“Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed” opens on Ashley running damage control in the wake of Annie’s comments at the end of “Herogasm.” Meanwhile, The Legend makes Hughie aware that Soldierboy isn’t perfect. Soldierboy is still waiting for Butcher to find Mindstorm, another member of Payback. Homelander visits Maeve demanding the location of Butcher and Soldierboy. She doesn’t tell him, and he tells her of plans to harvest her eggs. Frenchie and Kimiko arrive to join MM and Annie. Butcher, Hughie, and Soldierboy find their next target. Black Noir hides in a Chuck E. Cheese-esque kid’s restaurant and hallucinates. Butcher and the others find Mindstorm, and he traps Butcher in memories of his childhood. Hughie wants to make Mindstorm help him, but Soldierboy insists on killing him straight away. In his mind, Butcher sees a connection between his childhood abuse and the violence he perpetrates.
Annie patches Kimiko up as Frenchie analyzes old footage. Kimiko asks Annie for more Compound V. The Deep introduces his wife to the octopus he’s been sleeping with, and it doesn’t go well. Noir’s friends remind him of his past. Soldierboy shocks Hughie by killing a priest and a nun. At a rally for the president’s campaign, Homelander rants about Starlight, and Vicky offers to advise him if he does her a favor. A-Train wakes up in a hospital, and Ashley tells him he and Blue Hawk were attacked by Soldierboy. Marvin sees that Jeanine was at the rally with her stepfather. Frenchie is horrified to discover that Kimiko wants to take V. Annie infiltrates the tower to get Kimiko’s dose. Noir’s hallucinations show the day he gave Soldierboy to the Russians and motivate him to face his fear. Marvin punches Todd. Homelander finds Annie, and she shares everything he says with her followers. Hughie convinces Mindstorm to wake Butcher. Soldierboy comes back and kills Mindstorm anyway. Annie tells Butcher Temp V is deadly and gives Kimiko the permanent stuff.
There’s another direct parallel between Homelander and Soldierboy in “Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed.” Specifically, Homelander reveals that he wanted to have kids with Maeve, much like Soldierboy and Crimson Countess. All of the similarities between the two head supes come to a head at the end of the episode when Soldierboy tells Homelander the same thing Mindstorm told him: that he is Homelander’s father. I like how this immediately changes Soldierboy’s plans; is he capable of caring about Homelander as a son? Or is this a case of narcissism, where he sees his son as an extension of himself, and that’s where his value lies? I’m very interested to see how this pans out. I really didn’t see this coming and assumed that, if anything, the two would fight again after the rumble last week. What shocked me the most was when Soldierboy said if Vought had told him the truth, he would have stepped aside willingly to let his son shine. This is the payoff of a running motif in “Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed,” specifically that of family. Kimiko tells Frenchie he is her family now, walking back their kiss from “Herogasm.” Likewise, Hughie describes Butcher as his family and insists on saving him no matter what it takes. Then you have the dissolution of a family as Cassandra walks out on the Deep following his introduction of the octopus into their copulation; I can only assume they will be getting a divorce in the near future. I don’t blame her one bit, and it was hilarious when she said to him, “You’re an idiot, Kevin.” We’ve all known this since season 1, but it was great coming from the one consistent supporter he’s had. He’s in big doo-doo now.
This is the most we’ve learned about Black Noir yet, and his flashbacks with Soldierboy genuinely made me feel bad for him. He was savagely beaten by his leader multiple times, culminating in the mind-blowing confrontation that landed Soldiereboy with the Russians. As if that weren’t tragic enough, Noir feels he must run away from the threat Soldierboy poses. His only friends being hallucinated cartoon animals is funny in concept but heartbreaking in execution. I feel like the scenes of intense violence depicted by the cuddly critters were intended to be funny, but they made me feel so sorry for the character – especially when the sheep playing Noir reached for some of his brain; maximum ick, coupled with a healthy dose of empathy. These strange interludes this season have gone a long way in showing how versatile the show truly is and how something can simultaneously be silly and heart-rending. Kimiko’s musical scenes also come to mind. The animals also reveal that Noir’s name is Earving, which I don’t think we knew, and the actors’ voices pair with the cartoon critters surprisingly well.
As per usual, The Boys takes on hypocrisy in several ways in “Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed” as well. Soldierboy smokes a ton of weed while regaling Hughie with stories of locking potheads away back in the day. Likewise, A-Train is comfortable with sweeping his murder of Blue Hawk under the rug until Ashley reveals his new TV show and that he has Blue Hawk’s heart. Even after everything he’s been through this season, A-Train is a total hypocrite who only cares about corruption or corporate “progressive” pandering when it affects him or someone he loves. Then, after Butcher’s revelation inside his own mind and realizing that everyone he loves dies, he still doesn’t tell Hughie that the V is toxic! I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but wow. There really is no way to get this guy to do the right thing. Hughie just saved his life, and he won’t even extend him the courtesy of choosing whether his own is spared. As an aside, Soldierboy’s murder of Mindstorm is brutal. I winced the entire time.
Overall, I really enjoyed “Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed.” Antony Starr is fantastic, as always, especially when he’s on the phone with Jensen Ackles’ Soldierboy, who is also great. This episode is witty, smart, and heartbreaking.