The Boys: The Last Time To Look On This World Of Lies
June 18, 2022 8:45 AM - Season 3, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Episode 5 starts with Побег (Escape) by Mikhail Shufutinsky.

Kimiko is alive. Kimiko is healing. Kimiko is... singing? Kimiko is dancing? Kimiko... is fantasizing. Kimiko is alone.
posted by Etrigan (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Did I miss why Homelander hasn't just splattered Butcher at a random time? He seems perfectly capable of finding him and just depositing him in low orbit any time he wants.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:00 AM on June 18


I think that Homelander hasn't killed Butcher because of Ryan, Homelander's son; it's not clear that Homelander knows where he is, or that Butcher has pushed him away. And, in general, Homelander doesn't just kill anyone and everyone who bothers him or presents a potential threat; if he did, Annie would have been toast a long time ago. He'll hit someone adjacent to them (Supersonic, for instance), but leave them alive. His motivation isn't always clear; he kills Madelyn Stillwell in S1, despite being pretty much... I'm not sure "in love" is the right word, but whatever their deal was. Maybe Eric Kripke has some explanation that will eventually drop, maybe he's just winging it.

Anyway, Kimiko is alive, so I'm sticking with the series, and she's depowered, which she's happy about and reinforces the hunch that some had last ep, about Soldier Boy being a "supe-erasing machine", although it seems likely that Vought and not the Russians had set him up (through the Crimson Countess). This ep seemed to raise more questions than to answer them: is Maeve alive or not, is Soldier Boy worse than Homelander and will he bring (or try to bring) Homelander down and if he does then who will stop him, when will Kimiko and Sergei rejoin the team and will Kimiko have to re-power in order to rejoin the team, is this all part of Edgar's long game, etc.

Something that I didn't like about the ep: Crimson Countess doing cam shows. I mean, supe sex work is congruent with the themes of the show and I'm sure that there are those who do that gig (probably minor leaguers who wouldn't make the major super teams), but it's not really congruent with CC running a chimp sanctuary charity gig. I mean, she might occasionally turn tricks with high-ticket customers, but I don't think that it would be something that the general public would have access to. (It was kind of funny to see exec producer Seth Rogen as the wanker on the other end.)

Stuff that I really liked: the dance number, and Paul Reiser as the very Robert Evans-esque The Legend. And Blue Hawk hit all the right beats for that kind of character, even though it just made me want to see him come to a messy end, as in messy even for this show.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:34 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


I am super happy for Kimiko and the fantasy scenes she's been given are moments of sweetness this show severely needed.

However, could we get at least 1 well adjusted person? Preferably a woman?

I am beginning to seriously question the approach to women on this show. Is there a single woman that is not completely traumatized by the men? Are any of the decisions any of the women make not directly influenced by the awfulness? It's like they are (for all intents and purposes) fridged while still being alive. As for the few women who don't seem to be terribly bothered by the men, well they are just awful people. (Nina, Mallory, Deep's GF).

Crimson Countess and Maeve are basically the same character, each pretending to "love" their toxic men but hating them from the start.

Ashley was seemingly a strong girl boss but has been relegated to cowering mortal.

Neuman was seemingly another strong girl boss but is just a supe with a kid controlled first by Stan and now Homelander.

Starlight seemed to be doing pretty well but has now been completely neutered and abandoned by Hughie.

Kimiko seems to be the more direct representation of all the women here. A supe who never wanted it and finally got her wish but that happiness is immediately negated. It feels like they're going to torture Frenchie just to punish her for not wanting her powers.

Young Mallory might be the only exception, the way she handled Soldier Boy seems to be the only unpunished act that any of the women have achieved.

I get that the show is dark and maybe there's a plan to pull a Disney-esque Endgame all-girl team ending HL and SB (and Charcuterie tbh) but short of that I am not sure I can hang around much longer. Last season I could root for SL and Kimiko and even Maeve but now I'm almost at the point where I want to just put them out of their misery. This prolonging it is getting gross. I know the comics are 100x worse at handling the women but man this season seems determined to punish everyone, especially the women.
posted by M Edward at 10:51 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Why do the boys all have such terrible op-sec around someone who can literally see and hear through walls? Starlight should never be discussing anything in Vought HQ. Maeve should've taken a shower.
posted by Bodechack at 1:27 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Why do the boys all have such terrible op-sec around someone who can literally see and hear through walls? Starlight should never be discussing anything in Vought HQ. Maeve should've taken a shower.

I was wondering that as she was on a cell phone inside her enemy's building, two huge no-nos.

As for Maeve, I just really do not buy Maeve and Butcher- I can kind of see the emotional beats at play (they have gone out of their way to establish that Maeve is very lonely and very falling off the wagon) but I just don't see either of them seeing it in the other, even under the heightened circumstances. That scene put me off.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:43 PM on June 18


Yeah, I feel like Maeve hit rock bottom with Butcher. If she lives, and I'm assuming they wouldn't kill her off screen, I think it either won't be for very long, or it'll never happen again.

I'd love for A-train to take some temp V again just so he could run right through Blue Hawk like old times. I can't figure out where his story is going this season. Same with the Deep. I can't even remember who the Deep's wife is at this point.

I was prepared by an early review that Starlight would be going through some awful plotlines this season, but it's hard to see her and the rest of the team just never getting a win.
posted by gladly at 4:55 PM on June 18


I'm enjoying it but great googly-moogly, this tweet thread:
The Boys subreddit is chaos right now. Threads getting locked, users rage-deleting whole accounts. It’s amazing. Right-wing users are whining about “no politics,” but it’s impossible to talk about the show without them now. Fans who thought Homelander was cool are in a meltdown.
...
People are asking how Redditors could sympathize with Homelander (or Darth Vader or whatever) when the character is so clearly the bad guy. They know he’s the bad guy. They want the bad guy to be revealed to just be misunderstood and then redeemed so they don’t get uncomfortable.
The users whining about season 3 of The Boys want Butcher and Homelander to high-five, agree to disagree, and then go fight the Real Bad Guy. They want a tragic Homelander’s backstory so they don’t have to reflect on why they were so drawn to the character in the first place.
posted by peeedro at 6:53 PM on June 18 [8 favorites]


I'm actually rather impressed with Jensen Ackles' performance here. Never would have guessed I'd admit it.

lol peeedro, fanboys getting their panties in a knot over a piece of fiction.
posted by porpoise at 8:20 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


People are asking how Redditors could sympathize with HomelanderWalter White (or Darth Vader or whatever) when the character is so clearly the bad guy. They know he’s the bad guy. They want the bad guy to be revealed to just be misunderstood and then redeemed so they don’t get uncomfortable.
The users whining about season 3the last season of The BoysBreaking Bad want ButcherHank and HomelanderWalter to high-five, agree to disagree, and then go fight the Real Bad Guy. They want a tragic Homelander’sWalter's backstory so they don’t have to reflect on why they were so drawn to the character in the first place.


Same as it ever was...
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:27 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


I thought Paul Resiser's performance was masterful.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:25 AM on June 19 [9 favorites]


Paul Reiser is having a great year-this AND season 4 of Stranger Things.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:20 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


This Temp V plot really isn't working for me. I did like Hughie's throwaway line about having seen Trainspotting, both acknowledging the drug problem and also the hackneyed portrayal of a drug problem in TV shows.

could we get at least 1 well adjusted person? Preferably a woman?

Well there's Supersonic, I bet he could go places! Shame about his surprise drug relapse. (What a grim little story beat that was.)

I share your frustration about women in this show. I said this in a previous episode, I'm mad about Starlight being forced into a girlfriend role with Homelander, it's a kind of sexualized domination that is just a little too close to home. And while she does seem to still have her head together pretty well and I can imagine her prevailing, they sure haven't given her much to do this season. That scene with Ashley was awfully good though.

I'm baffled by the reported fanboy upset. There are folks who watched this show and thought "yes, Homelander, he's our hero"? Perhaps these are the same people who saw a hero named Stormfront and thought "why that's a clever name I bet she's nice!".

Boy I bet that Lindsay Graham gag made some people real mad.
posted by Nelson at 7:17 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Since people are talking about the problems with the way this story depicts women, I'm going back to episode 1 of this season to talk about its problems with homosexuality.

As funny as that scene with the Termite was (and I did laugh), it is grounded in old homophobic ideas from the 1980s about gay men and disease. For example, check out Leo Bersani's 1987 article "Is the Rectum a Grave?" The mainstream discourse that arose during the AIDS Crisis linked gay men (and specifically anal sex) to the specter of death. Homosexuality itself becomes portrayed as a disease, a rotting illness, an infection.

Let's consider the scene: it's a raucous party, lots of drugs, partying, "fringe" types, and also notably multi-ethnic. From the start, then, the setting of the encounter is one of criminality and marginality. The homosexual encounter ends in an eruption of blood and guts and shit and death. And the character's name is "The Termite" -- a destructive insect that eats away at the foundations of your home, unseen and destroying it from the inside.

The very next scene is Hughie and Starlight, two good looking, aggressively white characters lying in bed together, complete with sunlight hazily shining through the window. They have nice wholesome, clean, heterosexual sex -- so clean that Hughie even washes his mouth out with Aquafresh before they do it! And, of course, there's no grotesque, anatomical presentation of their genitals or orifices -- just doing it missionary style (?) under the covers as god intended.

As much as the show tries to be progressive (the bad guys are nazis and rapists and corporate thugs and right-wing narcissists, etc.), it too easily falls into these sorts of deeply ingrained negative stereotypes.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:30 AM on June 19 [11 favorites]


it too easily falls into these sorts of deeply ingrained negative stereotypes

It's just acting out Ant-Man vs Thanos.
posted by SPrintF at 11:41 AM on June 19


There was a Reductress headline on my Instagram feed the other day: “Wow! Man being ironically sexist is also normal sexist.” I feel like that kinda sums up the fundamental problem with this show.
posted by wabbittwax at 11:47 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


It's just acting out Ant-Man vs Thanos.

Which partakes of the same tropes, just without making it explicitly homoerotic.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:05 PM on June 19 [3 favorites]


Just so people don't think that the Reddit sub is a complete cesspool, most of the users seem to pretty clearly understand the satire.

Oh man, Jensen Ackles as Soldier Boy makes me so damn happy.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:25 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


I consider myself progressive, and the last thing I would want to do is tell someone who feels the show is being homophobic that they’re wrong to feel that way, but have we not noticed all the ways cishet sex is also portrayed as unwholesome and deadly in this show? Like Popclaw crushing the face she’s sitting on, or Deep mouth-raping Starlight, or Ryan being the child of rape, or that time Homelander crushed that criminal’s head while Stormfront jacked him off, or Crimson Countess getting incinerated mid-cam-show. I’m not saying you can’t be upset about the show’s treatment of gay relationships, but I do think it’s not fair to imply that it’s being especially unfair to gay relationships.

Yes, Hughie and Starlight were presented wholesomely, but not because they’re straight, it’s because they’re the good guys. Maeve and Elena’s relationship was troubled due to in-universe homophobia, but they were never portrayed as unwholesome or diseased. And good guy Frenchie has been shown to be bi or pan.

I hate putting myself into the hack comedian position of saying “I insult everyone equally” but considering how almost every sexual relationship in the show is fucked up, it would be weird if none of the gay ones were. (Besides Maeve, Termite, and the Legend, the only other one I can think of off the top of my head is that stretchy evangelical molester dude… please let me know what else I’m missing.)

Anyway! Loved this episode, and loving the whole debate of whether you would take supe powers if offered. While I fully agree with MM’s dad that the point is no one should have such power, I’m also very much a utilitarian Hughie at heart. I didn’t think Kimiko would actually be killed, but I am worried that there will be less for her to do now that she’s depowered. (Though it helps if she can start talking.)
posted by ejs at 9:23 PM on June 20 [7 favorites]


and then go fight the Real Bad Guy

Who do they think the real bad guy is, Edgar in a mecha suit?

Young Mallory might be the only exception, the way she handled Soldier Boy seems to be the only unpunished act that any of the women have achieved.

Given that she was a CIA hachetwoman training right-wing death squad Contras, uh...
posted by Apocryphon at 6:14 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Coming from Supernatural, Kripke's complete weirdness about anything gay, women or outside of traditional concepts of mascultinity, is as expected. I hope his therapist is extremely well-compensated.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 3:47 AM on June 22


Kripke comes off as kind of a jerk in this Rolling Stone interview. Maybe he's better at making TV than explaining what he's doing.

He does explicitly address the weird idea that Homelander would be some sort of positive character
He’s always been a Trump analogue for me. I’ll admit to being a little more bald this season than I have in past seasons. But the world is getting more coarse and less elegant. The urgency of our team’s writing reflects that. We’re angrier and more scared as the years go on, so that is just being reflected in our writing. ...

And it’s a bigger issue than just Trump. The more awful public figures act, the more fans they seem to be getting. That’s a phenomenon that we wanted to explore, that Homelander is realizing that he can actually show them who he really is and they’ll love him for it.
So yeah, they're explicitly doing exactly what it looks like they're doing. Still not clear how anyone watching the show could have missed it, but maybe there's Trumpy people so deep in that worldview they don't get it. (Which brings me back to Stormfront.. goodness.)

Another part of the interview talks about the role Temp V plays in the story. Apparently it seems clumsy to me because they invented something to bridge the comic stories to the TV stories. I guess they're quite divergent? I know nothing about the comic.
So this is where the idea of “temporary V” comes from. Which, frankly, to me, if you look at that hard enough, you can see the hands of the screenwriter on that idea.
posted by Nelson at 7:55 AM on June 22


Another part of the interview talks about the role Temp V plays in the story. Apparently it seems clumsy to me because they invented something to bridge the comic stories to the TV stories. I guess they're quite divergent? I know nothing about the comic.

In the comic, the Boys are each given (regular) Compound V when they join the team (except MM, who was exposed in the womb) to make them physically capable of dealing directly with the supes. They still do the investigation and blackmail stuff because the US government doesn't want to take on all of the supes (or Vought-American) directly, but they are capable of taking out single supes who get (too far) out of line.

Their lack of powers is just one of many, many points of divergence that make the TV version better.
posted by Etrigan at 11:21 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


"powerful people in US society become rapists that abuse their power for sex, so superheroes in real life would also be rapey, and do bad sex stuff, as well as bad violence stuff"

was one of the main edgelord-ass themes of the Post-Bill Clinton and Mark Foley-era books, which is heavily heavily heavily toned down in the show. the themes of the show are not oriented to show a positive, fun view of any sexuality, much less sexualities that are seen negatively by an audience too dense to see Homelander is an evil character.

I do think the people writing the books recognized that their edginess was playing into the homophobia of their time, and Ennis tried things in the later issues with trans characters, some of which were sexualized and some of whom were pure homies and not sexualized in any way....I remember that i thought it was a failure at the time, but an attempt. but i am not going to recommend anyone read the books for any reason, but just to say that this is an issue that the writers have struggled with; i don't think this is the show to look at for positive representation or any great breakthroughs

i think you will see this in the Herogasm episode, the themes of the show that 'power leads to rape' is a difficult one to also say "hey sex is good actually" when the continuing focus of the show will have to be on the characters who are being alleged to be rapists
posted by eustatic at 11:01 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


« Older Movie: Good Luck to You, Leo G...   |  The Baby: All episodes... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments