I’m Wondering How ‘The Boys’ Will End

Season 4, episode 4 continues to lean into its villains, making me wonder if there’s anything to live for in this world.

The Boys is entering dangerous territory this week (though when isn’t it?). With the series centered on a political struggle so in tune with our own, the lines between smart satire and empty mimicry are beginning to blur. Let me be clear: Homelander (Antony Starr) is fantastic as a Trumpian Superman. But there’s only so much political commentary The Boys can make until Homelander is simply parroting the presidential hopeful—just with laser beams that shoot out of his eyes. It’s something to keep an eye on as season 4—and, you know, election season—progresses.

Still, I have to ask: How is The Boys going to end?

Well, as of season 4, episode 4, we’re still far from the end. Creator Eric Kripke recently confirmed that the series will call it quits after season 5, which gives the writers more time to see how November 2024 shakes out in the real world. But the difficulty of sticking the landing is all I can think about this season. We’ve already witnessed The Boys put countless right-wing talking points on Homelander’s agenda. We’ve also watched him echo famous superhero-movie moments. (See: when he talked to himself through a broken mirror, just like Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin in Spider-Man.) But what is all this political chaos, violence, and superhero shenanigans leading to in the end?

To reach that answer, we must go back to the beginning. Outside of all the octopus-fucking and eyeball-gouging, The Boys’ central question in season 1 is still its most enticing: What is power? Is it having powers, literally? For most characters on The Boys, flying around, running insanely fast, and possessing immeasurable strength is all the power that anyone needs. Except when it’s not. When you threaten the natural order of the world (Homelander’s politics) or when you abuse your gifts (A-Train killing Hughie’s girlfriend), then people see how dangerous power really is.

So when a bunch of normal guys nicknamed “the Boys” banded together to kill the evil supes, the series was really cooking with gas. Now I feel just as lost as the current political climate. The Boys has villains galore, but heroes are harder to find. Nearly every character sits somewhere on a graph of varying degrees of terrible. For the majority of the ones left alive, all that seemingly remains is the sweet release of death by having their head blown open, Scanners-style. Hopefully there’s more to wish for in the world of The Boys than that.

antony starr homelander
Amazon Prime
Homelander channels Green Goblin.

Funny enough, episode 4 sees the supes searching for any way out of this hellish universe other than getting popped like a zit. As Sage (Susan Heyward) suggests, everyone can avoid their fates if they all just stop what they’re doing and eat some damn Bloomin’ Onions from Outback Steakhouse instead. While I wait for her motivations to turn villainous, the “smartest person in the world” apparently spends her nights performing frontal lobotomies on herself to stop thinking for a few hours. Her brain simply grows back, so her self-surgery essentially has the effect of getting high. When the Deep (Chace Crawford) discovers her secret, she gets horny and asks if he wants to watch Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. (That’s called Tuesday for me—no lobotomy required.)

Meanwhile, Homelander is still on the warpath. He spends episode 4 returning to the Stranger Things–esque lab that tested his abilities as a child. He terrorizes the employees and gets his revenge—killing everyone in the joint and leaving with a bloody smile. Elsewhere, Hughie (Jack Quaid) makes a deal with A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) to save his father. He has the super-speeder steal some Compound V for him, later telling Butcher (Karl Urban), “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life hating anybody.” Hughie decides not to give the superhero drug to his father, but his mother (Rosemarie Dewitt) somehow finds the vial and administers it anyway. After four episodes of lying silently in a hospital bed, Simon Pegg wakes up.

antony starr homelander
Amazon Prime
Homelander is out for revenge.

More chaos abounds. Starlight (Erin Moriarty) and Firecracker’s (Valorie Curry) battle of political talking points evolves into a personal and nasty rivalry. All of their dirty laundry is aired out live on air, including Firecracker’s past statutory-rape charge stemming from a relationship with a fifteen-year-old boy. In retaliation, Firecracker leaks Annie’s medical records and past abortion. She beats Firecracker to a pulp onstage, even though the cameras are still rolling. This act of violence is exactly what they were pushing for by agitating her all day—and it’s likely all anyone will remember.

Elsewhere, Frenchie (Tomer Capone) finally tells Colin (Elliot Knight) that he’s responsible for the death of his entire family. Colin beats him within an inch of his life, telling him that he’ll murder him if he ever sees him again. He should kill him right now! But it’s a win-win scenario here for Frenchie. His secret is out and everyone lives. If he thought he would ever have a relationship with this guy, he’s more delusional than I imagined.

Really, everyone on The Boys seems out of their mind. Politician Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) is working on an anti-supe campaign even though she’s a supe herself. Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) refuses to deal with her past even though it repeatedly tries to kill her. Butcher’s brain cancer is killing him. Maybe they’ll all soon realize that there are other ways to live than this.

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