About this episode
– Episode 4 (of 8), “Nothing like it in the world”
– Written by Michael Saltzman
– Directed by Fred Toye
Spoilers will follow.
A woman we’ve never seen speaks to the camera and tells the story of a marriage that never took place. She is the first of several similar speaking heads spread throughout the episode.
Frenchie takes drugs in the bathroom. In the apartment, the television news reports that Stormfront̵
Homelander, excited by Stormfront, which is hogging all of Seven’s media coverage, appears in a house where he is – surprised – greeted by the late Madelyn Stillwell. “I’ve missed you so much,” she says before feeding him milk from her fingers.
Billy Butcher meets with Grace Mallory and tells her that The Boys have come to an impasse in their investigation into Susan Raynor’s death. She hands him a beer ad with a photo of Liberty, a second-rate supe from the 1970s who was all over Raynor’s server. Mallory gives Butcher a North Carolina address and instructs him to send breast milk to speak to Liberty. She also gives Butcher her “best guess” as to where he can find Becca.
Homelander complains to Madelyn about Stormfront. Madelyn tells him to “don’t take this shit” and it is time to “take the weeds out and start over”. Madelyn moans and transforms into a doppelganger who complains that he can only hold onto a shape for a while before it really hurts. When Homelander protests, doppelganger turns back into ‘Madelyn’, who tells him he is the most powerful man in the world.
When Butcher sets out to find Becca, he tells a reluctant Milk to find Liberty. If he helps Mallory, she’s more likely to help him get his family back. Milk agrees to take Hughie with him.
In the Vought building, Homelander huddles in Starlight’s elevator. Putting her throat against the wall, he says he gave Starlight a second chance after Queen Maeve asked him to save her life and that she failed him by following his orders to kill Hughie, did not obey. Starlight replies that Hughie broke her heart worse than anyone else and that they are no longer together. You believe Homelander.
Starlight and Hughie meet in Central Park. She tells him that she got his voicemail from the yacht and that she is disaffected that Vought is still thriving despite the Compound V revelations: “We risked our lives to make the world worse.” Hughie says, that these things take time. She tearfully tells him that she cannot return to the Vought Tower.
Hughie meets Milk for their North Carolina trip and Starlight is with him. Milk says she can’t go with them because she broke off. Hughie argues that knocking on another super’s door makes sense – and that she needs it. Milk finally agrees.
A-Train sees Shockwave leave Ashley’s office in Vought Tower. Despite her initial claims that Shockwave was there to discuss a charity, Homelander comes down on the hunt and tells A-Train that he’s out of the seven in favor of Shockwave.
Frenchie visits ex-girlfriend Cherie. He explains that he thought kissing Kimiko would make her feel better. Cherie tells him that he is just trying to make amends for the burned children and that he has to leave them alone to grieve.
Starlight and Mother’s Milk stop at a diner on their road trip and tell stories of their respective fathers’ love for donuts and ice cream. As they leave, they see a truck crash into a car – Milk has to hold Starlight back to keep them from intervening, to avoid them blowing up their cover.
Butcher finds Becca’s house. They’re meeting somewhere outside of Vought’s cameras. He explains that he thought she was dead; She says she is forbidden to tell where she was. She tells Butcher about a garbage truck that drives by at the same time every day and that they can use to escape.
Starlight, Hughie, and Milk stop at a motel for the night. Starlight and Hughie meet at the machine and have a heart to heart. They end up sleeping together.
Like Metzger and Becca. She tells him all about Ryan as he tells her about his unfortunate current life circumstances.
Homelander and Maeve appear on a talk show claiming they know nothing about Compound V. The talk show host asks why there is no greater racial diversity among Vought’s heroes. Homelander is visibly excited and counters by making Maeve gay and mentioning her friend Elena. Homelander then tells Maeve that after hearing her talk on the phone, he dug something. When Maeve finally admits they’re still together, Homelander says he’s really, really happy for Maeve – in a spectacularly unconvincing way.
Stormfront speaks to a group of protesters and wins their support by saying that Vought needs to do more to protect them from super terrorists. Kimiko moves through the crowd, waiting to get her brother’s killer moving, but Frenchie stops her.
Starlight, Hughie and Milk arrive at the address Mallory gave them. When they ask for freedom, Valerie, the woman in the house, closes the door to them: “I kept your money, I signed your damn papers.” Milk tells her the story of his father, a lawyer who pursued Vought despite considerable adversity and never gave up despite his corporate power against him. Under suspicious circumstances, he was found dead over his typewriter at the age of 55 when Milk swore to shut down Vought.
Valerie lets her in and recalls an event that happened 48 years earlier – she says that back then, no one in Raleigh would believe a black girl accusing a white superhero of murder. She tells them that she was sleeping in the back of a car that her brother was driving when a Supe stopped the vehicle and told him to get out and that her car was involved in a robbery. The ‘heroine’ killed her brother in a racially motivated attack. Valerie’s parents thought there was no point going to the police and accepted a $ 2,000 payout to keep calm. The supe was Liberty and no one has seen her since 1979.
At least they thought … Valerie says she saw her in the paper and pointed it to a photo of Stormfront – the new star of the seven is Freedom.
Back at the Vought Tower, Homelander sees numerous internet memes mocking him as they celebrate Stormfront. He confronts his new rival and insists he is the face of seven and scores higher on every demo that matters. She tells him that his need to be loved by everyone is pathetic, which makes Homelander so angry that he unleashes his bright red eyes. She pulls back and tells him he is everything the Seven should be – he just needs a little help connecting with his audience. “Change over time,” she says. “God knows I did.” Homelander says he doesn’t need any help.
Becca meets Butcher, but Ryan is not with her. She says she won’t go because Butcher doesn’t really want the boy to go with them – she suspects he will find a way to get rid of the child. When he says they won’t let a billion dollar piece of Vought property get away, she says they can’t leave him behind and let Homelander raise him. She explains that she went to Vought rather than Butcher after Homelander raped her because she knew her husband would do anything to get revenge. She tells him that she can’t be with him.
As they split up, Starlight tells Hughie that they can’t be together again – she believes that they can’t afford to feel good or safe right now. He says it doesn’t have to be like that, but she kisses him goodbye and doesn’t look back.
Another woman talks about her relationship history. The camera pans out to reveal that The Deep and Carol conducted interviews. It turns out they are looking for a wife for The Deep to restore his image and get him back into the seven. She tells him they choose Cassandra – don’t his first choice – because she is a valued member of the collective.
Homelander visits ‘Madelyn’ again. She says she can be whoever he wants, and Doppelganger turns into a Homelander double. Homelander finally replies: “I don’t need anyone who loves me, I don’t need anyone, I don’t need you.” He breaks doppelgangers neck.
There’s a real change going on in this slower, more characterful episode. It’s a welcome gear shift, however, as it’s arguably the season’s best episode yet. Relationships come to the fore as Starlight and Hughie briefly revive their romance – touching but ultimately sad; They’re the most relatable characters on the show – and Butcher is finally tracking down Becca. That she eventually leaves him is heartbreaking, but understandable given his rather obvious problems with anger management.
There are also lots of great things about the seven. A paranoid Homelander is even creepier than the standard version, and his meetings with Madelyn (okay, doppelganger) are a brilliant way of bringing a deceased character back heart to heart. However, Stormfront may only get the upper hand on the worst stakes – especially after being revealed to be racist, murderous freedom in a previous incarnation. It will be fascinating to see how she made a comeback half a century later.
And despite all the serious stuff, there is still room for some fun. The talking heads, which appear randomly throughout, are utterly confusing the first time you watch the episode, but it’s definitely worth it when we see The Deep at the big reveal. There is something pretty sinister about the way the mysterious collective cares so much about their comeback – they certainly have a huge role to play when the season ends.
- Shockwave, the newest member of the Seven, is another runabout. We already saw him in the first season when he drove for the title of fastest man in the world with A-Train.
- In a nice twist on The Boys, this week’s Billy Joel offer, “We Didn’t Light the Fire,” appeared on an album called Storm Front.
- Maria Menounos is a true presenter in the US, although her TV show In Depth only exists in the world of The Boys.
Episodes 1 to 4 of the second season of The Boys can now be streamed on Amazon Prime Video. New episodes appear every Friday.