Seemingly, having a bunch of phony, deplorable supers posing as Earth’s greatest heroes was not edgy enough for the taste of contemporary audiences and the makers over at Amazon Studios. Therefore, after some soul searching, The Boys universe has found the perfect subject matter to go with its trademark abundance of gore, violence, unaccountability, and irreverence with the release of the latest live-action spin-off series Gen V—hormonal college grads with superpowers.
For anyone who wondered how the nefarious prime superhero team filled its ranks (aside from the one solitary-raised psycho known as Homelander) through the years, Godolkin University, appropriately shortened as ‘God U’—the institute where superheroes are manufactured—would be the answer. With events in the series directly following the aftermath of season three of The Boys, the first three episodes of Gen V introduce the key characters and revolve around the central death mystery set against the backdrop of the aforementioned institute for superheroes. To get an idea of what to expect from the series and how it fits into the larger world-building of The Boys universe, let’s go through a brief overview of the first three episodes.
Welcome to God U: Who Are the Key Players?
The series takes place at Godolkin University, the one and only Ivy League institution in the world dedicated to grooming superheroes, which, unsurprisingly, has Vought International managed by Ashley Barrett as its patron and controller. Through the years, several of God U alumni have joined the ranks of the greatest superhero team, the Seven, and a neatly fabricated notion has been created in the minds of the masses about its sovereignty.
As Gen V‘s pilot episode begins, we are introduced to the series protagonist, Marie Moreau, and she is one of the numerous teenagers of her generation whose parents had them injected with Compound V in hopes of turning their children into superheroes in the future. Eight years ago, as Marie went through her first period, she discovered her blood manipulation powers, but without being able to control her newfound abilities, Marie accidentally caused the death of her parents. Her sister, Anna, witnesses this and grows disenchanted with her, eventually parting ways as Marie is taken to the Red River Institute for Superpowered Orphans. Reuniting with her sister becomes the prime objective in Marie’s life, and she thinks that to do so, she needs to prove herself by becoming a part of the Seven.
Marie gets the chance to fulfill her dream after she gets selected at Godolkin University, where she meets her roommate, Emma Meyer, a bubbly, good-hearted individual with the power to manipulate her physical stature. Soon enough, Marie gets introduced to the cream group of the institute, composed of senior students. Among them, Luke Riordan, aka Golden Boy, is the shining star of the institute. Others include Luke’s girlfriend, Cate Dunlap (psychic powers), his best friend, Andre Anderson (magnetism-based powers), and the second best of the institute, Jordan Li (powers of altering gender). Impressed with Marie’s ability as she stops a seemingly unstable runaway student, André offers her to hang out with his group. Initially skeptical about his proposal as she doesn’t want to cause any accidental slip-ups that might hamper her superhero career, Marie finally agrees to do so after Emma convinces her to.
A Series of Unfortunate Events: What Tragedy Occurred At God U?
As Marie hangs out with her new friends at a club, André accidentally injures a woman while showing off his powers, whom Marie saves by stopping her flow of blood. Soon after a video of the incident goes viral on social media, Marie is summoned to Professor Richard Brinkerhoff’s (superhero crime-fighting department head), who tries to make her the scapegoat to cover up the updates regarding the top students’ involvement in the incident. In her frustration, Marie lashes out at Emma, and a rift between the two follows up to a certain point in time. Meanwhile, a vision of his deceased brother, Sam, troubles Luke, who goes to Brink to confront him about the incident and inadvertently kills him using his pyrokinetic powers. Marie returns to the professor’s office at the exact same time and witnesses the incident, resulting in Luke chasing her through the university corridors, winding up in a fight with Jordan, and being exposed as a killer in front of the public. Filled with remorse and guilt, Luke exchanges his last words with Andre and kills himself by hovering above and causing a thermonuclear explosion. The two deaths shake things up at God’s big time, and Vought becomes desperate to save the brand and institute’s faces.
Following the horrible incident, Marie becomes an overnight star, as instructed by Ashley, and the institute promotes her to the top ten. A narrative of Luke’s psychotic outburst and Marie and Andre being the brave defenders is fabricated, and the institute’s dean, Indira Shetty, purports it by faking her affection towards Marie. Despite initially being caught up in imposter syndrome, Marie decides to shun her morals to get to the top, as she is determined to achieve her goal by any means necessary.
Meanwhile, the son of superhero Polaris, Andre, feels himself burdened with upholding the shambolic, showy practices of Vought’s style of superheroism and, following clues from Luke’s final words, finds out about a terrible conspiracy the institute is busy covering up. Apparently, in an underground prison, known as the Woods, which is located in a secretive subterranean channel under the university premises, Luke’s superpowered and unstable brother Sam is being held and experimented on. Luke had discovered that his mentor, Brink, was involved in this fiasco as well, and Vought had actively tried to cover the situation up. Andre starts investigating the situation on his own, but later learns his father, Polaris, a member of the institute’s trustee board, is also aware of the situation and refrains from discussing his findings with anyone else.
Did Emma Find Sam in the Woods?
On the other hand, Emma was dealing with her own problems as she faced multiple hurdles even before her first day at God U. Making funny videos displaying her power of size manipulation, she created an online channel, contributing to a dedicated fanbase. Coming across forms of online bullying from the same community, Emma felt depressed and, in her vulnerable moment, hooked up with a senior who pretended to be a fan just to manipulate her. Later, she is consoled by a popular senior girl she idolizes and reveals her secret: she needs to eat or puke to alter her size accordingly. The senior, too, betrays her trust by revealing her secret and pretending to be a feminist to bolster her own online reach, which makes Emma a laughing-stock among fellow students. As a last resort, Emma looks towards her overbearing rich mother for support, but gets trampled there as well when her mother tries to use her powers for showbiz. Her despondence assuages a bit when Marie acknowledges her past mistake and reconciles with her.
Jordan feels the brunt of Marie’s newfound popularity as they continue to slip down the ranking system while being denied the due credit that gets accorded to Marie. Their gender identity is something society has not fully accepted, and to their misery, the only person who acknowledged their potential, Brink, is dead. After a few bouts of initial bickering, as Jordan has a heart-to-heart with Marie, the bad blood between them seems to dissipate a tad bit. Andre, feeling increasingly curious about the Woods situation, persuades Emma to use her powers to infiltrate the underground prison; the proposition to act heroically intrigues her very much, and Emma enters the Woods in her tiny stature.
Emma manages to locate Sam inside the Woods and briefly connects with him until Emma’s presence in the prison is detected, and a prison guard appears, prompting her to hide. Seeing the guard torturing Sam by electrocuting him, Emma ‘heroically’ jumps on the guard in her tiny form and kills him by piercing his eardrum by going right through it. The third episode ends with Sam and a bloody Emma confronted by a horde of prison guards, and viewers are left wondering about their fate. The three episodes manage to assure the fans that the tonal consistency of The Boys will be maintained in the spin-off as well, with the promise of more fan service moments and an intriguing plot revolving around a murder mystery. Vought needs popular supers to fill in the vacancy created by Queen Maeve, Black Noir, and Starlight’s absence, and the first season of Gen V will definitely reveal who will be the lucky or unlucky candidate(s).