There are big spoilers ahead for this review of The Boys. This review is difficult to put into words. It is equally erotic, graphic, bizarre, hilarious, and incredible. From the title alone and what the showrunners had previously teased, “Herogasm” was set to be the most controversial, most audacious episode in the series yet. Did it live up to the hype? Yes, just about. It’s impossible to put a finer point on it than that. A supe sex party at a lavish apartment hosted by the TNT Twins – two former members of Payback. That’s the pitch. Then we throw in some other stuff too.
There’s an octopus, a handful of deaths, a supe fight for the ages, a redemption arc coming full circle, strong character development, and more naked Hughie. There are floating vibrators, icy sex toys, dominatrixes, Love Sausage, the supe with a certain lengthy appendage, Termite the shrinking supe (remember him?), and M.M receiving a torrent of sperm. Then Soldier Boy – working with Butcher and Hughie to kill Homelander – becomes triggered by a particular Russian song – and crashes the party with an energy blast.
A-Train’s arc appears to have reached the finish line as the speedster exacts revenge against Blue Hawk, the supe responsible for paralysing his brother. A-Train demands justice for Blue Hawk’s excessive use of violence against African-American individuals – and to his surprise – Ashley, Vought’s CEO, orders him to fall in line. She angrily exposes him as a hypocrite for his self-absorbed sense of justice. His reputation for killing Robyn and Popclaw makes it hard to sympathise with the speedster – but he later apologises to Hughie for Robyn’s death. It’s a profoundly genuine moment. If he were to die at this point, you’d feel his character’s redemption arc was complete. The speedster fully understands the pain of losing a loved one as he deals with the trauma Hughie faced in Season 1.
In the fallout from Soldier Boy’s energy blast, A-Train kills Blue Hawk – and it’s one of the bloodiest and most gruesome deaths you could imagine. A-Train, running at full speed, drags Blue Hawk by the legs for several miles along country roads – until the speedster collapses and his heart gives out. Hughie, meanwhile, is suffering inky blue nose bleeds from using temporary V once too often, further revealing his insecurities in his other half being the stronger of the two in their relationship. It won’t be hard to imagine the temporary V is altering his mind.
He’s further giving Soldier Boy quick-fire culture catch-ups as the supe frozen in 1984 adjusts to a new world without him in it – and something called the internet. According to Soldier Boy, the words Bluetooth and internet are not real. Soldier Boy further reminisces about Bill Cosby, a man he idolised who was famed for making some “strong drinks.” Black Noir, informed of Soldier Boy’s return and the death of Crimson Countess, removes his tracking chip and goes off the grid. Much like Queen Maeve, there’s no further sign of the silent superhero for the rest of the episode, and with Crimson Countess, Gunpowder, and the TNT Twins dead, Soldier Boy will be coming for Noir.
The fight is the biggest highlight of the episode – or even the series – as Homelander finds out his opponents have the upper hand. The showdown is savage and electrifying as both Butcher, blessed with powers from temporary V, and Homelander unleashes their laser eyes on one another. Soldier Boy looks out of place against these two. Strength is one thing, but laser eyes put Butcher and Homelander’s duel in a different league. Hughie joins the fight, and with the combined strength of the three, Homelander almost meets his mortality.
After a narrow escape from the fight, Homelander is later gazing into a mirror with serious doubts about whether he can still compete at the top of the food chain. The leader of the Seven is scared by the return of Soldier Boy – and the implications if he’s no longer the best of them all. At one moment in the episode, the deranged sadist supe speaks to his alter ego that takes the form of his reflection in a mirror. His reflected alter ego encourages him to remove any trace of his humanity in order to be clean and pure.
That way, Homelander would be unstoppable and unchallenged at the top. Homelander begins to doubt whether it was a mistake to topple Stan Edgar from his position – and as predicted a few weeks ago, the speech Edgar made to Homelander on Floor 99 haunts him. Maybe he truly is a faulty product, as Edgar remarked. The businessman might be out of the company, but Edgar leaves an indelible mark on even those that self-assign themselves the term god.
Starlight is perhaps the only good superhero within the Seven, and she detests the corruption, bloodshed, and endless backstabbings. With some colourful language, she rejects Victoria Neuman’s proposal to join her side against Vought. Starlight is prepared to do absolutely anything it takes to win without morally compromising herself. Despite suffering a nose bleed influenced by Victoria’s sinister head-popping powers, Starlight stands firm. In the last scene of this week’s thrilling instalment, she reveals Soldier Boy to be still alive, exposes the corruption and selfish, hateful behaviours of the supes, and subsequently quits her job. The implications for Starlight – much like for Homelander – are massive.
“Herogasm” is arguably some of the most controversial material from the comic books, and astonishingly, the third season of The Boys found a way to adapt this risqué material. For those unfamiliar with The Boys, this latest episode is the perfect way to bring them onto the ground floor. From the sex, graphic violence, and witty deconstruction of the superhero genre, this is not only an ideal starting point for the uninitiated but most likely the best episode of The Boys to date. Granted, there are limitations to what the series could adapt from the comics, and a larger segment of the episode is rightfully dedicated to the biggest supe showdown yet.
Episode 6 is honestly difficult to criticise this episode. For one, it’s certainly an episode for the ages – and when the show wraps and all is said and done – this will be one we’ll all remember. But perhaps not all of us will remember it fondly. “Herogasm” makes you cringe and laugh and squeal like a fangirl – or that could just be me. In its current run of form, The Boys might be the best series on TV.
Catch up with Flickluster’s review for Episode 5. Seasons 1-2 and the first six episodes of The Boys Season 3 are available to stream on Amazon Prime. What did you think of The Boys Season 3 so far? Give us your thoughts in the comment section below!