The Boys Season 4, Episode 5 Review – “Beware the Jabberwock, My Son”

Review of The Boys Season 4, Episode 5

This review contains full spoilers for The Boys Season 4, Episode 5, “Beware the Jabberwock, My Son.”

If you’re familiar with The Boys comics, you might appreciate that Prime Video’s adaptation has veered away from some of the more extreme elements of the source material. Despite the modifications made by showrunner Eric Kripke, the latest episode of Season 4, “Beware the Jabberwock, My Son,” demonstrates that certain aspects from Garth Ennis’ original work still remain. One such recurring theme is the relentless torment of Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid), who serves as the group’s punching bag due to his innocent nature. His suffering is a staple of the franchise, but the Campbell family tragedy in “Beware the Jabberwock, My Son” feels particularly brutal and excessive.

The Heart-Wrenching Tragedy

Compound V transforms Hugh Sr. (Simon Pegg) into a mindless killing machine, leaving Hughie with the devastating task of putting his father down. These events are a direct consequence of Hughie’s actions in the previous episode. Despite his last-minute decision to drop the stolen Compound V vial, his mother, Daphne (Rosemarie DeWitt), manages to slip the drug into Hugh Sr.’s IV drip. The once ordinary man now possesses superpowers, leading to a horrific accident that leaves another patient disemboweled. Throughout the past few episodes, Hughie grappled with the revelation that his father granted Daphne the authority to withhold life-saving measures, and now he must carry out that grim order in true The Boys fashion.

While the performances by Quaid, DeWitt, and Pegg are emotionally powerful as the Campbell family faces years of unresolved trauma amid a chaotic hospital scene, the excessive focus on their suffering comes across as a means of character development through prolonged anguish. The elongated ordeal of Hughie’s father feels melodramatic and graphic, occurring just as Hughie extends forgiveness to A-Train.

The Repetitive Themes

A similar pattern emerges with Frenchie, who unexpectedly surrenders to the authorities in a sudden turn of events, revealing details of his dark past and cutting short his relationship arc with Kimiko. While it’s understandable that characters like Hughie and Frenchie need to address their past traumas in order to progress, the repetitive nature of these arcs becomes a noticeable drag on the overall narrative of Season 4.

The Compound Chaos

The episode also delves into Butcher, The Boys, and their encounter with surprise guest Stan Edgar, as they navigate through a chaotic scenario involving the deadly consequences of Victoria Neuman’s virus. As they search for a solution in Edgar’s safehouse, they encounter unexpected challenges, leading to a showdown with superpowered animals.

A Mix of Darkness and Levity

Amidst the dark and tragic elements of the episode, there are moments of humor and levity as The Boys face off against monstrous animals in a bizarre and comedic sidequest. The juxtaposition of heartbreaking narratives with absurdly entertaining sequences creates a tonal dissonance that detracts from the overall cohesion of the episode.

Overall, The Boys Season 4 continues its trend of unpredictable yet somewhat formulaic storytelling. The cycle of the bad guys succeeding while the good guys suffer reinforces a sense of predictability, and the reliance on shock value and repetitive themes may diminish the impact of the series moving forward.