Warning: spoilers for The Boys season 3 episode 4 follow. Click away now if you have not seen the latest episode of Amazon’s superhero show.
Just how far would you be willing to go to stop a Supe like Homelander? That’s the question at the center of The Boys’ latest episode. ‘Glorious Five Year Plan’ tracks Billy Butcher’s (Karl Urban) team as they travel to Russian to find a mysterious weapon that could take down the maniacal leader of the Seven.
While on their journey, we explore a few relationships. Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) and Butcher get some great moments, with MM holding Butcher to account like no other as we learn more about their history working together. Even he can’t stop Butcher from falling further wayward due to Temp V, the effects of which are more than just some green vomit.
That conversation’s on the heavier side for The Boys. There’s also a tongue-in-cheek spoof on Kendall Jenner’s much-ridiculed Pepsi advert, a gruesome flying hamster sequence, and a very NSFW fight scene for Kimiko as she creatively takes down a group of sex traffickers using dildos inspired by members of The Seven. It’s brutal and hilarious – two tones the show continues to balance so well – and superior to the other action sequences we’ve seen so far this season. Termite’s sneezing moment from the premiere was all shock and gore, whereas this scene has both those aspects plus the emotional heft that helps land the punch. That’s delivered through Karen Fukuhara’s performance as Kimiko as she grapples with how Butcher’s manipulation of her echoes that of her former captors.
Back Stateside, Starlight (Erin Moriarty) is trying buy The Boys some time to actually use the Russian weapon, while Homelander moves to become the most powerful man at Vought. We’ve seen signs of Homelander going off the rails before, but, by the end of the episode, there’s no doubt he’s still in full control of his powers. It’s Anthony Starr’s performance as the unhinged hero that leaves me at a crossroads: I want Butcher to succeed, yet it’s hard to imagine this show without Homelander’s omniscient threat lingering over them. By the final scene, though, everyone’s at risk.
However, ‘Glorious Five Year Plan’ is not a perfect episode. The opening musical number doesn’t quite hit the right beat and there’s some narrative thread pulling that forcefully happens before the adventure can actually begin. The writers also struggle with how to balance the show’s plethora of characters. Maeve (Dominique McElligott) remains underserved, even if her relationship with Homelander is one of the more interesting dynamics on display – hopefully her moment will come. It would also be great to take a deeper dive into what’s going on with A-Train (Jessie Usher) as he becomes Homelander’s main punching bag.
Whether there will be time remains to be seen – there’s no knowing where this mission’s going now that a certain someone’s on the scene. Enter Solider Boy, who showrunner Erik Kripke recently told us is the only character as “powerful as Homelander”. “He’s not a guy who has to deal with his own mortality very much,” he promises of Homelander. “So when you put him into that situation, it’s pretty interesting.” We can’t wait…
The Boys season 3 is airing weekly on Prime Video – check out our guide to the release schedule here to make sure you don’t miss a moment. If you’re looking for more on the show, check out our exclusive interviews with Kripke and the cast about Easter eggs and what they really think about those crazy storylines.
4 out of 5
Avoiding the temptation to simply lean into the shock and gore, ‘Glorious Five Year Plan’ is an emotional, powerful episode that raises the stakes for every character.