The Boys is a much darker, chaotic take on the classic superhero trope. Based on the comic series of the same name, these heroes are out of control celebrities who are more dangerous than the villains they face.
Introducing The Supes
The very first scene shows a robbery taking place. We see Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) protecting two boys from the robbers. When they threaten to shoot the boys, Homelander (Antony Starr) steps in. He attacks one robber with his laser eye beams and kills the other robber by throwing him like he was a ball. Nobody blinks an eyelash at one of the good guys killing someone. In fact, the two boys ask for Homelander’s autograph.
A Freak Accident
We’re introduced to Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid), who struggles to ask for a raise at the store he works for. His girlfriend Robin (Jess Salgueiro) stops by to pick him up. They discuss moving in together, a sweet moment that’s interrupted by another superhero called A-Train (Jessie T. Usher). A-Train runs straight through Robin, causing her body to explode in a pool of blood. A-Train apologizes to a traumatized Hughie, claiming he was on his way to stop a robbery.
After attending Robin’s funeral, Hughie and his father catch A-Train on TV. A-Train lies about the incident, saying Robin walked into the street while he was chasing bank robbers. Vought International, the company that manages these heroes, offered Hughie $45,000 in exchange for signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Hughie’s father wants him to take the money. He reminds his son he’s never been one to stand up for himself, and they could use the money. Yet, Hughie hesitates signing the NDA.
Welcome to The Seven
A young woman named Annie January (Erin Moriarty) is training to join The Seven, a superhero team run by Vought. Annie passes her audition and becomes Starlight, the newest member of The Seven after Lamplighter retires. Unlike the other supes we’ve seen in this episode, Starlight genuinely wants to help people. Unfortunately, she realizes things aren’t what they appear to be. Annie admits to one of her teammates, The Deep (Chace Crawford), that she had a crush on him when she was younger. When she turns to face him, Deep’s pants are down, and he demands Starlight give him a blow job. Upset, Starlight’s ability to manipulate electricity messes with the electrical equipment. Deep responds with blackmail — if Starlight doesn’t give him a fellatio, she won’t become a member of The Seven. He also threatens to accuse her of attacking him, using the damaged electrical equipment as “evidence”.
Throwing up in the bathroom afterwards, a physically ill Starlight gets a pep talk from Queen Maeve: never let them see you weak. Queen Maeve exposes Translucent (Alex Hassell) — whose skin can bend light, rendering him invisible — eavesdropping naked in the bathroom.
Hughie meets Butcher
Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) approaches Hughie at work, claiming to be an FBI agent. Since Hughie didn’t accept Vought’s bribe, Butcher wants Hughie to help him in his mission to take down The Seven. He wants Hughie to say he’ll take the money as an excuse to get inside Vought and plant a bug. To convince Hughie the supes have personas, Butcher takes him to a sex club where the superheroes hang out. After seeing some wild things happening in the club, Hughie watches a video of A-Train laughing about swallowing Robin’s molar.
Later, Hughie runs into Annie, unaware she’s the newest member of The Seven. Annie mentions she is not happy with her new job, so he gives her a pep talk. The talk makes him realize he’s stronger than he thought, so he decides to help Butcher.
Butcher drops Hughie off at Vought’s headquarters. Nervous, Hughie goes to the bathroom and accidentally drops the bug on the floor. Hughie plants the bug in the conference room while listening to A-Train’s apology.
After returning to the store, Hughie is attacked by Translucent. He saw Hughie drop the bug in the bathroom, then followed him to conference room and saw him plant it under the conference room table. Butcher drives through the front window, and rushes to Hughie’s aid. While fighting Translucent, he spits blood on him, so Translucent would remain visible. Hughie manages to defeat Translucent by exposing him to electrical cables. After the brawl, Billy admits that he’s not an FBI agent. They put Translucent in the trunk of Butcher’s car and drive off.
Let’s Make A Deal
Meanwhile, Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) — the Senior Vice President of Hero Management at Vought International — is negotiating a deal with the Mayor of Baltimore. She offers to have the superhero Nubian Prince protect the city for $300M. The Mayor tries to lower it to $200M, mentioning he knows about Compound V.
That night, while on his private jet, the governor receives a call from Madelyn, who agrees to the lower price. After the call ends, the Mayor’s young son points out Homelander is flying next to the plane. Using his laser eye beams, Homelander slices the plane in half. The plane catches fire and everyone on board panics as the plane starts to go down.