Gen V: The Unnerving Similarities Between Dean Shetty and Butcher

Gen V episode 7 reveals that Dean Shetty is a lot more than the Vought puppet she's appeared to be.

Dean Shetty (Shelley Conn) walks through an alley to meet Colonel Mallory on Gen V
Photo: Brooke Palmer/Prime Video

This article contains spoilers for Gen V season 1 and The Boys through season 3.

From the beginning of The Boys spinoff Gen V, Indira Shetty (Shelley Conn), the dean of Godolkin University, has appeared to be just another person whose morals have been bought by Vought. The secret experiments that she and Dr. Cardosa (Marco Pigossi) have been performing on young supes in the secret on-campus facility dubbed The Woods are cruel, but not any more so than what Stormfront (Aya Cash) and Lamplighter were doing to the supes held at the Vought facility Sage Grove in The Boys season 2.

Until episode 7, Dr. Cardosa even believed that the supe-targeting virus that he’s been working on was for Vought so that they could find a way to control supes and keep them in line. However, in the episode “Sick,” Shetty reveals to Cardosa that Vought has no idea about the deadly virus that he’s been creating, and that she has actually been the mastermind of The Woods’ experiments.

While trying to gather evidence on The Woods to implicate Shetty, Marie (Jaz Sinclair) and Jordan (London Thor and Derek Luh) discover that Shetty’s husband and daughter were killed in the crash of Transoceanic Flight 37 a.k.a the plane that Homelander (Antony Starr) let crash in The Boys season 1. Meanwhile, Shetty has gone into the city to meet with Colonel Grace Mallory (Laila Robins), an on-again, off-again ally of Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), and tells her about her plan to spread the virus worldwide and rid the world of supes. 

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Even for someone who works with Billy Butcher, this plan is a step too far for Mallory, and she dismisses Shetty. But even though Shetty doesn’t find the ally she thinks she will in this meeting, this encounter proves that she and Butcher are a lot more alike than we thought.

Over the last 3 seasons of The Boys, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) has only slightly shifted from his position that “all supes are evil” to “maybe a couple of supes are okay people.” The one position of his that hasn’t changed is his desire to kill Homelander.

Shetty similarly has a singular focus on killing Homelander as revenge for the death of loved ones, and doesn’t really care who else she kills in the process. Even though she says that she loves Cate (Maddie Phillips), Shetty is clearly not above using the young supe as a tool to get what she wants – the death of all other supes.

If it meant getting rid of Homelander and all of the other corrupted supes, there’s a good chance that Butcher would be willing to consider helping Shetty release the virus. Using the volatile V24 to temporarily give himself powers last season has given Butcher a terminal illness, which means that he’s now on the clock to take down Homelander once and for all. Butcher isn’t the type to just sit around and wait to die hoping that the others will be able to take care of Homelander without him, especially now that Homelander has taken custody of Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) and began to corrupt his morals.

If Shetty had lived beyond this season of Gen V, it would have been interesting to see if she found Butcher in season 4 of The Boys after failing to convince Mallory of her plan. But with Cardosa dead and the virus samples on the move in the hands of Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit), there’s still a chance that Billy finds out about it and tries to spread the virus himself.

It’s wild to think about a “good guy” and a “bad guy” having the same goals in this universe, but that’s what makes The Boys and Gen V so interesting to watch. Giving Shetty the same motivations as Butcher rather than her being just another Vought puppet not only makes her a slightly more sympathetic character, but also makes us question the morality of both characters as these series move forward. Would Butcher also be willing to kill every supe on the planet if it meant taking out Homelander for good? 

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Shetty’s plan is obviously extreme, but so is resurrecting a dead Super Soldier that’s been frozen for decades and essentially has a bomb in his chest that randomly explodes (something Butcher and the Boys just did last season). I’d like to think that Butcher’s impending death will change him in some way for the better, but we’ve also seen how far Butcher’s willing to go when he’s desperate, and desperate people will do desperate things when faced with their own mortality.

The Gen V season 1 finale premieres Friday, Nov. 3 on Prime Video.