By Nick Schager
September 18, 2020 at 07:00 AM EDT
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  • TV Show
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  • Amazon Prime
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Things are falling apart for both Homelander and Billy in “We Gotta Go Now,” which proves that keeping a superhero career on track, or a rebel squad intact, requires a little help from one’s friends. Or, in some cases, from a dangerously ambitious schemer.

The Boys’ fifth episode opens with a scene from Dawn of the Seven in which Maeve pulls a young female hacker out of some post-battle rubble. Their dialogue is laced with lesbian subtext, and those sentiments quickly become overt text, as Maeve confesses, “I’m a lot like you. I’m gay.” With the scene wrapped, Maeve visits Homelander at the production’s monitor tent, where he’s rewatching the footage. He acts supportive of her new, open lifestyle, but it’s clear he’s still furious about the situation.

Ashley interrupts this meeting to show Homelander a video of him callously killing a foreign terrorist with his laser eyes. “So what, they’re all starving but one of them’s got a f---ing cell phone?” he asks dismissively. He becomes concerned about the optics of this clip, however, when Ashley lets him know that his approval rating has dropped 9.5 points — a state of affairs that the esteem-hungry Homelander can’t abide. Hearing that protests against him are about to take place only further sets him off, and Ashley relays that Edgar and corporate demand he respond with a “No comment at this time.” It’s obvious he’s not going to listen to that directive. Stormfront prods Homelander by saying she has a way to handle the crisis and is “here when you want me.”

At a dank music club, Billy drowns his Becca-related sorrows in booze and cigarettes before heading to the front of the stage where a metal band is roaring through a set. Looking to dish out some punishment, and receive it as well, he picks a fight with a security guard and gets beaten up by the establishment’s patrons — much to his twisted delight.

Afterward, while buying frozen peas to soothe his facial wounds, Billy receives a call from Hughie, who says he’s not mad at Billy for prioritizing Becca. He also informs Billy that Stormfront is Liberty, and is probably the one responsible for Susan’s murder — all as Billy shops for a pet toy. Billy tells Hughie that “you were always like my canary, I suppose,” and then confesses that he’s heading off the grid, hangs up, and destroys his SIM card. Hughie finds this exchange troubling and recounts it to Mother’s Milk, who immediately realizes something’s up.

After filming their “Girls Get it Done” moment in Dawn of the Seven, Stormfront asks Starlight why she’s suddenly so interested in her — an impression also noticed by the film’s director Adam (P.J. Byrne). Backstage, A-Train tries to give director Adam a rewritten version of his final scene that reconfigures his farewell speech in more ambiguous terms. Adam balks and says take it up with Ashley. A clip from Extra covers the Deep’s marriage to Cassandra Schwartz (Katy Breier), an anthropology professor at Vassar. They’re also interviewed by Katie Couric as part of their strategy to confront and mend the Deep’s image as a sexual predator.

Billy shows up at the suburban home of his aunt Judy (Barbara Gordon), growls that he doesn’t want to talk to his parents (despite his dad’s fatal cancer), and reunites with his white bulldog Terror. Taking Terror for a walk, he wonders what all of his efforts were for, thereby giving voice to his mounting hopelessness.

In New York City, Kimiko enters a bar where Russian mobsters are debating the decision to cast Puerto Ricans as founding fathers in Hamilton. She brutally kills them (she literally peels the skin off the face of her first adversary), and Frenchie arrives and is stunned by the carnage. He later finds Kimiko at a church where she’s receiving hitman assignments from Albanians via Cherie. Frenchie wants Kimiko to stop (“This is poison for your soul. I know”), but she’s furious and rejects his aid, which causes Frenchie to leave, chastising her, “go be a monster.”

Returning from his stroll with Terror, Billy is greeted by Mother’s Milk and Hughie, who deduced he was visiting his canine pal at Judy’s. They refuse to leave, so Billy does. Upon entering his van, he spots Black Noir watching him from a nearby rooftop. He returns to the house, warns the others, and they immediately begin taking defensive measures, closing blinds and building boobytraps. Billy wants to face Black Noir by himself, but his pals aren’t having it. To buy them more time, Mother’s Milk calls in a gas-leak scare, which crowds Judy’s cul-de-sac with firemen, thus preventing Black Noir from taking immediate action.

At the craft service table, Starlight is surprised to see her estranged mom Donna (Ann Cusack) talking to Stormfront. Donna misses her daughter and wants to make amends for lying about Compound-V — and for using Starlight as a trophy to make herself feel important — but Starlight doesn’t want to have this chat, especially in front of Stormfront. During this uncomfortable three’s-a-crowd exchange, Stormfront implies that she knows Starlight leaked Compound-V to the press and says that Starlight should be grateful to have a mom like Donna. Starlight bolts without reconciling.

Maeve and Elena are forced to endure a marketing pitch for the upcoming “#BraveMaeve” campaign regarding her homosexuality. Maeve suffers this quietly but Elena walks out after being told that she’ll have to wear a manly pants suit (because Americans apparently feel more comfortable with clear-cut gender roles for gay couples). Maeve chases after Elena and convinces her to stay because at least then Maeve can protect her from Homelander. She promises they’ll take him down together.

A-Train watches the Deep’s cornball commercial for the Church of the Collective featuring an appearance by the outfit’s founder, Alastair Adana (Goran Visnjic). He badmouths the spot to Stormfront, who admits that she was once a member of the church, back when it was still “pure.” She implies that she left when they let Black people in — “some people are quality. And some are garbage” — and then mocks A-Train for being booted from the Seven.

Ashley subsequently offers words of encouragement to the departing A-Train, and when he defiantly states he won’t say the lines written for him in the script, she gives him an ultimatum: either leave the squad with his dignity and severance package or be fired for breaching his contract’s morality clause for taking Compound-V and suffering a heart attack. As a result, he does the scene.

Disobeying Edgar’s orders, Homelander crashes Rep. Victoria Neuman’s (Claudia Doumit) protest and tries to put a happy spin on his caught-on-video execution. It doesn’t work, and though he fantasizes about murdering them all with his laser vision, he instead flees. Watching a livestream of the event, Ashley literally loses some of her hair. Viewing the same footage a little while later, Homelander freaks out, knowing he messed up, and turns to Stormfront for assistance.

With the gas-leak distraction over, Billy and company retreat to Judy’s secret basement room, where she’s manufacturing illegal drugs. Waiting for Black Noir to strike, Judy informs Hughie that he reminds her of Billy’s brother Lenny, who was also a “skinny nervous little bugger.” This explains Billy’s fondness for Hughie. Before Hughie can find out what became of Lenny, explosions detonate in the house. Black Noir uses a smoke grenade to flush them out of their hiding space and upstairs. Billy tries to face Black Noir himself, but Mother’s Milk and Hughie intervene, only to wind up putting themselves directly in harm’s way.

With Mother’s Milk injured by a dagger, and Hughie about to be killed, Billy cautions Black Noir that if he slays them, proof of Becca and Ryan’s existence will automatically be sent to the media. Edgar has been watching this all from a camera in Black Noir’s armor, and calls Billy, agreeing to let them live so long as Billy doesn’t release any info about Homelander’s “little laser-eyed bastard.” The ensuing look Billy gives Hughie implies that he doesn’t, in fact, have any such proof. Billy later apologizes to Terror for thinking of quitting on them, promises to get Becca back, and leaves his perpetually horny pet with a plush Homelander doll to screw.

Maeve visits the Deep at a church event and strikes a deal: for his future support, she’ll be the female voice who backs his re-admittance into the Seven. Starlight sneaks into Stormfront’s trailer and finds various emails on her iPad from “Sage Grove,” which is the medical facility that Stormfront mysteriously called earlier, speaking with an unknown man in scrubs (Shawn Ashmore). Stormfront praises Starlight’s initial lying (“You’re Tilda F---ing Swinton”) but isn’t as convinced by the hero’s attempts to deny leaking Compound-V. Starlight admits that she knows Stormfront is Liberty and accuses her of being a racist. The only class of people Stormfront really cares about, however, are superheroes. “You’re going to be a big help to me,” coos Stormfront, at which point Homelander interrupts their chat.

Homelander praises Stormfront for raising his public approval ratings via propagandistic viral online memes. She tells him how he can repay her — namely, with a bout of insanely combative X-rated super-sex, replete with Homelander laser-blasting Stormfront’s chest, and the two embracing in mid-air.

Supe-Musings:

  • The Boys’ skewering of Hollywood filmmaking is highlighted by Homelander confessing that “the Joss rewrite really sings” — a reference to Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon.
  • Starlight makes an Austin Powers allusion when she says that her costume makes her feel like a “fembot.”
  • Billy’s threat that he’ll release info about Becca and Ryan to “Ronan Farrow” also underlines how attuned the show is to our current cultural moment.

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Episode Recaps

The Boys (TV Series)

type
  • TV Show
rating
genre
creator
  • Seth Rogen
  • Evan Goldberg
  • Eric Kripke
network
  • Amazon Prime

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