REVIEW: The Boys – Season 4 Episodes1, 2, and 3, “Department of Dirty Tricks,” “Life Among the Septics”, and “We’ll Keep the Red Flag Flying Here”


“Department of Dirty Tricks” finds Kimiko posing as a waiter at Neuman’s campaign event, an in for the Boys to infiltrate and keep tabs. Homelander and Ryan are present, too, amused by all the “cockroaches.” Butcher finds Ryan and begs him to leave with him, but Ryan isn’t prepared to leave his father. Neuman’s daughter Zoe attacks the Boys when she sees them in her mom’s room. Victoria confronts Hughie, and they have a heart-to-heart before Butcher shoots her. She walks away unscathed. MM’s ex asks him to find Todd. Hughie’s dad has a stroke. Butcher makes Neuman a proposition. After seeing a list of candidates for The Seven, Homelander pays one of them a visit. He then orders Noir, Deep, and A-Train to murder his biggest fans, including Todd. They are then posed as martyrs outside the courthouse when Homelander gets acquitted. At home, Homelander is hurt when Ryan says he wants Butcher to live. Butcher betrays Victoria after seeing visions of Becca. 

In “Life Among the Septics,” A-Train is subjected to more stereotyping in Adam Bourke’s (PJ Byrne) latest movie. Hughie’s mom reveals she has power of attorney over his dad. Butcher finally tells the Boys about his diagnosis as Kimiko struggles with therapy. MM kicks Butcher out of the Boys for lying. Ryan is set to star in a movie to create his brand. A fake “save” is set up to give him clout. The Boys infiltrate TruthCon, a conspiracy theorist convention, to tail Sister Sage and Firecracker. Homelander shows up to Ryan’s save and steals his thunder. Sage and Firecracker find the Boys, and a fight ensues, killing Firecracker’s assistant/fanboy Splinter. Firecracker runs away. Ryan agonizes over killing a man, but Homelander insists it’s okay because he was just “a human.” Starlight returns to the spotlight. After helping at TruthCon, Butcher appeals to MM to help save Ryan, but he’s turned down. 

Department of Tricks

In “We’ll Keep the Red Flag Flying Here,” Homelander introduces the new Seven lineup, featuring Sister Sage and Firecracker. Kessler gives Butcher the help the Boys wouldn’t. Starlight’s operation is attacked by a guy looking for children, thanks to Firecracker’s conspiracy theories. Singer proposes a ban on supes in government, and Neuman reluctantly agrees. Butcher contacts Ryan over a video game, begging him to leave Homelander. Sage replaces Ashley as acting CEO. She considers quitting at Vought. Sage tasks Deep with finding out who leaked the footage exonerating Starlight’s people for the murder of Homelander’s fans. MM proposes A-Train as a potential informant. Frenchie and Kimiko track down the people who abused her as a child. Butcher opens up to Ryan. Homelander kills a Vought employee for being in contact with Starlight, scaring Ashley out of quitting. Starlight confronts Firecracker. MM and Hughie attend a Vought on Ice practice because Neuman, Homelander, and Sage are meeting there. Homelander senses Hughie but misses him with his laser vision, killing one of the actors. A-Train gets Hughie out alive. Sage and Deep hook up. Ryan returns from visiting Butcher, and Homelander loses it.

Department of Tricks

I wish streaming services wouldn’t premiere so many episodes at once. It’s a lot to assess, which makes it hard to rate the premiere and makes the season feel a lot shorter. Regardless of that, I enjoyed these episodes. As I alluded to, there’s a lot to get into here. We have our new supes Sister Sage and Firecracker, the “smartest person alive” and a QAnon nut. Sage really surprised me; I didn’t expect much from her character. The main reasons to watch The Boys have always been Butcher and Homelander, with Hughie as a sort of beating heart at the center. I honestly never expect a lot from new characters, although I usually end up liking them. Soldierboy was a lot of fun last season, for example. Homelander brings Sage in as a sort of advisor, someone to stand up to him. Ashley, Deep, and everyone else bends to Homelander’s every whim, and he surprisingly wants Sage as a voice of dissent. This surprised me in the best way because it pushes his character and the story in a new direction; he usually just kills anyone who argues. Firecracker is less interesting, just another parody of the alt-right whackos we all know. However, the scene where she tells Starlight her real reason for hating her surprised me. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Agent Kessler, a CIA agent Butcher knows from the past. I don’t have much of an opinion on him because he isn’t in the premiere that much. Antony Starr and Karl Urban are still the standouts, but all the acting is pretty good. 

Department of Tricks

Why would Marvin tell Butcher Homelander is at the campaign event? He doesn’t want him to storm in and cause trouble, but he has to know that saying this will have that direct effect. Kicking Butcher out is entirely understandable, but in this particular case, Marvin had to know what he was getting into. Homelander is struggling with his mortality in these episodes, trying not to let his son Ryan replace him. He also obsessively collects his grey hairs. Homelander gets some fantastic lines in these episodes, like, “No means no, William,” and telling Butcher he’ll “miss (them).”

Department of Tricks

I also like what they’re doing with A-Train. I’ve often found myself conflicted about his character; I shouldn’t like him at all. The show began with him killing the main character’s girlfriend! That it was done in carelessness rather than malice isn’t a resounding defense. But I’ve often felt bad for him, like in his interactions with his brother. I still wouldn’t say I like A-Train, but I like this narrative thread, and I’m hooked to see what happens with him as an informant. However, I hate Hughie’s mom, and I don’t give a crap about her postpartum depression. This is a serious mental condition many women go through, and unfortunately, there isn’t much support for them. It’s especially difficult because depression makes one reluctant to ask for help, and there aren’t many people asking if anyone is depressed and needs help. This is NOT an excuse for her to abandon her husband and son. I hate how she polices Hughie’s interactions with her and then dumps this on him. Okay, lady, you have trauma. But did it ever occur to you that you traumatized your family by ditching them? What about all the mothers and other people who deal with mental conditions and don’t abandon their families? You can’t just nope out of all obligations like that and expect everyone to accept you with open arms 20 years later. 

Overall, I enjoyed this premiere. It’s funny, dark, emotional, and pushes the characters forward in exciting ways. I’m amazed at how they keep Homelander interesting long after I’d have expected his entertainment value to run out. I look forward to seeing the rest of the season; I only wish we hadn’t already seen almost half of it. 

The Boys Season 4 Episodes1, 2 and 3, "Department of Dirty Tricks," "Life Among the Septics", and "We'll Keep the Red Flag Flying Here"

Plot - 8
Acting - 8
Progression - 10
Production Design - 8
Character Development - 8



Overall, I enjoyed this premiere. It's funny, dark, emotional and pushes the characters forward in exciting ways. I'm amazed at how they keep Homelander interesting long after I'd have expected his entertainment value to run out. I look forward to seeing the rest of the season; I only wish we hadn't already seen almost half of it. 

Comments (1)

June 16, 2024 at 4:31 am

One thing Chris Gore said he likes is that this picks up and takes off right away, but that with House of The Dragon, it’s kind of slow and you are waiting around.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the new updates!