Episode 5: We Gotta Go Now
Vought is still in the middle of producing their propaganda, Avengers-style movie which now features a homosexual romantic b-plot for Maeve (which she hates). A-Train also hates has issues with his role in the movie, trying to rewrite his exit of the 7 in his own terms. After refusing to do the scene on Vought's terms, Ashley basically tells him he can do the scene and retire with his dignity (and severance) intact, or get fired for illegally injecting himself with compound V. He relents, and does the scene. In between takes, Homelander finds out that someone taped and leaked a video of him killing one of the supe "terrorists" that he unleashed, inadvertently killing a kid in the process. This starts a wave of protests against him for war crimes.
Butcher has basically given up, and is ready to check out before Hughie and MM track him down at his Aunt's house and talk him out of it. While there, they notice that Black Noir is staking out the house. They call in a gas leak as cover, and rig the house with booby traps for his attack. He attacks, and Butcher tries to be the rearguard while the rest of them escape. Noir is about to kill him, but MM and Hughie intervene and draw his attention. Noir is about to kill Hughie when Butcher tells him he's essentially on a dead man's switch, and if he hurts them that photos he took of Homelander's song will be leaked to the press. Edgar then intervenes, and makes him a deal to call Noir off in return for the information never being released. Butcher reveals after that he was bluffing. He gets into one car and MM/Hughie get into another, the next destination unclear.
Meanwhile, Frenchie is tracking Kimiko, who is doing some VIOLENT hits for his old flame, Cherie. She has basically given up since Liberty/Stormfront killed her younger brother and she realized she isn't strong enough to kill her in retribution. Stormfront starts playing mind games with Starlight, bringing her mom to the set of the movie and forcing a confrontation where she insinuates that she knows that she leaked Compound V to the press. Stormfront later catches Starlight snooping around in her trailer, and they come to a sort of mexican standoff regarding the dirt they have on each other. The Deep has gone public with his marriage that the Church of the Collective has set him up with, and become one of their spokespeople.
Homelander goes to one of the rallies which is being lead by Congresswoman Neuman, the series tongue-and-cheek AOC reference. He tries to calm them down using Us-vs-them propaganda rhetoric, which just enrages them more. He goes full unhinged and uses his laser vision to reap through the crowd like a scythe, very clearly getting a sick pleasure out of it. It's revealed to be him dreaming and in reality, he gives up and flies away to meet Stormfront.
Stormfront gives Homelander access to her meme team, and they get to work changing his image. Now that he has essentially submitted to her, she starts to take control. They have an insane, BDSM super-romp which starts with him lasering her boobs and ends with them doing a flying Kama Sutra move or something while 'Dream On' plays.
I love this episode because it essentially shows both Homeland and Butcher reaching their respective breaking points. Homelander realizes he needs help to maintain his image in the viral media age, and Billy realizes that he doesn't have to be such an asshole, and resolves to get Becca back (presumably with the help of the boys).
This was also one of the great episodes in how it was extremely in touch with the cultural moment. The way Vought immediately tries to manicure and monetize Maeve's sexuality is a pretty sharp jab at Hollywood, as is the Homelander line about loving the "Joss rewrite" of Maeve's movie storyline in The 7 movie.
The use of "Dream On" to end the show was great, especially when you think about the lyrics. It's about insecurities (Homelander) and also how you can't take back the past (Butcher). It also just matched the sex romp perfectly.
The two subplots I've been getting a little bummed with are Kimiko/Frenchie and The Deep. I think they're purposely on the periphery because they're going to play a much bigger role later, but I want more from them.
Once again, Antony Starr has to be one of the most underrated actors working right now. The way he is able to contort his face and voice to match the arrogant yet almost wounded puppy type character of Homelander is un fucking real.
- I think Maeve and A-Train are at their breaking point of outright rebelling against the 7. The former basically said that she's resolved to at least kill Homelander.
- Now that Homelander has submitted to Stormfront, it will be interesting to see how their power dynamic moves going forward. If I had to guess, he is going to betray her at some point.
- Where do The Boys go from here? I genuinely don't know what their next target is.
Per Gamespot, here are some easter eggs
- The scene where the Albanian mobsters argue about Hamilton before getting destroyed by Kimiko is apparently taken nearly word-for-word from the comics.
- The guy that Stormfront is calling at the Sage Grove center is apparently Lamplighter (played by Sean Ashmore). He murdered Mallory's children before the events of the series began.
- When Starlight finds the emails about Sage Grove on Stormfront's computer, they're all from Edgar.