It's always a long week waiting for a new episode of The Boys, and this week felt even longer due to episode three's exceptional cliffhanger and a (slightly) delayed release. Despite that, episode four, "Glorious Five Year Plan," made the wait feel worth it, delivering the best episode of the season so far. That's saying something when the season has been extremely strong up to this point.
"Glorious Five Year Plan" picks up immediately after the reveal of Homelander's (Antony Starr) most sinister plan yet, forcing Starlight into a public romantic relationship while simultaneously pushing her rapist back into The Seven. Meanwhile, the boys are off to Russia to investigate a lead in the case of Soldier Boy and the possible Homelander-killing weapon.
This review contains full spoilers for episode 4 of The Boys season three.
The Boys just keeps getting darker, doesn't it?
Every time there seems to be a bit of hope in The Boys universe, it gets nixed rather quickly. With Starlight's (Erin Moriarty) attempt at a coup within The Seven blowing up in her face and literally blowing up SuperSonic (Miles Gaston Villanueva), the group is crumbling around itself even more than usual. Add on the possible death of Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) and the almost certain collapse of the titular group of boys; everything has hit the fan and then some. It's an extremely dark and hopeless place to be at halfway through the season, so it can't get any worse, right?
Well, I'm assuming it's going to get worse for everyone, I'm just not sure how. The Boys is a mostly hopeless show that puts a mirror on our world, so things getting worse only makes perfect sense. This is the first time in a long time that I'm completely befuddled as to where this season, and the series as a whole, is going. With the series renewal for a fourth season on the same day as episode four's release, at least we won't be left hanging by the almost certain probability of a cliffhanger at the end of this season. Regardless, the show has never been this unpredictable.
The only predictable occurrence in this season so far was the appearance of Jensen Ackles' Soldier Boy in this episode. It was pretty clear the "weapon" was going to be Soldier Boy, but it's unclear if he'll align with the boys, the Russians, Vought, or just go it alone. I tend to lean towards him being on his own team, which will align with all of the above factions at certain moments.
Regardless of who Soldier Boy chooses to follow or lead, everyone else is in deep water. Homelander's gruesome murder of SuperSonic only shows he's getting more and more unhinged every day. Forcing Starlight to say that Hughie (Jack Quaid) will be next if she doesn't fall in line was extremely sadistic and really highlighted Starr's performance in this episode. I think it's safe to say that #HomeLight, predictably, won't be the happy marriage that the public wants it to be.
Jack Quaid absolutely killed it in this episode. He's been strong this entire season, but he really showed out his skills in his confrontation with Homelander and his conversation about taking the temporary compound V with Butcher (Karl Urban). Hughie seems poised to become addicted to the super drug's power, which will most likely be his biggest personal conflict for the rest of the season and possibly beyond. His addiction to this power is in stark contrast to his character from the comics, who hated having powers after accidentally killing a supe with a punch through the gut, exactly as he killed the guard in this episode. In the show, he seemed almost proud of his actions, foreshadowing a dark path ahead.
Hughie's use of the V may also complicate how the boys could save Kimiko next week. She may be gone for good if he took the last dose, but if he only had a small amount, she could be saved.
I'm especially impressed with how the series handles its female main characters' storylines, whether it be Starlight or Kimiko. They've both been mostly stagnant for the past two seasons, but fleshing them out more, especially with Kimiko, is paying great dividends. Some of the best scenes this season are just Kimiko and Frenchie (Tomer Capone) talking to each other; they're both heartwarming and heartbreaking. We love to see them come together and share a deep and genuine friendship, but we all know they'll never truly be happy because of the situations they're wrapped up in.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the hilarious parody of the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad in this episode, giving A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) Jenner's role as quelling protestors' and riot teams' respective anger with a can of a heart-attack-inducing energy drink. Poking fun at our reality and the superficial nature of brands' performative activism is what The Boys does best. Whether it's episode two's "BLM BLT's" or "LGBTurkey Legs" at VoughtLand, the series' version of Disneyland, these writers just get what this world has become through the lens of marketing. It sucks that the series has to be produced under the fifth-largest company in the world; many of the series' points fall on deaf ears.
"Glorious Five Year Plan" leaves us off at a great midpoint for the season, properly setting the stakes, propelling the series forward in unpredictable ways, and heightening the tension even further within the main groups and with Homelander's only increasing mental instability. The series is truly at its best right now, with dense, plot-rich, filler-less episodes. Everything feels necessary. Next week can't come soon enough.