Warning: this review contains major spoilers for The Boys season 3, episode 6. If you haven’t watched the new episode on Prime Video, turn around now!
It’s here. Ever since The Boys showrunner Eric Kripke announced the series would adapt one of the comic’s wildest scenes, Herogasm, everyone’s been wondering how this mainstream show will tackle the infamous superhero orgy. After all, how do you bring such debauchery to the screen without literally producing porn?
The Boys skirts, just about, on the right side of tasteful. The show’s version of Herogasm scales things back from the comics, in which Vought invites supes from around the world to an island for a convention of depravity – all while the public’s told that their heroes are off fighting a common enemy to save humanity. Instead, the masterminds behind the live-action interpretation are The Twins, Soldier Boy’s old Payback teammates. There are still plenty of supes enjoying Herogasm at their house in Vermont, but very few of the main players take part.
That’s not to say The Boys holds back – this is still a superhero orgy after all. Most of the details are savored for the background: Love Sausage, and his lengthy appendage, return, having appeared last season; The Deep gets very acquainted with an octopus; and MM gets drenched in bodily fluid, the funniest moment of the whole sordid affair. Those who wanted the Herogasm front-and-center may be dissapointed, especially as the event doesn’t take place until halfway through the episode. Bolder still is the decision for the superhero orgy to not be the most shocking moment of the hour; that honor goes to A-Train, who kills Blue Hawk by dragging him along the floor at superspeed for a very grisly demise.
This is, I would argue, the only way Herogasm could have really worked on screen. The show has always suffered when it does shock for shock’s sake, and having the orgy any more prominent would have been too distracting from the main storyline. Instead, it makes for an audacious backdrop to the season’s best confrontation yet as Soldier Boy and Homelander collide.
“You’re just a cheap fucking knock-off,” Jenson Ackles’ supe says to Homelander. “I’m the upgrade,” he curtly replies. They’re two sides of the same coin, each having been Vought’s golden boy at different points. Now, we finally have a supe who can match Antony Starr’s scene-stealing villain, and the fight only becomes more epic as Billy Butcher gets involved. While the pair don’t succeed in taking down Homelander, there’s someone who poses an actual threat to the leader of the Seven. The stakes have been raised.
The episode’s not all sex and violence. One particularly emotional scene sees Mother’s Milk reveal to Starlight why he hates Soldier Boy – the supe killed MM’s family by hurtling a car through their house during a burglary gone wrong. Worse still, the supe hunter’s haunted by the fact his parents would not have been in the firing line had he not woken them up to see what Soldier Boy was doing on their street. Laz Alonso’s vulnerable performance is heartbreaking as his character wonders where the responsibility lies – with him or Soldier Boy. Kimiko suffers from a similar dilemma. She and Frenchie manage to escape the clutches of Little Nina by killing her in a shocking display of violence – all without the use of Kimiko’s powers. She asks whether she was the “monster” after all, not the V making her into one.
The theme runs through Starlight and Hughie’s story, too, as they come to blows over his use of V-24. “I thought the drugs had fucked you up, Hughie,” she tells him, “but this is you, this is all you.” Everyone’s grappling with the question of responsibility – are they bad, or is this simply what Vought made them become?
‘Herogasm’ ends with a potentially hopeful answer. Starlight chooses to take her fate into her own hands, no matter the personal consequences. She becomes a whistleblower for Vought – revealing Soldier Boy is alive and Homelander has been lying to the public on an Instagram live. Standing in front of the Herogasm massacre, she tells the world she quits.
One thing’s for sure as the credits roll: this episode is The Boys at its absolute best. There’s so much emotion present throughout, along with a tantalizing tease for the next few episodes – and all, miraculously, with a superhero orgy as the backdrop (those are not words I expected to write). It’s daring, heartbreaking, and lots of fun. The Boys continues to break new ground, and no other show matches its boldness.
Check out our guide to The Boys season 3 release schedule to make sure you don’t miss a minute of Prime Video’s superhero show
4.5 out of 5
The Boys’ long-awaited ‘Herogasm’ episode delivers on shock-value, but it’s the match-up between Homelander and Soldier Boy that makes this the best episode of season 3 yet.