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The Boys Season One, Episode 3: “Get Some” Raises the Stakes

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It’s been a rough week for Hughie: his girlfriend was killed by a supe, he was attacked by another, and he ended “Cherry” by killing said assailant in gruesome fashion, their viscera still dripping from his face when “Get Some” begins. So much for not making a mess; as “Get Some” eloquently paints through most of its strongest episode so far, there’s no clean victories to be had in The Boys‘ dirty world of unadulterated indulgence, unchecked egos, and warped self perceptions.

After two episodes of indulging itself in chauvinistic humor and explosive violence, “Get Some” feels like the many outlandish elements of The Boys are beginning to find harmony with each other.

“Get Some” basically does everything the first two hours of The Boys failed to do: bring texture to its archetypes, letting the hyper masculine facade fade back just long enough to dig into the emotional stakes of the story a bit more. Whether through Hughie, A-Train, Starlight, or the newly introduced Mother’s Milk, “Get Some” widens the lens of The Boys, giving its world a bit more scope while taking a bit more time to build out its characters.

The Boys Get Some

The most striking moments come from the dumbfounded Hughie, who is still contending with all the death surrounding him, and how it’s fundamentally broken something inside him. Everything is upside down: he’s killing the superheroes he once idolized, and also finding himself having a crush on Starlight at the same time. Hughie realizes he’s losing the thread on his own sanity, particularly when he witnesses Popclaw (A-Train’s girlfriend) crush a man’s skull while high on a superpower-enhancing drug, and he’s reminded that when you’re willing to pay any price for vengeance (and surround yourself with sociopaths to do it), shit like this is going to happen.

For some, it’s an identity they can’t escape: “Get Some” also marks the introduction of Mother’s Milk, a man who presumably has some sort of super power, given his unique name. We don’t get a glimpse of that in “Get Some,” but what we do get a glimpse of is an amalgamation of traits assigned to superheroes trying to live ‘normal’ lives: he spends his days at an unsatisfying job (counselor in a juvenile facility),and he struggles to find excitement in the domestic life he’s trying to live: once you’ve had a taste of the fruits of limitless power, it can be hard to engage with the more basic superficialities of mortal existence.

Of course, there are better ways to do that then watching Butcher and company berate him for talking to his girlfriend on the phone (don’t show affection; it’s not masculine!!!): where “Get Some” really captures this dichotomy between humans and heroes is watching Queen Maeve and Homelander casually walk into an active shootout, holding a discussion while ignoring the deadly events occurring around them. As bullets bounce off their bodies, Homelander ponders the reason they even listen to the creatures Translucent called “water balloons full of blood” during “Cherry” – and he certainly doesn’t appear satisfied when Maeve points out they do sign their checks.

The Boys Get Some

Homelander’s character, in particular, really comes to life in “Get Some”: from his absolute disdain for children to his delusional self-deification, Antony Starr really threads the needle between slimy and charismatic, capturing the borderline psychosis of The Seven’s flag-adorned leader in a way that feels ominous and threatening, rather than a thin parody of Evil Superman. His absolute dismissal of The Deep is not only hilarious (when The Deep mentions a friend found Translucent’s body, he reminds him it was “a fucking porpoise”), but necessary in building out Homelander’s cartoonishly large sense of self: he’s the one hero who thinks he’s above it all, powerful enough to kill a governor without concern, and ignorant enough to not care about the implications of his intimidating actions.

Homelander is such a fascinating deconstruction of Superman, such a carefully textured take on the capitalistic end point of such a hero: and as The Boys slowly begins to scratch under the surface of its “hedonistic Justice League runs wild” premise, “Get Some” distills some of the central conflicts in really interesting ways.

Starlight’s presence in “Get Some” also turns into a powerful engine to explore the strange relationship heroes have in a modern society: when Vought sees Starlight’s social profile climb when her rapist-beating video hits the internet, everyone’s tone suddenly changes from “bad super hero!” to “how awesome!” Vought’s opportunistic cash-in here hits so many powerful notes in a short time: they change her costume, shape her situation to fit the #MeToo narrative, and throw in some “Dorothy ain’t in Kansas anymore!” bullshit on top to keep those 18-49 aged males stay engaged.

The Boys Get Some

Seeing Starlight marketed as a product isn’t exactly an original idea: while The Boys doesn’t necessarily offer a new take on the sexualization and commodization of a woman’s power, it is employed rather effectively during “Get Some,” as Starlight’s delusions about what being a hero is slowly get replaced by a more depressing, challenging reality (just as Hughie is learning with the whole idea of murdering superheroes).

What I like about Starlight’s plot is how it pushes her character to engage with the compromises she’s allowed into her lives: compromising her integrity with The Deep, her sexuality with her costume – and, as we saw in “The Name of the Game,” her own identity, clearly influenced by an overbearing mother pushing her daughter to be the best and brightest star in the world.

When she expresses these frustrations to Hughie (who still can’t figure out if he’s doing a good thing or not, working with Butcher), the larger ideas of “Get Some” are given a moment of clarity. The Boys‘ third episode observes all its characters and how they think they’re heroes. This scales to the biggest and smallest characters, in rather effective ways: Hughie’s father think pizza rolls and football matches make him a great father, just as Madelyn’s desire to preserve a certain world order for her child makes her mission righteous. Starlight’s identity, Homelander’s domination (and confusion that Queen Maeve no longer desires him)… all of “Get Some” is focused on this idea of self perception, and what a slippery slope it can be: and unlike the previous two episodes, shows a much wider emotional range in its expression.

The Boys Get Some

“Get Some” is most effective when it takes this idea of perception, and warps it: Homelander looking at his younger self as a stranger, Popclaw reflecting on her lost stardom, and Starlight seeing a young girl clamoring for her “new” outfit are all powerful examples of The Boys challenging the delusions of its main characters and the comfortable realities they’ve built for themselves. This even extends to the seemingly untouchable Madelyn, whose casual dismissal of Translucent’s disappearance is given a major reality check when she is presented with his body.

There is sign of The Boys beginning to mesh together in “Get Some,” though there’s still work to be done surfacing some of the deeper elements of its stories and relationships. But after two episodes of indulging itself in chauvanistic humor and explosive violence, “Get Some” feels like the many outlandish elements are beginning to find harmony with each other, an encouraging sign as The Boys shifts into its second act.

Other thoughts/observations:

  • I did not expect a Rick Roll joke in the middle of “Get Some,” but I’ll take it?
  • A-Train doesn’t even recognize Hughie when face to face with him, which has a lot of implications: on A-Train’s morality, the effects of Compound V (which he was under when he accidentally killed Robin), and Hughie’s renewed sense of focus.
  • Although the emasculation of Mother’s Milk is dry, the line “I forgot to marinate the tilapia” is wonderfully ridiculous.
  • Gotta have those “deep state” talking points!
  • I don’t think we’ll need any flashbacks or exposition to figure out why Maeve doesn’t want to date Homelander anymore, after watching him grope her in front of everyone.
  • Homelander punches through a dude’s chest, a moment he reveals a little too long in.
  • good to know speedsters still have to fight the effects of chafed nipples.
  • Seriously – how are you having a race for the fastest man in the world, in a race that lasts 300 milliseconds?
  • Homelander’s insults of The Deep are amazing: “My little guppy friend” is just perfection, as is the aforementioned porpoise line.
  • ahh yes, the “liberal retreat junctions” of San Fransisco and New York.

A TV critic since the pre-Peak TV days of 2011, Randy is a critic and editor formerly of Sound on Sight, Processed Media, TVOvermind, Pop Optiq, and many, many others.

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