Prime Video’s The Boys often shows the darker side of superpowers, but Butcher’s attitude shows the danger that using superpowers poses to people.
The following article contains spoilers for The Boys Season 3, Episode 4 “Glorious Five Year Plan.”
The Boys‘ newest season is well underway, and it’s brought back all the horrific heroes and gut-wrenching gore with it. The show has made its reputation by exposing the darker side of superheroes. The heroes in this show are not good and virtuous people, but dark and disgusting. They’re corrupted and greedy, just like the corporations that own them. Yet, there are people who try to keep them in check, but now even The Boys are falling prey to the dangers of superpowers. Butcher and Hughie are the first to be affected, and it will be interesting to see how far down the rabbit hole they go.
The Boys is about a group of underdogs who are trying to keep the vicious heroes of the world in check. Homelander, the dark parody of Superman, leads a team of heroes called The Seven. They’re owned and operated by Vought International, where every decision is more about public perception than helping people. Homelander is broken and unhinged, and actor Anthony Starr brings all that to the screen in an incredible performance. Yet, The Boys are without powers, mortals fighting against gods. So when Butcher has the chance to even the playing field with temporary powers, he seizes the opportunity.
Butcher hates supers, he despises everything about them. Their abuse of the public, their political games, and especially how they’re above the law. Yet, he can’t deny that in order to beat them, he sometimes may have to join them. When Queen Maeve gives Butcher temporary Compound V, a formula that makes him a super for 24 hours, he can’t resist the temptation of taking it. The power feels good for him, allowing him to take down Gunpowder and beat back the Russian forces. Though he remains undamaged on the outside, the Compound V may be affecting him more than he thinks.
Having that much power corrupts people; it makes them believe nothing can ever stop them. Knowing that they’re more powerful than anyone else allows them to do whatever they want, whenever they want. That is why everyone fears Homelander, because he has been corrupted so thoroughly that he is now unhinged. Butcher is already beginning to treat his team differently, treating them poorly and putting them in worse and worse situations. It may be that the power of being a superhero is already corrupting him. He is addicted to the power, and that is making him less and less rational.
Hughie is also starting to suffer from his use of temporary Compound V. As The Boys leave the Russian base, Hughie is in a state of euphoria. He seems like he is high off the power surge that he just experienced. He has felt weak for so long that having ultimate power, even briefly, is a sweet relief from the feelings of helplessness. Yet, will he become more desperate to experience that high again? Will he change and become more ruthless? Hughie has always been the moral compass, without him Butcher could fall apart completely.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that seems to be the case in The Boys as well. Both Butcher and Hughie seem to be changing after taking Compound V. Butcher is becoming more reckless and even less compassionate than before. Hughie seems to be in love with the power that the Compound gives him. He is tired of being helpless and is looking for any way to change that. As they continue to abuse Compound V, they may become more addicted and even more corrupted, putting their goals less and less in line with the rest of The Boys.
New episodes of The Boys stream every Friday on Prime Video.
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