This is an other episode in which the weekly release schedule wasn’t doing it for me. If I watched the whole of season 2 continuously, Episode 7 might’ve made me hopelessly addicted to it, as it throws away many subplots the show seemed to be building up, such as the Butcher’s (Karl Urban) group facing Vought in court, Lamplighter’s (Shawn Ashmore) turn to good, and the muddy loyalties of Dr. Jonah Vogelbaum (Josh Doman), who created Homelander (Antony Starr) in a lab. And it leaves us with a cliffhanger, as Homelander and Stormfront (Aya Cash) steal Homelander’s son from his birth mother, Becca Butcher (Shantel VanSanten). But by itself, it’s hard to enjoy this episode, as it solely exists to conclude red herring plots and to utilize cheap plot elements to force the narrative into an unexpected conclusion.
Other than Homelander and Stormfront’s kidnapping of his son, the major twist to this episode is that Butcher’s group, with the help of a member of Congress, organized a hearing with Lamplighter as a key witness to take him down. Meanwhile, Hughie (Jack Quaid) steals Lamplighter away to break Starlight out of Vought tower (Erin Moriarty), who is suspected of treason. Lamplighter decides to commit suicide, but Butcher manages to get Dr. Vogelbaum to testify in his place. But it all derails when a head-exploding villain kills Vogelbaum and several members of Congress, which is probably a futile attempt by Vought to shut the hearing down.
I’m not going to lie. Even with their secrets intact, it doesn’t look good for Vought, who will probably claim some super villian did it. But I don’t see them recovering public opinion about them, save for the small group of MAGA-like supporters we see Homelander and Stormfront praising at a rally in this episode, just after a shooter killed a Middle Eastern shop worker thinking he was a super villain (this episode is really on the nose with its political messaging). It’s pretty obvious it was Vought, and their attacks on key government officials should put them directly at war with the country.
There are other notable subplots, such as Queen Maeve’s breakup with her girlfriend or Butcher’s confrontation with his dying father, but overall, this episode didn’t do it for me. It probably will make next week’s episode more enjoyable, because it certainly did a lot of work ending previous arcs in their tracks and setting up where the story will go from here, but I can’t slice Episode 7 from the rest of the season and confidently say it was a good episode. It was decent, but not anything special.
“The Mandalorian” might be able to make the weekly format work, because each episode more or less focuses on its own adventure. As can sitcoms. But releasing “The Boys” this way seems to serve only to prolong the time period people would be watching it. In the future, Amazon should only release series that are meant to be watched that way. Shows that are made to be binged like “The Boys” are best watched over a few sittings.
“The Boys” Season 2, Episode 7 gets a 6/10