This review contains spoilers for Gen V episode 4.
“The Whole Truth,” the fourth episode of Gen V, features a dick joke in its first act, a dick joke in its third act, and wedged in-between is a dick exploding like a bloody piñata. Ladies and gentlemen, The Aristocrats …. I mean, The Boys!
The Boys universe has always operated under the ironclad comedic principle of “pee-pees are funny” and Gen V seems to be continuing that tradition. And honestly, it’s hard to argue they’re wrong for doing so. Pee-pees are indeed funny! We’ve seen this borne out in the season 3 opener of the flagship series which saw shrinking supe Termite entering an actual human penis and inadvertently blowing it up (along with the body it belongs to) by a sneeze-triggered rapid growth. Just last week on Gen V we saw another shrinking supe Emma (Lizze Broadway) engage with a Great Dane-sized schlong that must have been a hell of a thing for the prop department to craft.
And now, here comes the triple threat of dick humor that includes what is surely the most violent act of penile trauma ever depicted in fiction. Why does Gen V indulge such nonsense? Probably because it’s fun … for everyone except Rufus (Alexander Calvert) at least.
“The Whole Truth” gets the ball(s) rolling with the first aforementioned dick joke. As Dean Indira Shetty (Shelley Conn) and Dr. Edison Cardosa (Marco Pigossi) come across the henchman’s corpse whose brain Emma exploded in The Woods medical facility, Dr. Cardosa has a pretty novel theory on how Sam (Asa Germann) killed the poor guy.
“Maybe Sam penetrated the ear canal with his member?” he offers up.
Though Dean Shetty immediately and correctly scoffs at the possibility, it’s telling that this man of science’s first impression upon seeing a supe-initiated murder is that the supe’s penis was somehow involved. Through three seasons on The Boys and four episodes of Gen V, we’ve really seen nothing to disabuse us of the notion that any given killing could have a sado-sexual component. Such is the dismal state of the pervert superheroes in this world.
Speaking of pervert superheroes … Tek Knight (Derek Wilson), everyone! This outrageously corrupt true crime TV personality arrives at God U to investigate the Golden Boy incident and almost immediately becomes one of the most interesting antagonists in The Boys‘ canon. Aside from the occasional telepath like Mesmer (Haley Joel Osment) or the regenerator Gecko (David Thompson), most of the powers in The Boys involve deadly traits like strength and laser vision. And from the few times we’ve heard Tek Knight mentioned in the flagship series, it seemed as though he was on track for something similar.
Gen V, however, wisely switches things up by imbuing in Tek the power of super perception. By analyzing someone’s body language, he is able to to glean their secrets to a supernatural degree. That skill combined with his flagrant disregard for human life and cynical missives like “I’m gonna Johnny Depp someone so hard they’re gonna want to crawl into a hole and die” make him a far more terrifying figure than he would be if he were just a typical super strong brawler. Dean Shetty is able to get rid of him via blackmail thanks to, what else, his proclivity for sticking his dick in any round object. But it would be a shame if this is the last we saw of Tek or his Forensic Files-esque Vought+ series The Whole Truth.
Ok, now let’s talk about the exploding dick. In addition to being a triumph of prosthetics and VFX work, the eruption of Rufus’s penis is a genuinely remarkable moment for the series. On the one hand, it’s pretty funny because “ha ha weiner go boom” but on the other hand, it’s also a gut-churning approximation of how real life sexual assaults on college campuses can transpire.
Gen V makes no attempt to hide the fact that it’s equating Rufus’s telepathic powers with the perpetuation of rape culture. After Marie (Jaz Sinclair) makes it safely out of Rufus’s room, Jordan (London Thor) tells her that Rufus is “like walking rohypnol.” The whole thing is really quite disturbing to behold. One moment Marie is sitting next to Rufus hoping to learn more about her sister, the next moment she is half naked in his room as he approaches her. Marie using her blood power to engorge, then explode Rufus’s member is the least upsetting aspect of the whole thing. The scene really couldn’t have ended any other way without bringing the episode to a grinding halt. In fact, Marie and Jordan appear motivated to put the event behind them quickly and get back to the search for Emma at hand. It’s almost as though Gen V knows that it got away with something by the foreskin of its teeth.
Gen V‘s juxtaposition of real life issues affecting young people (like Emma’s eating disorder last week) with the sophomoric humor of the Boys universe may come back to bite it in the end. For now though, it’s walking the line as best it can and still making plenty of room for satire-free, uncomplicated college life fun.
As mentioned in our review last week, the entirety of Gen V‘s main cast really looks like they could kiss one another at any given moment. That plays out to great effect here. Emma and Sam’s chemistry is crackling despite having just met each other in a literal superhero prison jailbreak. Meanwhile, Marie and Jordan get the flirting over with and hook up. Is either moment particularly earned? I suppose one could squint and see a scenario where the two couples are bonded by their own respective traumas and insecurities but that’s a stretch. Really they’re all just pretty young people smooching and the show doesn’t need to psychoanalyze it much further than that.
Gen V‘s youthful, even playful energy, is one of its most charming features at the moment. But it still remains the one thing holding it back from the best version of itself. “The Whole Truth” both begins and ends rather abruptly. The aftermath of the melee in The Woods is resolved far too quickly in the beginning and the show’s mysterious cut to the morning after following Emma’s embiggening at Dr. Cardosa’s place is just too ambitious.
Keeping the pace quick and light is welcome but you’ve still got to let the dramatic moments breathe. If Gen V starts to do that, it can continue to explode all the dicks it wants to.
New episodes of Gen V premiere Fridays on Prime Video culminating with the season 1 finale on Nov. 3.