This episode was mind...blowing. I'll see myself out, and for real, the ending had me shook as if it would do anything else. The penultimate episode of the season and the stakes have been considerably raised. Beyond that, the relationships between the characters and their parental figures are explored, as well as the effects on them.
The opening for this episode was chilling. Back in episode 4, Stormfront referred to her fans are her angry soldiers. A fan of hers finds himself becoming radicalized by Stormfront’s ceaseless fearmongering, white-supremacist language, and supe-terrorist conspiracy theories in all of her media appearances. It results in this man shooing and murdering a clerk who he suspects is a supe terrorist because he thought he saw a flicker in his eyes. The song that was twisted for this scene was "What a Wonderful World", and it is shockingly effective. It also highlights the impact of the main characters has on the civilians of this world.
Following last week, Lamplighter has agreed to testify in front of congress to help take down Vought. The Boys are working with both Grace Mallory and congresswoman Neuman, who has popped up all throughout the season openly going against Vought, demanding hearings. They decide to get more dirt against Vought and approach the former CSO Jonah Vogelbaum. I believed that after the first season, the character was dead, but it seems that Homelander just put him in a chair. He is responsible for Homelander's creation and was his father figure. He regrets his actions, but he is fine living with his guilt in his mansion and refuses to help the boys.
Butcher is set up to meet with his estranged father, played by John Noble. The nerd in me appreciated the Lord Of The Rings reunion. We learn from their intense conversation that his dad was abusive, and Billy, Butcher's brother had committed suicide. His dad bad mouths Billy and it leads Butcher to attack him. Nothing happens, but he is shocked that his dad is unrepentant and is proud of making Butcher tough, damn everything else. Why Butcher is the way he is is clear: the impact of his father. John Noble is just good casting.
The theme continues when Butcher meets with Vogelbaum himself. We learn that Homelander as a child was sweet, but Vogelbaum did what he felt he needed to to make him tougher. Butcher threatens to kill Vogelbaum's family if he doesn't testify, and that is the end of it.
Annie gets captured by Vought, having followed by Vought. Eric Kripke admitted in an interview that he regrets killing off Lamplighter because Shawn Ashmore killed it, and I can't help but agree. After Homelander exposes Annie as a traitor, Hughie convinces Lamplighter to help him save her. He made a convincing argument for Team Cuckold, seeing as how Lamplighter wanted to spend his day watching superhero porn in the daytime. Comic fans may have noticed that Jack from Jupiter made an appearance, in a gang bang porno. Anyway, they make it to Vought but go to the conference room instead. Lamplighter has been acting rather despondent for the whole episode, but suicide was the last thing I thought he was going to do. As he is lighting himself on fire, it created the perfect opportunity for Annie to escape, as her cell was retrofitted to counteract her powers.
Maeve finally got to do something heroic this season: Saving Annie from Black Noir. Following Elena watching the footage from the failed plane hijacking, Elena leaves, and Maeve is crushed. She copes with meaningless sex with strange men and vaping. As Annie tries to make her way out, Noir finds her, and they engage in a brutal fight. By fight, I mean beating. Annie gets some hits in, but Noir dominates. Then, Maeve enters and defeats Noir by putting an Almond Joy in his mouth as he is allergic. Almond Joys are getting just as much free press as Fresca is on this show.
I thought it was more of a cult, but this episode has me thinking that the church of the collective is more like Scientology. A-Train has joined so he can get back into the seven, but suspects weirdness when Alastair Adana, the leader of the church tells both him and The Dep to not talk to Eagle the Archer anymore as he "failed the program". There are then accusations about Eagle's sexual fetishes that leak on the news. I feel that the church will be expanded upon in the 3rd season, as there are many unknowns about them.
Homelander and Stormfront, after rallying their fans to support more supes and Compound V, go visit Becca and Ryan. Homelander isn't impressed with how Ryan is being raised, seeing it as him being a pussy, making Lego movies, and such. Lego The Blind Side looked pretty cool. He and Stormfront impress him by telling him about Homelander's movies. Becca finds herself losing Ryan by the episode's end when Homelander reveals to Ryan that they live in a compound. Becca argues that Ryan should stay with her as he needs a mother. Then Stormfront indicates that she will be the new mom, and the power couple flies away with him. This was a gripping moment, and I was eager that the scene cut away quickly as any moment with those two psychos are get horrible quickly.
The episode ends on quite the cliffhanger. In the congress hearing, before it starts, people's heads begin to blow up in the same manner as Raynor in the season premiere. You could certainly draw parallels between this and Batman V Superman. Vogelbaum is killed, along with several others, including Shockwave, A-Train's replacement. The Boys have suffered a big loss here with their plan once again crumbling in front of them. What to do, what to do.
"Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker" ramps up the tension to 11, moving each storyline successfully forward, teasing an exciting conclusion to a sensational season.
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