Everyone’s got daddy issues in this week’s episode of The Boys.

Last week's explosive episode ended with Starlight (Erin Moriarty) handing in her cape and exposing Vaught and Homelander's (Antony Starr) dirty secrets via Instagram Live. So naturally, this week's episode opens with a nauseating fake news broadcast from the Vaught News Network, in which Vaught CEO Ashley (Colby Minifie) attempts to smear Starlight's reputation: That foster home Starlight founded for orphaned children? Ashley claims it's a front for Starlight's child-trafficking organization. Painting a popular, liberal blonde woman as a sex-trafficker… where have we seen this before?

Speaking of Vaught's war against women… we finally learn where Maeve (Dominique McElligott) has been the last few episodes: trapped in a Vaught prison cell. Homelander pays Maeve a visit in an attempt to obtain intel on Soldier Boy's whereabouts, but she doesn't crack. Maeve asks Homelander why he's keeping her alive… and immediately regrets asking, as Homelander admits: he plans on harvesting her eggs so he can produce children with her. Maeve is horrified, but she bites back by telling Homelander that this is still "a top 3 day of her life" — as it's the first time she's ever seen him scared.

Elsewhere in supe-land, Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) and Frenchie (Tomer Capone) are still recovering from their near-death experience with Little Nina (Katie Winter). Frenchie's coping with drugs, and Kimiko's coping by planning her next move — asking Starlight to get her some Compound V (the permanent stuff) so she can regain her powers. Starlight tries to talk Kimiko out of it, but Kimiko's made up her mind, so Starlight agrees to help her out.

We check in with Butcher (Karl Urban) and Hughie (Jack Quaid), working on finding the next target on Soldier Boy's (Jensen Ackles) hit-list — a psychic supe named Mindstorm (Ryan Blakely.) Butcher's having trouble locating him, but when Hughie learns that Mindstorm is bipolar, he gets the idea to find him by tracking his prescription of Lithium… reminding us that Hughie's most valuable asset isn't his v-24 enabled teleporting abilities, but his intelligence.

Soldier Boy, Butcher and Hughie zero in on Mindstorm, but when they near his woodland compound, Butcher is caught by Mindstorm, who uses his powers to trap Butcher in a psychic prison where he's forced to relive his childhood trauma. But the stakes here aren't just emotional: unless Mindstorm chooses to wake Butcher up, he'll die.

A powerless witness to his memories, Butcher watches his father physically abuse his teenage self, who puts himself in the line of fire to protect his little brother, Lenny (Jack Fulton). The truly heartbreaking part of this storyline is watching Butcher turn into his father — mimicking his dad's violent tendencies by attacking his high school principal, and echoing his father's words by telling his brother: "You can't be a puff all your life." 

We watch a young Butcher run away from home, leaving Lenny alone with his abusive dad. And when Lenny can't take the beatings anymore, Butcher watches Lenny find his father's gun and take his own life. There's a clear lesson Butcher should be taking from this — he abandoned Lenny, and he can't make the same mistake with Hughie. But will Butcher learn his lesson? Or will he perpetuate the cycle of trauma he's trapped in?

Butcher isn't the only one reliving his past in this episode. We find Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) hiding out in an abandoned arcade to avoid Soldier Boy's inevitable retribution. But Noir's not alone here… not exactly. He's accompanied by a merry bunch of 2-D animated characters that leap to life off the arcade walls, a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit?... or Space Jam for you millennial and Gen-Z readers. 

By way of a bloody and bizarre stage play, Noir's animated buds reenact his fraught history with Soldier Boy, reminding him — and teaching the audience — of the constant abuse he wrought on Noir and team Payback, which ultimately led Noir to quit hiding and take Soldier Boy down.

Meanwhile, Hughie and Soldier Boy catch Mindstorm. Soldier Boy's ready to kill the supe… until Hughie teleports Mindstorm to the woods and convinces him to wake up Butcher in exchange for Hughie teleporting him to safety. Mindstorm holds up his end of the bargain, but before Hughie can zap him away… Soldier Boy shows up and beats the ever-living s— out of Mindstorm. 

As Soldier Boy interrogates Mindstorm, hoping to ascertain why Vaught betrayed him, he learns a crucial piece of information that's kept secret from the audience… for the moment. And once Soldier Boy's got what he came for, he murders Mindstorm.

As entertaining as it is to watch the Boys splatter blood, guts, and… other liquids… across our screens, this show is at its best when it's mirroring hard truths about what's happening in America today. That's why perhaps the most affecting part of this episode is watching Vaught's fake news campaign rip apart Mother's Milk's (Laz Alonso) family. 

When MM sees an Instagram post of his daughter Janine (Liyou Abere) and her stepfather Todd (Matthew Gorman) at a Homelander rally, he goes to their house to confront Todd. And as Todd, fully brainwashed by fake news, goes off on MM about "the establishment media" and Starlight's "child trafficking operation," MM loses his patience and knocks Todd unconscious. It's satisfying to watch, but it's a bad move for MM, as Janine witnesses this act of violence, further widening the rift between them.

Back with Starlight, we follow her into the belly of the beast — sneaking into the Vaught lab and stealing Compound V for Kimiko. While in the lab, she reads a shocking report about V-24 — learning that it kills the user between only three and five doses. On her way out, she runs into Homelander, who tries pressuring her into recanting her story. But Starlight isn't scared of Homelander anymore, calling him out for killing Supersonic and generally being a complete scumbag. Homelander openly admits to his crimes, which turns out to be a big mistake… because Starlight broadcasted the whole conversation on Instagram Live. Oh, the power of social media!

Starlight leaves Vaught and calls Hughie to tell him about the dangers of V-24, but he doesn't answer, so she relays the info to Butcher – making him promise to tell Hughie. It's Butcher's chance to break the cycle and do for Hughie what he failed to do for his brother, but when Butcher sees Hughie… he doesn't tell him the truth – he takes him on a ride to score more V-24.

The final moments of this episode deliver a hell of a twist, as we finally learn what Mindstorm told Soldier Boy back in the forest. Vaught betrayed him because they didn't need him anymore — they found someone better. A supe named Homelander… who was created from Soldier Boy's sperm. That's right… Soldier Boy is Homelander's daddy! 

Stray Observations:

  • The Boys' most cringeworthy storyline makes a reappearance in this episode, as The Deep (Chace Crawford) tries to bring an octopus into bed with his wife. This is a very relatable storyline, as I'm sure we all know what it's like to have a significant other who's addicted to sex with cephalopods.
  • The Legend (Paul Reiser) is back this week with more revoltingly iconic lines, like: "Soldier Boy did to singing what pantyhose did to finger-f—king." Please, keep 'em coming, Paul.
  • Seems like there's a whole lotta PermaV left in that vial after Kimiko shot herself up… I wonder who's gonna end up using it!

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