blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Boys (2019) s03e07 – Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed

Despite primarily being a setup for next episode’s season finale, this episode of “The Boys” gets a lot done, and most of it’s excellent, with the occasional exceptional. It gives Karl Urban another great acting showcase, even though he’s stuck in a nightmare where he’s entirely reactive.

Great direction from Sarah Boyd; it’s her first episode of “The Boys.” Also outstanding is the script, credited to Paul Grilling (his first writing credit on the show).

The episode starts a week after the previous episode’s bombshells. Antony Starr and Colby Minfie are doing damage control on Erin Moriarty telling the world how the superheroes are actually shitheels; Dominique McElligott is still missing, Jensen Ackles is still on the run, and “The Boys” are broken up.

Moriarty and Laz Alonso are laying low—it’s unclear what they’ve been doing in the week, other than Instagram posts from Moriarty—when Tomer Capone and Karen Fukuhara show up looking for refuge. Fukuhara’s still healing, Capone’s getting high again, and they need help, which Moriarty and Alonso provide. So they pair off, boys and boys, girls and girls, and work on their respective subplots until later in the episode when Fukuhara and Capone get back together for another of their devastatingly tragic scenes. While Moriarty remains the show’s de facto protagonist, Fukuhara’s really the heart at this point, especially since she’s lost her powers and has learned the dangers of being without them.

Meanwhile, Urban and Jack Quaid are babysitting Ackles at Paul Reiser’s country home. Brief scenes from the very funny Reiser, who dishes the real dirt on Ackles’s “Ultimate Captain America.” Less winning World War II, more bashing in Civil Rights protestors’ heads. Racist Ackles leaps out during an inspired flashback for Nathan Mitchell, who’s still on the run from him; Starr’s so pissed off about Moriarty turning on him, he’s not concerned with Mitchell going AWOL. It’ll probably be crucial next episode, along with a lot of other things.

Starr’s public breakdowns are getting bad enough Claudia Doumit, now committed to the superhero cause, intercedes to introduce another subplot for later. Of course, given the big reveals at the cliffhanger, that subplot may wait for next season.

Ackles’s next target is psychic Ryan Blakely, who’s been living off the grid for decades; when they find him, he traps Urban in a nightmare, leaving Quaid to manage Ackles. Ackles, who’s incredibly stoned (Urban’s keeping him that way to compensate for Ackles’s PTSD) and incredibly obnoxious, shatters even more of Quaid’s illusions during their adventure.

There are a couple significant character surprises throughout—one at the beginning, then one later–both setting up for next episode. The majority of the episode is character work for Urban, Quaid, Alonso, and Fukuhara. Fantastic work from all of them, plus, obviously, Ackles, who’s just getting better the worse his character gets.

While it’s all technically setup, including some running subplot check-ins, it’s still a great episode.

Oh, and then Chace Crawford has a humdinger of a comedy scene. It’s actually unclear if it’s set up for anything or just a reminder he’s a depthless jackass.

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