After bemoaning the plot taking a backseat in Episode 4, Episode 5 comes out with one of the best episodes of Season 2 thus far.
The rabbit hole is getting deeper and Dorothy is definitely not in Kansas anymore.
Let's dig in...
I must say this episode had all the elements that made the first season of The Boys so appealing: over-exaggerated violence, clever social commentary, even smarter commentary on comic book movies and the TV and film industry all wrapped in a great story and characters.
Just as I was starting to lose faith, the show has pulled me back in.
The show started off making fun of Dawn of Justice and the Avengers movies, with another scene of New York reeling from an attack a la the first Avenger movie, but the rubble and debris is very similar to the one that starts Batman vs Superman.
The scene quickly establishes a running theme in the episode where what's happening on screen is manufactured and flawed compared to the reality.
Maeve is sold as a lesbian in the film whilst she is bisexual in the series.
But Vought, who have the same studio emblem as the old Marvel Studio emblem, want to sell Queen Maeve as a lesbian because it's easier to sell to America. It's easier for them to accept a gay couple that resembles a hetero couple in its presentation.
Maeve and her girlfriend are pigeonholed to be an easily digestible lesbian couple who don't threaten the viewers. Which speaks to studios and how they manufacture and re-manufacture film and TV stars.
The cinema scenes bring to mind John Boyega's revelation around Star Wars, whereby studios feign inclusivity, not because they truly believe in it, but because it's something they can commercialise and exploit.
Vought is commodifying Maeve's sexuality and exploiting it and trying to sell it as palatably as possible.
On studio meddling, I love the Joss Whedon line that Homelander throws in, in case one forgot that dawn of the 7 is a full-on parody of Justice League.
But it's not just big business that’s exploiting the heroes as a commodity as we see the Church of the Collective pushing their sham wedding.
Referencing the (in)famous Tom Cruise / Katie Holmes wedding, complete with having the same (real life) interviewer doing a similar interview with the Deep and new wife.
The church's rehabilatation of the Deep comes with its own ad where the Deep talks against sexual molestation. It's hilariously delivered because it's so on the nose of trying to rehabillitate the image rather than the person.
On the character front, Kimiko is becoming as bad as the Supes, ripping people's faces and breaking poor Frenchie's heart.
Whilst Butcher and Hughie have truly found each other and Butcher is definitely back to trying to take down Vought. Whilst Maeve is cooking up her own scheme to get rid of Homelander.
Poor Starlight is definitely a woman on the outside. Even though the studio is trying to push the cliché of “the girls get done” and "girls united".
Whilst in reality the ladies are not on the same page at all, which continues that theme of studio exploiting wokeness to sell stuff, in this case female solidarity.
There's a scene with the girl together that seemed to make fun of the girl power moment in Endgame,
which continues that theme of studio's exploiting wokeness to sell stuff, in this case female solidarity and to appear inclusive.
But the most interesting developments where between Stormfront and Homelander story-wise and plot-wise.
Homelander is clearly quarter to cracking, that big fake-out of killing folks is telling that this dude is a bomb waiting to explode
Whilst Stormfront was shown to be a woman who's a great manipulator and knows everything but plays the game with all the cards very close to her chest.
She knows about Compound V, her and Edgar (Vought chairperson) are doing some dodgy with Lamplighter.
Thus far Lamplighter has only been referenced to in the first season as someone who killed Mallory's grandkids but the show brought him on screen, played by Iceman from the X-Men movie and left the thread hanging on purpose.
Stormfront's major coup is how she's been playing Homelander, leading him by the nose, even with the crazy sex scene.
She's got Homelander wrapped around the finger and I doubt that the man knows it.
They deserve each other. The one a Nazi and the other the ideal of racist blue eyes, blonde and all powerful.
Colour me intrigued when thinking where this partnership going?
If it's not clear by now, I believe a train was kicked out of the team because of Stormfront's back room machinisations.
Stormfront holding onto what she knows about Starlight from Homelander and Vought just means she's planning on using it at different time... but when?
If one considers that Stormfront is older than the rest of the 7, there's an internet theory she may have connections to Vought himself - could even be the first of the Supe. So what's her and Edgar's end game? If Stormfront is such a racist why would she willingly work for a black dude?
Anyway, the episode was so good that it gives the series so much potential of where to go.
I still say it’s a pity we're doing one episode a week but one shall count down 'til Friday to see what the penultimate episode has for us.
I have a feeling this season is going to end on a major cliff hanger.
It felt like:
A return to form for the show.
*trash **you are on your own***it tries****almost perfect *****Instant classic