Herogasm might be the best “Boys” episode. I can’t remember the previous seasons well enough, but it’s an exceptional hour of television with a phenomenal script (credit to Jessica Chou). It’s Chou’s first credit on the series, which makes the episode even more impressive as the episode concludes some long outstanding story arcs. It also gives many cast members big monologue scenes, including revealing a momentous new narrative device for Antony Starr.
Superb monologue-y, spotlighted performances from (in no particular order): Starr, Erin Moriarty, Laz Alonso (probably his best work on the show), Jessie T. Usher (his best work on the show), Colby Minifie (her best work on the show), Claudia Doumit, and Jack Quaid. Karl Urban gets a phenomenal scene, but it’s not monologuing about his soul; it’s doing a super-powered fight. It’s awesome.
Also awesome is Jensen Ackles, who hasn’t gotten a lot of lines before but gets to do his “Ultimate Captain America” in the sensitive modern era culture shock, and it’s excellent. The episode’s not about Urban, Quaid, and Ackles very often, but when it focuses on them, it does a great job exploring the character dynamics of this troubled trio. First, Ackles isn’t just a fascist murderer, he’s one who can’t control it, and then Urban and Quaid are addicted to the temporary superpower drug.
The episode opens with Chace Crawford and Starr discovering Ackles is back from the dead, which causes Starr’s most loyal teammate Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) to run out because Mitchell knows Ackles is out to get him. But Ackles is going after c-lister twin superheroes Jack Doolan and Kristin Booth first; they’ve retired from the hero game and just get stoned and screw around. The “Herogasm” of the title is an annual superhero orgy (for the c-listers), and multiple people end up there trying to intercept Ackles. Crawford’s going at Starr’s behest, Moriarty and Alonso have teamed up since Urban and Quaid abandoned them, Usher is there trying to find racist Nick Wechsler, and, obviously, Quaid, Urban, and Ackles are also headed there. The orgy’s extreme, gross, and sometimes funny, while acknowledging there’s a lot of not funny about it, and eventually there’s a lot of tragedy. The episode does a fantastic job using it as a framing device.
The one set of cast members not at the orgy is Karen Fukuhara and Tomer Capone; Capone’s ex-boss Katia Winter has kidnapped Capone for not doing her bidding, and Fukuhara doesn’t have her superpowers to save him anymore. There’s a funny recurring bit about Capone being sad he didn’t get to see Herogasm, which also ties into Urban and Alonso’s professional and personal estrangement.
Pretty much every scene is a highlight in one way or another, with Capone and Fukuhara getting some really nice moments. It’s a momentous episode, and it’s a significant success for the series, Chou, and director Nelson Cragg.
I sometimes forget “The Boys” isn’t just good for a comic book adaptation but really good; then Herogasm comes along to remind it’s exceptionally good.
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