TL;DR – This is the episode that any semblance of subtly gets thrown out the door.
The Boys: Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker Review –
The Boys is a show that has never shied away from the gore, sex, violence, subtle this is not. However, when it comes to the story, it was always framed around a simple good v bad framework. Throughout this season we have seen that there is more to that narrative as we dive down the well that is Vought, and this week the story takes all of its gloves of to show you just what it wants to say.
So to set the scene, in last week’s episode we got to see inside Vought International’s final plan. They aim to stabilize Compound V so that it can be given to an adult and cause an instant and safe transformation to being a Supe. But that is how it is not the why. The why is that Vought is not just Nazi adjacent, it is straight-up completely Nazi. Stormfront (Aya Cash) who is leading this campaign was born in Nazi Germany, and the aim is to given powers to select people to ‘take the country back’. This week with the turning of we start with the turning of Lamplighter (Shawn Ashmore) and the best possible chance to take Vought down … if everyone can make it to the hearings alive. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
This feels like the episode where all the horses get into line, where the stakes are at their highest, and at any moment, everything can fall apart. Which starts with the inciting incident of a man (Charley Koontz) being so absorbed by the media being put out by Stormfront that he kills his local shop owner (Kris Siddiqi) thinking he was a super-villain because he was not white. This continues with the consistent rhetoric that Stormfront and Homelander (Antony Starr) put out that consistently enflames the situation. Made even worse when Homelander brings Stormfront home to Becca (Shantel VanSanten) and Ryan (Cameron Crovetti). Homelander sees him as a chance for him to have a life over, Stormfront sees him as the perfect progeny for her agenda, which makes it all the worse when they fly away with Ryan after poisoning his relationship with his mother.
One of the themes on the show is legacy, both good and bad. For Butcher (Karl Urban), that legacy is the torment of his past, which is put in sharp relief when is mother (Lesley Nicol) conspired to get him to talk to his abusive father (John Noble) finally. We see just what formed his childhood, and also a reminder that John Noble can play menacing very well. For Lamplighter, the legacy is the torment of his past actions. He always wants to be the hero, and this is the episode where he gets the chance. Also, the legacy for Starlight (Erin Moriarty) that maybe her mother (Ann Cusack) might be an idiot but not someone she has to cut out of her life completely.
All of this leads to the hearings where remarkably everyone bar Lamplighter and Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) made it to alive. Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) had convened Congress to investigate Vought and this time she has an ace in the hole, the former chief scientific officer Jonah Vogelbaum (John Doman). Everything is going well right up until the point where people’s heads start exploding, and chaos abounds. From the show of everyone in the room, I am not sure it was Vought that was doing this, or at least it was so high up that no one in the room knew. I am not sure it could be because it only looks bad for Vought and also one of the people killed was Shockwave (Mishka Thébaud) one of the new Seven. It might have something to do with our totally not Scientology analogue the Church of the Collective that The Deep (Chace Crawford) and A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) had joined up with, but only time will tell.
In the end, do we recommend Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker? Yes, yes we do. Now that they have removed all pretence to show is moving full steam ahead. Given this is the penultimate episode for the season and it ended on that … explosive … note I really can’t wait to see where they go next week.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Boys
Directed by – Stefan Schwartz
Written by – Craig Rosenberg
Created by – Eric Kripke
Based on – The Boys by Garth Ennis & Darick Robertson
Production/Distribution Companies – Sony Pictures Television & Amazon Studios
Starring – Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominique McElligott, Jessie T. Usher, Laz Alonso, Chace Crawford, Tomer Capon, Karen Fukuhara, Nathan Mitchell, Colby Minifie & Aya Cash with Shawn Ashmore, John Nobel, Lesley Nicol, Shantel Vansanten, Ann Cusack, Claudia Doumit, Langston Kerman, Jessica Hecht, Katy Breier, Cameron Crovetti, Nicola Correia-Damude, Charley Koontz, Laila Robins, John Doman, Goran Visnjic, Kris Siddiqi & Mishka Thébaud.