This post contains heavy spoilers for THE BOYS “Herogasm”
If an hour of television ever deserved a “don’t try this at home” warning, it is “Herogasm,” the sixth episode of The Boys season three. The episode brings the titular characters to an annual superhero orgy, in which Supes use their abilities to pursue all manner of unusual sexual activity. But some things simply cannot be done, even if you have the amazing abilities of characters in the show.
That’s one of the most important takeaways from a vast article about “Herogasm” published in Variety. Discussing the moment when the sea-faring Supe is found having sex with an octopus, The Deep actor Chace Crawford assured readers that “Scientifically it can’t actually happen… There’s not an orifice.”
For showrunner Eric Kripke, that impossibility is exactly why the octopus sex scene needed to be included. In adapting the Herogasm miniseries spun out from the comic series The Boys, written by co-creator Garth Ennis and penciled by John McRea, Kripke knew that he could not replicate the extremities of the famously tasteless series. “[T]here were some things in there I just would not want to touch – literally or figuratively,” Kripke revealed. So while editing out some elements that would fit the show’s tone (“outrageous but never gratuitous,” as Kripke put it), the producers and writers had the opportunity to find new moments to take its place.
The intimate moment between The Deep and an octopus came from the unlikely source of the award-winning documentary My Octopus Teacher. According to Crawford, Kripke’s only thought while watching “a very touching documentary” was “Is the guy, like, sexual with it? Is he going to, like, fuck this octopus?” Although the idea was seeded earlier in the season, when The Deep first brought an octopus into his sexual activities, everyone involved staged the scene for maximum effect. In fact, Erin Moriarty, whose character Starlight discovers The Deep and the octopus mid-thrust, refused to see the act before her scene, so the camera could capture her real reaction.
For Crawford, the real challenge came from the practical concerns of working with a fake octopus. “[T]hat rig was the most cumbersome and annoying,” Crawford laughed. “I didn’t realize how heavy it was going to be… It was hanging around and they wrapped it, but it was so heavy they kept having to detach legs because I couldn’t last all day doing it with this 40-pound thing.”
While there’s no question that Crawford and his fellow creatives worked hard to bring the scene to life, they do run the risk of being overshadowed in an episode like “Herogasm.” With a new outrageous image arriving on-screen every couple of minutes, even a love scene between a superhero and a cephalopod could pass by. Fortunately, even among all the chatter about the battle between Homelander and Soldier Boy, viewers did sympathize with Crawford and his vulnerable performance.
Perhaps the most shocking part of “Herogasm” is the fact that The Boys Season three still has two more episodes to go. Who knows what other horrors we’ll see, or if they will be scientifically accurate?