This article contains spoilers for Gen V episode 4.
Though the term “supe” in The Boys‘ universe is short for “superhero,” everyone knows by now that there’s little heroic about Vought International’s roster of Compound V-enhanced individuals. “Heroes” on The Boys run the gamut from the mostly decent Annie January a.k.a. Starlight (Erin Moriarty) to the bumbling and corrupt The Deep (Chace Crawford) to the outright terrifying and evil Homelander (Antony Starr). And now Gen V has brought us true crime specialist Tek Knight (Derek Wilson), who is malevolent and gross in a way we haven’t witnessed yet.
Ostensibly brought to Godolkin University to investigate Golden Boy’s murder-suicide (but really to find a fall guy for it), Tek Knight is a fascinating character in The Boys‘ canon, not least of which is due to his unusual power set. While the heroes of Vought’s premier team The Seven have the God-like abilities we’ve come to expect from major superheroes, Tek’s powers are less physically destructive but still dangerous all the same.
It turns out that streaming-appropriate good looks weren’t the only thing that Tek Knight was blessed with, he also has the power of super perception to boot. We see how that can be useful shortly after his arrival to God U when he meets with Dean Indira Shetty (Shelley Conn). The show’s cinematography and VFX teams allow us to view things from Tek’s perspective as we are given a privileged look at the sweat on Shetty’s brow and the adrenaline seeping through her pores. That’s how Tek knows that Shetty is lying and it’s what makes him literally a supernaturally perfect choice to be the host of Vought+ true crime docuseries The Whole Truth.
While Tek’s powers on Gen V are interesting enough on their own, what’s really notable is how much they’ve changed from the character’s initial conception. Let’s not forgot that Gen V and The Boys are both based on Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic. And indeed Tek Knight is a character in that comic, but a much different version of the man we’re now seeing in Gen V.
As his name kind of suggests, the Tek Knight (or “Tek-Knight”) of The Boys comic is somewhat of a Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne parody. His real name is Robert Vernon and he was a founding member of Soldier Boy’s Payback team. One of the few supes to not have superpowers, Tek-Knight used his sophisticated battle suit to fight crime along with his peers. Of course, since this is The Boys, he was also sexually psychotic due to a large tumor in his head. As we see by the end of Gen V episode 4, the show does borrow that bit of Tek’s origin story as Dean Shetty discovers Tek’s tumor and his proclivity for fucking inanimate objects.
The nature of Tek Knight’s powers and the absence of his Iron Man-esque suit in Gen V are an even bigger surprise when we consider what The Boys TV show has already suggested about him. Though never seen onscreen until Gen V, Tek Knight has been mentioned several times in the flagship series before. In season 1 it’s revealed that Tek Knight saved a woman’s life but accidentally rendered her paraplegic in the process. In season 2, Homelander is reminded by Vought CEO Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) that he needs to attend the premiere of the movie Tek Knight Lives.
Both of these references suggest that Tek Knight’s powers were more physical and closer to the comic depiction of the character than the version we see in Gen V. But as Dean Shetty notes, Tek’s powers of perception can lead to physical trauma all the same, saying: “Your reputation is formidable. Was it Iron Cast who killed himself the morning after you interrogated him? Strange how many of your subjects end up dead. Or beaten into comas.”
Ultimately, Gen V‘s update of Tek Knight’s powers are another example of what makes The Boys franchise so successful. Writers on both The Boys and Gen V clearly feel empowered to update and tweak comic characters as needed, leading to an experience that works as a TV show and not just an adaptation. Why, exactly, choose Tek Knight to fulfill this particular Gen V role rather than creating an entirely new supe though? Probably because “Tek Knight” is simply too good a name for a sleazy true crime ambulance chaser to pass up.
New episodes of Gen V premiere Fridays on Prime Video culminating with the season 1 finale on Nov. 3.