The Boys recap: How in the world is Hughie still alive?

In "We'll Keep The Red Flag Flying Here," Vought On Ice rehearsals get messy

The Boys recap: How in the world is Hughie still alive?
Erin Moriarty in The Boys Photo: Jasper Savage/Prime Video

It looked like Homelander was ready to laser Starlight (Erin Moriarty) supporters to death in the opening of “We’ll Keep The Red Flag Flying Here.” He cannot stand any breathing human taking her side. Whoever is on her team is a “godless non-binary socialist,” he declares. Antony Starr’s facial expression of restraint combined with a thinly veiled smile is quite the feat (no surprise there, as he’s mastered it for years on the show). Anyway, Homelander does split someone to death, but it doesn’t happen until later in season four’s third episode. Does he realize the chaos he caused at the Vought On Ice rehearsal? Probably not. And he probably doesn’t care that a bunch of people cockroaches just died for no reason.

It’s astonishing when an enraged Homelander accidentally slices open someone onstage at the Seven-themed holiday musical Vought On Ice (a play slightly reminiscent of Hawkeye’s Rogers: The Musical). The resulting chaos of everyone trying to escape leads to more bloodshed, with sharp skates acting as weapons. But everything leading up to that moment, and the events that happened right after, made me roll my eyes. Even for an outrageous TV show like The Boys, where the action moves rapidly, it doesn’t make sense that Hughie (Jack Quaid), of all people, could slip away so easily from the the world’s most dangerous supe. I’m sorry but I don’t buy it (yes, I’m aware I’m saying this about a fictional drama in which Deep fucks an octopus).

Hughie and Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) are spying on Homelander, Sister Sage (Susan Heyward), and Victoria (Claudia Doumit) at the auditorium where rehearsals are happening. With no one else from The Boys around to help, MM deals with an incompetent teammate. Fine, in Hughie’s defense, his dad is in the hospital and his mother has just returned after decades, so he’s emotionally fragile. Sending him off on his own was a rookie mistake, MM! You’re supposed to be smarter than that.

Hughie wiggles his way through the vents, but instead of leaving the recorded and sneaking out, he sticks around long enough to hear Homelander and Sage make demands to help Vic become POTUS (ban certain books, shut down the Bureau of Superhuman Affairs, and “come out” as a supe). And then, a teeny tiny droplet of Hughie’s sweat drops from the ceiling on Homelander’s costumed shoulder. That’s all the scent Homie needs to recognize they’re being spied on. He lasers whatever he can in his ferocious hunt to track him down, including the actor playing Queen Maeve.

The Boys wants us to believe that Hughie is suddenly hasty enough to shimmy out of the utility tunnels and avoid Homelander, who has X-ray vision and a love for murder. (He kills another Vought employee in a millisecond in this very episode!). A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) then whisks Hughie away from the rooftop before they can be found. But are you telling me Homelander wouldn’t catch onto their scent? Isn’t that how, at the end of “We’ll Keep The Red Flag Flying Here,” he discovers that Ryan (Cameron Corvetti) spent the day with Butcher (Karl Urban), by sniffing Billy’s smell out?

Alright, let’s assume A-Train’s speed means he can’t leave any scentof him behind (convenient when Sage is looking for the leaker). But Homelander is a homicidal freak hellbent on revenge. Why wouldn’t he go and find Hughie later? I know The Boys has to keep Quaid’s character alive. He’s the moral compass of his compatriots, but the least they can do is make his arc sensical. A single shot of Annie (Erin Moriarty) training him isn’t sufficient, and neither is his admittedly necessary bonding moment with Daphne (Rosemary DeWitt). It just doesn’t make up for inconsistent character development and pulls me out of the show.

Annie, a.k.a. Starlight, goes through her own crisis when she gets a nasty reminder that she wasn’t always a goody-two-shoes. In her teen pageant days, Annie bullied Firecracker (Valorie Curry), who used to go by Sparkler. Their confrontation is a reality check for Ms. January because her nemesis reminds her word-for-word how mean she was. (Annie told everyone back then that her opponent had “assfuck gang-banged with the judges.” You can thank Starlight’s horrible mom for that training.) I can almost understand why Firecracker is pissed off, but spiraling into a venomous Q-Anon star and trying to seduce Homelander isn’t the answer, lady.

Also, with Firecracker and Sage now officially introduced to the world as Seven members—they get fun new costumes and everything—Homelander reminds the world that a final spot is still open for a supe to join them, Deep, A-Train, and Noir. Who will it be? Is it Ryan or will someone from Gen V claim it? And could another spot open up if and when A-Train leaves? Right now, he’s slyly helping out MM. Their conversation as the two leading Black men on The Boys feels like a long time coming, and their partnership makes a ton of sense if A-Train is flipping to the other side. The show is now so focused on right-wingers, conspiracy theories (“Vaccines leads to autism,” Firecracker says), and insurmountable misery that their position in the world could provide the insight The Boys is missing in season four so far. I guess we’ll find out because, next week, we’re already at the halfway point.

Stray observations

  • I hope there’s at least one episode in season four where I don’t relegate Frenchie and Kimiko to the bottom of the recap. As cool as the sight is of a drugged-up Frenchie seeing floating ducks while fighting off some enemies, The Boys has barely progressed his subplot. The one good part of them trotting off on their own is that someone Kimiko was punching recognized her. Please, give Fukuhara something more to do.
  • Is it just me or did Ryan’s video-game avatar of Lamplighter look like a duplicate of Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen from Arrow? I like that Butcher and Ryan bonding over foosball felt so natural that even Billy didn’t resort to tricking him, much to Kessler’s disappointment.
  • When MM exasperatedly tells Hughie, “All I’ve got is you?!” as they embark on a spy mission, I felt that in my bones.
  • Did you expect Ashley Barrett (Colby Minifie) to be as relatable as she was in episode three? She’s fired, anxiously walks out of the conference room while dropping everything she’s holding, is fearful as hell to tender her resignation, and has to give herself continuous pep talks about being a girl boss. I’m not even a fan but she’s sadly trapped in Vought purgatory.
  • Sister Sage and Deep (Chace Crawford) hook up after bonding over a blooming onion from Outback Steakhouse and Transformers 2. What does Ambrosious the octopus think about her boyfriend cheating on her with a woman?
  • Victoria Neuman, why aren’t you going around blowing heads open? Much like Homelander, she shows restraint when Robert Singer says supes belong on The Masked Singer. She’s a powerful queen but I need to know her and Sage’s respective agendas already.
  • My favorite exchange in this episode, courtesy of Homie and Sage:
    Homelander: “You seem to have something firmly lodged in your asshole.” Sister Sage: “Yes. The spandexes.”

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