The Boys Season 4, Episode 4, Recap & Review Wisdom of the Ages
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Spoilers for ‘The Boys’ Season 4, Episode 4

One of the consistent themes over the years on The Boys is how truly damaged they all are, whether human or supes. The flaws in their collective characters, or shared violent and psychotic tendencies, make the paths they choose eerily similar at times. In the fourth episode, titled “Wisdom of the Ages,” we take another trip down memory lane with many characters, revisiting old wounds and discovering new ones, shining an even brighter light on just what kind of people they are and what they are doing to make things better, or in most cases, much worse. 

Following his own inner raging and psychotic voice, Homelander returns to the lab where it all began. The moment he walks off the elevator with a cake to share with everyone is a clear indication that this is going to go bad, and boy, it’s bad. Homelander’s weakness has always been his need to be loved and the need to remove any shred of humanity from his body. To this end, he begins tormenting the staff, members who ‘raised’ him, and disposes of them in typical horrific Homelander style. In the end, only the director Barbara is left alive, to ponder Homelanders words in his self described ‘Bad Room’ full of bodies. There is some sympathy to be felt for Homelander, as he was nothing more than a lab rat for many years, but he is so twisted and wrapped up in his own psychosis now there is really no way to save him or almost anyone who gets in his way.

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Both Frenchie and Kimiko continue down their own horrific memory lanes, with Kimiko being haunted by acts she committed centering on the Shining Light and Frenchie realizing he killed Colin’s family while working for Nina, quickly derailing that possible connection. It has been fascinating to watch Kimiko and Frenchie develop over the years, and while Kimiko is trying to be a better person, Frenchie is repeatedly beaten down by things he did in his past. Both suffer big blows here, and at the halfway point in the season, they are both already on the brink of some new meltdown. They’ve always been able to help each other in the past, but one has to wonder how much they can continue saving each other before one of them goes completely over the cliff.

While Kimiko tries to become a better person, Hughie, who was once the shining light of good in The Boys, continues to falter. Making a deal with A-Train, he gets a hold of some Compound V in what he thinks is the only answer to help his bedridden and soon-to-die father. Even Butcher lets him know what a bad idea this is, so you know it must be bad. Hughie has always struggled to be his own man, to make his own decisions as a man, and here we see him step up a few times. What happens in his father’s hospital room is not his fault, but he started the chain of events that led up to it, and now come the consequences. 

The Annie January/Starlight mess, pushed by Firecracker and planned by Sage, has definitely played right into the hands of The Seven. While doing a Vought-inspired telethon of sorts that is taking aim at Starlight solely to discredit her and her followers, including in the government, Firecracker releases some very personal medical information, and Starlight goes off the deep end. Suffice it to say, the beating she gives Firecracker on live TV will have repercussions, and some are unveiled in this episode.

One has to wonder, though, what Sage is really planning here. Sure, she is one of The Seven, but being the smartest person on the planet makes me think she has her own agenda and is not bound to any kind of loyalty to the group. The threat of Homelander killing you is always real, but this is the first member of The Seven who might have a plan to actually stay alive. It will be curious to find out what exactly she has planned and what the endgame really is.

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There were some great performances across the board this week but the star of the show continues to be Antony Starr. His maniacal and hideous Jokeresque smile and unpredictability are on full display here as Homelander, making him as vicious and horrifying as ever. Karl Urban continues to play Butcher as a man who is questioning everything as his time on this earth slowly ticks away. While he is still capable of his old, violent, do-what-it-takes self, his day-to-day struggles are making him think about things more. (What happened in the trailer is probably a big clue to how things are going to progress for him, and his inevitable showdown with Homelander.) 

While “Wisdom of the Ages” is a disturbing look at some of the trauma these characters have gone through, it is put together in a clever enough way that pushes the story and pushes many to new levels of stress and violence. The focus was much less on the political satire and more on what made the show the most interesting, that being the characters and the actors who portray them. It was a great way to finish off the first half of the season and launch us into what should be an interesting, violent, and unpredictable final four episodes. 


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