Episode 6 – The Bloody Doors Off
The Boys Season 2 has been somewhat of a mixed bag so far. After the twisted fun introduction to the violent and destructive antics of the team of misfits in the first season, there was a lull as the second instalment stalled slightly with its first couple of episodes. However, after Episode 5 and now 6 it is safe to say The Boys is (almost) back to its old self and this latest episode is easily the best so far.
Escalating tension is on the rise and the dysfunctional relationship between Homelander (Anthony Starr) and Stormfront (Aya Cash) is now at breaking point as Homelander’s paranoia begins to get the better of him. Stormfront’s steely, carefree visage is starting to slip, and rightly so, she is showing signs of being afraid of the immensely powerful leader of the Seven. Homelander is becoming increasingly unhinged, and this season could well be building towards a crescendo that sees him losing control, hinting that perhaps his arc will be very different come the start of the already greenlit Season 3.
The video of Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligot) and Homelander allowing the aeroplane of innocent passengers to die as shown in the first season is leaked and she is confronted by her partner, Elena, who is now aware that Maeve has been witness to war-crimes at the hands of the Seven and by proxy, the Voight Corporation.
The narrative nucleus of the episode is the action-packed and often hilarious trip for Butcher and his team following a lead discovery by Starlight as she sneaks a look at Stormfront’s laptop. At the facility they discover that ‘Supes’ are being engineered and Stormfront is at the heart of the research. She is attempting to construct the perfect superhero race and in doing so, eradicate regular humans. As Mothers Milk, Frenchie and Kimiko venture inside the facility, Hughie, Butcher and Starlight keep watch from outside. When the infiltrating group are discovered, there is a jailbreak resulting in all the incarcerated and rather unhappy super-powered patients escaping, and all hell breaks loose. In a scene that is as bloody as it is comical, we see exploding bodies, telekinesis and a 30ft strangulating penis. All the while Shawn Ashmore’s Lamplighter switches sides to help the heroes escape. Seeing him in the role of Lamplighter, a kind of polar opposite to his Iceman character in the X-Men movies is a huge amount of fun and just the right amount of meta.
As always, Starr’s Homelander shines the brightest. He is a tightly-wound ball of rage and watching his eye twitching through a forced and fake smile as he oozes psychotic charisma never gets old. He plays perfectly the ‘what if Superman was an A-hole’ role incredibly and he chews every scene he is in. He is not simply a pantomime villain however, he is multidimensional, a layered and quite terrifying character. Despite the show’s fantastical premise, you can’t help but think about what would happen if someone so powerful and equipped with such potentially devastating powers actually existed. He is a ticking (nuclear) time bomb and this season seems to be building towards a Homelander doomsday clock event.
While half of the team are busy in the facility, the lovable Hughie is seriously wounded by a wondering patient and his two companions struggle to get him medical help. After Starlight inadvertently kills an innocent man whilst commandeering a car, she and Butcher realise that despite their dislike for one another, they are possibly more alike than they care to admit. With the ‘will they, wont they’ strand of the narrative reaching fever pitch. Starlight and Hughie’s relationship is genuinely quite compelling (if not entirely frustrating) and there is fun to be had in the journey ahead. Although, The Boys is a show that does not conform to predictable storytelling and will no doubt throw a spanner, or possibly a Homelander, into the works to shake things up – it is still a pleasure to see them interact in their awkward scenes together.
With only two more episodes to go, The Boys has seemingly found its stride but has a lot to cover in the closing few episodes to allow at least a smidge of satisfaction, as well as set up Season 3. It will certainly be entertaining and at a guess, shocking.