[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for The Boys, Season 2, Episode 4, “Nothing Like It In the World.”]
It’s a surprisingly romantic episode of The Boys this week — not only do two different couples find a way to reconnect (at least briefly), but the whole thing is structured as an homage to When Harry Met Sally. Of course, there were no scenes in When Harry Met Sally where people debate about the grossest candy bars or a doppelganger of one character offers to give the original a blowjob, but hey, Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron were working with what they had.
To be clear, the reason for the When Harry Met Sally comparison is that “Nothing Like It In the World” is punctuated by interstitials that invoke but with what, we learn, are essentially wife candidates auditioning to help rehabilitate The Deep’s (Chace Crawford) image. Kevin “thinks” he gets to choose from these nice young women, but it’s Carol (Jessica Hecht) who tells him who he’s choosing — and she chooses perhaps the most intense of the options, but one who believes that love means holding onto someone into death. Which might be exactly what The Deep needs.
Beyond these interstitials, things really begin with the Boys reeling from the murder of Kenji. Frenchie’s (Tomer Capon) getting high and trying to kiss Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara), Kimiko is swiftly rejecting him, and Billy (Karl Urban) is meeting with Grace (Laila Robins) at what has now become a memorial to the people killed and hurt in the housing project. Grace slips Billy a ’70s ad featuring the mysterious Liberty, who the recently head-exploded Susan Raynor had been investigating, and tells Billy to send Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) down to South Carolina to investigate. She also gives Billy the information about Becca’s (Shantel VanSanten) location, out of guilt for her past actions, even though Billy wasn’t able to deliver Kenji as originally planned. So, of course, Billy immediately decides to find her, putting a very reluctant Mother’s Milk in charge.
While Stormfront (Aya Cash) uses her newfound influence to encourage citizens to rally together, Homelander (Antony Starr) indulges in a pretty unique form of self-care — flying to a remote cabin to visit “Madelyn.” It’s lovely to see Elisabeth Shue return — though it’s an illusion created by Doppelganger (Dan Darin-Zanco), a sometimes flimsy one, even though s/he’s very good at telling Homelander exactly what he needs to hear. (Is Doppelganger non-binary? They’re certainly pansexual.)
Back at the Vought tower, Homelander confronts Starlight (Erin Moriarty) over her failure to kill Hughie (Jack Quaid), shoving her up against the wall of an elevator and nearly killing her. She’s thus on edge when meeting Hughie in Central Park to catch up, but she doesn’t feel like she can go back to her ostensible “home,” so Hughie convinces Mother’s Milk to let her come along on their road trip to South Carolina to look for Liberty.
The road trip down to South Carolina is a bit awkward, since Mother’s Milk is less than thrilled about riding with a tagged supe — not to mention playing third wheel to the show’s most uncertain couple. (Even if they do bond over their surprisingly strong knowledge of Billy Joel lyrics.) But when they make a donut stop, it’s a euphoric experience for Annie, thanks to memories of her father, and she gets MM talking about his own father, who loved Baskin Robbins free samples — a bonding moment for the two of them. MM is less into the idea of her and Hughie sharing a room when they stop at a motel, but he can’t stop them from having a very cute moment at the vending machine followed by a very sexy moment in her motel room.
Meanwhile, Billy scales the walls of Becca’s compound, successfully sneaking into the back of her car and getting his chance at an actual reunion. It’s legitimately sweet, though with a dark twist because it includes Becca revealing that the only reason Billy’s alive is that she told Homelander she would kill herself in front of Ryan and tell him it was Homelander’s fault — “a one-time deal,” she believes.
Also having a very sexy moment is Billy and Becca, who meet up again to have sex in her SUV. Becca tells Billy that she’s been in the compound since she gave birth to Ryan, and she just “acts like Carol fucking Brady all day.” It’s here that Becca starts trying to introduce the idea of Billy and Ryan becoming… well, acquainted, even though Billy and kids are not the most complementary of ideas. Also not complementary is the idea of Billy loving a kid with superpowers, something which ultimately leads to Becca rejecting him and driving away.
Over the course of the episode, Homelander goes on a real power trip, firing A-Train (Ashley tries to soften the blow, but Homelander knows that A-Train’s heart problems are holding him back in terms of his abilities, and it’s a blunt moment) and outing Maeve (totally against her will) on Maria Menounos’s show. The only one who really tries standing up to him is Stormfront, calling him pathetic for his obsession with being loved by the people. “Change with the times,” she tells him, “god knows I did.”
Of course, Stormfront’s history is about to come roaring back. Hughie’s the one to knock on the door the next morning when they arrive at the address to which they’ve been pointed, and gets the door shut in his face — MM tries again, telling the story of his lawyer father who died fighting Vought, and manages to get them into the house, where a nice older Black lady tells them about the night she saw her brother get killed by a racist female Supe 40 years ago, and while she and her family got a paltry settlement from Vought (“$2,000 — that was what my brother’s life was worth”), she hasn’t stopped hoping the word would get out… Especially since this woman knows that despite the passing of 40 years, that racist female Supe has changed monikers from Liberty to Stormfront. Yep, Stormfront’s at least 70 years old, and while it was pretty clear she had racist tendencies after last week’s episode, she’s clearly been that way for some time.
Billy and Becca meet up one more time inside the compound, but they have a complete breakdown of communication when it becomes clear that Becca won’t leave behind Ryan, and Billy doesn’t want to embrace him. In fact, Becca admits that the reason she never came to him after being raped by Homelander was because she was worried doing so would get him killed. She drives away leaving him behind, and also alerting Black Noir as to where Billy might be.
Hughie and Annie part in New York on very awkward terms, with Annie telling him they can’t do it again because they can’t be safe, while Hughie just wants to take care of her. Definitely not the best foot forward for their relationship.
At the end of the episode, Homelander pays one last trip to “Madelyn’s” cabin, and Doppelganger does his best to please, even shifting into a double of Homelander himself (while still wearing Madelyn’s negligee). This proves to be a poor choice on Doppelganger’s part — Homelander decides to break his neck… since, after all, he doesn’t need anyone.
- “That wavering thing they can do on American Idol“… “Vibratto.” We’re learning a lot today on The Boys.
- Becca is unsure about Billy’s new beard, but Becca needs to embrace change. (Which is to say that I like the beard.)
- Gotta go with Hughie on this — all of Annie’s preferred candies are truly disgusting. Charleston Chews? Bit o’ Honey? Come on.
- Black Noir making the surveillance tech throw out her Almond Joy candy bar just proves Hughie’s point.
- No offense to the smokers out there, but cigarettes are also pretty gross. However, what is not gross and is actually quite sexy is when two people share a cigarette, and no, I don’t know why that is, it just is, I don’t make the rules.
The Boys Season 2 is streaming now on Amazon. Future episodes debut weekly on Fridays.