“Nothing Like It in the World,” The Boys’ fourth episode of season two, takes time for some small human connections that are a welcome reprieve from the action of the past few episodes. A quick sing-a-long to “We Didn’t Start the Fire” endeared me to Hughie and Annie’s relationship more than anything else has, while Annie and MM’s “To Fathers and Sugar” moment finally allows space for these hardened characters to share in their similarities rather than grovel in their differences.
It’s taken me a while to warm up to The Boys. I saw what it was trying to do, but my only response to it was “yeah, and?” The villainy of The Seven felt simultaneously a little too real and over-the-top. But “Nothing Like It in the World” finds a nice balance with Stormfront and Homelander’s rivalry, showing two sides of the obvious villainy. Stormfront in particular, after an uncomfortable scene in the last episode in which she gruesomely kills Kenji (calling him a racial slur as she does it) becomes a little distanced from us now as her true intentions become clear. The dichotomy between her social presence to the public and her true self resembles a lot of the pandering bullshit of wokeness we often see from companies, promising one thing then doing the opposite, intentionally harming others while our backs are turned. She’s a great stand-in for modern day evildoers, those in power who make promises while selling out the very same people she’s making the promises to. Homelander, meanwhile, remains a little too unbelievable, but with Stormfront to balance out the villainy, he becomes more engaging onscreen as he unravels from being taken from the spotlight.
The pacing of this episode manages the multiple characters and stories better as well. With Hughie, Annie, and MM’s roadtrip to seek out a Supe from the 70s called Liberty sharing most of the screentime with Homelander and Stormfront, we get small doses from the others that are just enough to pull everyone along without the episode feeling bloated. Butcher finally meets up with Becca; as the two reconnect away from the cameras and Vaught’s eye, we get more from Becca’s perspective as a victim of rape but also the love she has for her child. Butcher’s hatred for Supes blinds him to Becca’s first priority of keeping her child safe, so when she decides to stay with Vaught instead of going with him, hopefully it turns the tide for Butcher to make peace with himself and the world. The only place this episode stumbles is with Kimiko, whose grief for her brother we really only get to see through Frenchie’s eyes. At the end, she goes to confront Stormfront in a public setting but is stopped by Frenchie, but it would have been nice to see her journey up to that moment.
Deep’s story is threaded throughout the episode in little clips of women talking to a camera about what they think about love, usually appearing after significant moments between Hughie and Annie. Later, it’s revealed that Deep is on the hunt for a wife and hasn’t yet realized he’s basically joined a cult.
The reveal that Stormfront may be immortal or ages slowly is an interesting development. The flashback of her racist attack against a Black man is just as uncomfortable as last episode’s killing of Kenji. Hopefully, the show allows for retribution against Stormfront for these actions, as we’ve gotten two racially motivated killings from her now. If the climax of her downfall isn’t about these, and instead is more about the evilness of Supes in general, well then, this show has failed in more ways than one.