit support from his father, Ryan orders the PA to slap and punish Rourke, and as the PA indulges in doling out the necessary punishment, we see both father and son sipping from their soft-drink sippy cup with frightfully similar expressions of glee.

What happens to Hughie’s father?

The most emotionally weary subplot of this episode deals with Hughie’s father, who, after having been injected with Vought, is shown to apparently recover very quickly. It leads to the Campbell family reconciling and reminiscing about past trips. It also reveals why Hughie is so protective of his father and why he had been so vehemently against his mother having power of attorney—because, similar to how he had been protective of his cat Jar-Jar, Hughie’s father explains that Hughie tended to hold onto his loved ones, even at the detriment of his moving on, as life threatened to punish him.

But as the years and seasons of The Boys have shown, Hughie has become more hardened and emotionally stable after having suffered through so many bizarre, violent, and traumatic experiences. Thus, when the Compund V effects slowly manifest themselves in typical Boys fashion, it subverts the power of phasing by making Hugh Senior uncontrollably run through people, tearing their hearts or breaking through their stomachs. It is a horrifying, dark, and disturbing moment whose resolution too is quite disturbing, as we see Hughie reason with his father and then effectively euthanize him, if only to put him out of his misery. “The Boys” universe is a punishing one, and this episode further reinforces that.

Meanwhile, double crosses and subterfuges occur in both camps. Ashley and A-Train finally make use of their partnership to frame Cameron Coleman as the prime perpetrator of the leak to remove Sage off A-Train’s back while Ashley works through her feelings at being dumped by Coleman. This leads to Coleman’s death by the members of the seven, along with Cate and Sam hitting him with their bare fists.

After the massacre at the farm house, Neumann finds the sawed-off leg of her ex-lover Sameer and believes him to have been killed. Unknown to her and all the members of The Boys, Kessler and Butcher have implemented their actual plan: kidnapping Sameer and convincing him in duress to make more samples of the virus for them. As the season begins to barrel towards its endgame, the situation is becoming more dire and desperate for almost all the primary characters.

The Boys (Season 4) Episode 6 “Dirty Business” Recap: 

The Boys Season 4 Episode 6.
Karl Urban (Billy Butcher)

A few works of house cleaning that truly carry over in this episode:

  • Hughie Sr.’s death had a rather massive impact (understandably so) on Hughie and his mother. While that results in both mother and son beginning to bond as life urges them to move on, the traumatising event that Hughie undergoes in this episode truly puts the events of the last episode into perspective for him.
  • Stan Edgar would be arrested and sent back to prison by MM, reneging on their flexible deal. Still, the episode ends with Victoria Neumann bursting the head of the security guards escorting Edgar back. The last we see of Edgar is looking back at Victoria Neumann as he is presumably kidnapped by her. I say kidnapped because when asked by Homelander at the Federalist bash at Tek-Knight’s mansion about Edgar, Neumann reassures him that Edgar won’t hurt them anymore. 
  • The Federalist bash on the other hand is a plan laid out by Sage, where Homelander, Sage, Firecracker (as she is the new face of Vought’s media brand) and A-Train would mingle with the Conservatives and try to convince them of a coup when Singer would finally be elected. The meeting would be held at Tek-Knight’s mansion, which is this universe’s iteration of Batman.
  • Frenchie had surrendered to the police in the previous episode, confessing for the crimes of murdering Colin’s parents and indulging in acts of terrorism. He refuses to meet Kimiko throughout the episode, and Kimiko would be left wondering why Frenchie hadn’t talked with her before taking this momentous decision.

Tek-Knight, as conceptualized by Garth Ennis in the comics, is a mixture of Batman and Iron Man, with Ennis lampooning both of the characters’ billionaire status and their using their generational wealth to wear costumes or suits of armor and fight crime. Ennis would go a step further and also bring in the allegations of the Comics Code Authority that the Golden Age comics would be depicting a relationship akin to grooming between Batman and Robin. Ennis takes that thread and integrates it within Tek-Knight’s character as a closeted homosexual with a propensity to stick his member without consent into other superheroes’ backsides.

When Tek-Knight is introduced in Gen-V Season 1, that proclivity is carried over, whereby we see Robert Vernon trying to tick his member within hole-shaped objects to pleasure himself. To that end, he would invite Webweaver, a Spider-themed superhero with a hole over his buttocks that would secrete web-fluid-like material. His addiction to heroin enema is what would lead Butcher to spend $50,000 on Wenweaver to dig up dirt on Firecracker back in Episode 4. This relationship Webweaver has as a CI with Butcher and MM is what leads MM to hatch a plan to get into the Federalist Bash.

MM’s plan to flip A-Train towards the side of The Boys is progressing in a somewhat positive direction, with A-Train speeding over to Toronto to finally call MM and reveal the death of Cameron Coleman, as he had been presumed to be the leak. To understand Sage’s plans further, MM goes over to Webweaver’s apartment and injects him with enough Rohyphnol to sedate him for over 48 hours. Then Hughie dressed up as Webweaver and would plant the bugs around Tek-Knight’s mansion, allowing the boys to learn about Sage and Neumann’s plans.

As it turns out, things don’t go according to plan for The Boys (when do they ever go?). For one, Hughie learns very quickly that Webweaver has been brought in for the pleasure of Tek-Knight at the Tek-Cave. Vernon and Ashley would participate in their sex games involving Webweaver, a practice that Vernon had been implementing with all his sidekicks, including his last one, Laddio, whom he now keeps imprisoned by tying him to the wall with chains and a leather gimp outfit. Hughie, like a faithful soldier and also unable to contact the team, goes along with sitting over a cake, farting on it, and then having his leg licked by Ashley, who tickled mercilessly while Ashley got one off. It is quite something of a scene, reminding you of last year’s episode Herogasm, though one must ask what the larger point of all these events is except to poke fun at the genre they are entrenched in, which the show hadn’t done in a while.

To rescue Hughie, Starlight, Kimiko, and MM break into the mansion. Starlight is stopped by Firecracker, and while she can’t use her powers, Annie manages to befuddle Firecracker in her tracks by apologizing to her and then injecting her with a sedative, which knocks her out. Meanwhile, Kimiko and MM manage to sneak into Tek-Knight’s office to search for Hughie, only to find Sage reading, having sneaked out of the party. Sage takes the unfortunate decision of needling MM about his daughter, and while Kimiko searches for the book on the bookshelf that would open the secret door, Sage tries to escape, but MM shoots her in the head. That action leads to Kimiko signaling A-Train, much to his chagrin because he is scared Homelander would find out.

We learn later that MM had a panic attack and fell unconscious. Kimiko signals A-Train, much to his chagrin because he is scared Homelander would find out. But Kimiko finally convinces him to take MM to the hospital for “the sake of his daughter” (the communication tactic of searching for books with appropriate titles to communicate was quite funny). As A-Train races away, carrying MM’s prone body to the hospital, Starlight and Kimiko take the elevator to the Tek-Cave, where they interrupt Vernon from operating on Hughie and cutting out “new holes to fuck.” Vernon had managed to identify Hughie because Hughie did not know the safe word.

After restraining Vernon, Kimiko tries to torture him to reveal his affiliation with the Seven in detail. It doesn’t work because of Vernon’s own masochism. But Laddio manages to escape from his restraints and informs the team about using Vernon’s retina to access his personal computer and thus the bank accounts. Almost 200 million of his generational wealth being sent off to charities is enough to force Vernon to talk, and he does, revealing that Homelander and Sage want to use the prison complex that his family owns to create internment camps.

While the characters escape when Vernon’s revelation strikes up enough anger in his butler to kill him by choking him to death, Homelander decides to pitch the plan of the coup on election day himself. He is significantly handicapped because Sage being struck by a bullet regresses her, and while her wound would heal, it is doubtful whether she would return to her normal self. As Homelander tries to convince the room full of politicians with his rhetoric, he is hit with counter-questions that are much more pragmatic in nature and thus leave Homelander completely unprepared. However, this allows an open platform for Victoria Neumann to establish her own base and manage to convince the politicians to her side, as it turns out, without Homelander’s help. Neumann again proves to be way more dangerous individually, irrespective of Homelander’s support.

Who is Joe Kessler?

The next day, Firecracker reveals to Homelander that Starlight had sneaked into the mansion and knocked her out. She also reveals to Homelander that Tek-Knight is dead. Before Homelander could eviscerate her on account of her inability to stop Starlight from escaping, Firecracker convinced Homelander about her loyalty to him. She finally lays down the coup de grace, revealing that she had injected herself with chemicals that would ensure she secreted breastmilk without becoming pregnant. The shot of Homelander sucking Firecracker’s breasts is a callback to how Madelyn Stillwell held power over Homelander and what that entails now that Firecracker can as well.

Since the beginning of the fourth season, fans have been speculating that the character of Joe Kessler (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a figment of Butcher’s imagination, similar to what Becca has been. If Becca is the angel, Kessler is the demon, and there have been moments in the previous episodes, especially considering Kessler hasn’t interacted with any of the other members of The Boys, that makes a convincing argument for this theory. 

As it turns out, that is the case. The kidnapping of Sameer to convince him to remake a strain of virus from one of the corpses of the infected lambs, ensuring that the strain is strong enough to topple Homelander, turns out to be more dangerous, according to Sameer. The virulence would have to be tenfold, with the virus required to be airborne and contagious for it to affect Homelander. However, in the process, every superpowered individual produced as a result of V would be infected and die horribly.

A global pandemic leading to genocide, which Kessler is wholeheartedly in support of, while Becca whispers in Butcher’s ear, pleading him to reconsider. Until Kessler shouts at Becca to shut up, which is when Butcher realizes and the apparition of Kessler reveals that the real Kessler never came out of Panjshir, Butcher hadn’t rescued him. This iteration of Kessler is presumably a manifestation of guilt, compounded by the tumor formed as a result of Compound V. The Kessler hallucination takes responsibility for the death of Ezekiel in the previous episode, revealing that Butcher had been overpowered by Kessler’s hallucination and had attacked. It is an obvious reveal, but it does work because of the performance of Karl Urban.

The Boys (Season 4) Episode 7 “The Insider” Recap:

Cameron Crovetti (Ryan)

To be clear, the fact that “The Boys” is becoming woke is kind of a ludicrous notion. It had always wanted to balance out its comics’ more juvenile roots by satirising the political system and capitalist pinnings of the world through the lens of superheroes. It’s just that any form of allegorical storytelling has slowly been shafted away, thus making the show feel more one-on-one with reality than ever before.

Thus, even though it feels allegorically blunt to the extreme, a January 6 coup also produces a feeling of time running out. That extends to Homelander as well. After last week’s debacle with Sage, where she devolved into a dummy due to being shot in the head and her brain taking a full day to regenerate, he has lost faith in her. It doesn’t help that finding the bug at Tek-Knight’s house further proves by association that the leak hadn’t been found and that Cameron Coleman had been needlessly killed. Thus, Homelander, along with Firecracker, chooses to “find the leak,” which entails locating the original and having to listen to his fumble in dread and reveal that he has been working with MM and Butcher to Homelander while web-farting. The fact that Homelander sloppy tears him in half doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, even if that had arguably been one of the more violent reprisal methods.

Meanwhile, the plan to hire a shooter to kill President “Dakota Bob” Singer is underway, and A-Train follows Sage surreptitiously, having recorded the exchange of information between the two and relaying that information. That would be the first mission for The Boys, with the second courtesy of Butcher himself (a disappointed Kessler looks at him and tries to dissuade him from not revealing). Butcher has managed to bail Frenchie out of prison and instructs him and Kimiko to go to the warehouse where Dr. Sameer Shah had been imprisoned and help him produce a newer strain of the virus, preferably not one that could cause a genocide.

The episode shows MM reinstating Butcher to the leadership of The Boys while also contemplating again leaving the country with Monique and their child. But this time, while he is packing his bags, he is visited by an A-Train, and for once, the tables are flipped. Unlike the previous episodes, where MM had been responsible for bringing A-Train to the light (somewhat), this time A-Train returns the favor, convincing MM of how his efforts to rehabilitate A-Train actually had him acting like a hero while saving MM from the panic attack he had experienced and how the kid at the hospital had looked at him like a true hero. And while MM’s points are valid—the fight he is involved in with the supes has taken the lives of his father and grandfather, and now MM is also close to losing himself—A-Train reminds him that escaping to Belize won’t solve the problem because it will spread to the world soon enough.

As far as personal character arcs are concerned, The Deep is slowly becoming more and more dissociated from reality and emotions. This finally comes to a head when he is confronted by Ambrosius (the octopus he shares a room with) and the revelation that she had known that he had been cheating on her with Sage. But unlike a comedic subplot, the Boys usually tend to saddle The Deep with; here they use this subplot as a catalyst to push him to the worst version of himself. For him, Sage’s validation as a “smart person” matters more, and when he is confronted, he breaks the aquarium housing Ambrosius and shuts the closet door. The following scene is horrifying, showing The Deep apologizing to himself while we hear Ambrosius losing her breath and dying of asphyxiation. It’s almost as if the death of Ambrosius shuts off any remaining empathy The Deep has for anyone, and thus his proclamation to Homelander that he is ready to kill anyone feels like the closest form of evolution of the character towards a darker side.

Meanwhile, back at the mission, Hughie and Starlight, under the leadership of Butcher, reach the hideout of the shooter. The moment of Butcher having a conversation with Kessler alone reveals Kessler less as a malevolent presence and more like Butcher’s worst fears and insecurities given form, questioning Butcher’s faith in Ryan and, by association, a soft spot for the “supes,” as well as malevolently suggesting that doing all these for Becca’s memory is ultimately an excuse for satisfying his bloodlust. In response, Butcher just flips the finger at Kessler and continues the silent treatment.

The moment the guys enter the hideout, they are duped by what we learn about the shooter as a shapeshifter, who manages to take the shape of a person by touching them, and in typical “The Boys” fashion, the shapeshifting occurs by the shapeshifter tearing his (or her?) skin off, revealing the next doppelganger underneath. It is genuinely gross, but it also feels like The Boys are dealing with a form of paranoia akin to a 70s thriller, where the shooter could be anyone.

A similar form of the 70s thriller occurs in Frenchie and Kimiko’s mission as well: how to form a new superweapon. Frenchie, due to his experiences as a terrorist, presumably in making dirty bombs, suggests creating a gradient to perhaps decrease the concentration of the virus. While Sameer reluctantly moves forward in recreating the virus, Kimiko and Frenchie reconcile in a way that finally feels that their subplots, which had ultimately felt mildly useless, are in a repetitive pattern. Kimiko revealed that she had pieced together why he had himself arrested, due to the guilt over the actions against Colin and his family, while we learn that Kimiko had lost her voice because she had been taught in the Shining Light to remain silent while executing their targets.

She was capable enough of murdering anyone without a sound, but she had found herself without her voice. It’s self-hatred that both of these characters have been experiencing, and talking with each other leads to a form of reconciliation. That helps them handle the problem immediately in front of them when Sameer uses the virus that he had just recreated and stabs Kimiko with the needle. While Sammer hobbles away and escapes, Frenchie has to cut her leg off to keep the infection from spreading.

Meanwhile, Hughie meets in secret with Neumann, where his disbelief at her methods, considering that they had worked together in Season 3, leads to him revealing to her about the internment camps. While Neumann holds his ground about their deal—that any information leaked about her would automatically ensure that she responds in kind—Hughie realizes that Neumann had no idea about the internment camps that Homelander and Sage had planned with Tek-Knight to house dissidents.

At the boys’ office, they are visited by The Deep and Black Noir; Homelander finally has had enough and pulls the figurative trigger by calling the supes in his employ to attack. Butcher and Annie, the only two members at the time, start battling them. While Annie is still unable to use her powers because of the mental block due to her trauma from having attacked Firecracker on live television, that doesn’t stop her from trying to beat The Deep into a pulp, hitting in his gills where it hurts. Black Noir meanwhile tries to attack Butcher, who retaliates back by hitting him with his trusty crowbar and then shooting with a sawed-off shotgun. It doesn’t exactly stop the two of them, but it gives them time to recover. However, that means Butcher and Annie ultimately start getting overwhelmed, until A-Train arrives to battle Deep, while MM uses his machine gun to fire rounds at the flying Black Noir repeatedly until he is shot out of the window. Meanwhile, A-Train speed punches Deep, making him dazed enough for Starlight to overpower him and finally punch him constantly until he is spouting blood before knocking him out with a manhole cover.

Of course, A-Train’s move exposes him to Homelander, who couldn’t believe the betrayal, and upon further learning that Sage had known about A-Train’s espionage and had been ensuring the messages A-Train had been relaying were just about valuable enough to serve her and, by extension, Homelander’s ends, Homelander, however, has had enough of Sage’s illustrious plans and her secrets and fires her. It is perhaps inevitable that it would have ended this way, with Homelander ultimately choosing to surround himself with sycophants, but it is also quite telling that his shine for them is running out as well, even if that includes Firecracker’s breast milk. We also learn via a funny exchange that Sage had been carrying out a similar affair with Noir as well as Deep, except Sage hadn’t been lobotomizing herself to spend time with Noir.

The episode ends with a measure of foreboding and hope. While recovering at a bar, Butcher watches an Avenue 5 Christmas Special (essentially The Boys riffing on the Muppets), where Ryan is the only human talking with the muppet versions of the Seven until he stops the live recording of the program and begins speaking to the ether, beyond the television screen, to the people watching the show, extolling the values of family and how his mother would love Christmas and her husband, but she would have hated this. Butcher, watching this, smugly remarks to Kessler that this is why he had faith in the kid. But before he could rejoice, both on Ryan’s gumption as well as the fact that they have a working sample of the virus courtesy of Kimiko’s sawed-off infected leg, he loses consciousness as the tumour (Kessler) takes over.

We also see in that same bar Annie clicking a selfie with a middle-aged woman. Later, when Annie goes to the washroom, she is knocked out by that same woman, who is revealed to be that shapeshifter, imprisoned in an unknown location, while the shapeshifter takes on Annie’s skin and later sleeps with Hughie to gain access to Starlight’s safe, and the laptop that contains sensitive information about Neumann.

The Boys (Season 4) Episode 8 “Season Four Finale” Recap: 

If one is confused by the name of the season finale or the lack thereof, here’s the wind-up: it was previously called “Assassination Run.” Until an event occurred on July 13, 2024—the attempted assassination of the Republican candidate and the former president of the United States. For a show so openly commenting on the political climate in the real world, naming the final episode based on an assassination episode would have been tasteless.

That doesn’t mean the show is stopping its incisive, blunt, and sledgehammer commentary (all in equal measure) any time soon. A-Train’s expulsion from the Seven is referenced by the cancellation of the film that had been directed, hilariously extrapolated by Ashley as a “tax write-off.”. And of course, January 6 rolls around with the counting of electoral votes to ensure Dakota Bob gets declared president fair and square.

Meanwhile, Hughie’s day with shapeshifter Annie is about to become a whole lot more complicated as she proposes to Hughie, and Hughie plants a ring on her finger. That leads to another round of sex, which further increases the feeling of dread as we witness this shapeshifter taking advantage of the situation. She gloats about that as much as she does about the real Annie at her prison, which is a warehouse. Erin Moriarty’s performance deserves to be praised, as she is seriously excellent at playing the creepy shapeshifter, who we learn is sociopathic. The gnarly nature of the shapeshifting throughout her life has made her forget her real face. We also realize the reason she sweats a lot and that she has to recharge her appearance by touching the person for extended periods of time.

That affords her a certain amount of mind-reading ability, due to which she is privy, and thus acts as the perfect soundboard to taunt Annie about her failure to reactive her powers throughout the season and whether Annie’s actions in the past determined her character—a question we have seen Annie wrestling with throughout the episode. Recharged, she rejoins Hughie, MM, and Kimiko at the underground bunker of President Singer, a last resort that MM had to execute because Frenchie is unable to synthesize the virus quickly enough and also because the shapeshifter had deleted all the dirt on Neumann, thus basically putting the Boys on the backfoot once again (a situation that the show had been guilty of since the beginning of the second season, but especially in this season). Very soon, Hughie gets wise to Shapeshifter Annie’s tics and warns MM about them, trying to play along, but the Shapeshifter soon gets wise to them and attacks them, killing the security guards pretty brutally and knocking MM and Hughie out.

Kimiko rushes out with the president, only to be attacked by the shapeshifter. While the confrontation is happening, Hughie and MM manage to recover and get Singer to the elevator, but the shapeshifter meanwhile manages to kill Kimiko by twisting her head backwards. All hopes seemingly lost, the boys are rescued by the real Annie, who had managed to free herself of her restraints by dragging her hands out, flesh being torn off be damned. Apparently “find my phone” works on underground bunkers as well, but the logistics aren’t important. What is important though is the confrontation between the shapeshifter and Annie, with Annie finally getting the upper hand and choking the shapeshifter out while voicing out that she might not be aware whether she is a good person, but she is able to “beat her ass,” and that should be good enough.

This comes just after Victoria Neumann is called into Firecracker’s news channel with Homelander, where Homelander reveals her superhero identity on live television by applying heat vision to her, which she can deflect. Homelander had enough of Sage’s plans and machinations and wanted to fast-track the coup, whose first step led to Neumann’s outing. With the assassination attempt on the President thwarted, Neumann finds herself completely lost and further disenchanted when Homelander threatens her by reminding her that she has been his puppet throughout, and if she plans to move independently, it would cost Zoe’s safety. That finally breaks the straw at the camel’s back, as Neumann finally calls Hughie and proposes the protection of her and her daughter in exchange for helping The Boys take down Vought.

Hughie too chooses to accept, a move that feels earned considering he has been advocating for peace and a lack of bloodshed ever since the loss of his father. But the show’s apparent lack of empathy towards what has happened to Hughie this entire season feels like an odd way to mine humor. Considering what happened at Tek-Knight’s dungeon could be easily construed as sexual assault, this incident with the shape-shifter is oddly similar to the Steve Trevor and Diana Prince relationship in Wonder Woman 1984, with Trevor ostensibly occupying the body of another man. In both cases, those could easily be taken as rape. What’s baffling is that Annie is not at all empathetic about what Hughie has gone through, as if the reckoning of the dilemma of her character somehow makes her emotionally more stunted. But it’s during these conversations that we would see the reconciliation of Annie and Hughie, as well as Frenchie and Kimiko finally getting together.

At the hospital, where Butcher is admitted on account of Grace, we see Ryan arriving to visit Butcher as a response to Butcher’s text. It is a mostly uneasy affair, with Butcher trying to ease Ryan into the situation without jumping the gun by listening to Kessler’s advice in his ear. While the two would be playing games, Mallory learned of the attempt on the president’s life, which compounded with Neumann’s revelation on live television, and urged her to jump the gun and reveal the truth about Homelander and how he had raped Ryan’s mother.

Ryan would be initially hesitant to come with Grace, but once this revelation occurs, Ryan isn’t entirely convinced as much as Butcher had wanted to believe. Homelander’s perspective throughout this season has affected Ryan enough to understand the narrative and recontextualize the current situation as the government trapsd grooming Supes to utilize them for their ends. It leads to a sad and disturbing end for Grace when Ryan pushes her away into the wall when she threatens to trap him inside the safe house, which had been renovated as a hospital to lure Ryan in. The death of Grace is enough for Ryan to sever ties with Butcher, as well as for Butcher to finally give in to Kessler.

“Kessler,” as it turns out, is the unholy mixture of Temp V and Compound V given form, which leads to not only reducing Butcher back to the hard-hitting, no-nonsense killer back in Season 1, but also a Supes with tentacles erupting from his chest that he utilizes to wrap the unprepared Neumann around and kill her by tearing her body apart. As the violent deed ends, much to the shock of the Boys, Butcher walks up to Frenchie and takes the sniper rifle loaded with the virus, presumably to take care of Homelander by any means necessary.

At Vought, Homelander is busy tying up loose ends. Instructing Ashley to give a list of people with incriminating evidence against him, Homelander instructs Deep, Black Noir, and Firecracker to kill all of them. Deep, for completion’s sake, also adds Ashley’s name to the list. Realizing her situation, she sneaks into Homelander’s destroyed room (infuriated by the discovery of Butcher and Becca’s dog in Ryan’s bag) and injects herself with Compound V. The last we see of Ashley is her doubling down, in pain, while devolving into some form of goblin creature.

The Boys (Season 4) Episode 8 “Season Four Finale” Ending, Explained: 

Season 4 The Boys Finale Ending
Claudia Doumit (Victoria Neuman), Antony Starr (Homelander)

Does Homelander take over the White House?

As we see Homelander lamenting at his plans falling apart upon learning of the death of Neumann, Sage visits and informs him that it had all been a part of her larger plan. She had known that Neumann would not have been a good enough patsy, and she had manipulated the events so that Singer’s plans to kill Neumann leaked to the media. That automatically makes him ineligible for running, and the first speaker of the House, who is under Homelander’s paw, takes over the post. Homelander, surprised at the turn of events, asks why Sage is helping him, to which Sage reiterates, thanking him for allowing her to manipulate in such a high position. It had been fun, and she had already taken into account Homelander going off the reservation. She warns him to listen to her the next time. As it turns out, he might have to, because the medications taken by Firecracker to synthesize breast milk are making her sicker and, more importantly, unattractive and unimportant to Homelander.

With the President being sworn in, he calls up Homelander to the podium, and Homelander takes the opportunity to declare martial law, essentially creating a fascistic state. He instructs soldiers and supes to hunt down the Deep State Starlighters. We see in scenes where Frenchie and Kimiko are captured by Cindy (Gen V) and Sam (Gen V), with Cindy using her mind powers to control Frenchie into giving himself up to the authorities, while Sam holds the powerful Kimiko at bay. Kimiko’s voice returns upon witnessing Frenchie being taken away, but it’s a little too late. Meanwhile, we see MM captured by Love Sausage, while Annie and Hughie are stopped mid-way by a ferry being thrown in front of their car. As the authorities drag Hughie away, Annie finds herself regaining her powers just at the nick of time to escape the range of the supe employing telekinesis. In the final scene, we see Butcher driving at the dead of night, seemingly on the way to kill Homelander, the rear-view mirror revealing Kessler fully in control, as the radio plays Firecracker’s sermon, “Make America Super Again.”.

A post-credit scene reveals Homelander being led by the President to a secret bunker, where he finds the still-recuperating body of Soldier Boy in a hyperbaric chamber, teasing the return of the fan-favourite character for the final season.

The Boys (Season 4) Final Thoughts:

I believe that The Boys TV show shares a propensity to remain in holding patterns for multiple seasons. It’s a pattern exhibited by shows where Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are executive producers, and The Boys as It Turns Out isn’t much different. The problem had started expressing itself in Season 2, with Season 3 being one of the big culprits. It’s hard to take into account the impact of the “big moments” of each season when every season ultimately reverts everything to the status quo: the boys still on the back foot, Homelander, and the Seven right at the top.

Season 4 is where the flaws begin to feel more noticeable, though I admire some of the choices being made by the characters, as well as the redemption arc being charted for Butcher and how that affects him as his past comes back to haunt him. Similarly, while Homelander’s exploration of his inner psyche could be criticized as a road well- traveled, it’s still a wonderful road. And Anthony Starr is such a fantastic actor, it’s also moments of interesting twists and progress being made to ensure the validity of character turns, like that of A-Train.  its hard not to fault the showrunners for choosing to focus a lot more on Homelander and his relationship with Ryan as well as Sage. There are also moments of interesting twists and progress being made to ensure the validity of character turns, like that of A-Train. It’s a surprise that A-Train doesn’t appear at all in the final episode. A similar progression is done somewhat with Ashley, though it doesn’t go too far, as that is a character so entrenched within capitalism that it would be hard for her to leave anyway.

But some of these good elements can’t excuse some of the major flaws in the show. While I admire Kripke and the writers’ room for leaving caution to the wind and directly commenting on the current political and media climate of the 2020s, the result leads to a severe lack of allegorical storytelling, as well as any semblance of the show being satire. It’s too serious and too interested in the commentary of it all to poke fun cleverly at the targets it is commenting against. It’s fun to identify the real-life counterparts against whom characters like Firecracker or Neumann might be based, but that gets old quickly. Its telling that Episode 6 is the one I liked precisely because while that episode turns out to be a detour, it is one rare occurrence for The Boys to actually lampoon popular comic book superheroes in incisive ways.

The Boys also had always maintained Hughie to be the one representative of normalcy to react to abnormalities and crazy events occurring in the universe, but even I can’t deny that some instances just push it too far. The events that occur with Hughie are traumatic, not moments of comedy that the showrunners would be pointing at. It is reinforced in Episodes 7 and 8, especially with the events that occur between him and the shapeshifter. In sharp contrast, both Frenchie and Kimiko’s subplots are the perfect example of maintaining a holding pattern to give the illusion of character development without progressing in any meaningful way until the last moments of the final episode.

The problem with the final 15 minutes of the episode isn’t that they are well-directed or that they bring a jolt of energy or a sense of foreboding to the entire proceedings. It’s that the ending, to shock and loudly comment on the state of the world, makes character choices that almost violently push everything back to the status quo again. Butcher’s character arc effectively gets nullified with Kessler finally taking control of his body or Ryan finally walking away. It’s punting forward to the potential final season that could have been resolved within this season, or, god forbid, two seasons ago.

The performances are still what pull you back in, especially Urban as Butcher, Starr as Homelander, surprisingly, Chance Crawford as The Deep, Jesse T. Usher as A-Train, and Laz Alonso as Mother’s Milk, as well as a host of others. However, the energy has noticeably started to sag. Even die-hard fans of the show can wish for the story to end, and honestly, I won’t blame them.

Read More: Everything Coming to Prime Video in June 2024

The Boys (Season 4) Trailer

The Boys (Season 4), Episodes 1-4 Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Boys (Season 4), Episodes 1-4 Cast: Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Jessie T. Usher, Laz Alonso, Chace Crawford
Where to watch The Boys

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