Everything hits the fan in The Self Preservation Society.
Things kick off with a flashback from eight years ago when Butcher and his wife, Becca (Shantel VanSanten, The Flash), are at a fancy Vought Christmas party. That’s when Becca gets on Homelander’s radar. It’s almost sad seeing a clean-shaven Butcher here with his only concern about Homelander being his comfort level in his super suit.
I’ve neglected to mention this but the costume designers Laura Jean Shannon, Joyce Schure, Carrie Grace and Rebecca Gregg deserve a ton of credit for making the costumes look so good. They look functional without looking corny while still looking bada$$. Remember the dark ages of comic book adaptations that preferred to make the costumes look like leftovers from The Matrix set?
Things take a dark turn after Becca’s rape and she disappears. This episode we finally learn what happen and it makes Butcher’s storyline so much more tragic even as it falls into the standard genre trope. The Boys dutifully plays into the fridging cliche of so many male character motives are steered by something terrible happening to the women around them. Hughie with Robin, Butcher with Becca and even A-Train with Popclaw.
A woman arrives at Butcher’s door and shows him cam footage that pretty much confirms Homelander raped Becca. That woman was Mallory, the same woman MM and Frenchie constantly mention whose family was killed from their previous actions.
One thing for sure is whether in horror movies or comic book films, a character hooking up with their love interest almost immediately leads to a bad thing. Annie and Hughie have a romantic hook up at a hotel and afterwards she gives him a free pass to share anything. This was Hughie’s chance to come clean and you knew he was gonna blow it, but how could he have salvaged things either?
While exiled in Ohio, The Deep learns there’s nothing exciting besides the best roller coaster in the country. Of more importance storyline wise is he gets essentially date raped by a fan. Yes this is a tables have turned situation, but I’m confused how we’re supposed to take Deep now. Was it supposed to be funny he got sexually assaulted because he sexually harassed women? Or are we supposed to feel sorry for him? There’s no character more confusing or complicated on the show than The Deep. Whoa…
Homelander finally pieces everything together and assembles The 7…or 5. For branding purposes, Madelyn really needs to line up some new recruits pronto. He remembers Butcher and confronts Starlight for everything going so terrible since she arrived. A conspiracy theory definitely could connect the dots that Annie was complicit in working with Hughie and Billy. And what a dick move for asking A-Train about Hughie.
A-Train threatens Hughie’s dad forcing The Boys to go further underground. With the team burned, Butcher lives up to his name in tracking down and savagely killing Mesmer. Gotta say he had it coming.
Hughie confronts A-Train, who tries to blame him for Popclaw’s death. A-Train does do a good job of holding the mirror up to Hughie for his role in everything that’s gone so horrible since Robin’s death.
Thankfully Hughie wasn’t dumb enough to go to A-Train by himself and brought along Kimoko, who breaks A-Train’s leg. That’s really gonna hurt. Still, life on the run won’t work for the crew and their families. MM had figured out Raynor was willing to deal, but wasn’t willing to throw Homelander in the deal. With his crew in jeopardy, Butcher does make the deal to keep them safe.
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I was intrigued with the show from Karl Urban, one of my favorite underrated actors; been a huge fan of Laz Alonso and really liked Jesse T. Usher, Jack Quaid and Erin Moriarty in limited work, but Antony Starr is the real force and star of this show. The Boys might be considered to hyper violent to be considered for Emmys and other TV awards, but Starr absolutely deserves at least a token nomination.
You never know how Homelander is going to react from his preening leader giving a pep talks to the troops to immediately switching to threatening to kill Starlight with his laser blast. The dude is scary and Starr has mastered that snap on a dime persona. But this episode showed another surprising side to him as well.
After a not at all convincing conversation with Madelyn about Becca, Homelander seeks out Dr. Vogelbaum (John Doman, Gotham), one of the people who observed the baby Homelander. Vogelbaum recalls that Becca came to him and Madelyn because she was pregnant with Homelander’s baby. Previously, Homelander thought he was sterile. The pregnancy didn’t end well with the super-powered baby killing Becca and drowning in her blood.
OK, here’s the thing. There’s one more episode left and I’m starting to get a little suspicious. How much of a gut punch would it be if Homelander didn’t rape Becca, but she willingly had an affair with him? It seems like the kind of crazy reveal that would make for a excellent season finale. That would dramatically derail Butcher’s revenge quest, yes?
Homelander seemed to be taken aback by this news and legitimately interested in a non-rape-y way about Becca’s whereabouts. And he was teary eyed learning about the child. The show really does throw a bunch of layers on the characters. Too much in some cases, but this definitely is an interesting development.
Just when it seems like Vought is about to go down as Raynor effectively threatens to ruin Madelyn and the company by revealing the powered up babies superhero program, Raynor is called in to see the result of a military mission where SEALS have tracked down the terrorists responsible for the plane hijacking. It all goes smooth until the terrorist faction unveils their secret weapon, a supe named The Captain. Looks like Vought’s Super 7 will be needed after all whether Raynor, The Boys or anyone else likes it.
Hughie agrees to meet Annie and frustratingly doesn’t explain in any detail his actions. Just as he starts talking about Compound V, Annie gets shot…by Butcher. Hughie than makes the bonehead move of running, which definitely doesn’t make him look guilty at all…
Self Preservation Society was a strong episode that sets things up nicely for what should be an excellent season finale.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: Amazon