Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

In The Boys’ sharply satirical “We Gotta Go Now,” shifting alliances threaten the stability of the Seven

Jessie T. Usher and Antony Starr
Jessie T. Usher and Antony Starr
Photo: Panagiotis Pantazidis (Amazon Studios

This post discusses major plot points of The Boys episode “We Gotta Go Now.”

Perhaps you remember that in my recap for last week’s episode, “Nothing Like It In The World,” I wondered how fun it must be for The Boys writers to come up with the various memes Stormfront uses to boost her reputation and amass more followers. Yes, they’re terribly bigoted and hateful—but they’re such excellent satire! And the same goes, on a broader scale, for the entirety of this week’s episode, “We Gotta Go Now.” Writer Ellie Monahan takes direct aim at the overlapping worlds of celebrity here: calling out Joss Whedon by name, mocking the Marvel and DC cinematic universes, highlighting the empty promises of Scientology, and underscoring the vapidity of corporate attempts at representation and inclusion. This episode was zippy, mean, and tense, diving into the vast capitalist enterprise that employs and controls the Seven, the entertainment industry buoyed by them, and how helpless they are in the crafting of their own images. The show has always alluded to this stuff, but this episode took the narrative opportunities provided by the Dawn of the Seven blockbuster and ran with them. The Boys has always been very successful at imagining what a world with supes would look like, and “We Gotta Go Now” clicked quite well because of how precisely it pinpointed what this would look like in our world.


The Dawn Of The Seven filming furthers the fissures growing among the group’s members: between Homelander and Maeve, A-Train and Stormfront, and Stormfront and Annie. Let’s start with Maeve: Homelander’s outing of his ex to Maria Menounos results in a coming-out storyline for her in the film, plus an accompanying media rollout that is all about making Vought look tolerant. For cynical, disaffected Maeve, all of this rah-rah marketing is irritating (the #BraveMaeve hashtag, the rainbow-flag-cape artwork), and it flattens Maeve’s bisexual identity into a version of lesbianism that Vought expects both Maeve and girlfriend Elena to perform. “I am not for sale,” Elena says, and her indignation—plus Maeve’s understandable fear of Homelander—inspire Maeve to reach out to an unlikely ally. Could the Deep help Maeve bring Homelander down? Or is he too far indebted to the Church of the Collective to be of assistance to anyone else?


Also sparring with Vought is A-Train, who is still struggling to stay on the Seven despite Homelander’s rejection. He tries to lean on the scriptwriter; he fails. He tries to lean on Ashley; he fails. Vought can threaten him with a morality clause, and they can withhold his severance package, and it is all so mundane, and yet what other choice does A-Train have? He folds, delivering the dialogue that effectively serves as his resignation at the end of Dawn Of The Seven: “This is sunset on A-Train.” And it’s insult added to injury that he doesn’t even give the speech to Homelander, but to a stand-in. When Vought is done with you, they’re really, really done.

But, uh, speaking of Homelander: He has definitely fully turned the corner at this point, no? I guess in contemporary terms, my man has gone from right to alt-right! He drank Stormfront’s Kool-Aid, and I assume will only get more detestable from here. After smirking at the outrage caused by a leaked video of him slicing an African villager in half with his laser eyes (“So what, they’re all starving, but one of them has a fucking cellphone?”) and then getting offended by the American people’s lack of gratitude (his fantasizing of mowing down groups of protesters was extremely fucked up!), Homelander realizes he might not be suited for the world changing around him. His empty platitudes, the “You guys are the real heroes!” and “God bless you!” lines, aren’t working anymore. And so when he turns to Stormfront for her help in changing the conversation, this was a staggering moment of weakness that I’m not sure we’ve ever seen from Homelander before. Yes, he yearned for Madelyn’s approval, and yes, he let his guard down with her sexually. But remember that he spread the Compound-V to terrorists around the world first, without her permission—he’s used to others bending to his will, and to accommodating his decisions. Homelander admitting that he needs Stormfront feels like a definitive shift—and Stormfront plays it excellently, too, instigating a wild night of S&M-tinged sex to help Homelander feel like he’s back in control. Sometimes you gotta let a guy “laser [your] fucking tits” to help him feel better about his day, apparently!

But Stormfront is working on her own thing, right? Whatever is going on at Sage Grove is giving her a level of confidence that makes her comfortable enough to bombard A-Train with racist microaggressions on the Dawn Of The Seven set, and to try to blackmail Annie by threatening her mother. She doesn’t care that Annie knows she was Liberty (recall that Vought has been “moving her around like a fucking Catholic priest,” so I’m going to continue assuming that Mr. Edgar knows exactly what Stormfront stands for, and just doesn’t care given how much money is on the line) and instead continues her supe-unity agenda by using the language of white nationalism. She’s barely hiding who she is at this point, and honestly, that tracks. Stormfront and Homelander together seems like an unbeatable duo, and whatever is going down at Sage Grove, given Stormfront’s pleased reaction to it, is probably only going to help them.

The Boys season 2
Karl Urban
Photo: Panagiotis Pantazidis (Amazon Studios

Be honest: Do we think the Boys could take either of them on? I’m not really sure! Kimiko is still off working out her rage and grief over her brother’s murder, doing hits for Cherie and fighting with Frenchie. When she basically tore off that Hamilton-criticizing-gangster’s face? Brutal! How much longer can she continue on this path? Will she ever be able to communicate with the rest of the team what she knows about who Stormfront is? Yes, they know Stormfront was Liberty, but Kimiko is aware of what she’s doing now, and I’m not sure how much longer she can carry that secret. (An issue Frenchie seems to recognize, too, although his “Fuck this, fuck you, go be a monster” isn’t particularly helpful.)

Meanwhile, Butcher reunites with Hughie and MM in a subplot that primarily allowed Butcher to explore his self-destruction and disgust with himself after the failed attempt to save Becca. Who doesn’t want to snuggle with their dog after their whole world collapses around them? Terror is an excellent dog! Aunt Judy is a real one! And I appreciated the slower pace of this storyline for how it shaded in the backstory to Butcher and MM’s camaraderie, and provided additional context for why Butcher treats Hughie as he does. Note how Butcher acknowledges Hughie’s importance to him by repeating MM’s words (“You were always like my canary, I suppose”), and how MM immediately knows that Butcher is going to see Terror and Aunt Judy when Hughie mentions hearing the squeaking of a dog toy during their phone call. Butcher is an asshole, but he inspires deep loyalty, and how the group mobilized to protect each other from Black Noir drove that home.


1`This was one of the better-staged action scenes so far this season: The series of explosions tracking where Black Noir was in the house, Butcher and MM each attempting to take on Black Noir and failing, and how abruptly it all came to an end when Mr. Edgar called Black Noir and waved him off. Is Butcher threatening to expose Ryan to bring down Vought a betrayal of Becca? Perhaps, but Ryan’s existence doesn’t do anything to change that his mother was raped by his father, or that America’s greatest hero is actually a monstrous sexual predator and murderer. I don’t think Butcher can play this card again, but as you lovely commenters have reiterated: You don’t introduce Ryan and then do nothing with him. The kid is going to matter. We’ll just have to wait and see how.

Stray observations

  • Good for Hughie for standing up to Butcher in making clear that they’ve all lost people: “Your wife is alive, but she doesn’t want you. That’s all. So you don’t have shit. Welcome to the club.” That’s not to diminish the pain and anger that Butcher has lived with for years in his quest to find Becca, but man, it’s not all about you!
  • The Deep did end up marrying Cassandra, and she’s an anthropology professor at Vassar College. Cue me saying “That’s nice” in Community Shirley’s very fake pleasant voice.
  • Excellent: The reveal that Aunt Judy is working to fill in the sizable gaps left behind by privatized health care with her basement pharmacy, and Butcher’s sarcastic little “What are you gonna do!” shrug when her dealer status was revealed to the aghast Hughie.
  • How politely MM asked Aunt Judy for materials to build a bomb! He really appreciates it! I love this man.
  • Stormfront’s explanation of right-wing-meme efficacy was horrifying for its accuracy: “When see it on your uncle’s Facebook page, then you know it’s working.”
  • I love Annie’s mom saying of Stormfront, “She’s not a stranger, she’s your teammate”; it’s so effective in communicating the wide gaps that exist between the Seven. They barely tolerate each other! When was the last time they worked as a team, except for staged PR opportunities?
  • Black Noir’s “Hallelujah” ringtone is definitely the Leonard Cohen original, right? I do not mind the Jeff Buckley cover, but that doesn’t seem like his style.
  • Monahan, who also wrote the season one episode “The Self-Preservation Society,” also worked as a writers’ assistant for Mr. Robot. That seems right; there is definitely a similar vibe between these two shows.
  • Oh, and Monahan is Katie Couric’s daughter, in case you’re wondering how that cameo got set up.
  • What was your favorite bad movie dialogue from “Joss’ rewrite” of Dawn of the Seven? I’m torn between “I’m a hell of a hacker, but I’m no hero” and “I’m a lot like you. I’m gay.” Both of them made me do that grimacing emoji, but in real life, with my face!
  • If you noticed how much that “Girls get it done” scene mocked a similar one from Avengers: Endgame, you should read contributor Caroline Siede’s essay about the latter.
  • A Vietnamese crepe truck sounds absolutely delicious. I have nothing else to add, except that I am hungry, and I would like a Vietnamese crepe.
  • MM watching Outlander and being defensive about it is very charming!
  • I am so glad both that the show finally incorporated Terror, who plays a bigger role in Garth Ennis’ comic books, and his endless humping! TERROR IS A GOOD BOY.
  • I don’t mind Senator Neuman, the AOC stand-in character, but her “We are going to hold hearings!” in response to the leaked Homelander video—good luck with thinking anything would be accomplished by that.
  • Hello to Goran Višnjić as Alistair Adana, leader of the Church of the Collective! I guess the cancellation of Santa Clarita Diet opened up his schedule, and I am still very distraught about that.
  • There were no images from this particular episode available at the time of this writing, but we’ll update soon. ETA: Photos have been updated!