‘The Boys’ 4.06 Gets Down To Dirty Business

the boys hughie torture scenes 4 06

This is a pivotal episode of “The Boys,” but we don’t know it until the very end. I love a good twist – hey, I’m good friends with M. Night Shyamalan – and this was a good twist. Maybe one we all started to suspect along the way, but that’s part of the fun of it.


Butcher: Crisis of Conscience

Butcher ain’t doing well. He coughs more and more as time goes on and he wrestles with his conscience (in the form of Becca) and his opposing desire to just do whatever the fuck it takes to get the job done no matter the collateral damage (as Kessler keeps urging him).  He’s sliding closer and closer to Soldier Boy levels of the-end-justifies-the-means and ignore-the-collateral-damage every day.

Honestly, I had a hard time watching what happens with Sameer. Just looking at his hastily and brutally amputated leg makes me queasy, more so every time Butcher tries to convince Sameer to make more virus. Every time Butcher might soften just a tiny bit, Joe is there to push him onward.

Joe: Or we could just send you back in a fucking bucket if you don’t do what we say.

The Boys Sameer amputated leg scenes were too much for FangasmSPN

Becca appears and questions what he’s doing, but Joe keeps overruling her.

Becca: Are you even trying to get Ryan out anymore, or is it the same old bloodlust all over again? You’re gonna kill one Homelander and just end up with another.

Butcher claims he’s trying to save the world and can’t do what needs to be done and “keep you happy,” dismissing Becca’s concerns in an awful parallel to how people really do push the nagging sense of guilt from their conscience aside to allow them to do truly horrific things in the real world.

The next time they meet up, Joe comments that Billy looks like shit. Billy tells him to go fuck himself (which he says he already did today – twice).

The Boys Butcher and Jeffrey Dean Morgan fight Club

Dual Identity Crisis

Kessler allows that he too has struggled with a dual identity, with opposing parts of ourselves – the theme of this season. How after his last tour, Joe came home and tried to be a family man, help his son, go fucking towel shopping. Be normal.

Kessler: But everywhere I looked I saw the ruined faces of those men that you and me tortured and killed. I couldn’t square up who I was at home with the shit I’ve done. That guy taking out the trash and watching Sports Center, that wasn’t me. The real me likes to hear ‘em scream.  So tell me, Billy, who’s the real you?

It’s the theme of this season. Who, indeed, is the real you? The real any of us?

When Billy tried to be “normal” with Becca, did it all just feel like an act? Like the darkest case of imposter syndrome?

Too Close to Reality Once Again

Another hard-to-watch story line in this episode belongs to Hughie. Fresh from sprinkling his dad’s ashes around the city he loved, Hughie infiltrates Tek Knight’s Federalist Society big money party to get some intel. This is accomplished by MM incapacitating a minor supe named Web Weaver (by shooting something up his butt because this show is fascinated with butt stuff, seriously – and with MM getting squirted in the face with substances, this time some web when he “puts it in the wrong hole”.) You can’t make this stuff up.

MM: There ain’t enough Purell in the fucking world.

(Nor enough mindfulness apps, which MM keeps desperately using).

He’s right. But it works, Hughie puts on Web Weaver’s super suit and uses his invitation to the party.

Cameron Coleman, unfortunately for him, is not in attendance. Break up with Ashley at your own risk, people – she sets him up to take the fall as the leak, as Homelander calls the supes together and gives them a speech about how they have to save America and the world.

Homelander: For our kids. We’ll have to do some terrible things for the greater good. That’s war. You’ll no longer be beloved celebs, but wrathful gods.

Uhhhh, does this sound alarmingly familiar right now in real life or is it just me?

The fancy party for the rich and famous itself is a great scene, showing just how much most of the supes actually hate each other’s guts. They all snipe at each other, Tek Knight bragging that his family started out as slave catchers and now own more private prisons than anyone, confiding to A Train that “my great great granddaddy woulda given you a run for your money.” 

In another corner, an old rich white dude mansplains how if a woman is raped her body will not get pregnant to Neuman, who’s imagining her own head exploding. They don’t pull any punches on the racism or misogyny or political skewering, the whole scene a brilliant parody that, as always on this show, hits way too close to reality.

Sage and Homelander convince a reluctant Neuman to go along, noting that 30% of the GDP is in the room and they need them.

Unfortunately for Sister Sage, the Boys show up and MM shoots her in the head. She gets dysregulated, thus no help when it’s time to make their pitch to the rich people – who see right through Homelander’s attempts as he tells them that they plan to replace Bob Singer (a “doddering slave to the woke mob who will replace us with transgender illegals”).

Rich lady: Save the boogeyman shit for the idiots watching VNN, how will you handle the Justice Dept? And the military? OPEC? The shock to the markets?

Neuman steps in and says she will, with some bitter (as Firecracker would say) truth bombs.

Neuman: Truth is America is not a democracy. The word makes people feel safe but the founders never trusted the masses because they’re stupid. You should be able to operate without any restriction whatsoever. Support me and that is what you’ll fucking get.

Ooof. Recent (real life) events make that hit hard.

Hughie Gets Kinky

Hughie (disguised as Web Weaver) gets himself into huge trouble when Tek Knight offers him a private tour (that is always trouble, people!) which ends up in a sex dungeon. His former sidekick is chained up, and he wants “WW” to maybe be his new one.

Tek is arguably the most depraved character the show has come up with yet, which is really saying something considering. Ashley joins in the fun in her dominatrix outfit, and there’s a threat of asparagus piss involved, which ewwww, and somehow my favorite type of cake, which come on, why? Don’t ruin German chocolate cake for me!!

The Boys Hughie dressed as WEb Weaver for cake farts

They eventually figure out it’s not actually WW because he doesn’t know their safe word, which brings even worse threats that involve making some “new holes” to fuck poor Hughie in and a lot of scary looking implements on the proverbial tray. Luckily it’s Annie and MM and Kimiko to the rescue.

Tek’s ex-sidekick and the servant who raised him both turn on him, transferring his money to the Innocence Project and Black Lives Matter when old fashioned torture is more pleasure than painful. They find out Tek has a deal with Homelander and company to use his private prisons as internment camps for anyone who doesn’t go along with their plans.

Ooof. This is starting to ring really familiar, isn’t it?

In the midst of the rescue, MM collapses; Kimiko wordlessly but ingeniously asks A Train to get him to the hospital. The totally offensive movie “Training A Train” and the new Vought initiative “Black At It” that switches out the alcohol in the ad for a bottle of peach cognac “when black fans are watching” has pushed A Train farther to the other side, along with Tek Knight’s slave owner bragging.  He reluctantly agrees to take a passed out MM to the hospital, and as he puts him in the ambulance, a young black boy watches, smiling with admiration. A Train smiles back.

(Side note: If you love A Train’s story, read the chapters on his character and the insights from Jessie T. Usher in ‘Supes Ain’t Always Heroes’. He’s always been one of our favorites!)

Hughie breaks down after the whole ordeal, admitting to Annie that he’s not fine.

Hughie: I’m not fine, I’m really not fine. I miss my dad.

He’s also been brutally sexually assaulted and is confused about his own reactions to the abuse, which – like just about everything else in this show – feels horribly real and made me sick to my stomach all over again.

The Boys Hughie deals with being sexually assaulted

Annie, meanwhile, is coming to terms with the duality of who she is and who she’s been in the past, apologizing to Firecracker for what she did to her.

Annie: I tried to run away from Starlight, leave her behind. But she’s me.

Little by little, the characters are confronting and resolving their duality, and I’m here for the struggle.

Sex and Violence

This episode was a little about both, but mostly about violence, including the Hughie scenes (which were not a depiction of anything BDSM consensual, to put it mildly).

Butcher is sliding down a slippery slope of being willing to be ultra violent and getting better and better at silencing his pesky conscience. Homelander was already there, but he’s slowly taking Ryan with him.

We also see new Black Noir struggling initially with what he’s being called on to do.  In keeping with the dual identity crisis so many characters have going on, he’s not sure he wants this role anymore – or to keep his mask on all the time. (Some lovely metaphors going on there, show).

Black Noir: But I don’t really like violence…

The Deep tries to talk him into it, saying that killing made the old Noir horny. He explains his own evolution, how people always laughed at him – but when he beats the crap out of them they show respect.

Deep: Violence is power. I’m starting to get why it gave Noir so much chub.


Sliding down that slippery slope we go, with some frightening real life parallels to how that progression to being violent and bullying others happens. (Another theme tackled in ‘Supes Ain’t Always Heroes’, with some insightful comments from Nathan Mitchell).

The Freudian Mess

Firecracker comes to see Homelander, telling him that Tek is dead and Cameron wasn’t the leak, so either Sage was lying or “she’s as useless as tits on a mouse”.  She tells Homelander that he’s the reason people aren’t laughing at her anymore, and that he’s everything to her, her journey paralleling the Deep’s.

She unzips her suit; he tells her he’s not sexually attracted to her.

Firecracker: This isn’t about sex, it’s about loyalty.

She smiles – and squirts him in the face with milk. Tells him she took drugs to make herself lactate.

Homelander: You did this for me?

Firecracker: I’d do anything for you. Anything.

I mean, clearly.

She holds him and rocks him while he nurses, crooning ‘that’s my good boy”.

Wow, what a tableau. Freud would have a field day. It’s everything little John longed for all his life, and she’s smart enough to give it to him.

The Boys Firecreacker wrapped in flag for john

The Shyamalan Effect

And now for that pivotal twist. Sameer continues to insist he can’t make the virus strong enough to kill Homelander because it would make it unstable – airborne. Highly contagious. Super lethal.

Me: Airborne? Very contagious? Uhhh that sounds really familiar…

Becca points out that would kill every supe on Earth – Kimiko, Annie.

Sameer: Zoe.

Joe is happy about being able to wipe them all out, grinning. Billy is hesitant.

Butcher: No one ever said nothing about genocide.

Becca: This is murder!

Kessler suddenly turns to Becca, furious.

Kessler: Shut your fucking cakehole, bitch!

Me: WHAT?????????????

Fandom’s suspicions confirmed. There’s no one there; Sameer can see that Billy is talking to no one and now we can too. 

Kessler protests that he does exist – that he’s a part of Butcher.

Kessler: You’ve got a big old brain tumor, which is why you’re seeing me in the first place. I killed Ezekiel for you. I’m inside you. I AM you. Which is why when I tell you that you wanna do this, I am literally telling you that you wanna do this. So don’t you worry, Billy my boy. Daddy’s home.

The Boys Jeffrey Dean morgan working Winchester daddy mode
Screencap courtesy of MiaAW90

That was a fabulous call-back to Butcher using those same words to the Boys on his return, and somehow for “Supernatural” fans, also a shout out to Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s iconic portrayal of Daddy Winchester too.

There’s an entire “Sixth Sense” rewind, going over every interaction of Billy and Joe. And sure enough, just like with Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, no one else ever interacted with Joe.  Well done, show, well done.

Two more episodes to go and let me assure you, “The Boys” Season 4 is not done making your heads explode – not by a long shot! New episode drops next Thursday in the wee hours of the morning on Prime Video.