“The Boys Recap: Discover the Surprising Link Between Popularity and Power!”

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There are more than just three stories centered on trauma in the fourth season The Boys. This episode is my favorite of the first three. It strikes a great balance between plot and character drama.

This time, let’s look at the big picture. Dakota Bob has a full-steam ahead with his planned Superhero Management Act. Now with an immediate amendment banning supers from government, military and private police positions. Victoria Neuman is aware that this bill will be difficult to pass through Congress. Hundreds of senators and representatives are still in Vought’s pocket. Sister Sage wants to intentionally exacerbate the polarization that is growing between Starlighters and Hometeamers by selecting Firecracker as the Seven. I guess that the last episode was not important, or Sage didn’t find out. Firecracker will use incendiary words to make both sides more vocal, setting up a coup. The villains have set this as their end goal and it is very clear to see the stakes in such plain terms.

It’s true that some of this feels like the Stormfront arc from season two. Sage is now the Homelander’s new partner, and the attack on Starlight House by a radicalized Firecracker supporter reminds me of Stormchaser, who killed an innocent employee of a grocery store he thought was a terrorist. The Vought tower feels different enough now that I can overlook the repetitive satirical material.

Sage’s quick takeover of Ashley as CEO is part of the reason for this different feeling. Ashley will remain on as a figurehead, but Sage will be in charge. This would be a great opportunity for Ashley to move on and build her career elsewhere if this was a regular job. Homelander’s ability to zap a hole into the head of a traitorous employee is enough to scare Ashley into staying. She might be safer elsewhere, but Homelander wouldn’t allow her to leave because of the corruption and grotesquery she witnessed at Vought.

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Firecracker also reveals a bit of her past that gives a personal touch to her battle with Starlight. She ran into Annie often in the early days of their pageant, when Annie’s toxic mother turned her into a bully. Firecracker (then called “Sparkler”) and Annie reached the finals of a pageant when they were both 13 years old. Annie said to the other girls that Firecracker would only be able to make it there if she had an “assfuck gang bang” with the judges. This remark became a damaging rumor that forced Firecracker to leave the pageant circuit.

Firecracker may be a bit silly to think that Annie was the same “conniving, mean-girl, bitch” when she was in her teens, but it is a refreshing change to see Annie as the bully and to watch her apologize to one of America’s most evil people. Firecracker’s quest to uncover the darker and crueler side of America’s sweetheart intrigues me. Firecracker’s unfair portrayal of her is not without merit.

A-Train is also making good progress. The Boys’ new informant has been directly involved in a plot designed to spy on a meeting between Homelander, Neuman and VoughtCoin Arena during a rehearsal of Vought on ice. Mother’s Milk points to the fact that he can blackmail A-Train if he wants to. This will continue this show’s never-ending exchange of threats. But I like the fact that his goal is not to force A Train to help them, but to appeal to him during a moment of crisis and make want help the Boys.

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Sage suggests an arrangement: She and Homelander will kill Dakota Bob themselves after certification, protecting Neuman from suspicion. In return, Neuman will disband the Bureau of Superhuman Affairs, condemn the “defund the supes” movement, remove “critical supe theory” (really?) Sage proposes an agreement: She and Homelander would kill Dakota Bob after certification to protect Neuman. In return, Neuman would disband the Bureau of Superhuman Affairs and condemn the “defunding the supes’ movement. Sage suggests an arrangement: She and Homelander will kill Dakota Bob themselves after certification, protecting Neuman from suspicion, in return, Neuman will disband the Bureau of Superhuman Affairs, condemn the “defunding of supes” movement, remove “critical supe theory” (really?) Hughie drips sweat onto Homelander before they can make any decisions. This exposes his presence, and almost gets him fried.

The Vought-on-Ice set piece may not have been as long and flashy as the fight against Splinter in the last episode, yet I still think it is my favorite action finale of the season. The Vought On Ice material is a big part of it. “Put the ‘Christ’ Back In Christmas” is perfect and the deaths are hilariously gruesome, from Homelander’s laser blast that was off balance to the violent run across the ice by the skaters to escape. Of course, a few ice skaters will die by the end. It’s also great fun to watch The Boysin the espionage-thriller mode. And I love how Homelander chases Hughie, knowing who he is chasing. Hughie has no chance of beating Homelander. I like how the episode ends with A-Train saving Hughie’s arse.

Homelander has a rather sombre day, as he talks to the confident, cold-blooded self reflected in the mirror. He is still stinging with jealousy from hearing that Ryan had spent the day in Butcher’s company. To “transcend” his humanity and overcome his unhonorable emotions, he must get past his feelings. His way to do that is to face his past, just like Hughie and Kimiko did this season.

In this episode, Kimiko and Frenchie’s side mission achieves the same goal. Kimiko meets a young woman with scars she recognizes from her Shining Light years. Kimiko, in a rather annoying way, lets the woman go without explaining her significance to Frenchie. Frenchie refuses to explain to Kimiko the reason he is so opposed to Colin. He prefers to take hallucinogens instead and not think about it. He does not participate in any of the bloodshed this time. Instead, he watches Kimiko kills in a daze and visualizes blood and guts like bubbles and rubber Ducks.

A slightly unnecessary hallucination will remind us if we didn’t already know what is bugging Frenchie. A Colin who is imaginary suddenly surrounds him and calls him out on all the people he has murdered under Little Nina’s order. Nina appears as well, calling him out for “fucking his orphaned boy” and continuing to self-flagellate despite Nina’s absence. He bonds with Annie in a post-mission venting at home base, where he talks about the constant temptation to abdicate your responsibility and blame someone else for your mistakes.

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Butcher has been doing things the “right way” so far. He’s used his brutal tactics in missions, but always backs off before committing something truly awful. In “We’ll Keep the Red Flag Flying Here,” he contemplates drugging Ryan so that he, his scary CIA friend and a CIA agent can “deprogram him” in a safehouse. After a heartfelt talk with the child, he decides to not do it and throws the cookies away.

This heart-to-heart is the most emotional moment of the season so far for me, perhaps because we have been following the dynamic for some time, and especially since Butcher promised Becca in the second season finale. Butcher’s and Ryan’s game of foosball is a great way to talk about Ryan’s frustration that everyone at Vought tower lets him win every time. This is similar to the irritation he feels with his biological father. I felt sorry for him when he told me about killing someone accidentally, and especially after he made that vulnerable comment “I understand why you don’t like me.” I would not want me either.”

It’s so satisfying to finally close the circle on Butcher rejecting Ryan last season. He has now provided some context and made a confession. Butcher pushed Ryan away intentionally because he had no business being a dad, but he is terrified that he will die before he can make things right with Ryan. It’s refreshing to see them both lower their guards and spend time together. Kessler’s last warning is all the more ominous. The CIA will soon need to train Ryan, or even kill him. Although the country is at risk, I am most concerned about the characters and their relationships.

Extra Frames:

Hughie discovers that he cannot do anything legally regarding power of attorney. However, he and his mother have a heart-to-heart in which she tells him how she suffered from severe depression for years following his birth. Hughie’s father didn’t want Hughie to be confused by her continuing to call him after she left. It seems like both she and her child are starting to heal. I’m interested in where the story will go next.

Sage is aware that the Starlighters’ surveillance footage was stolen, and I do not expect her to let it slide.

It’s a surprise that The Deep and Sage hook up at the end of the show after they share a Bloomin’ Onion with Outback Steakhouse. Sage seems to be stoned during the entire scene. This is probably due to the bloody instrument we see nearby. I love the fact that the most intelligent person on the planet wants to watch Transformers Revenge of the Fallen and Say yes to the Dress.

* “These vaccines that are being given out at Starlight House cause autism and not the cool rain man autism which makes you good at counting and shit.”

* “Enough yeast infections to open Panera” is a very vivid statement.

* I understand that Vought controls much of the media, but it seems odd to me that Butcher could see Ryan’s televised rescue without also seeing the blood-splattered corpse he left behind. Aren’t there a lot of videos from bystanders who live streamed the event? Ryan was he not in the clear legally, as he “protected” a young girl?

* “Shy’s a friend of mine. He wants me in honey boy 2. “The script isn’t quite there yet.”

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