'Absolutely terrifying': The Boys season 4 viewers are in shock over 'unhinged' Homelander scenes in episode 4

Homelander maniacally laughs at someone off-camera in The Boys season 4 episode 4
This is no laughing matter, Homelander. (Image credit: Amazon MGM Studios)

Full spoilers follow for The Boys season four episodes three and four.

The Boys season four episode four is out now on Prime Video – and, thanks to some "very disturbing" scenes involving everyone's favorite big bad Homelander (Antony Starr), viewers are praising it as the season's "best episode" so far.

After getting off to an inauspicious start with its three-episode premiere last Thursday (June 13), The Boys' newest season has come out swinging with its latest chapter. Titled 'Wisdom of the Ages', it's easily one of the hit Amazon show's darkest episodes ever, with the series' various characters grappling with their trauma-laced histories and having to make soul-crushing decisions.

It's the scenes involving Homelander, however, that are dominating online discussions in the wake of episode four's release. Indeed, fans have had plenty to say about what they've just witnessed – and, thankfully, all of it is universally positive.

This is your final warning: major spoilers follow for The Boys season four episode four. Turn back now if you're not caught up.

Homelander stands in an elevator covered in blood in The Boys season 4 episode 4

What a bloody mess, John. (Image credit: Amazon MGM Studios)

'Wisdom of the Ages' sees Homelander return to his roots, aka the laboratory home (read: prison) where he was raised (read: experimented on). We already knew he was going back to face his past, too, with season four episode three's ending revealing that The Boys' most powerful Supe needed to "go back to the start" and face his fears in order to move forward with his plans for world domination.

Fans of one of the best Prime Video shows around, though, were well aware that this wasn't going to be a happy family reunion. Sure, Homelander lulls the lab's scientists into a false sense of security with the chocolate fudge whale cake he brings as a gift, as well as seemingly chipper demeanour. But, what starts out as an apparently light-hearted visit from Homelander descends into a gruesome and diabolical quest for retribution as The Seven's autocratic leader murders every lab staff member. Well, everyone except the lab's former chief scientist Barbara, who he leaves – traumatized, may I add – trapped in a cell, surrounded by the mutilated corpses of her fellow boffins.

Harrowing as that scene is, the episode's most grisly and shocking deaths are reserved for two particular characters who inflicted physical and emotional/mental harm on Homelander as a kid. 

Frank, who tested Homelander's – known as John as a child – resistance to fire/heat in a giant furnace, is cooked alive in said incinerator by Homelander. Later, Marty, who cruelly gave John the nickname 'Squirt' when he caught him masturbating one day, loses his own manhood when Homelander uses his lazer eyes ability to blast a hole through Marty's nether regions. Homelander also stomps on Marty's head to put the dying scientist out of his misery when Barbara chastizes Homelander for leaving Marty to bleed to death.

What are fans saying about The Boys season four episode four?

Understandably, the brutality of these scenes, plus Starr's outstanding performance – one that's equal parts unhinged, evil, and sympathy-inducing – has seen fans flock to discussion boards and X/Twitter to voice their opinions about season four's most impactful episode yet. On ResetEra, user JEH wrote "what an episode", before adding: "[It's] really refreshing to get scary Homelander again and have the violence be more personal and not played for laughs". 

Many agreed with JEH's sentiments on Reddit, too. ICrashedStockMarket said 'Wisdom of the Ages' was "one of the few episodes where I was genuinely terrified of Homelander", while CartoonAcademic opined "every scene with Homelander... is some of the most tense TV I've ever seen."

ZealousIdealTable1 was similarly effusive in their praise, saying it "might be one of the most unhinged episodes of television history", before adding "Homelander is literally scaring viewers with every minute". Iwillragequit99 perhaps summed it up best, though, writing: "Every time the episode cut back to any time in the laboratory my stomach would just drop and I would feel sick. What a crazy episode."

Comment from r/TheBoys

Episode four's lab-based scenes wouldn't have carried the same weight if Starr's electrifying display hadn't anchored them, mind you. It'll come as no surprise to learn, then, that viewers are gushing over the actor's performance.

Redditor QuantavioustheWise said "Starr better receive some awards for his role this season", while pikameta added: "Starr is f*****g killing it this episode. the immediate switch in his demanor is top notch acting". Il Il agreed, writing "if Antony Starr doesn't get an Emmy then something is definitely rigged", before WillyTrillEra chimed in with a similar opinion, saying: "Antony Starr deserves an Emmy for this episode. He is TERRIFYING."

In my review of The Boys season four's first three episodes, I expressed my concern that the wildly popular Prime Video series might be starting to lose its superpowered edge. I also wrote, though, that "maybe season four's remaining episodes will prove me wrong and show that The Boys is still the jewel in Amazon’s TV show crown". Based on episode four's jaw-dropping, Homelander-starring moments, I think it might just do that. Pass me the humble pie, someone.

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