Friday, September 25, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Boys' - Frenchie Deals with Trauma From His Past as Stormfront Reveals More to Homelander in 'The Bloody Doors Off'

Amazon's The Boys - Episode 2.06 "The Bloody Doors Off"

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In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Amazon's The Boys.

"The Bloody Doors Off" was written by Anslem Richardson and directed by Sarah Boyd

This show aspires to depict the complexity of the human condition. Homelander and Stormfront are presented as being solely villainous. There is no absolution and redemption for their actions. They see no problem with the way they act or what they belief. They have powers and can get away with anything. The support system backs them up no matter what they do. The rest of the ensemble is much more nuanced in their portrayals of good vs. evil. The majority of them have signed off on some kind of lethal action though. One that makes it difficult to see them as moral arbiters of what's right. Maeve allowed the Flight 37 disaster to happen. Only now does she see the benefit of using that as leverage over Homelander. She does so knowing that she would be publicly shamed as well should anyone learn the truth and her inaction in preventing it. She is billed as a veteran superhero. But she also allowed Homelander to be destructive. He took that and she has every right to be terrified of him. She isn't weak though. Similarly, Annie kills a guy in order to save Hughie. She justifies it by blaming his action of pulling out a gun. He is terrified that something bad is going to happen to him. It does and Annie is fine with that. The addition of a child seat in the car is meant to assume that Annie will have remorse for that action. The show bucks with expectation by saying how she is fine with it. She has essentially become Butcher. He isn't the best role model. People shouldn't aspire to act just like him. Their hatred for Vought though allows them to rationalize some destructive behavior. They view Hughie as the man who always pulls them back. He keeps them from ever going too far. Of course, he killed Translucent. So again, he understands that rage and need for vengeance. He is now positioned as the guy this team needs in order to always remain grounded. Annie and Butcher will risk everything to keep him safe. They depend on him. However, no one else can absolve you of your past actions and mistakes. Annie reads a lot into the look that Butcher gives her in the car. She has seen destructive actions around her all the time. She needs her own agency. That gives her the space to make mistakes and own up to them. This show operates on a much higher level. The stakes are always life or death. Hughie needs a hospital. He is never in too much peril though. The true uncertainty comes when MM, Frenchie and Kimiko break into a psychiatric facility. They discover that Vought is running experiments to find a solution to injecting Compound V into adults with no side effects. Stormfront is the one running the show as well. She sees how the subjects are progressing. She decides who lives and dies. She isn't the one who has to deliver the fatal blow though. Instead, that honor is left to Lamplighter. He has beeb referenced before. He is the reason why the original incarnation of the Boys disbanded. Mallory's grandchildren were killed by him. She was devastated after that. She couldn't risk losing anyone else she cared about. Frenchie has blamed himself for that action as well because he abandoned his post of watching over this Supe. He had to save his friend. When he tells the truth, MM understands and is willing to forgive. Frenchie has to find that acceptance within himself though. He can't demand it from others and expect everything to be better afterwards. He can't save people in order to fix what's broken inside of him. He comes to that understanding by the end of this hour. It suggests that the mental healing is working for him. He is finding his path to a better life. That stands in stark contrast to the Deep and A-Train who have fallen into a cult that promises them the ability to return to the Seven. That remains an incredibly tangential storyline. No meaningful progress has actually been made. There is seemingly no point. They are simply choosing to blame their past failures on others. That's their version of addressing the trauma and accepting their personal mistakes. It won't work in the end. They allow themselves to believe it though. But it's much more consequential to watch as the show draws the direct line between the Nazism of the 1930s to the present-day nationalism movement. Vought was already proven to have its roots in Nazi Germany. Edgar praised the company's founder for his brilliant mind. And yet, that praise comes with inherent discrimination. Compound V provides a way for people in control to actually create a super race. One where white people are powerful and allowed to thrive while all communities of color are meant to suffer. It's horrifying. Stormfront sees Homelander as her greatest creation. She is honest with him. That allows some more insight into her past while keeping him on the string long enough for whatever she is hoping to achieve next. It's terrifying to see her wield so much power and casually kill whomever stands in her way. The world hasn't changed that much. In fact, it's the ignorance and dismissal of the past that allows these societal patterns to occur once more. It can't be justified. But the desire to do just that is palpable as everyone just wants to create a little piece of happiness for themselves despite the high stakes of this world.