She may not have had superpowers, but throughout the first season we learned just how important Stillwell was. Not only was she the only person who could rein in Homelander, she was so good at manipulating the government officials who stood in her way she'd make Michael Corleone blush. Shortly before her death, Vought big cheese Dr. Edgar Giancarlo Esposito makes it clear he sees her as his potential successor. With Madelyn gone, everything's up in the air. Not to mention that both Vought and Homelander will find themselves in a bind if they can't explain exactly how she died.
By the season finale, we've learned that isn't quite true. When Homelander blasts the Baltimore mayor's private plane out of the sky at the end of the series premiere — after the mayor blackmails Madelyn — it eventually comes to light Homelander was working all on his own.
When a supe terrorist shows up in the season's penultimate episode, it destroys the Boys' plans. Even though Butcher's brought a sample of the infamous Compound-V to the CIA , the government isn't willing to go after Vought because they need the corporation's supes to fight these new super-powered enemies. While you could hardly be blamed for assuming powering up terrorists was a company-wide Vought conspiracy, we learn it was all Homelander's plan to force the government to let superheroes work for the military.
Now, Madelyn is dead, Vought's supes are greenlit for active service, and there is no one left to keep Homelander in check. He was already the most physically powerful man in the world.
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Now, Homelander is getting close to becoming powerful in other ways. The last person Homelander let tell him "No" is dead, and at his hands. What happens if this twisted Superman stops taking orders from Vought? From the military? From anyone? We meet Dr. Stan Edgar for the first time in the first season finale of The Boys. He gives Madelyn a bonus for helping getting the military contracts approved, and he makes it clear he's interested in her becoming his successor.
But Madelyn doesn't survive the season finale, and it makes us wonder exactly how Vought will recover from losing one of their most effective executives. Without Stillwell, Vought's most powerful and influential heroes will need a replacement handler, and that handler will have the challenge of trying to control the physically most powerful people in the world with fewer cards in their hands than ever.
Homelander has learned that he can not only manipulate just as well as his dead lover, but he can even kill Vought executives with impunity. And if no such person can be found, what happens to Vought? As Homelander pushes the envelope further he's going to see Vought and the rest of the Seven as less and less important.
Daniel James Brown
By killing Madelyn, Homelander may have set a time bomb within his own mind, and within Vought itself. A-Train probably would kill Hughie but his heart gives out from his continued use of Compound-V.
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Even though his survival could mean her losing her spot on the team, imprisonment, or even death, Starlight is performing CPR on A-Train the last time we see her. A-Train knows Starlight helped Hughie escape, and if he survives and tells Homelander, things won't go well for Starlight. There are other possibilities. A convenient — if a bit predictable — outcome would be that A-Train survives but is unconscious for a long time, can't remember what happened right before his heart attack, or both.
There's another potential outcome, and it depends on exactly who Starlight has become. Earlier in the episode, Starlight has a conversation with Queen Maeve Dominique McElligott , who tells Starlight she was just as idealistic when she first joined the Seven, but kept giving away pieces of herself until there was nothing left. It's this conversation that convinces Starlight to come to Hughie's aid, and it's a conversation that may save A-Train's life. When Hughie leaves the warehouse, Starlight is giving A-Train chest compressions.
Considering what's in store for her should A-Train survive, the thought must be a tempting one.
If she gives in to that temptation, she may get closer to the position Maeve has been in for years. She tells herself she gave up trying to be a real hero long ago, but throughout the first season we see glimpses of her desire to change. She tries and fails to get Homelander to save at least some of the passengers of the doomed Flight 37 in episode 4.
Guilt-ridden over the event, she visits her ex-girlfriend Elena Nicola Correia-Damude but later rebukes her. When Homelander finds out about Hughie and erroneously thinks Starlight helped him infiltrate Vought on purpose, it's Maeve who steps in and defends her.
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In the season finale, when Maeve finds a drunk Starlight getting sick in the ladies' room, for the first time she shows genuine sympathy for her teammate. Maeve opens up to the younger hero and tells her that she really did care when she first joined the Seven, but years of compromise and giving away pieces of herself turned her into something else.
She never told them how she felt, but she did write each of them a love letter, all of which she now keeps in a teal box her mother gifted to her before she died. In both the book and movie, here's what goes down: Before Margot leaves for college in Scotland, she decides to breakup with her boyfriend, Josh Sanderson.
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Lara Jean had a crush on Josh before he started dating her sister, and with Margot out of the country, she finds her feelings for him coming back. In a desperate attempt to avoid dealing with him, Lara Jean agrees to a "fake relationship" with Peter Kavinsky, one of her letter recipients, who wants to "date" her in order to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. But things get complicated when they start to develop real feelings for each other. After a ski-trip mishap, the two "breakup" without having disclosed how much they actually like each other.
Why would this be? Peter Coviello, a scholar whose work has focused on masculinity and sexuality in the nineteenth century, notes in an email interview that it was a period of social upheaval. The daily experience of gender expectations — where you worked, where you lived — were dramatically changing. When I was describing the way nineteenth-century YA novels express a faith in manhood to a friend, he laughed.
It was a joke that captured something essential to where we are now, so suspicious of manhood in all its manifestations. In the most cynical YA novels, I see a similar sort of dark humor — for instance, in M. But the bigger part is angered, frustrated. What feminism has made possible is an ability to have hope for new ways of integrating gender into the world.
And I refuse to conflate a critique of the way male power is sometimes — even often — abused with a sweeping dismissal of manhood itself.
But there is the world we desire, and then there is this world we are in, a world where I find myself raising two sons, the older of whom is beginning to wonder what his nascent manhood means. In this world we are in, I want to help my sons imagine their manhood as essential to their best selves, not as a threat to it. What I am hoping for is books that guide them as they learn to be inside their manhood, rather than always on the outs. For more information on the homepage art, click here. Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Wolves.
By Caroline Fraser. Whither Feminism? By Jack Halberstam.