The Boys: Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed
July 1, 2022 12:03 PM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Episode 7 starts with Soldier Boy's rendition of If You Wanna Be Happy.

Maeve is still in rehab (totally not in prison until Homelander can harvest her eggs). Black Noir is hiding out in an abandoned Buster Beaver's (absolutely not hallucinating his emotional support cartoon animals). Soldier Boy and Butcher and Hughie are going after another member of Payback (definitely not killing a priest and a nun because they might be Mindstorm's puppets). The Deep is trying to open up his marriage (certainly not just fucking Ambrosius the octopus on the side). Butcher is trapped in an endless nightmare (surely not just turning into his dad). A-Train is still alive thanks to Ashley (positively not giving him Blue Hawk's heart just to fuck with him). Starlight is caught by Homelander (clearly not setting him up to livestream an admission that he killed Supersonic). Kimiko is getting her powers back (assuredly by her own choice this time). And Soldier Boy is reminiscing with his son... Homelander.
posted by Etrigan (36 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Finding out the truth of what happened in 1984 through a cartoon hallucination was exquisite. Conversely, Butcher’s memories of 1989 being filmed in sepia like it happened in the 1910’s caused black goo to leak out of my one-year-older-than-Karl-Urban ears.

And Butcher having that mental epiphany about needing to protect Hughie but then choosing not to convey Starlight’s message to Hughie was the absolute definition of tragedy. Conversely, the revelation that Soldier Boy is Homelander’s biological father fell flat for me. So what and who cares? Homelander’s mommy issues are much more interesting—just ask that cow.

Annie getting the Compound V for Kimiko opened up a weird narrative gap for me. Because this means as easy as it was for Maeve to swipe some Temp V that works for 24 hours and will kill you after 3-5 doses, it would be just as easy for Annie to swipe Compound V to give Butcher et al permanent powers to take down Homelander. I know The Boys’ philosophy is that no one should be a supe, but it sure looks like Butcher and Hughie would take it if offered.

Oh, and I’m glad they finally articulated that yes, Soldier Boy can wipe out your powers. I’ve enjoyed this season greatly, but at this point it seems difficult to imagine a season 4 if Homelander hasn’t been killed or depowered.

also: This episode has a post-credits scene!
posted by ejs at 1:04 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Lots that went on this week, but it was still Soldier Boy's episode in a lot of ways. Somehow he manages to be even more of a dick with each subsequent appearance; I'm thinking of him now less as the Ultimates' version of Captain America and more as the Comedian from Watchmen, with the comment about Dealey Plaza. The bit about him preferring women that are a bit closer to him in age than you might expect (although not his actual age, because he's probably around 100) was about the only non-awful thing about him. And while he might indeed be the source for the genetic material that was turned into Homelander, that doesn't mean that he necessarily wants to pull a Vaderesque let's-rule-the-world-together-son thing; it could be that he wants to eliminate the competition and/or use Homelander to draw in Black Noir.

- Speaking of Homelander, he's set up rather tidily to fall for Soldier Boy's scheme, if that's what it is. (It would be pretty ironic if SB really was proposing to team up with HL, only to have his PTSD spark off HL's depowering.) The bit with Maeve's ova demonstrates how he can toggle from kind of pathetic to supremely creepy in nothing flat. And I wonder what's at that address that Neuman gave him? #1 theory would be his son. (It's a real address, although it seems to be the intersection of a US highway and a county road.)

- Black Noir's cartoon buddies were cute but not that original--the set-up seems to be a bit like the videogame series Five Nights at Freddy's combined with what Deadpool goes through when he's been hit in the head--but it effectively conveyed what really happened in Nicaragua, and that everybody hated SB. (Incidentally, the secret SB-stopping gas seems to be this stuff, or at least a reference to it.) Hearing Giancarlo Esposito's voice coming out of one of the critters was sublime.

- I'm glad that Kimiko's re-powering was relatively nontraumatic. (ejs, Compound V has problematic results when administered to non-previously-super adults; Sage Grove was the experimental facility that tried to develop a variation that would make adults super without major side effects, and you saw what happened to most of them.) I wonder where Nina is now, though...

- Nearly LOLed at Vought's awful security. Annie can get in, and vials of Compound V and V24 are just sitting around (along with the "V24 turns your brain into Swiss cheese" notes) with no one guarding them.

- Still expecting Edgar to let the other shoe drop.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:44 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Kimiko's storyline broke my heart. When she asked him to dance, I just hit in the gut. I don't think it hit me how her power would translate in terms of how she experiences the physical world around her until she spoke about his arms like bendy straws. That her power took from her and she was willing to return to that to protect him. I wanted them to have a happy ending, but I should know better by now.

They did an amazing job doing 2 expo dumps in a totally entertaining way. And the tie in to Noir doodling the Beaver in S1 was icing on the cake.

I am done with the octopus storyline. The Deep now just feels like a tired Aquaman joke. Maybe Cassandra will drop something on social media to make his Hannity interview, but his bit seemed to weigh down what otherwise was an impressive episode.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:19 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Homelander’s mommy issues are much more interesting—just ask that cow.

I have a theory about who his mother is and it raises his mother issues to another level.
posted by Pendragon at 3:35 PM on July 1 [6 favorites]


I have a theory about who his mother is and it raises his mother issues to another level.

Yet still totally on brand for HL. I’ll be annoyed if HL kills SB because that would be predictable, if that theory is true.
posted by Ruki at 6:34 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


OK, this is going over my head--is his mother a cow?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:09 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


No spoilers, but they seem have changed up Black Noir's origin story from the comics. While in general I'm in favor of ditching stuff from the comics because the comics are by and large on the awful side, I did think the Noir storyline from them had a cool reveal, and I wonder if they have plans to introduce it in the series in some other way somehow.
posted by whir at 8:14 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


The suspicion is that Liberty/Stormfront was his mother thus making their relationship even creepier. Although even if she is his mother that doesn't mean she knew that. She could also have been fed a cover story like Soldier Boy but I can also see her being demented enough to try and seduce her own son.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:49 PM on July 1 [6 favorites]


I can also see her being demented enough to try and seduce her own son.

No purer blood than your own, after all.
posted by Etrigan at 9:09 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]


Whoa.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:37 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


The Butcher storyline in this was amazing. He couldn’t deny that he’s turned into his piece of shit father, so now he’s just going with it? Very dark that he’s trapped with his dad forever now because he’s become him… but I liked it.

Conversely, the “reveal” that Soldier Boy is Homelander’s father fell flat for me, too. Soldier Boy flat out lied in that conversation when he said he’d have let Homelander take the spotlight — he beat Black Noir half to death just for taking a movie role. And the mention Soldier Boy worked in of “things would have been so different if Vought had let me stick around…” was so nakedly manipulative, too. There’s no reason to think that Soldier Boy isn’t Homelander’s father, but he definitely has something up his sleeve. Maybe he’s just trying to get into physical proximity with Homelander again so that he can blast him, take away his powers, and take his spot as leader of the Seven.

Much as Soldier Boy probably hates Vought at this point, I think he’d jump at the chance to be its golden boy and a global superstar again. Nobody escapes Vought. The company didn’t even have to sell Homelander off to be horrifically experimented on for decades, they just did it themselves — and yet he sticks around. Maeve seems to have been a good person, albeit she’s been complicit in a lot of horrible things during her tenure at the Seven, and now she’s literally imprisoned in Vought tower. Annie and Alex are/were both good people but they convinced themselves of a flimsy “change it from the inside” plan until that blew up horrifically in their faces. Butcher and Hughie hate Vought so much they’re willing to die to take it down, and yet they’re still injecting a version of Vought’s flagship product on the daily. Etc etc etc. Nobody gets away.

Anyhow, I have heard the Liberty-is-Homelander’s-mother theory around the internet a lot, and if so many people like it then maybe it’s got some truth to it. But it doesn’t make sense to me. Liberty was scum, but her one good quality was that she seemed like a loving mother. She talked about her daughter a lot, kept pictures of her, kept visiting her even while her daughter was dying of Alzheimer’s and didn’t remember her anymore, got teary when she saw a baby that reminded her of her daughter eighty years ago… I don’t think she would have just abandoned her own baby to be raised in a Vought lab. And with how connected she was at Vought, it seems hard to believe that her eggs could have been harvested and used without her knowledge. And also, I think it would be weird to use 70 year old eggs for no reason, but this show is fantasy so that’s sort of neither here nor there.

The highlight of the episode for me (besides Butcher’s nightmare) was when Annie live-streamed Homelander’s murder confession. That woman has nerves of steel, and I love it. Her ability to sneak into that very “stage set”-looking lab and just fill up a bag with V vails was very goofy, but the livestream reveal made up for it for me.

The reveal that Homelander has imprisoned Maeve in Vought Tower so he can harvest her eggs and make a litter of super children was actually kind of bland though — it seemed sort of like the two actors weren’t on the same set? Like maybe they’d filmed the scene separately and it had been spliced together afterward. Anyhow, what I thought was interesting about that was how Homelander kept going on and on about how much he hated the room — you never get used to it, his kids with Maeve would be too strong to be imprisoned there, his kids would never ever see the inside of a room like that… Maybe that’s “the bad room” that he was talking about in the previous episode, maybe not — but either way, it had the feeling of foreshadowing to me. I think he’s going to wind up getting locked in that room, and it’s going to do his head in.

I loved the Black Noir cartoon expo dump. But the combination of watching his cartoon black sheep self be brutalized by Soldier Boy within minutes of seeing Butcher’s dad brutalize him and Lenny was a lot for me. I know, people get horrifically killed on this show all the time and it’s part of its tone. But usually they get exploded into a million pieces like they’re made of water balloons, and usually it’s not so personal either. I love how character-driven this show has become, but that makes it pretty emotionally heavy in a slightly new way, too.
posted by rue72 at 10:16 AM on July 2 [6 favorites]


Much as Soldier Boy probably hates Vought at this point, I think he’d jump at the chance to be its golden boy and a global superstar again. Nobody escapes Vought. The company didn’t even have to sell Homelander off to be horrifically experimented on for decades, they just did it themselves — and yet he sticks around. Maeve seems to have been a good person, albeit she’s been complicit in a lot of horrible things during her tenure at the Seven, and now she’s literally imprisoned in Vought tower. Annie and Alex are/were both good people but they convinced themselves of a flimsy “change it from the inside” plan until that blew up horrifically in their faces. Butcher and Hughie hate Vought so much they’re willing to die to take it down, and yet they’re still injecting a version of Vought’s flagship product on the daily. Etc etc etc. Nobody gets away.

The one genuinely brilliant bit that Bill Hicks did--the one that still works for me, anyway--is when he's doing an anti-marketing rant, and then breaks into an imaginary conversation with a marketing dude who's talking about how he's going to exploit the anti-marketing market. One of the more logical places for the show to go in following seasons is to have them encounter/work with/eventually fight a quote-endquote "underground" supe team with the usual edgelord tropes--black leather, swear even more than usual, sexual arrangements more complicated than usual--and then find out that Vought is running them, too.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:30 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


I think the Liberty/Stormfront speculation comes from it makes sense that Vought would do that to build a superhero they could "control" who was more powerful than either parents namely SB especially since it seems like SB was becoming too difficult to handle or his schtick was just old. And in terms of symbolism on the show, a secret child between these two works with the rest of the satirical content about Americans just not liking word the "nazi" but being very attracted to the underlying concepts.

I also do not believe SB is down for HL. He's not a share the spotlight dude but also I'm guessing he would see a lot of Homelander's behaviors as weakness and therefore unworthy. There's also Maeve's pointed comments about how HL NEEDS his powers in a way she does not. It makes sense they are central to his identity since he was apparently harvested for his powers and people have only wanted him for those powers. From the beginning of his life that's all people have valued him for. So of course, he has no sense of self outside of that and even more doesn't have the skills or structure to cope with that loss unlike the other supes at Herogasm. (Although I wonder if they will get repowered up since that seems possible courtesy of Kimiko's storyline) To me that's pretty clearly signaling that HL is gonna get depowered by SB. That could open the way for Butcher to go full on villain.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:34 AM on July 2


he has no sense of self outside of that and even more doesn't have the skills or structure to cope with that loss unlike the other supes at Herogasm

Homelander's humanity was an unfortunate side effect of Vought's product development. They needed a human body to attach these powers to, and unfortunately they got a human soul along with it. I guess they thought if they ignored it maybe it would go away, but it hasn't, and Homelander ignores it, denies it, and wishes he could kill it, but it's still there anyhow.

That all actually reminds me of Komiko. She was also objectified and treated as a tool to be used, her humanity was also treated as an unfortunate side effect and denied, she also struggled with isolation and alienation. Of course she's light years ahead of Homelander emotionally.

But I sort of wonder why she's light years ahead? I mean, I love Komiko, but the way that the show supercharged her emotional development, made her very sweet and smiley, and then dropped her into a very chaste romance plot doesn't really seem earned. Even when I compare her musical number with Homelander's mirror scene or Butcher's nightmare or Black Noir's cartoon or even Annie's pageant show, our glimpse into Komiko's inner world lacks the emotional depth and impact that our glimpses into the other characters' inner worlds have had.
posted by rue72 at 12:42 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


I think it's important to note that Kimiko actually had parents and a relationship with them before she was taken and an exploited as opposed to HL who is literally a product developed from the outset. She's experimented on as an adult, which means she has a bit more humanity and sense of family love than HL and we see that reflected in his totally weird plan to forcibly harvest Maeve's eggs in, essentially, an unconscious reproduction of his own conception as opposed to Kimiko's sacrifice to protect Frenchie.

I mean I think that's maybe facile, but also Kimiko isn't protected by a phalanx of people continually manipulating her. She stumbles upon the Boys who flawed as they are able to spark her memory of family and humanity to the point, she is able to recognize when Butcher stops treating her like a person. HL has never had that. He has absolutely no frame of reference for that and people are actively trying to keep him from having it in order to use him.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:42 PM on July 2 [7 favorites]


i should add, I think if MM and Frenchie weren't there to protect Kimiko, she would probably regress. It's that she has the support of people protecting her from Butcher's objectification.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:53 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


I have heard the [...] theory around the internet a lot, and if so many people like it then maybe it’s got some truth to it.

Please never apply that logic to anything outside of TV shows :)
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:20 PM on July 2 [6 favorites]


Colby Minifie should get a special Emmy for the way Ashley says, "Slangin' that ya-yo!"
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:25 PM on July 2 [7 favorites]


Conversely, the “reveal” that Soldier Boy is Homelander’s father fell flat for me, too

One of the charges that George Lucas will someday have to answer for in The Hague is ushering in an era of entertainment where the primary antagonist is revealed to be the main character’s father.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:07 PM on July 2 [7 favorites]


Colby Minife was a masterclass in awfulness in that whole scene with A-Train. She’s so good.
posted by ejs at 3:16 PM on July 2 [8 favorites]


Colby Minifie should get a special Emmy for the way Ashley says, "Slangin' that ya-yo!"

She veers from "oh my god I am going to die in the next five seconds" to "I am going to die in the next five seconds but I absolutely cannot let anybody know I'm thinking that" so often that her being completely full of extremely inappropriate confidence is so weird.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:40 PM on July 2 [6 favorites]


I read that as her reaching the phase of the horror movie where the final girl, after surviving a dozen brushes with death, has simply run out of fear and is now operating in a realm of pure freedom, aggression, and instinct.

Also she might be realizing that as Homelander's viceroy she has a lot of power even over people who could tear her limb from limb.
posted by Balna Watya at 9:06 PM on July 2 [5 favorites]


Also she might be realizing that as Homelander's viceroy she has a lot of power even over people who could tear her limb from limb.

She still believes that Vought will protect her from supes, but she knows that Homelander is Vought.
posted by Etrigan at 10:13 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]


I think it's important to note that Kimiko actually had parents and a relationship with them before she was taken and an exploited as opposed to HL who is literally a product developed from the outset.

Yes, that’s true. Kidnapped child soldiers don’t really get much of a chance to develop their humanity, but at least she understood that she was a human being who was being exploited, and she had her brother.

she is able to recognize when Butcher stops treating her like a person. HL has never had that. He has absolutely no frame of reference for that and people are actively trying to keep him from having it in order to use him.

Yes — you can see that in the contrast between Komiko’s anger over Butcher renting her out as an assassin, objectifying and exploiting her as his “gun” (and, similarly, Frenchie’s anger over Butcher trading him to Little Nina), versus Homelander getting upset when Stan Edgar called him a “defective product” only because he doesn’t want to be called defective.

I think that’s the real difference between how Homelander sees his powers versus how the other supes see theirs — he has totally bought into the idea that he’s a product, and he just wants to be the best, most salable product that he can be. Whereas the other supes still resist being totally dehumanized like that, to greater or lesser degrees.

I think that’s at the heart of his hatred of his humanity, too. If he didn’t have his humanity, he would just be his powers, and his powers are perfect, so then he would be perfect and no longer defective, and then there would be nothing holding back Vought/everyone from loving him.

I read that as her reaching the phase of the horror movie where the final girl, after surviving a dozen brushes with death, has simply run out of fear and is now operating in a realm of pure freedom, aggression, and instinct.

Also she might be realizing that as Homelander's viceroy she has a lot of power even over people who could tear her limb from limb.


I think “final girl vibes” is absolutely on the money!

What I always remember about Ashley is how, when Madelyn fired her, she lit into Starlight with that whole long sorority rush metaphor. Ultimately, Ashley just treats all this as ladder climbing, and now she’s at the top of the ladder and she’s totally thrilled with herself but also a little dizzy at her heights. In my personal head canon, I imagine her coming from some super WASPy family and having gone to some pretentious “prep school” kind of private high school, and now when everyone’s home for Xmas she swans around feeling like Queen Bee because her corporate job is not only more impressive than all her old high school friends’ corporate jobs, it’s maybe even more impressive than their dads’ corporate jobs, too. Basically a suburban Millennial woman version of Patrick Bateman.
posted by rue72 at 8:21 AM on July 3 [3 favorites]


Ashley reads to me as someone who was raised to be super high achieving. That her greatest fear is failure, which is something she shared with Homelander, which is probably why she’s talented at presenting a veneer of perfection.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:01 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Ashley reads to me as someone who was raised to be super high achieving. That her greatest fear is failure, which is something she shared with Homelander, which is probably why she’s talented at presenting a veneer of perfection.

But what do you mean by “high achieving”? I don’t feel like Ashley has some grand vision for herself, let alone for Vought. It seems to me like she’s just trying to keep up with the Joneses, except the Joneses in this case are super-powered or psychopaths or both and it’s just A LOT.

I think Ashley is a foil for Madelyn. Madelyn seemed to genuinely relish and take pride in how she had managed to use Homelander to scale the heights of Vought’s flashy-but-frivolous superhero division. And because of her success with that division, she was then poised to leapfrog from the circus on 99 to becoming CEO of Vought itself, the real Vought that the real big shots run from 82.

The problem within Vought now is that what Stan and the board cared about was Madelyn’s ability to position and run the supe division, because they thought it meant she had the potential to successfully position and run the company (it seems like they didn’t actually care about the division per se or any of its products) — but now Madelyn is dead, and her projects are running amok without her.

That said, I think Homelander was always going to end up murdering Madelyn. Once she was promoted, she would no longer have needed to prove herself through her successful management of him and the supe division, so he’d just be dead weight to her. And his fate was tied to Madelyn’s in the sense that she had built the Seven around him and a new boss could (probably would) have a totally different vision and would want to restructure. In other words, once Madelyn was gone, it would be time for a reboot. Homelander couldn’t let her leave him and he couldn’t risk being rebooted right out of Vought, so he was going to have to kill her and he was going to have to install a puppet (Ashley) who would never impose her own, new vision on 99.

But with a puppet in Madelyn’s office, nobody is really running 99. And now with Stan in disgrace, nobody is really running 82. And Homelander is at least smart enough to know that he has hollowed out the company and now it’s just a matter of time before it either crumbles down around his ears or someone comes to save it — maybe “someone” meaning his idol, Soldier Boy — and saving it will of course mean vanquishing him, as anyone who has ever seen a superhero movie knows. Vought is Homelander’s whole world, so he’s essentially signed his own death warrant either way. I think he’s just in a state of panic at this point, waiting for the executioner’s ax to fall even as he tries to force himself into denial.

I don’t think Ashley necessarily understands that the whole company is drifting along on inertia and could collapse at any second, because maybe she’s scared enough of Homelander to overestimate him. But maybe she does understand that, and is thinking that if she just lasts long enough with an impressive enough sounding job title on her resume, it’ll set her up for a cushy exit. It’s hard to tell. I mean, she is pretty canny and ambitious but she’s also living in terror.
posted by rue72 at 10:23 AM on July 3 [2 favorites]


I mainly base the theory that Stormfront/Liberty is Homelander's mother on the fact she can fly. And I think her eggs were harvested, with or without her consent.
posted by Pendragon at 12:15 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


Animated Stan eating nuts in front of Noir speaks so much to his character that I cannot believe he is just sitting on the sidelines for any of this.

I am inclined to think Soldier Boy does in fact just want a son. He mentions to Hughie that if Vought had wanted him out he would've done it so he could raise a couple of boys to be real men. He personally gains nothing in telling Hughie that so it would appear to be a genuine reflection on learning that he was betrayed at the highest level.
posted by M Edward at 3:50 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


it seemed sort of like the two actors weren’t on the same set? Like maybe they’d filmed the scene separately and it had been spliced together afterward.

That's the exact vibe I usually get from watching Fox viewers interact with non Fox viewers. I thought it was nicely done.
posted by flabdablet at 10:35 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


One of the charges that George Lucas will someday have to answer for in The Hague is ushering in an era of entertainment where the primary antagonist is revealed to be the main character’s father.

He's currently the defendant in a copyright infringement suit from the ancient Greeks.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:44 PM on July 4 [4 favorites]


She veers from "oh my god I am going to die in the next five seconds" to "I am going to die in the next five seconds but I absolutely cannot let anybody know I'm thinking that" so often that her being completely full of extremely inappropriate confidence is so weird.

It's such an apt 'got the tiger by the tail' portrayal - every moment that she wavers on her committed course of action, and then realizes that she might have three seconds of freedom before Homelander evaporates her... solid gold
posted by FatherDagon at 1:20 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


also: This episode has a post-credits scene!
Having just now gone back to watch it, I really don't think that constitutes a "scene".
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 8:20 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


Finding out the truth of what happened in 1984 through a cartoon hallucination was exquisite.

Not yet mentioned in this thread AFAICT is the significance of the title: it's a line from an English nursery rhyme whose next line is "Here comes a chopper to chop off your head," and the song features prominently in the novel…1984.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:05 AM on July 6 [5 favorites]


Starshine compliments the Kirkland whisky (although currently, they don't offer a Tennessee whisky - only blended Scotches).

Now I'm really curious to try a Kirkland whisky, but that's unavailable to me in Canada. Anyone ever had a sniff or two?
posted by porpoise at 3:44 PM on July 8


Is that the Costco brand of whiskey?
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:56 PM on July 12


Yep
posted by porpoise at 9:41 AM on July 13


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