The Most Disturbing Moments In The Boys

The following article includes references to sexual assault.

Prime Video's "The Boys" is packed with progressive political threads including hot takes on race, sex, power, and corruption. Series creator Eric Kripke isn't shy either, going on an expletive-filled rant to Yahoo! in 2022 calling both "gun culture" and the NRA "insane." "The Boys" also signals support for #MeToo and BLM-inspired themes; Starlight dealing with sexism and A-Train juggling his hero identity with his Black identity both come to mind. However, "The Boys" is also aggressively politically non-PC, too, and doesn't strictly pull punches along partisan lines. The progressive themes coexist alongside a scathing critique of its own milieu, savaging corporate wokeness, the media, Hollywood, and the public relations industry.

The comedy of this superhero satire often comes from graphic sexual situations, extreme violence, and generally gruesome and transgressive imagery. You could say "The Boys" is having it both ways. Starlight does wear the cleavage-baring costume she hates. And Kripke may dislike guns, but he's also presiding over a show full of them. On the surface, "The Boys" is about ordinary humans fighting back against superheroes gone mad. But, to beat them, the mortal protagonists also battle becoming the thing they hate. "The Boys" walks an entertaining and fascinating tightrope between ironic expression and disturbingly graphic exploitation, as seen in these unsettling moments from the series.

The Superhero Orgy

"Herogasm" is what the founder of this annual Supe orgy, Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles), calls it. Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid), Soldier Boy, and Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) come across this house party for sex-crazed Supes because they want to find the TNT Twins who are Soldier Boy's next targets on his rampage of revenge. The scene is wildly graphic, but really it's nothing compared to what goes down in the comics where Homelander seduces Soldier Boy with a false promise of joining The Seven.

In Amazon's version, the two strongest characters do get physical, but there are no tender caresses as their battle destroys the house and kills many of the people inside. Hughie gets in on the action, too, but since his new powers of teleportation don't work on clothes, he suddenly fits right in at Herogasm and even gets some offers. Shocking moments from the episode include a 20-foot penis, floating sex toys, flaming genitals, an excessive amount of bodily fluids, and even a sex scene with a sea creature. That last moment seems consensual, but since only The Deep (Chace Crawford) can hear the thoughts of his underwater friends, fans will have to take his word on that.

Mocking Hollywood Celebrities Who Sang Imagine

Put this one in the category of disturbingly cringe as the vicarious embarrassment for the celebrity subjects of this scene induces genuine physical discomfort. As edgy as "The Boys" is, it's still a bold move for a Hollywood show to openly mock other high-profile Hollywood stars, especially Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot. If this reference from Season 3 somehow missed you, take yourself back to the interminably tedious Covid lockdowns of 2020 when a bunch of overly-earnest celebrities including Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Mark Ruffalo, Natalie Portman, Will Ferrell, and many others, collaborated for an a cappella cover of John Lennon's "Imagine." This widely ridiculed video gave viral instantiation to the idea celebrities are detached from reality, a central theme of "The Boys." Slate called the video, "so bad it can bring us all together in hatred," as they ranked these "hideous" and quite literally tone-deaf performances.

Anyway, "The Boys" got prominent celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and others to recreate the video. But this time, instead of it being Gadot's initiative, the show's most clueless character The Deep is trying to capitalize on an epidemic of supervillain attacks as he drops his own hilariously non-sequitur "Imagine" cover. Gadot already admitted her video was in "poor taste," but "The Boys" is a merciless satire of celebrity cluelessness, and clearly felt more mockery was in order.

Ridiculing Kendall Jenner's BLM-Inspired Pepsi Ad

The second most vicariously embarrassing scene from "The Boys" also came in Season 3 as A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) cuts a promo for an energy drink in a recreation of Kendall Jenner's infamous Pepsi ad. Back in 2017 as Black Lives Matter gained traction, the Kardashian's wildly successful high-fashion model inked a hefty deal with Pepsi. The ill-fated ad could've cost as much as $5 million, one insider told People, and the campaign overall might've run $100 million. Jenner herself likely raked in around $400,000, and yet the soft drink giant quickly pulled the spot after a backlash accusing both her personally and the soft drink brand of "trivializing" BLM, according to The New York Times.

A-Train's riff on the ad will give you caffeine-jitter-level anxiety. After heart trouble slows him down, The Seven's speedster wants to rebrand as a racially conscious activist. His first idea is just to redo his blue costume into a sort of kente-cloth bodysuit to "get back to [his] roots." Then comes his energy drink shoot. The scene starts with what looks like a real protest, but just as Jenner did with a can of Pepsi, A-Train steps in at the key moment to quell social unrest with a tall can of carbonated caffeine. Jenner said she felt "really bad" about turning a racial justice movement into a personal payday. A-Train, of course, being a murderer and narcissist, has shown little self-awareness.

The Sexual Assault Scene That Wasn't Scripted

Viewers get one of the first glimpses that Amazon's "The Boys" isn't your typical superhero show through the eyes of Vought's newest sensation, Starlight (Erin Moriarty). She's an ingenue selected to the big leagues of The Seven and at first, everyone seems nice. That's when Chace Crawford's take on the impotence of Aquaman reveals his true nature. The Deep tells Starlight she must perform a sexual act or he'll use his influence with Homelander (Antony Starr) to destroy her career in a reference to the sexual politics of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The scene cuts away, but the implication is Starlight went along with the disturbing scheme. In a cruel twist, she later finds out Crawford's fishy character is all but washed up himself and has no such power over her.

Crawford was initially "uncomfortable" with the scene. It wasn't in the audition or original script and he didn't see it coming. He recalled the producers came to him saying, "We want to put this scene in that's in the source material and it's a pretty big deal," the former "Gossip Girl" heartthrob told Metro. Despite the actor's initial hesitation, he says they found the "realest" way to portray the assault. The Deep is a terribly shallow figure, and Starlight is one of the few sympathetic characters. Crawford explained the moment was "a big jumping point for [Starlight's] character arc and supports the tag line: never meet your heroes."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The Deep's Gills Getting Molested

There's another scene from "The Boys" that made The Deep actor Chace Crawford uncomfortable. It's during a sex scene in which the show's aquatic crime fighter gets violated right in his gills. "Still waters run deep," goes the old saying. That makes The Deep another of the series' ironic monikers given he's undoubtedly the dumbest character. But while he may not be a well of intellect, there is an impressive undercurrent of dysmorphic humiliation about his particular Compound V mutations. The Deep considers the gills a deformity and he keeps them covered at all times, even in the bedroom.

That changes in Season 1 during The Deep's banishment to Ohio for his assault on Starlight. When he brings home a fan for a hook-up, she gets all kinky about his fishy parts and shoves her hand right into his oceanic orifices. "It was the most uncomfortable scene ever. It literally made me feel kind of nauseous, I'm not going to lie," Crawford told MTV. "It was just so weird and uncomfortable. I could not have gotten out of there faster that day." On set, the prop gills were attached to a detailed rubber replica of Crawford's torso down to the last chest hair. As a crew member hand-pumped air through the gills so they'd move, Crawford recalled, "I'm like, 'Guys, I'm nauseous. Can I just get out of here?'"

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The Deep Makes CPR Creepy

A final disturbing The Deep moment did not fully make it into "The Boys," at least not via streaming on Prime Video. Instead, the creators shared it as an extra via Twitter in 2020. The Deep is giving a CPR class to a group of lifeguards on a dock. As he looms over the students pumping away at practice dummies, Chace Crawford's character barks instructions like an overly sexualized drill sergeant. He keeps ordering his red-clad recruits to use their "triceps" and "quads."

Crawford got into impressive shape for this sleeveless role and The Deep clearly sees chest compressions as an opportunity to get in a good arm pump. As he instructs everyone to place their hands "right between the nips," the scene feels improvised and it makes sense it was cut. There's no narrative here. It does add to what we know about The Deep, though. While Homelander dramatically swoops down from the heavens for his faux heroic PR stunts, The Deep would probably be lucky to star in some water aerobics DVDs.

A Violent Scene Was Protested While Shooting In Toronto

In 2019, "The Boys" was scheduled to film a violent scene in urban Toronto that allegedly triggered local residents. It may be the scene in which Homelander fantasizes about murdering a group of protestors who dare disrespect him. In a brief daydream, he slices hundreds of civilians in half with his laser eyes, but then snaps out of it and flies away. It's a disturbing snapshot into the mind of Homelander, and a preview of things to come as his mask of sanity slips. A local politician, John Filion, got filming halted saying the bloody set was reminiscent of a real terror incident and was retraumatizing residents. A year prior in 2018, an autistic man with "incel" grievances purposely plowed a rented van into pedestrians. He killed 10 people and injured 16 others, according to the BBC, and despite his disability was found competent to understand his actions. 

"I flipped out," Filion said. "There are people who work in this building, who went out onto Yonge St. to try to help the van attack victims — many of them are still traumatized. And think about the families and loved ones of those victims. So I made some phone calls and that second portion was cancelled." Filion added that residents having to relive "those events" was "disrespectful." The location of the scene was reportedly moved to a different location. 

Amazon Cuts Graphic Masturbation Scene

Don't worry, they added this stimulating scene back in for Season 2. Just like almost every Batman movie has that iconic shot of the Dark Knight astride a skyscraper with the Bat-Signal in the background, "The Boys" has one of those superhero skyline shots, too. This one features Homelander atop the Chrysler Building pleasuring himself as he repeatedly grunts, "I can do whatever I want!" According to Eric Kripke (via a Reddit AMA), the scene was originally slated for Season 1 as Homelander reacted to a lecture from Vought's momager and overall maternal head of PR, Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue). Amazon execs initially axed the scene, but perhaps since the show's outrageous tone had been so well-received they had a change of heart by Season 2. 

However, the story had moved by then, so now Homelander seeks this rooftop release after his long-suffering ex, Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), threatens to expose his murderous deeds to the public. This really is the ultimate exhibition of Homelander's narcissism. He's a figure of pure will. He finds anything that challenges his whims destabilizing and intolerable. Starr described the scene to Uproxx as, "a moment of pure weakness and need, which I think fits with one of the fundamentals of the character. He's the strongest physical character on the show but the weakest character, psychologically."

That Weird Breast Milk Scene

Homelander continually steals the show with his pathological behavior as he vacillates between all-powerful and wholly pathetic. In Season 2, he takes his Oedipal attraction for Madelyn Stillwell even further when we learn of his highly sexual breast milk obsession. He sneaks into the recently deceased Madelyn's office, heats up some of her milk with his laser eyes, and takes a big thirsty gulp. Shue's character had been the salve for Homelander's deep-seeded mommy issues. That's why he gets petulant around her actual baby. Their relationship is almost beyond Freudian as Homelander curls up in her lap and suckles at her fingers with her cleavage heaving above him. Homelander even gets Doppelganger to embody Madelyn for a creepy sex scene. 

Then, during a stressful moment for Homelander in Season 3, he happens across a cow and things quickly get weird as "Crimson & Clover" by Tommy James & the Shondells kick in. Homelander gently strokes the utters and again gulps down the milk with relish. The implication is obvious. Homelander had no childhood. He's invincible but also broken and craves infantile intimacy. Antony Starr described Season 2 to Digital Spy as going "internal" for the character and that Homelander is "painfully lonely and desperate for connection ... And I guess there's nothing more internal than milk ... that is a moment of pure connection between Homelander and Stillwell."

Homelander Seduces Homelander

Speaking of things getting creepy between Homelander and Madelyn Stillwell, maybe no scene is more upsetting than their secret cabin rendezvous. By this point, fans have learned the two Vought employees are less than professional, but it's still a surprise when they apparently meet outside the office for more Oedipal sex games. That's partly because Madelyn is already dead. She betrayed Homelander and he bored through her skull with his laser eyes in recompense. But also, Homelander was more like Madelyn's stalker; she placated him out of fear. Soon we realize it's Doppelganger impersonating Madelyn, the shape-shifter Supe conscripted into Homelander's twisted game. Homelander isn't feeling it, though, and Doppelganger transforms from Madelyn into Homelander, still wearing Madelyn's lingeries, and begins talking dirty to ... himself.

Doppelganger is desperately trying to assuage Homelander's neediness. The shapeshifter whispers before getting on his knees, "It's not even gay if it's with yourself, right?" Then, stroking Homelander's groin, and his ego, says sensually, "Everybody loves you." Homelander can't be pacified this time, though, and suddenly the sex game gets violent. As wild as the scene is, showrunner Eric Kripke wanted more. "It just seemed like we were right there and then we kind of got scared and backed off," he told Collider. "I only slightly regret that we just didn't go through with it and had Homelander perform oral sex on Homelander. I feel we pulled back at the last minute and we should've gone all the way."

Homelander Moonlights As A Terrorist

You might quibble definitionally whether Homelander is a terrorist, per se, because his killings are not really political. Not that Homelander doesn't have politics. He sees himself as a hybrid of Jesus, Superman, and Dirty Harry. However, he's usually motivated to kill by his ego and infinite insecurity. The best example is Season 1 when he murders the mayor of Baltimore and his young son. This politician wasn't playing nice with Homelander's Oedipal crush Madelyn Stillwell, so he tracks down the pol's plane mid-air, waves at the man's young son, and then cuts the jet in half with his powerful laser eyes. Homelander commits this heinous crime simply as a romantic gesture. Stillwell, for her part, proves just as ruthless. She's not mad at the atrocity, but rather at Homelander for taking such a big reputational risk.

Homelander's most central crime for "The Boys" plot though is also at 30,000 feet when he and Queen Maeve make an abortive attempt to stop some terrorists from hijacking an airliner. Homelander recklessly fries the flight controls while blasting one of the terrorists, thereby dooming everyone on board. Maeve begs him to save some of the passengers but Homelander knows survivors will talk. Homelander then turns the crash site into a stump speech about the need for Supes in the military. This anti-hero's strength and murderousness are nightmarish, but his willingness to use the still-smoldering grave of his victims for PR really probes the depths of his disturbing psyche.

The Exploding Penis

"The Boys" is super violent, and that's saying a lot in an era when you can see dozens of murders a night on network TV. Mostly though, the violence is used as a series of sudden comedic gags, kind of like a goofy body-horror jump-scare. The series is competing with itself, given it kicks off with A-Train running through Hughie's girlfriend, Robin, leaving one of the show's central protagonists covered in blood and holding the stumps of his lover's limbs. That's a high bar, and yet, the exploding penis scene from Season 3 clears it. Termite is a minor Supe who can alter his size like Marvel's Ant-Man. He's having very fetish-oriented gay sex and shrinks down to crawl inside his partner's urethra. When Termite sneezes, though, he suddenly blows up to full size, and so do his lover's delicate parts.

The disgusting scene was a negotiation between "The Boys" adventurous producers and Amazon execs. An erect penis wasn't allowed, so showrunner Eric Kripke and crew carefully crafted a 30-foot-long flaccid dong as their set. "But if you look at it, we had to design in all these wrinkles to make it clear that it wasn't erect," Kripke told EW before adding, "I love this job." The finished scene is hilarious, but the actors may have been a little disturbed. Karl Urban is in the scene, but the star kept his distance when possible: "I stayed away from that set. I didn't feel like that was something I needed to see."

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