– Written by Anslem Richardson
– Directed by Sarah Boyd
Eight years ago… Frenchie is in a flat with Cherie and his best friend, Jay. While talking about his love of The Golden Girls he assembles what looks like a homemade bomb. “Who wants to rob a bank?” he asks his companions.
In the present day… Starlight asks Frenchie to cut the Vought tracking chip out of her shoulder – now that Stormfront is aware Starlight knows about her Liberty past, she thinks she’s in danger from the Seven.
Stormfront and Homelander apprehend a supposed criminal in an alley way, breaking his hand. As the duo debate whether to hand him over to the police, Stormfront starts stroking Homelander’s groin. As the pair kiss passionately, Homelander ends up crushing the accused’s head against the wall.
Hughie brings Starlight back to The Boys’ flat, where Kimiko gives her a big hug – she’s clearly still grateful for the rescue in season one. Starlight reveals that she has a lead on Stormfront – she’s read “dozens” of emails from Vought boss Stan Edgar saying they’re close to a breakthrough at the Sage Grove Center. Butcher decides it’s time to play the Center a little visit, bringing Starlight along to take the heat off The Boys.
The Deep drops in on Queen Maeve. She’s asked him to use his underwater contacts to investigate the wreckage of the plane Homelander left to crash over the Atlantic. He couldn’t track down the black box but a school of rowdy halibut did find a GoPro at the crash site. Maeve tells him that if he wants to rejoin the Seven, he can’t say a word to anyone.
On the set of Dawn of the Seven, Ashley is fretting that they can’t find Starlight. The Deep swings by, telling A-Train that he’s been thinking about him, and offers to help him out of his current financial/personal problems.
The team arrive at the Sage Grove Center, a “proud subsidiary” of Global Wellness Services – which is itself a subsidiary of Vought. Mother’s Milk, Frenchie and Kimiko dress as orderlies to break in, as Hughie worries about people recognising Starlight. “Don’t get caught,” says Butcher. “I never get caught,” Frenchie replies.
Eight years ago… Hughie is in an interrogation room. Colonel Mallory compliments him on his ingenuity in using weaponised Xanax to take down Behemoth, a supe activated by rage – and for his similarly brilliant tactics against other capes. Frenchie’s facing 20-25 years in prison for the robbery, but Mallory offers him freedom if he comes to work for her. He turns her down, until she threatens to put Cherie and Jay in a high-security prison if he doesn’t comply. He signs up.
In the present day… Homelander invites Stormfront into his trailer for a “surprise”. She tells him she’s got an appointment at Vought but will be back in 20 minutes: “Then I’ll let you surprise me wherever you want.” A disappointed Homelander goes back to his trailer, where he stares longingly at the roses he’s left out for Stormfront.
Starlight burns a whole in the Sage Grove Center fence so Frenchie, Milk and Kimiko can get inside. As she walks towards the van, Butcher thinks about shooting her. Starlight confronts Butcher, asking why he has such a problem with her. He says it’s not the right time to discuss it, but she says the conversation is long overdue because she hates Vought as much as Butcher. She tells him he’s a bigot and a bully, comparing him with Homelander.
Butcher, Hughie and Starlight try to warn the team in the facility that Stormfront has just arrived. They’ve forced their way into a surveillance room, which has cameras pointed at every cell – all of the residents appear to have superpowers.
Stormfront talks to one of them, a telekinetic man called Tim. He demonstrates his skills, but says he won’t do any more until he can talk to his family. As Stormfront walks away, the orderly she called up on the phone in the previous episode pulls out a cigarette lighter and uses his powers to burn Tim alive. He’s Lamplighter, a former member of the Seven – Milk has to restrain Frenchie to stop him going after the rogue supe.
Although Frenchie is disguised as a patient, Lamplighter recognises him and attacks, burning a hole in a wall. A superhuman called Cindy steps out of a cell – Lamplighter is clearly scared and tries to calm them down. It doesn’t work. A security guard fires pullets at Cindy’s back to no effect, they use mind powers to explode the guard where he stands. Cindy then uses their powers to pull the doors off the cells, releasing the other inmates.
Frenchie, Kimiko and Milk escape with Lamplighter, who refuses to help them until they save him from a supe with an unpleasant habit of melting things with lethal stomach acid – including, ultimately, his own face.
Watching the disturbance inside the building, Hughie tries to get in touch with Milk. A young supe finds his way out of a hole in the fence. Butcher tries to calm him down but the kid fires a shock wave from his chest, sending The Boys’ van flying. Butcher shoots the kid, but Hughie is badly injured in the attack. Starlight tries to cauterise Hughie’s wounds but, with all the electrics shorted by the attack, her powers are useless.
Annoyed by Stormfront’s no-show, Homelander flies into a rage and burns his trailer to the ground, bringing production to a halt. When Stormfront eventually arrives, Homelander clams there’s nothing wrong, and that it was just an electrical fire. He then says he went to the Vought tower to find how her meeting went, but that nobody had seen her. Stormfront is annoyed he’s checking up on her. “Why would you need to explain anything to me?” he asks, grabbing her by the neck.
At the Church of the Collective’s Renewal Center, Deep and A-Train sit down for dinner with the Church’s leader, Alastair Adana. A-Train is just there for the food but it’s a full-on recruitment drive. In a “truth exchange”, Deep accuses A-Train of sabotaging his career. Adana points out that without the Seven, A-Train is just a nobody with a heart condition and a drug dependency – but that the Church can help him.
At a Sage Grove Center littered with blood and bodies, Milk, Kimiko and Frenchie ask Lamplighter why he’s filling people with Compound V, only to burn them later. Lamplighter recognises that Frenchie was tailing him the night he torched a load of kids. He asks why Frenchie didn’t stop him.
Five years ago… Milk shows Frenchie, Butcher and Mallory the ring he’s about to propose with. Lamplighter appears in his supe costume, brandishing a giant burning staff. Mallory shows the supe some incriminating images, telling him he has no choice but to help them by reporting back what goes on in the Vought tower. Frenchie is dispatched to follow Lamplighter.
In the present day… Starlight and Butcher are helping the seriously injured Hughie. Claiming to be working for the FBI, Butcher tries to commandeer a random car. Spotting Butcher’s not American, the car’s owner pulls out a gun. Starlight tells him to stay back but when he refuses to withdraw, she draws on the car’s power and her energy blast throws him to the ground. She now has the power to cauterise Hughie’s wounds and they drive away, leaving the car’s owner on the road. The empty child’s car seat leaves Starlight thinking about the kid who now won’t have a father.
Frenchie grabs a load of chemicals to make a “knockout bomb” as the conversation with Lamplighter continues. They ask why the Seven never came after them five years ago. Frenchie says Lamplighter is an animal, who watched Mallory’s grandchildren burning alive. Lamplighter says he didn’t know the kids were going to be in that bed – he was there for Mallory – and by the time he realised it was too late. Lamplighter says he saw Frenchie following him that night, but then he disappeared. He asks Frenchie why he let it happen. Milk says it’s a good question.
Five years ago… Having followed Lamplighter to a red carpet event, Frenchie takes a call from Cherie who tells him Jay is ODing, asking for Frenchie’s help. He eventually decides to go, and saves Jay with an injection. Though Cherie begs Frenchie to stay, he goes back to work.
In the present day… Butcher thanks Starlight for what she did to help Hughie. She says she didn’t have a choice and that she can’t help asking why the guy had to pull a gun. “Once I would have cried. Now he was just another person in our way.” Butcher gives her a look of approval. “We’re nothing alike,” she counters.
Lamplighter explains that they’re not trying to make supes at Sage – the people are test subjects for experiments in stabilising Compound V. The drug tends to work best in infants – in adults it sometimes creates powers, sometimes creates freaks and sometimes causes them to explode. Milk asks why Vought, which makes so much money out of merchandising and movies, would want thousands of superheroes out there. Lamplighter says they don’t tell him why they’re doing it – they just make him burn the evidence. Frenchie reveals what happened that night five years earlier – he says that when he got back 30 minutes later, Lamplighter was gone. Milk asks why Frenchie never told them what happened.
A weird tentacle comes through the window of the room and grabs Milk. As they fight it off, they realise what it is – an extremely long, prehensile penis belonging to one of the inmates.
Stormfront arrives at Sage, firing her lightning at Cindy. She shouts for Lamplighter. Though Milk tells him not to respond, Lamplighter tells her where he is. He makes up a story about a doctor giving Cindy the wrong dose of drugs, allowing them to get loose and free other supes.
Starlight and Butcher stand next to Hughie’s hospital bed. They talk about his odd little habits, but come to the conclusion he’s too good for either of them.
In Maeve’s apartment, Elena is looking for her girlfriend’s phone. She finds another phone in a drawer connected to the GoPro Deep recovered. She plays a video recorded by one of the plane crash victims, showing what happened on the plane when Homelander ordered Maeve to leave the passengers to die. Maeve comes out of the shower and sees what Elena is watching. She says she’s going to show it to Homelander and demand he leave them alone – if he doesn’t, she’ll put it on CNN. Maeve says she was scared and that she knows she should have stood up to him. Elena looks at her in disgust.
Outside an ambulance, Frenchie tells Kimiko that he thought that if he tried to save her it would make up for his sins. But he admits she never asked to be saved, so now he’ll leave her alone. Mallory arrives, asking where “he” is. Frenchie tries to offer his condolences for the deaths of her grandchildren, but she’s not interested. She pulls gun on Lamplighter in the back of the ambulance. When she asks why he isn’t restrained, he says there’s no need – he wanted to come. Lamplighter says that her killing him would be doing him a favour. Frenchie steps in, saying that while nobody wanted Lamplighter dead more than he did, she mustn’t shoot him. He says that Mallory would just be ending his torment – you can’t punish him as much as he punishes himself. “What exactly are you proposing we do with him?” Mallory asks.
Stormfront returns to apartment and finds Homelander waiting for her. She says she wants to apologise, that she’ll never lie to him again and that she’s ready to tell him everything. She opens her trunk and shows him photo of an elderly woman he assumes to be her grandmother. It’s actually her daughter, Chloe, who died of Alzheimer’s a few years ago.
Stormfront reveals she was actually born in 1919 in Berlin, and shows pictures of herself with key figures from Nazi Germany – including a photo of her wedding to Frederick Vought. Vought gave her the first successful injection of Compound V and they fell in love – “He made me and his genius made you”. She says that Frederick didn’t care about fans or stardom – she believes that they are in a war for the culture, and that “other races are grinding us down”. She wants to fight back with an army of supermen millions strong – and she wants Homelander to lead them because he is everything they dreamed of. Stormfront says she loves Homelander with all of her heart. They kiss passionately.
On an empty highway, Cindy hitchhikes a lift from a random car.
In most TV shows, a supe attacking the good guys with an extremely long prehensile penis would be the main talking point of an episode – the X-rated Men? – but there’s so much going on here that Love Sausage’s unconventional skill is almost an afterthought. In every regard, The Boys is a show going from strength to super-strength.
‘The Bloody Doors Off’ works hard to advance the show’s mythology without ever feeling like an info-dump. We learn more about Frenchie’s past than we ever have before, get an insight into Vought’s nefarious schemes, and finally find out the truth about Stormfront’s Nazi past – she’s even worse news than we thought.
Indeed, it’s now debatable whether Homelander is the true villain of the piece, as Stormfront seems to have been playing everybody from the start. And with the Deep and A-Train pushing for a return to the Seven, Maeve’s attempts to take down Homelander meeting obstacles of their own, and Starlight forced to go on the run with the Boys, everything is beautifully poised for the last two episodes. Fingers crossed the creative team can nail the landing.
- Like other episodes in the season, the episode shares its title with an issue of Garth Ennis’s original The Boys comic. ‘The Bloody Doors Off’ is also inspired by the most famous line in The Italian Job.
- Shawn Ashmore, who plays Lamplighter, has previous superhero experience – he played Iceman in four X-Men movies from 2000-14. Interestingly, Lamplighter has the same skillset as Pyro, Iceman’s best friend until the firestarter signed up for Magneto’s Brotherhood.
- The song that plays at the end of the episode is ‘Thank You for Being a Friend’, the theme from ’80s/’90s sitcom The Golden Girls – one of Frenchie’s favourite shows.
Episodes 1-6 of The Boys season 2 are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video now. New episodes appear every Friday.
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