The title of this episode (Glorious Five Year Plan) refers to something Mr. Edgar said about Vought’s long term planning, but I can’t help but think it also could refer to what The Boys showrunner Eric Kripke’s former show Supernatural originally was – Kripke’s Glorious Five Year Plan for the show that ended up running for a decade more and changing many people’s lives in the process. Mine included. The episode was written by Meredith Glynn, who also was a writer for Supernatural. It seems fitting to make the title into a Supernatural reference, because we get to see more of Soldier Boy.
Like, a lot more of him.
That was not a spoiler or a surprise to anyone following what Jensen Ackles and Eric Kripke and everyone else has said about that scene, but still, it’s maybe a bit eye opening. Okay, more than a bit. Let me just grab a cold drink here before I go on.
No significant spoilers here, by the way, so you can enjoy the full impact of the episode that is about to be released, which is AMAZING. I’ll be back with a more detailed recap in a few days once everyone has had a chance to watch and enjoy. This episode is a pivotal one, and not just for Soldier Boy. Most of the episode watches Homelander consolidate his power; he knows even more than we think he does about the people currently in power, and is not afraid to use every single method he can think of to flip that power balance to his favor. He makes some surprising alliances to do it – but that is so often what this show is about. The one you think holds all the power sometimes suddenly doesn’t, and the people you think are allies may just have been temporarily pretending to be. Virtually anyone is capable of stabbing anyone else in the back at any time, which keeps the suspense factor going every episode. The Deep, parroting his ambitious scheming wife, ingratiates himself with Homelander and gets into a physical fight with A Train, which leaves A Train roaring with rage. For a while it looks like Starlight has Queen Maeve, Supersonic and maybe even A Train (after that altercation) more or less united against Homelander, but underestimating him is never a good idea. Some people find that out the hard way.
I have to say that Antony Starr is brilliant as this unhinged-and-owning-it version of Homelander. He’s constantly manipulating everyone around him, keeping them off guard with provocative comments and overt threats that he then keeps insisting was “just kidding, lighten up you guys!” It’s like Gaslighting 101 and he is an absolute master. There’s a priceless scene with Ashley (Colby Minifie, always a favorite of mine) where he asks her in disgust, “Is your idiot brain getting fucked by stupid?” She says no, obviously flustered, but Ashley learns fast. Later she asks Cameron Coleman the same question, threatening/promising to punish him if he says yes, and did I mention there’s maybe an impressive strap-on somewhere in this scene? I can’t help it, I kinda love Ashley.
While the supes continue to smile for the cameras and engage in brutal infighting, the boys are in search of the weapon that was powerful enough to reputedly kill Soldier Boy – and thus maybe powerful enough to kill Homelander. Butcher is perfectly willing to send Kimiko on a mission of murder even when she protests that she’s “not your fucking gun”. In fact, that’s exactly what he says she is – he tells them what to do and they fucking do it. Frenchie bristles, especially after Butcher keeps treating him like a dog exactly as Little Nina taunted him about, but he also backs down. The parallels between Butcher, who is perfectly happy to use people as weapons instead of treating them like people, and the people in power at Vought who do exactly the same, are striking, and Karl Urban knows just how to make it chilling.
Kimiko doesn’t like it, but she does the job – decked out in silver stilettos and a skin tight sequined dress and looking like fire. This is not a spoiler since Karen Fukuhara has described this scene and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of fighting with dildos, but there’s nothing like actually seeing it. There’s the Star Spangled Banger for Homelander, the Deep’s Flounder Pounder, Black Noir’s Silent Screamer. It’s pretty epic. I’ve never really thought about a fight with dildos as the weapons of choice, but Kimiko makes it work – in a bloody, disgusting and entirely lethal way. As soon as I saw the cabinet, I started to snicker, after hearing Karen talk about enjoying the insane scene. She’s a brown belt in real life and it shows when Kimiko gets to do a fight scene. Sometimes the over-the-top scenes include an unexpected emotional impact too, which is something I value in this show – this is one of them. Kimiko’s innovative murder of the bad guy saves the prostitutes he hired or trafficked, but they’re more terrified of her than they were of him, and that isn’t lost on her.
And then there’s Soldier Boy. Eric Kripke tweeted some behind the scenes fun times with Soldier Boy back in the day, so you can look forward to more of that. Such as it is.
Everyone in the Supernatural fandom who has found their way over to The Boys is eagerly awaiting more of Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy. Without spoiling anything that isn’t already known, this episode includes a scene that is both insane (including a supe hamster that flies through the air like the Monty Python rabbit in The Holy Grail to eat a guard’s face) and dramatically epic (recall those temporary laser eyed powers we all know Butcher becomes desperate enough to take on) before Soldier Boy makes his memorable debut.
There’s a subtle Supernatural homage in there that reminds me of Castiel’s epic entrance complete with shattering glass and flashing lights, and then there’s a reveal that no one is going to soon forget. We’ve already seen in teasers and trailers what the boys see, so this is not a spoiler – steam pouring from an opened door, the shadowy figure of a person inside, oxygen mask on and tubes keeping him alive. He wakes slowly, raising his head, snapping his restraints and pulling out all his tubes and mask. He stands, staggers to the door, hands gripping the sides, looking disoriented, and then stumbles out.
I confess that I gasped. And maybe watched that scene more than once. Maybe.
Jensen Ackles has told the story of his very first day on set being naked in front of the coworkers he didn’t even know yet, “nothing between me and them but a sock”, so that’s no spoiler either. There’s a whole lot of steam going on, but let’s just say that all that working out he put himself through did not go to waste in my humble opinion. The Boys is all about showing its male cast with fewer clothes than its female cast, and I am here for it.
I won’t say what happens next so you can watch it for yourself, but I am looking forward to some gifs and screencaps from this episode. Like, a lot of them. ALL of them. Don’t let me down, fandom!
Halfway through the season and I don’t want it to end! Next episode drops in one week – stay tuned for a proper recap of this episode, for more from our exclusive chat with Jensen Ackles, and for more on The Boys Season 3!
You can read about Jensen Ackles’ experience
of fandom and Supernatural in his chapters in
Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be
Peace When You Are Done – links here or at: