The Boys Season 4 Episode 4 Review: Wisdom of the Ages

Spoilers

Sometimes, television gives us the gift of a show that keeps us guessing every single episode.

After nearly five years since its release, somehow, The Boys manages to surprise us at every turn. Tuning in every week is starting to feel risky.

Are we going to have to watch a man human-centipede himself sexually in a steam room, or will the writers attempt to stir up feelings of compassion from us about the most horrific and cruel character on TV since Joffrey Baratheon on Game of Thrones?

Yeah, I was as shocked as anyone else, but the writers pulled off a miracle this week.

On The Boys Season 4 Episode 4, we get more of a detailed look into Homelander’s upbringing, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a tiny bit moved.

Related: The Boys Ending With Season 5!!

Look, I’m not saying I’m a Homelander stan now, I’m just saying I feel a little bad for the guy. He didn’t exactly have a picture-perfect childhood.

After the trauma of being raised like a lab rat, is it that hard to believe that the guy drinks breast milk and collects his grey pubes in a jar?

The trip down memory lane was as difficult for Homelander as it was for us to watch.

Did I want to watch a man be forced to masturbate in front of his colleagues? No. Was I shocked that it happened? Also no.

I can’t really explain why, but the fact that Homelander brought an ice cream cake down to the lab for everyone to share was so much creepier than if he’d just brought a regular cake.

Maybe it made the scene feel more urgent as we waited for the Carvel classic to melt. Whatever it was, it made me uneasy.

Then, actually watching everyone eat the ice cream cake in silence, awkward and anxious about what Homelander was going to do, was practically unbearable.

Great job to the writers on that whole scene — even if we took away the whole “man being cooked alive” thing and ignored the forced workplace masturbation, the vibes alone heebied my jeebies.

Ryan's Whoopsie - THE BOYS S04E04 - WISDOM OF THE AGES

Let’s move on and talk about poor Ryan. There’s next to no chance that this kid is going to turn into a healthy, well-adjusted adult, right?

Homelander is pushing Ryan to be more visible to the public, and the plan is to get Ryan on camera pulling off a staged rescue. It should have been simple, but Ryan still doesn’t really have a handle on what he can do, and tragically, he accidentally kills someone.

Related: The Boys Characters Who Deserve a Spotlight Episode

Homelander is naturally completely unbothered, and this is pivotal for Ryan because it sets a precedent for how he should react when these kinds of things happen.

He’s struggling to reconcile Homelander’s nonchalance about the death with the fact that he’s feeling traumatized about it.

Butcher and His Tea - THE BOYS S04E04 - WISDOM OF THE AGES

This wedge between father and son is bad news for Homelander, who has big plans for his progeny, but it’s worse news for the rest of the world. Ryan seems pretty desperate to win Homelander’s approval.

How far will he be willing to push himself to make his dad proud?

And how much influence will Butcher have over the situation, especially while he’s falling apart at the seams himself?

Butcher’s veins are doing the worm again, and he’s still hallucinating Becca as his condition deteriorates.

It’s really interesting to watch him realize he’s not going to get any better and try to get his affairs in order.

I’ll admit I got a little teary when he asked Mother’s Milk to find a way to save Ryan if he’s unable to do it himself before he kicks the bucket.

Ugh, and speaking of getting emotional, Hughie’s father’s condition worsened, and now he’s brain-dead.

Related: When Going Off the Rails Makes Excellent TV

Hughie is having a horrible time coping. It’s a very human and relatable storyline in a show that generally avoids anything too realistic, and it’s hard to watch him suffer.

Hughie’s mom has power of attorney and decides to end life support, which makes the poor guy feel even more powerless than he already does in a world where he’s surrounded by supes.

So, it’s no big shock when he ends up being desperate enough to save his dad that he tracks down a dose of Compound V.

Homelander in His Natural State - THE BOYS S04E04 - WISDOM OF THE AGES

Now, is it a good idea? Hell no. Didn’t we learn last season that messing with that stuff was a sure way to turn everything from bad to worse?

If not, what is it about Butcher’s current health status that makes Hughie think, “I know what will save my dad! The very stuff that is killing my friend!”

Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why he wants to try it, but with a little critical thinking, he’d probably realize it’ll do more harm than good.

In other relationship news, Frenchie (who is now officially bisexual, to the great joy of thousands of LGBTQ+ fans) finally told Colin the truth about his connection to his family (you know, the fact that he brutally murdered all of them).

Kimiko's First Aid - THE BOYS S04E04 - WISDOM OF THE AGES

Eric Kripke isn’t exactly known for his stellar treatment of queer characters (our hearts are still broken about Castiel from Supernatural, okay), so it’s no big surprise that Frenchie doesn’t appear to be getting a happily-ever-after story with Colin.

Kimiko is getting a new layer to her backstory this season, and we love to see it.

That is, we’d love to see it if it wasn’t so damn tragic. We’ve now learned who the secret sniper woman is, and it’s bleak.

Related: Gen V Season 1 Ending Explained: How it Connects to The Boys Season 4

Kimiko was a victim of human trafficking as a child (hence her silent breakdown about the trafficking conspiracy theories from last week’s premiere). As it turns out, she participated in training the woman she’s now faced with.

The more we learn about Kimiko, the more heartbreaking her story gets. She’s lost everyone she’s ever loved, she can’t trust herself and her memories.

She’s so traumatized she can’t even speak, and she’s constantly getting “killed” in gruesome ways and then having to put herself back together.

Firecracker and Starlight Face Off - THE BOYS S04E04 - WISDOM OF THE AGES

When will she get a break?!

Oh, and we can’t forget to address the Starlight in the room.

Her alliance with President-Elect Singer now blown, she’s left to deal with the aftermath of Firecracker’s reveal that Annie had an abortion.

Somehow, the abortion news is more insidious to Firecracker’s fans than the bombshell Firecracker dropped about her past inappropriate relationship with a minor.

Go figure.

No one seems as concerned with the fact that Annie accidentally blinded a woman during her first save, but — yikes.

Before we go, we can’t forget about Sister Sage.

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Last week, we wondered what the strange metal stick on her coffee table was, and this week we found out!

No big deal. She’s just recreationally lobotomizing herself to get a break from her own genius.

Sister Sage - THE BOYS S04E04 - WISDOM OF THE AGES

Now that she’s invited Deep into her activities, he’s finally feeling appreciated and more confident, and there’s no chance that’s good news.

Poor Ambrosius. Tilda Swinton may have lent you her sensual, velvety voice, but sadly that wasn’t enough to keep Deep from straying with Sage.

Related: Erin Moriarty, The Boys Star, Speaks Out Against “Misogynistic Trolling” By Fans

Here I go feeling bad for the jilted octopus again.

The episode ends with Butcher catching Hughie getting the stolen Compound V from A-Train.

Butcher obviously has strong feelings about Hughie’s plan, so it’ll be interesting to see whether his warnings hold any weight for Hughie, who is growing more desperate by the minute to save his dad.

Hughie's Got Pipes - THE BOYS S04E03 - WE'LL KEEP THE RED FLAG FLYING

Alright, fans. What was the best reveal of the episode?

Was it a good continuation of the three-hour premiere? What are your theories about what comes next?

Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget you can watch The Boys online with Amazon Prime Video if you need to get caught up!

Haley Whitmire White is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.

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