‘The Boys’ Season 4, Episode 5 Explained: Butcher Has Different Ideas For The Virus

By Daniel Hart
Published: June 27, 2024 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
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Vought's V52 Expo Branding image used for recap for The Boys Season 4, Episode 5
Vought's V52 Expo Branding (Credit - Vought News Network on X)




This is a pretty average episode for The Boys, but there are some interesting plot twists as the connection with Gen V grows ever stronger.

Episode 5 of The Boys Season 4 centers on the annual V52 Expo, which is Vought’s conference announcing the slate of media that will be released that year. However, surrounding odd trailers and eyebrows raised on Vought’s apparent progressiveness in their movies and TV, there’s an actual story brewing involving a deadly Supe virus and Homelander’s growing influence on Ryan.

This is not the best episode of the season, and in parts, it feels a little sluggish, but the story moves forward, at least, and there are funny moments involving outrageously violent sheep…

Homelander Takes a Different Approach With Ryan

Homelander and Ryan in The Boys Season 4

(l-R) Homelander and Ryan in ‘The Boys’ Season 4 (Credit – Prime Video)

Now that Homelander has gained his much-needed perspective from “home,” i.e., Vought Labs, he appears to have changed his mentorship. We’d be ashamed to believe Homelander has changed, but his kindness towards Ryan is odd in Episode 5; it almost feels genuine.

Homelander tells his son that he’s been manipulated all his life, and he doesn’t want to manipulate him, too. Ryan opens up, claiming he wants to help people, but “properly,” whatever the hell that means.

So, with Homelander’s encouragement, Ryan forces his Vought colleague Adam to apologize to his PA for making her uncomfortable. The PA then repeatedly slaps Adam, as Ryan and his father are not convinced his apology is entirely genuine, so the situation escalates. 

The real concern in this scene is not the irony that Homelander was manipulative here but that Ryan is starting to look like a young version of his father, from mannerisms to conversation transitions. Butcher is correct—if Ryan becomes like his father, the world is in trouble. 

Butcher Fools The Boys After Creating An Unlikely Alliance In Search Of The Virus

(L-R) Robert Kessler and Butcher in ‘The Boys’ Season 4 (Credit – Prime Video)

The connection with Gen V continues, as The Boys want the virus to stop Homelander. If you need reminding, this virus can seriously harm Supes, so there’s an interest in using it against them.

The Boys offer an imprisoned Stan exoneration and custody of Zoe if he helps them get the virus, and with that deal on the table, he agrees. When they reach Stan’s home, it’s been made into a lab, and tests have been done using the virus on animals pumped up with V. Victoria Neuman, realizing the search for the virus crosses with her agenda, also shows up. Despite the tension, The Boys, Stan, and Victoria, look for Samir at the large estate. 

Amongst all the bickering, including Stan and Victoria arguing over the parenting of Zoe, the biggest concern is the V-pumped animals, including dangerous chickens. But it gets testy when they see a bull suddenly ripped apart by violent flying sheep (yes, it sounds wild writing this).

Eventually, they find Samir in a barn, safe from the crazy animals, and it’s revealed he’s Zoe’s father. The only issue is that there’s only one dose of the virus left, and if they are to survive these violent animals on V, they need to use it so they can escape. Luckily, lab assistant Henry is dead nearby, so they inject him with the virus and throw his body outside to encourage the virus to spread to the ravaging animals and kill them.

At first, it looks like Samir did not survive the animal attack, and everyone presumes he’s dead due to a chopped-off leg they found. However, it turns out that Butcher fooled everyone because, as the episode ends, we learn he has kidnapped Samir and is working with Robert Kessler to bring down Homelander and the Supes. He wants Samir to help them create more of this virus.

As for Stan, he was re-arrested as the plan did not work, but Victoria soon saved him — it’s clear she needed more allies.

But interestingly, as Butcher’s trust in The Boys wanes, he’s doing more to lose authority with them. A dying Butcher is turning soft, but he’s becoming more deceiving with his plans. Robert Kessler is tapping into his ego, knowing that Butcher used to have more of that dawg in him before his brutal cancer. 

Hughie Helps His Father Die

Hughie in The Boys (Credit – Prime Video)

In his character arc so far, Hughie has had a lot to contend with; however, his father’s death is painful to watch, especially in the consequences given. His father awakens after being given V by Hughie’s mother. At first, his father feels healthy, but he soon has frequent memory loss and goes missing. With his confusion piling up, his father ends up killing quite a few people with his powers at the hospital, and because he cannot remember that he and his ex-wife, Daphne, reconnected, he gets angry and tries to kill her, too.

Eventually, Hughie’s father remembers where he is, and Hughie tells him that he’s his hero to calm him down. His father is understandably upset at his condition and his confusion. Hughie, knowing his father cannot live like this, assists his death, bringing an upsetting scene as Hughie calms him down while they pretend everything is OK. Hughie’s father is dead, and the next phase in his life is dealing with the relationship with his mother. 

Vought Files #5

Here are other notable developments in Episode 5 of Season 4 of The Boys:

  • Firecracker continues to destroy Starlight’s reputation
  • Frenchie feels guilty about his past after telling Colin the truth about murdering his family and goes to the police station to confess.
  • A-Train is nervous that Sister Sage will find out he’s the source of the leaks at Vought. He tells Ashley about it, and she plants the leaks on another employee. Homelander learns of the leaks and gets his Supes to violently deal with the wrongfully accused whistleblower by telling them to be “wrathful Gods.”

A lot of talking points from The Boys Season 4, Episode 5! Drop your comments below, and let me know what you think!

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