This article contains spoilers for Gen V and The Boys.
With superheroes growing more and more unpredictable and volatile in the world of The Boys, it’s no surprise that Vought would be seeking new means to control them and their powers. Now that supes know that they were created with Compound V and not born with their abilities, Vought’s promises of wealth and popularity often aren’t enough to keep them in line. The Boys spinoff Gen V is not only showing us how the young supes in this world are reacting to this news, but also how Vought is adapting before they lose control entirely.
Gen V takes place between seasons 3 and 4 of The Boys, which means that every student at Godolkin University watched Homelander (Antony Starr) kill a civilian with his laser vision and still be greeted with thunderous applause. Between that and Starlight’s (Erin Moriarty) defection, it’s growing increasingly clear that Vought is starting to lose control of their most precious assets. Which is where episode 5 of Gen V comes in.
During a conversation between God U’s Dean Shetty (Shelley Conn) and Dr. Cardosa (Marco Pigossi) in the secret Vought facility The Woods, they briefly mention that they’ve been working on a virus that has the potential to control supes for good. If they are successful, this could be the beginning of Vought’s endgame and have a profound effect on future seasons of The Boys.
Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) has been desperate for a means to take down Homelander since season 1, and even went so far as to inject himself with the volatile Compound V24 to give himself temporary powers in season 3. If he and the boys somehow got their hands on the virus, they could finally take him down. Conversely, Vought could use the virus to send any supe they want after the group and anyone who dares to stand against them.
There’s also a chance that we’ve already seen the virus in action. A current reddit theory argues that Cate (Maddie Phillips) has been infected, and that’s why she’s helping Dean Shetty erase her friends’ memories to keep them away from The Woods. If she’s infected with an early version of the virus, that could also explain why she needs so much medication to keep her powers and the seizures they cause under control. Access to the medication could also be conditional upon her help as a test subject.
From what we’ve seen of her powers thus far, she has to touch a person in order to influence their mind, and the more she uses her power the weaker she gets. However, it seems as though Marie (Jaz Sinclair), Andre (Chance Perdomo), Emma (Lizze Broadway), and Jordan (London Thor and Derek Luh) all had their memories wiped at once. If Cate was infected with the virus, however, Dr. Cardosa could have used it to amplify her powers briefly to cause the group’s blackout.
We might not know much about this virus yet, but the implications of Vought creating such a thing are huge. It’s not a surprise that they would go to such lengths to stay in power, and it further proves that they only see supes as a commodity and not as people. If this truly is Vought’s endgame, then things are bound to get even messier from here.
Five episodes of Gen V are available to stream on Prime Video now. New episodes premiere Fridays culminating with the season 1 finale on Nov. 3.