After this week’s episode of The Boys, something rather weird happened, as a civil war broke out on the show’s subreddit, as documented by writer Ryan Broderick for Rolling Stone.
The conflicts centered around two main issues, one was that some fans thought that racist superhero cop Blue Hawk was making some “pretty good points” shortly before assaulting an unarmed room of black people. The other issue? That centered on Homelander. While “politics” is banned on the subreddit, Homelander has become essentially a 1:1 parallel of Donald Trump as of this past week, assigning his minions to clear out valuable agencies (the Deep shutting down crime tracking) and going on the equivalent of Fox News to talk about free speech and “cancel culture” after a big “telling it like it is” speech he made the week before.
Everyone viewing all this from the outside finds this…deeply confusing. Did some people really not understand Homelander was a villain? Broderick say that many may have, but they were hoping for some sort of redemption arc for him:
This, of course, is not what the show is doing. While there may be some “redeemable” villains on the show (I’d argue A-Train was actually trying to do right by his community, even if it went terribly wrong), Homelander is very clearly not one of those villains, and the show has been massively political from the start, which has only gotten more and more blatantly obvious over time.
- Stormfront, the secretly Nazi hero from last season, shares the name of a literal white supremacist website. Her entire storyline was about building a movement rooted in Nazism without saying that out loud. A now-famous quote from her: “People love what I have to say. They believe in it. They just don’t like the word Nazi.”
- Blue Hawk is a direct allegory for police brutality in America, with this last episode parroting police talking points (“there’s more crime in black areas so more policing is needed”) and by the end he is literally shouting, “All Lives Matter! Supe Lives Matter!”
- Homelander is…a fascist sociopath, always has been. Stormfront was his one true love and now this season, he is embracing her followers as his own. He previously was given direct George W. Bush quotes on the show, and now has fallen into being a fully-fledged parody of Donald Trump, cultivating supporters that are falling for his “straight talk.” For Homelander, the racism or classism isn’t even the main point, he’s just a massive narcissist. This is…all extremely explicit. Antony Starr himself even retweeted the aforementioned Rolling Stone article, Yes, Homelander on ‘The Boys’ Is Supposed to Be Donald Trump.
This is not new to fiction. Villains that really have no redeeming qualities have been glorified in the past, from Tyler Durden to Tony Soprano, but Homelander seems like a new level here because he’s just such obvious commentary on specific elements of the political right. The problem is, what he is parodying was already so close to parody itself in the first place, that those same people are falling for it twice, once in real life, now in a fictional series where they don’t understand why he’s an irredeemable villain.
Yes, it’s bizarre, but so is America at the moment, so here we are. Buckle up for next week, Herogasm, where we will be having…different conversations about The Boys.