The Boys Executive Producers and Stars Discuss Homelander’s Terrifying and Brilliant Unscripted Moment, Plus a Major Annie Reveal

We won’t soon forget Homelander’s maniacal laugh in the latest episode of The Boys.

The disturbing moment took place during the supe’s visit to the Vought lab where he was raised. Homelander tormented the workers, first killing the scientist who experimented on him by burning him alive in the same heat chamber where they used to test the young supe’s invincibility. Then Homelander set his sadistic sights on Marty, the man who gave him the nickname Squirt after he caught a teenage Homelander masturbating. As punishment, Homelander forced Marty to pleasure himself in front of the other Vought employees as Homelander unleashed unhinged laughter before eventually lasering Marty’s private parts.

Barbara, the woman in charge at the lab, told Homelander that he’ll never be free of his need for approval and love because Vought brought in psychologists who engineered that neediness into him to make him obedient. But Homelander doesn’t see himself as a mere human and he tried to prove it by killing everyone in the lab, leaving the space with a bloody, smiling expression on his face.

“I think it was a really important part of the journey and the season for the character, and overall, in the show, for the character, because I think he really believed that that was, like, a really great, cathartic, therapeutic exercise, going back there,” Homelander’s portrayer Antony Starr tells TVLine in the above video. “It was a little messy, particularly for other people, but I think, at the end, he comes out of it really thinking he’s done the right thing and done something great to move forward, and he can be a better father now for the kid.”

Elsewhere in the episode, Starlight’s main enemy, Firecracker, revealed on live TV that Annie had an abortion six months ago. The very public declaration spurred an angry Annie to beat up Firecracker on TV. While that violent outburst will have consequences for the blonde, her relationship with Hughie remains in a good place because he was already aware of the abortion.

“I’m so glad that I’m able to take on that subject matter,” star Erin Moriarty (aka Annie/Starlight) says. “And I’m so glad that I’m able to take it on in a way that portrays both perspectives on it, which is that Hughie knows that it was, unambiguously, the right thing to do, and Annie is struggling to decondition herself from her religious upbringing, and you see the struggle in her. I hope that it brings a bit more nuance to the conversation that we, quite frankly, lack.”

Below, showrunner Eric Kripke weighs in on Homelander’s “scariest” moment yet (which was unscripted!) and the importance of normalizing Annie’s choice.

To be clear, that was not scripted. In the script, he blasts the guy and then walks over to him. When Ant is playing that laugh, when I saw it in the dailies, I just was like, “Jesus Christ, that could be the scariest I’ve ever seen Homelander,’ and I’ve seen hundreds of hours of Homelander film. That to me was just such a terrifying and brilliant performance, and I would like to announce my campaign entitled Give That Guy an Emmy Already.

The Boys Season 4 Homelander

I think he thinks it’s a huge turning point, because he thinks that he’s finally killed the parts of him that are human and has fully embraced his godhood. But he’ll never be able to get rid of the parts of him that are human because he’s human. And as much as he represses it and is disgusted by it and hates it and tries to kill it, he’ll never quite be able to. I think that’s part of his hubris and part of the tragedy of Homelander, if you can use that word, which is if only he embraced his humanity, not only would he be happier, but the world would be a much better place. But he can’t, and it’s just pushing him further and further into psychosis.

She’s alive. She’s in a [room] that has been welded shut. But I assume Vought people will eventually get down there and open the door. So he leaves Barbara alive so she can live on with all the trauma that Homelander feels.

The Boys Season 4 Deaths

The Boys Body Count: Season 4’s Biggest Deaths, Ranked by Goriness

Obviously, a complicated question, and as I’m a dude, I want to handle it just right and get a lot of women to weigh in, and not necessarily women from the show, but women who have had that experience. One, Roe v. Wade was overturned while we were in the writers’ room, and we were reacting to that. And two, I think the reason we wanted to play it off-camera was to make the point that, in most television shows or movies, an abortion is presented as this like earth-shattering, apocalyptic event, when in truth it’s a fairly common practice that thousands and thousands and thousands of women have experienced, and them talking about it and normalizing it is frowned upon. And so, we were really interested in, obviously, it’s a decision that she agonized over and found really wrenching, but she made the decision and then she continued with her life. We wanted to just make the point that it’s a thing that many women have done and you don’t have to play it like it’s a Lifetime TV movie. It can be normal. We were just trying to normalize it for women so that they don’t have to feel like they’re the only one who went through it.

I told Erin as soon as we knew, and she understood the reasons we were doing it and understood what it meant for the character, and also understood how something like that could really be used as ammo, this intensely personal thing being used as ammo by Firecracker. So she was all in for the challenge. She had lots of questions, and I think she handled it really responsibly and like the pro she is.

The Boys Season 4 Annie

Right, exactly. Everything is always like the most dramatic explosion in people’s lives in other media, and at least from the women I’ve spoken to, that just isn’t the case most of the time.

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