The Boys Season 4 Episode 4 Recap (Spoilers)

Read our SPOILERS recap of The Boys Season 4 Episode 4, "Wisdom of the Ages"

The Boys set quite a precedent for Season 4 in its three-episode premiere event, but now we're really settled into the seasonal storyline and its characters. However, fans of The Boys have pointed to one major difference in this season: the lack of a clear, overarching plotline or goal. Sure, killing Homelander (Antony Starr) and would-be president Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) are always the overarching goals – but the first three episodes did a lot to set up an ever-expanding set of subplots for the massive cast. 

Now The Boys Episode 4 "Wisdom of the Ages" is here – but does it successfully build on the seasonal momentum? Or is it more evidence that Season 4 is going to spend the bulk of its time going deeper into these characters (no pun) before we get to the final installment of the story in Season 5? 

The Boys Season 4 Episode 4 Recap (Spoilers): "Wisdom of the Ages" 

(Photo: Prime Video)

Home Again – The lab workers at Vought's "Project Odessa" subterranean facility are going about their (ab)normal day when security guards notice that the communications with the upstairs facility have been lost. The elevator starts dropping down, and the subterranean team braces for possible hostile invasion... but when the doors open, it's Homelander holding a cake. The scene is awkward as Homelander takes in the "surreal" feeling of being back at his birthplace everyone – one of the techs that used to work with him (Marty), makes the mistake of calling him "John," which Homelander swiftly corrects. After some equally awkward nostalgia, Homelander expresses his desire to see facility head "Barbara" and grinningly coerces every person in the room to eat his "Fudgie the Whale" cake. [The Boys title logo appears over the cake]

Fatal Diagnoses – Butcher (Karl Urban) is taking a shower and the camera pans to his naked back, where once again we see something worming its way through his veins. The incident causes Butcher to keep out, fall, and smack his head against the tub before landing on the floor; an arguably concussed Butcher once again sees his dead ex-wife Becca, who urges him to get back up, remaining him that even a death sentence is no reason to lay down and die. Meanwhile, Hughie is at the hospital with his mom, Daphne Campbell (Rosemarie DeWitt). His dad Hugh (Simon Pegg) has been declared virtually brain-dead after his stroke, and Daphne is ready to use her power of attorney to fulfill Hugh's 'Do Not Resuscitate' wishes. Hughie has a major problem with that and leaves the room with some kind of plan already forming in his head. 

TV Recap – A TV being channel flipped reveals a brief teaser for the "Training A-Train" movie (featuring Will Ferrell as the coach); on another channel, a new entertainment show teases a feature on Vought college student Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair), flashing artwork of the "Godolkin Four" (the heroic kids of the Gen V spinoff series – including the late Chance Perdomo) who have all reportedly disappeared after the climatic battle of that series – when they know they are trapped in some hospital facility, with Vought using their heroic cover story as smokescreen. 

The Starlight Party – President Robert Singer gets a visit from Starlight (Erin Moriarty). They trade political barbs at first, before getting down to the real offer: she steps back into being Starlight, and uses her newfound political power to back his upcoming supe-regulation bill, while the president helps her take down Vought for good. 

F*ck the Past – Frenchie (Tomer Capone) is having some quality time with his new lover Colin (Elliot Knight). Colin starts playing an old Ray Charles country-western album, and Frenchie inquires what the music is. Colin explains that his father used to play it, and his family would listen to it together; Frenchie tries to gently get Colin to open up about his family, which Colin does by saying he does not want to talk about their deaths. Colin does open himself up by explaining to Frenchie what it was like the night his family was murdered. His mom was a judge on a case over a Russian mob boss, so the hit wasn't unexpected. However, Colin was in the house when it happened; he tells Frenchie how he hid under the bead while the hitman did his job, noticing one detail about the assassin: the horrible scars around his ankle. Colin talks about those scars haunting his dreams, while Frenchie covers those scars on his foot with a blanket before Colin notices, clearly stressed about his predicament. 

(Photo: Prime Video)

Media Wars – Annie returns to Starlighter HQ ready to make her political push, but Colin and another assistant bring her outside to face a grim reality:  the new members of The Seven, Firecracker (Valorie Curry) and Sister Sage (Susan Heyward), have sent a Vought Network bus to set up shop right across the street. Back in Vought Tower, Sister Sage is walking the PR and social team through the strategy to smear Starlight's name and campaign. A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) and The Deep (Chace Crawford) are in attendance; A-Train tries to talk with Sage and gets curbed; The Deep takes a harder hit, as Sage rejects his request for another tryst. Sage is focused on launching Firecracker's media campaign, but must smile through Firecracker's racist micro-aggressions, being called "uppity" and "one of the good ones." Sage tells Firecracker they have to look out for one another as the new kids, while clearly having some ulterior motive. 

The Boy Is Back In Town – Starlight is getting her HQ cleared out as Firecracker's rally begins (Jon Voight is mentioned as a celebrity guest). Annie and Frenchie are surprised by Mother Milk (Laz Alonso), who tries to officially bring Butcher (Karl Urban) back into the team, despite Annie's objections. Butcher tries to get Annie to confess any personal history between her and Firecracker, but Annie lies that there is none. Butcher proposes a CIA investment of $50,000 and three hours to get all the real dirt on Firecracker, but M.M. won't let him run off the leash. Annie watches as Firecracker's "Truth Bomb" show teases bringing out her childhood pastor, Ezekiel (Shaun Benson). Sage watches on, amused. 

Office Games – Homelander is still at the Vought facility where he was created and wants to play a game of trash can "basketball" with a tech named Frank. They shoot a few rounds as Homelander confesses how seeing Frank first play the game as a boy (from inside his testing chamber), and while Frank was celebrating the "baskets" he made with crumpled paper balls, he was also turning up the temperature in the chamber to test Homelander's resistance to heat. It was clearly traumatic for Homelander, who becomes unraveled about that deeply horrific moment being something that Frank barely recalls. Homelander prepares for his last shot, and orders Frank to get inside the same oven he was put in – or his family goes in too. Frank tries to apologize, but Homelander throws his own 'Doing my job' line back at him, and starts the oven. As Frank burns to death, Homelander takes his shot at the "basket" and misses, claiming to forgive Frank. 

(Photo: Prime Video)

Heist V Ambush – Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) and Hughie (Jack Quaid) arrive at some shipping dock for a meetup with A-Train, their contact on the inside. Hughie has a big request: a vial of Compound V (that he secretly wants to save his dying father). A-Train refuses, as the drug is under Homelander's lock and key control, Kimiko is bewildered about A-Train and the request, and no one realizes they are in the crosshairs of a sniper. A-Train agrees to the heist if it makes them even for him accidentally killing Hughie's girlfriend; Hughie agrees and A-Train runs off, as Kimiko tries to tell Hughie to accept his dad's fate. The snipers open fire, hitting Hughie in the leg. Kimiko gets Hughie inside an office and explains it is the trafficking ground Shining Light that's after them (as payback for Kimiko taking out one of their cells. Kimiko uses office equipment to give bandage Hughie, and create some sword and shield weaponry for him. Kimiko texts that if Hughie wants to save his father it's a fight-or-die situation. 

Lift Us Up – Firecracker and The Deep are performing an epic-looking duet of "Up Where We Belong" (by Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker), but when the camera pulls back they are actually performing on the tiny stage on the "Truth Bomb" truck, with barely any crowd in attendance. Butcher and M.M. infiltrate the camp of trailers that's been established near the Truth Bomb set, knocking out a guard with a fire extinguisher. M.M. makes Butcher swear not to tell CIA Deputy Director Grace Mallory (Laila Robins) how they spent the CIA money and what they dug up. Butcher is hit with some frailty from his disease, and takes a serious moment to make M.M. promise to save Ryan from Homelander if he dies before he can. Becca's (Shantel VanSanten) ghost looks on, concerned. Firecracker comes walking by, and Butcher takes a run at her, revealing that they dug up a scandal from her "Capes for Christ" councilor days (age 28), where she was caught in the back of a car having sexual relations with an underage boy (age 15), with photos as proof. Butcher bargains for intel on Sister Sage's master plan, but Firecracker doesn't go for it: she tweets the exposé out herself and leaves Butcher and M.M. standing there, stunned. 

Sins Confessed – Starlight, Frenchie, Colin and Annie's other assistant Kiara (Kimberly-Sue Murray) watch on TV as Firecracker interrupts Ezekiel's sermon (on Annie's name somehow equating to the "666" number of The Devil) and confesses her statutory scandal, claiming it was the rock-bottom sin that led her to a righteous path. Firecracker spins the narrative, revealing that Starlight's first solo save also had a cover-up after Annie's powers accidentally blinded one of the hostages she saved. The injury to the hostage (a mother) was covered up, and Annie allegedly went along with it, "smiling for the cameras." Annie is mortified in front of her followers and runs out of the room. Butcher and M.M. arrive and Frenchie chastises them for failing to curtail Firecracker; Butcher counters by revealing he stole the keys to Firecracker's trailer and tells Frenchie to inspect it. 

Homelander Home Heist – A-Train speeds into Homelander's apartment in Vought Tower, to look for the Compound V. Instead, A-Train finds Homelander's jar of graying hairs (from down there), as well as his stash of chilled breast milk. A-Train finally locates the Compound V and takes a vial – but the fastest man alive is too slow to notice that Ashley (Colby Minifie) is watching him commit the crime. Ashley confronts A-Train, but A-Train speeds upstairs and confirms that Ashley was there doing something foul in Homelander's toilet (payback for being replaced by Sage as Vought CEO). They both know Homelander will slaughter them for the crime, so they start to negotiate. 

(Photo: Prime Video)

Squirt Games – Homelander is examining a post where his growth was marked by height and calls over Marty (Murray Furrow) to talk. Homelander apologizes for killing Frank, and for being "grumpy," but Marty screws up by calling him "John" again, triggering Homelander to recall how Marty used to call him "Squirt," and would leave him alone in an isolation cell, while still monitoring him 24/7. Homelander launches into a freaky story about how, as a boy, he learned to sense when Marty was away for just a few minutes so that he could just pleasure himself in private – the only good feeling he ever knew. One night, he couldn't finish fast enough and Marty caught him in the act, inspiring the nickname "Squirt." Homelander expresses how much that humiliated him, and Marty tries to apologize; Homelander accepts, but also commands Marty to pleasure himself in front of his co-workers so that he too can be laughed at. Marty tries to laugh it off, but Homelander isn't joking – although he does end up getting a hearty laugh out of watching Marty try. Homelander threatens Marty to complete the act or get his member lasered off; Marty tries his best but ultimately gets blasted through the crotch, and is left screaming and bleeding out on the floor. The scientist in charge of the program, Barbara (Nancy Lenehan), finally arrives on the elevator and instructs "John" to stop his antics and finish off Marty (who gets his head crushed). Barbara requests a conversation, and Homelander agrees – on the condition that they will talk inside the isolation chamber. 

Light Dimmers – Hughie and Kimiko start their retreat from the office, with Kimiko brutally taking out the Shining Light gangsters coming at them. The mysterious girl from Kimiko's past, Tala (Erika Prevost), shows up and takes Kimiko down with a grenade launcher, hitting her at point-blank range and blowing Kimiko's body in half at the waist. Left alone, Hughie flees into the office building where he clumsily fights and brutally kills a Shining Light soldier, leaving himself covered in blood. Hughie returns to find Kimiko healed and scrapping with Tala. The two supes stop fighting long enough for Tala to recount the story of how Kimiko made her fight in the Shining Light fighting pits, showing her no mercy. Kimiko is stunned and limps away with an injured Hughie. 

Firecracker Feng Shui – Frenchie makes his way into Firecracker's trailer. Her gaudy theme of 'trashy patriot' is clear from the decoration of the trailer and the accessories Firecracker has in it (like a gun-shaped rhinestone purse colored like the American flag). Frenchie finds strange pills inside the purse, but he's too late finding out Firecracker's next move: revealing on live TV that Annie was pregnant six months prior and had an abortion. Things quickly go to hell: Annie storms out of Starlighter HQ to confront Firecracker; Frenchie is discovered by Ezekiel and they start to fight; Starlight shows up and starts beating the crap out of Firecracker; Butcher shows up to save Frenchie by using the fire extinguisher to freeze Ezekiel's elastic limbs, shattering his one arm to pieces. M.M. grabs Starlight and makes her realize it's a trap, and cameras are watching; Sister Sage watches the spectacle on TV, getting the last laugh over Firecracker calling her "uppity." By the time Annie is pulled away, the incident is already going viral. Ezekiel nearly strangles Butcher to death with his elongated arm, but Becca's ghost and the strange worm in Butcher's veins build to a climax, and Butcher blacks out. When he wakes up, Ezekiel is dead, having been blown to pieces. Annie and M.M. grab Frenchie and are shocked by a blood-covered Butcher. They all flee before the police sirens get any closer. 

Bad Baby – Homelander talks with Barbara inside the isolation chamber, reflecting on how small it looks now. Barbara segues into how Homelander's memory is entirely skewed, revealing how it was fear (not cruelty) that drove the staff's treatment of him. She reveals that Homelander lasered his way out of his mother's womb at birth, floating into the air and killing several doctors and nurses before the sound of his first cry. She insists that Homelander always had the physical power to escape the facility – it was a psychological hold that kept him there, a child scared to disappoint his "parents." She goes on to explain that psychologists were brought in to foster that need for approval so that Homelander would remain obedient to authority figures. She insists that no matter how much violence he inflicts, he'll never lose that need for approval; Homelander teases that he's going to show her why the chamber was his "bad room." 

(Photo: Prime Video)

Don't Deserve Love – Frenchie wakes up to Colin treating his injuries and joking about charging his HMO for it. Frenchie flips out, pushing Colin away and finally confessing that he killed Colin's family by revealing his scars. Colin flips out and starts beating Frenchie, almost choking him to death – which Frenchie wants. Colin stops and leaves, warning Frenchie that he will kill him if they meet again. Frenchie is left beaten and broken, emotionally. Meanwhile, The Deep comes to Sister Sage's room to find some fried pickles waiting for him as a peace offering. Deep is confused, but Sage reveals that her brain is constantly regrowing, which is why she lobotomizes herself regularly to make herself dumber for small increments. She offers Deep illicit pleasures if he'll do the procedure for her, which he happily does (one of the grosser scenes The Boys has done). The dumbed-down Sage is game for another round of kinky stuff and they go at it. 

Political Fallout – Victoria Neuman is on TV blasting Starlight for her attack on Firecracker, and her political partner President-elect Singer for allying with Starlight. Kimiko is dumping her speech therapy self-help books when Annie arrives back at The Boys HQ; Hughie and Kimiko try to comfort her. Hughie and Annie discuss how and why they made the abortion decision, and Hughie supports Annie even though her mom won't. Singer calls to let Annie know he's cutting her loose, politically, and that she all but killed the bill. Annie is left crying. 

Deal With the Devil – A-Train meets Hughie in an alley and delivers the Compound V. A-Train doesn't think Hughie will honor the deal to forgive him, but Hughie does, shaking A-Train's hand before he speeds off. Butcher reveals himself, having tailed Hughie. Hughie and Butcher talk, but Butcher doesn't support Hughie giving his dad Compound V. Butcher reveals he tried to use it to cure himself four months ago, but it didn't work. Hughie still decides to go through with it, while Butcher wonders aloud to Becca's ghost about what happened with Ezekiel. Hughie goes to his father's hospital room but stops short of giving him the Compound V. His mother Daphne (Rosemarie DeWitt) arrives, and they prepare for Hugh's last rites. Hughie says a tearful goodbye but leaves when his mother tries to hug him. He returns with coffee for them both, only to find his father's IV coursing with Compound V. Hugh's eyes pop open. 

(Photo: Prime Video)

Party's Over – Homelander is riding the elevator back up from the Project Odessa facility, slathered in blood, guts, and gore. The camera cuts to the isolation chamber, where Barabara is still alive, visibly traumatized by the scene of carnage around her, where Homelander tore apart the rest of the lab team, limb by limb. The camera cuts back to Homelander, who has the happiest of grins on his face. 

[End Credits – "Up Where We Belong" plays] 

The Boys Season 4 is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.