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Nightmare Fuel / The Boys (2019)

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     General 
  • Homelander in general. Credit where it’s due, Antony Starr is disturbingly good at having “dead eyes” and an affect so flat he actually looks artificial at points, as well as conveying the personality of an utter sociopath cheerfully trying to manipulate the world to his whims however he sees fit.
  • Stillwell is a very creepy person who almost never shows her real emotions, instead putting up a corporate smile even in the most dissonant of occasions.
    • The fact that Stillwell, one of the biggest sociopaths in this show, is terrified of Homelander just emphasizes how scary Homelander is.
  • Billy in general. While the intention of the show is to show how terrifying superheroes would be, it ends up doing an equally good job (intentional or not) of deconstructing the Badass Normal A Real Man Is a Killer type escapist characters. Billy has a sad backstory but it actually pales compared to Homelander (his wife disappeared after being raped, vs. Homelander being raised and abused in a lab), but his moral compass is almost as bad. He willingly kills anyone in his way, shamelessly gaslights Hughie, Frenchie, and MM, shows nothing but disdain and Fantastic Racism towards Kimiko and Starlight, even trying to kill the latter while she was talking to Hughie. He acts as if he's just trying to keep Supes in line, but it's clear he sees all of them as simply evil, even when its clear many are victims of Vought and are ignorant of their true origin, making Billy come off as little better than an X-Men villain. In a show where Beware the Superman is the point, it does a damn good job of showing Humans Are the Real Monsters.
  • Stormfront is also shaping to be one, being outwardly cheery, but being an analogue to racist figures in authority and law enforcement, needlessly murdering non-white people.
  • The entire premise of the show. Think about it. The whole idea of the very people you depend on to protect you turning out to be the people you need protection from, and to make matters worse, those false protectors have superhuman abilities, making the situation twenty times more chaotic and unpredictable.
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     The Show 

Season 1

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screenshot_2019_08_08_homelander_plane_google_search.png
"I'm scared ... I'm scared of you."
  • Robin’s Cruel and Unusual Death at the hands of A-Train. It comes from out of nowhere — one moment, she's holding hands with Hughie having a romantic moment, and the very next moment, she is gone, and the hands that poor Hughie is holding are the only thing left of her that's whole, because A-Train's Super Speed has all but liquefied the poor girl, nothing but blood and bits of spine and bone immediately to the right of him in A-Train's wake. Poor Hughie is traumatized like hell because of this, and all he can do is scream Robin's name.
  • The Landlord's death. Popclaw seduces him and performs some roleplay so she can avoid paying rent. While performing oral sex on her, she finds the experience to be too orgasmic and she unwittingly crushes his head between her pelvis. The guy is clearly in pain but she's too distracted to hear his muffled screams, as his head begins to crack open like a rolled-up tube of toothpaste until it bursts. Popclaw soon realizes what she's done, and is just as horrified by this as the audience.
  • For anyone that deals with sexual harassment, the scene between Starlight and The Deep was pretty unsettling.
  • Everything about the plane crash. The terrorists were scary enough, but when Homelander comes in and not only makes it worse, but threatens to kill anyone who doesn't accept their fate is just downright harrowing.
    Homelander: *Pushes back panicking passengers on the plane* You stay the fuck back, or I'll laser you goddamnit! I'll laser every fucking one of you!
  • Homelander's attack on the Syrian terrorists, calmly slicing apart armed men and unarmed women with his laser eyes. At one point he deliberately lasers a terrorist above him, so a terrorist in front of him gets drenched in the other's blood and innards. Moments later he cuts off the legs of another and slowly crushes the man's head under his heel. Then he lasers a fleeing terrorist, bisecting him in full view of a troop of American soldiers.
    Homelander: God bless America.
  • "Are you telling me that we have a super terrorist?"
  • The Reveal that Homelander orchestrated the development of super-terrorists. You may never look at a superhero franchise the same way again.
    "Now we have villains all over the globe that only we can fight. Sequel after sequel after sequel..."
  • The Deep getting his gills fingered, even as he tells the girl doing it that it’s hurting him. He's effectively being sexually assaulted and/or raped.
    • The gills themselves. The best way to describe them is waterlogged stab wounds with fangs (actually the fleshy fringes of the gill lamellae) coming out of them, and if you look closely, they twitch. Just... no.
  • Becca’s horrifying delivery of Homelander’s child, which clawed itself out of her and bled her out. It turns out to be fake, but is still no less disturbing.
  • When Bill Butcher becomes unhinged, he can become absolutely terrifying, such as when he stalks Mesmer through a station and kills him by bashing his head against the sink, moments after forcing a horrified Mesmer to read his mind and see exactly what's going to happen to him.
  • The sheer level of damage Black Noir does to Kimiko is horrendous. We've seen her get her skull pounded into concrete by A-Train, with the speed and strength of a jackhammer. A jackhammer taking performance enhancing steroids. While she holds her own, Black Noir does eventually get the better of her and goes to work with his knives. He all but disembowels her. Thankfully, she's got a healing factor so recovers. Thing is, Noir was sent after the completely human Frenchie. Imagine if he'd caught him.
  • Assuming any of it is true (Frenchie is a very mysterious man and if he's true to his comic counterpart, may not even be French...) Frenchie's descriptions to Hughie and Kimiko about his childhood are haunting to say the least. He tells Hughie his father, who was Bipolar, tried to smother Frenchie when Frenchie was just ten. Later, Frenchie tells Kimiko his father abducted him from his mother when Frenchie was a little boy, and ran off with him, travelling constantly, imprisoning him in hotel rooms and only taking him out for late night walks to emotionally and physically abuse him by telling Frenchie he loved him, then burning him with cigarettes. (This could someway to explaining a lot of things about Frenchie, such as his apparent obsession with watching documentaries or surfing the internet, it might be how he learns thing) Similarly, Kimiko was abducted as a child, forced to be a child soldier and then ended up in a basement in NYC, a prisoner and an experiment, turned into a powerful, deadly Supe. While Kimiko has no issue using her powers to defend herself or Frenchie, she's profoundly traumatized and seems to struggle with the nature of what she has become. It draws a fascinating parallel with Homelander, who like both Kimiko and Frenchie spent a childhood being isolated and abused to someone else's ends.
  • While at a meeting with other victims of collateral damage, the audience learns of other mishaps the Supes have caused. One woman was crippled for life when Tech Knight rescued her and one man went into detail about an accident he had while he was having sex with Ice Princess. Which would be fine and normal, until we discover that she accidentally broke off his penis when she turned to ice mid-climax.
  • When taking into consideration the circumstances surrounding both plane crashes seen in season one, disturbing implications begin to surface. Homelander convincing Maeve to get off the hijacked plane (which he accidentally disabled) and leaving the passengers to die on impact brings the question as to just how many people Supes have allowed to die in order to cover up a screw up. Homelander assassinating the mayor of Baltimore by bringing down his plane begs the question of just how many people have been straight up murdered by superheroes, and the ethics involved with Vought making the conscious decision to cover it all up.
    • Taking that thought process further, Madelyn isn't even close to being shocked or surprised Homelander murdered the mayor, and we don't even see her reaction to the hijacked plane, just her later exasperation with Homelander for trying to take credit for turning it around with the press. It's an afterthought to her baby's appointment with the pediatrician. Just how accustomed is she to Homelander casually murdering, or allowing the death of innocents, just because something happened he didn't want to deal with?
  • Billy's open manipulation of Hughie is a plot point within the show itself, but it's with Frenchie where things are their most disturbing. Frenchie is the only one of the team Billy just forces to get back involved, by tricking him into showing his face to the captured Translucent. (He was forcing Hughie by then, but Hughie, like MM, was given a choice about getting involved in the first place) We subsequently learn that when Billy is around, Frenchie suffers major financial and personal losses as a matter of course, but Billy doesn't act as if this bothers him. Frenchie is the one Billy most often sends into direct danger and even Frenchie expresses anger that Billy views him as a weapon and a tool and nothing else. Billy doesn't bat an eyelid when Frenchie's burned (which even MM takes note of) and shows complete, callous disregard for Frenchie's feelings on anything involving Kimiko, relenting only when Frenchie stands up to him for the first time. Frenchie seems to be the only one totally lacking the emotional tools to say no to Billy on anything, or even recognize the lengths to which he's being manipulated and used, even though he's not totally oblivious. Given what we learn about Frenchie's horribly abusive childhood and the father who abducted and abused him, Billy's treatment and the fact Frenchie can't seem to break away, takes on particularly dark shades.
  • The Deep can talk to fish, dolphins, lobsters, porpoises, presumably all sea life and they talk back, which means in this universe, animal life is fully, 100% sentient and intelligent. But everyone still eats meat and fish - including The Deep who see enjoying a juicy beef burger. It's a subtle but brilliant background detail that shows the Christian blanket Vought wraps its self in - in the Bible, animals are declared to be soulless beasts and not as intelligent as man, while man is given Dominion over all the land and the animals, but it's absolutely nightmarish as a story detail. While the real world is in an eternal debate about the relative intelligence and sentience of different animals, in the In Show version of America (it's not clear how other countries receive and view the Supes), any meat/fish eaters are knowingly eating animals that can think, talk and feel.
  • Hughie has Starlight get him a free ticket into Ezekiel private religious session. Homelander is there, none too pleased about Hugie worming his way out of thousands of dollars, barely hiding his temper under a fake smile. So during the surprise baptism, he holds Hughie under the water almost till he drowns, turning it into a waterboarding session. Makes it even worse if you have hydrophobia.
  • How about the possibility that Homelander raped Becca out of petty spite towards her husband, having overheard Billy mocking him at the Vought Christmas party?

Season 2

  • One of the most disturbing moments is Homelander casually shoving his illegitimate son off a roof. Even to test for powers, no one should go through that. It gets worse once his mom arrives and struggles to find signs of life on the boy.
    • In general, every interaction with Homelander and Becca is utterly horrifying, due to how completely menacing he is while Becca is forced to put up with a sociopath around her child. Even when he's not physically hurting them, Homelander is embodying all of the worst elements of an abusive relationship.
  • Ashley the publicist takes Homelander to meet Blindspot, a Daredevil-esque superhero who is blind but has impressive athletic ability thanks to super-hearing. Homelander's reaction? He casually boxes Blindspot's ears, which destroys the poor kid's ear drums and causes him to bleed out on the floor, because Homelander doesn't want "a cripple" in the Seven. All in front of Ashley, who Homelander then threatens.
  • Susan Raynor's assassination, apparently by Vought, by way of Your Head Asplode. Shocking not just for the gore but for how sudden it is.
  • The origin of Vought International and Compound V, as explained by Stan Edgar: the company's founder, Frederick Vought, was a Nazi war criminal who tested his Super Serum on Jewish inmates in Dachau and switched sides when the war was turning against the Germans, endearing himself with the Allies (enough to get a pardon from Roosevelt) and having his public image completely rehabilitated as a result.
    • Even more disturbing when you realize that a Real Life pharmaceutical company, Bayer AG (in its previous incarnation as IG Farben), actually did stuff like this during the Holocaust and their executives, like Frederick Vought, got off with relative slaps on the wrist. The reason they got away with being Karma Houdinis is because the Soviet Union would have given them the exact same treatment.
  • Stormfront is a terrifying individual, mirroring her comics version and even more realistic. She comes off like someone who isn't afraid to speak truth to power, citing Pippi Longstocking as a personal hero. But then we see her murder her way through a housing complex and slaughtering black people purely because she can, before she brutally kills a Japanese man and calls him a "yellow bastard". Given the fact that she has a reputation as a powerful, successful superhero, she is clearly a parallel to violent, racist members of law enforcement.
    • This gets more worrying in episode 4, where it was revealed that as "Liberty" she seemed to have a habit of arbitrarily pulling over black motorists in the middle of the night and beating them to death on a whim. And naturally, anyone unfortunate enough to witness this knew that no law enforcement would ever side against Liberty.
    • The flashback we have to one of these "traffic stops" shows Liberty murdering a black man in front of his own sister. When the sister sees his body, his face has been pulverized by whatever Liberty/Stormfront did to him.
  • Oh, you thought The Deep's gills were freaky-looking before? Just wait until they start talking to him. Seriously, as much as the scene Crosses the Line Twice (they're voiced by Patton Oswalt of all people) it's still genuinely incredibly disturbing to watch.
  • We learn that Doppelganger can only hold a shape for so long before it starts to hurt them. Homelander doesn’t care and forces them to maintain the image of Stillwell, and we hear them reacting in pain as they returns to that form.
  • We are introduced to Gecko, a supe with the power to regrow his own limbs who works as a prostitute for clients with amputation fetishes. We're shown him attending a man in a motel room, who squees while chopping off one of Gecko's arms with a machete. Later Gecko suggests that this client can slice off his penis with more money, which immediately makes him ask where is the closest ATM. To make things even more disturbing, Gecko barely shows any sign of pain while having his arm chopped off, which probably means he either doesn't feel it or got used to it.
  • Kimiko ripping off a Russian gangster's face.
  • While Homelander laser-beaming a whole crowd, starting with a guy flipping him off, is an Imagine Spot, it's still a big reminder of what the jackass Supe would do if he wasn't Slave to PR.
  • Hughie, MM, Butcher and his aunt hiding from Black Noir. From the basement, they can hear his loud footfalls as he searches through the house above, occasionally interrupted by the loud crash of him breaking down walls. Just when it seems like he's stopped and might have moved on, he chucks a smoke grenade down stairs right where they are.
  • Homelander and Stormfront torture and kill a petty criminal as a form of foreplay. To wit, Stormfront snaps his wrist when he points a gun at her, and then Homelander slowly pins him against the wall, hand over the top of his skull, as the man whimpers and begs for his life. Then, while then casually discuss how awful crime is, Stormfront... stimulates Homelander as he slowly builds pressure on the poor man's skull. We hear cracking sounds and screams until... *splat*. It then cuts to them having intense sex not two feet from the decapitated corpse, smearing his blood on each other's faces. Yikes.
  • Cindy. Just... Cindy. One of the supes being held in Stormfront's testing lab, Frenchie, MM and Kimiko accidentally let out her out while trying to break out Lamplighter. Her power is that she can crush whole bodies with her mind while being Immune to Bullets. The episode ends with her hitching a ride to parts unknown.
  • The entire facility breaks open and releases the Supes, who covers many of the walls in the workers' blood. We don't see too much of it, but what we do get to witness are several people begging for their lives. The implied carnage from all of the fantastical powers is enough.
  • Stormfront revealing who she really is to Homelander. Born in Berlin before the rise of the Nazi party, she was the first superhero Vought ever created and proceeds to go on a racist rant about how every other race is "grinding them down and taking what is rightfully [theirs]." It's a downright chilling scene which is capped off by Homelander seemingly joining her.
    • Extra chilling is that up until this point, Stormfront has been shown to be a carefree gadfly. When she tells Homelander her plans for world conquest, she's on the verge of tears. She's not a monster for shits and giggles, she legitimately believes that supes are meant to be apex predators and it's likely nothing will break her out of this mentality.
    • Taken even further when at multiple times for the rest of the season when Stormfront would go on one of these rants, Homelander is shown to be a bit unnerved. This especially when she starts talking to Ryan about it. Now Homelander is no stranger in believing himself to be superior to races or species but it's often checked by him being more narcissistic and sociopathic. He believes himself above all others, but he still wants the adoration of all others regardless of background and at no point outside of petulant rage does he legitimately consider a genocide. It also goes to show that while he can handle Stormfront's craziness when she still strokes his ego, peddling Nazi racism to his son might be a bridge too far. It's very likely that if Stormfront hadn't been outed and neutralized by the end of the season that down the line Homelander and Stormfront would come to blows over this.
    • In the season 2 finale, Stormfront is discussing how the spread of Compound-V to 'the right people' will achieve her goals. Homelander notes there's a few billion of the 'wrong people' out there and Stormfront simply smiles as she wryly responds that "Heydrich had a solution for that", all but explicitly stating part of her agenda is restarting the Holocaust on a global scale.
  • The Deep casually telling A-Train he often fantasized about drowning him. A reminder that for whatever goofy antics the Deep gets up to, he's not harmless.
  • A man is radicalized by Stormfront's anti-Super-Terrorist messages, as he constantly takes it all in. It slowly builds up, with subtle cues showing how he's slowly becoming more and more unhinged throughout his daily routine. It escalates until he suspects that a cashier that he had been interacting with is a Supe, and pulls a gun on him. He shoots, and slowly puts the pistol down when he comes to terms with what he had just done.
    • Made worse due to being eerily similar to the persecution suffered by foreign immigrants post 9/11. Considering the cashier was called Mr. Singh (a Sikh surname), it's probably intentionally, as several Sikh men were attacked and even killed after 9/11, being mistaken for Muslims.
  • The Church of the Collective further show their danger by unpersoning Eagle the Archer, releasing their blackmail material and causing The Deep to immediately abandon him at the church's beck and call. While they're quite goofy, they are still not to be messed with.
  • Ryan is fully won over by Homelander and Stormfront. The boy no longer has his loving upbringing, rejects his mother and enters the hands of the two most sociopathic Supes that the show has.
  • Lamplighter calmly commits suicide by Self-Immolation as a horrified Hughie can do nothing but watch. We get to then see the charred corpse in gory detail as Hughie smashes a bottle and uses it to cut the corpse's hand off, to pull off a Borrowed Biometric Bypass.
  • Black Noir's efficiency and brutality is emphasized in episode 7. We see it mostly from Annie's perspective, as he sends smokebombs and apprehends her and her mother. When he tracks her down after she breaks out, he beats her senseless and begins to choke her out. Fortunately, Maeve comes by with a force-fed Almond Joy.
  • Butcher threatens to kill Vogelbaum's entire family at his estate if he does not follow his demands, shocking the former Vought scientist. Then, his daughter, who Butcher just threatened to have brutally killed, enters the room oblivious to the threat and pours him a cup of tea. Billy smiles throughout the ordeal. Vogelbaum can only wonder how he can be so cruel.
  • The Congressional hearing is stopped when several people have their heads exploded just like Raynor's.
    • This is an understatement. The hearing represents a high point, a victory- Starlight and her mom are safe, Butcher has threatened Vogelbaum Junior into testifying. Vought are screwed. And then the congressman officiating has his head blow up. It comes out of nowhere. And then it happens to Vogelbaum. And then it happens to a random woman in the crowd. And then it just. Keeps. Happening. It even happens to Shockwave, showing that not even the supes are immune to it. The worst part? We don't even see Cindy, or whoever else is executing it. People are looking around in absolute horror, trying to run from a massacre that has the floor and air so full of blood that it seems to be raining the stuff, and they can't tell where it's coming from.
    • Throughout all of this, Homelander remains disturbingly calm, seeming almost vaguely amused.
    • The hearing gets an extra helping of Nightmare Fuel when re-watched after the season finale and the revelation that Congresswoman Neuman was responsible for the head-popping. The perpetrator can clearly be seen targeting several of the victims. Neuman breaking away when Mallory tries to get her out of the room becomes horrifying — she wasn't panicking, she was ramping up the body count.
  • Stormfront's choking of Becca pushes Ryan to his limits. He's angered enough to use his laser vision, and with a white flash that temporarily takes Butcher down, we see Stormfront completely dismembered and melted by the beams, mumbling in German. While cathartic, one can't help but be somewhat disturbed by Stormfront doing her best impression of Anakin on Mustafar.
    • What's more worrying is that Kimiko, Annie, and Maeve (regarded as the second strongest supe) giving a sustained beatdown to Stormfront only succeeded in banging her up a bit... and Ryan nearly vaporized her in one shot. Either the gap between Maeve and Homelander is colossal in scale, or Ryan is something far more powerful entirely.
    • This becomes downright terrifying when one takes into account that Homelander used his laser vision on Stormfront earlier in the season and even though he implicitly did not hold back and exposed her to his vision for far longer than Ryan, he only managed to give her some temporary scars. This means Ryan, a child who barely received any training with his powers, easily managed to do what the most powerful Supe in the world couldn't do. Even though he seems more well-adjusted than his father, the mere thought that there is someone even stronger and therefore potentially more dangerous than Homelander is unsettling, to say the least.
  • Near the end of Season 2, Alastair has a conversation with Victoria Neumann about possibly damaging Vought and Edgar further. She agrees, and Alastair happily looks to his drink. Then his head explodes. The camera pans to the outside of his building, finally revealing who it is that’s been exploding heads throughout the season. It's Victoria, and she's been acting as Vought's controlled opposition the whole time.
    • And now Hughie is working for her, obviously unaware.
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