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The Whole Truth
The Whole Truth
Because The Boys is such a fast-paced show with such a large ensemble, it rarely gets to slow down for a “monster of the week” episode. But it’s useful to differentiate Gen V from its parent show, and the daily ecosystem of a setting like Godolkin University lends itself particularly well to that type of format.
“The Whole Truth” keeps up the brisk pace that the first three episodes established, but it’s also relatively short and pleasantly episodic, broadly focused around one new villain: Tek Knight (Derek Wilson), a Vought investigator who visits Godolkin to look into Golden Boy’s death for his true-crime series The Whole Truth. Tek’s superhuman vision provides a fun twist on Sherlock Holmes-esque observation techniques: He can sense when people are lying by noticing dilated pupils, beads of forehead sweat, and other subtle cues. Bringing in someone who can see through all the lies helps raise the stakes; we know that everyone at God U has secrets, and Tek’s arrival threatens to bring them to light.
Now is a particularly bad time, with Emma missing and Dean Shetty desperately trying to keep Sam’s escape from the Woods under wraps. (It turns out the last episode’s cliffhanger wasn’t really as concerning as it seemed. The guards at the Woods were no match for Sam and Emma.) Tek can tell something is off right away, and he already knows the truth about Brink and Luke. His mission on this visit isn’t to actually figure out the truth; it’s to find a patsy.
A true crime parody is right in Gen V’s wheelhouse, and there’s a touch of commentary here about how cynical storytellers exploit the pain of victims and their families. Tek’s interview subjects often end up dead, from suicide or otherwise, after meeting him. And while nobody in our squad is at risk of that, they’re also totally unprepared for his needling.
During spliced-together interviews with Andre, Jordan, and Cate, Tek manages to efficiently poke at their various insecurities: Andre and Jordan both coveted Luke’s top spot in the rankings, and the former also coveted his best friend’s girlfriend. Cate, meanwhile, shaped her life around Golden Boy, changing her major from crime-fighting to hero management so she could one day manage him. Tek most effectively provokes Andre, who’s still reeling from the discovery that his father’s heroic persona might be a total fiction. He idolized Polarity as a kid and wanted to be like him, but now he knows that his dad is covering for Vought — helping hide the truth of what Brink was involved in.
Some of this skews a little unbelievable; I had to rewind to make sure I correctly heard Tek’s question, “How long have you been eating Golden Boy’s girlfriend’s hole?” (It feels like there would be some pretense of civility, even if provocation is Tek’s main strategy.) I’m also a little unclear on how many of Tek’s characterizations are based in fact. He’s looking for any possible motive so he can suggest a plausible patsy, but we’re supposed to think there’s some truth to his deductions. But because we got so little time with Luke — and because his friends have been pretty effusive about their love for him since his death — we haven’t seen these apparent resentments. Has Andre been after Cate for a while, and did Cate want to stick with crime-fighting?
Tek’s interrogation of Marie is the most consequential, especially because of the setting: a guest lecture in a superhero branding class. He uses Marie as an (involuntary) volunteer to demonstrate his techniques, destabilizing her by mentioning her sister, and before long she’s admitting the truth. Not only was Jordan the one who actually fought Golden Boy, but Marie was supposed to be expelled that day.
I hope we see how this revelation affects Marie’s ranking and campus popularity because it should be a big blow to her cred. But “The Whole Truth” blows past the social fallout for now, with Tek shifting his focus to Dean Shetty. After all, she’s “just a human,” not one of the supes who bring Vought so much money. When it comes out that Sam has escaped — something Tek figured out by reading the dean’s face — she’ll be in big trouble.
The episode’s way of resolving this story falls flat: Shetty blackmails Tek with a video compilation of the many holes on campus where he has stuck his dick. (Get it? The “hole” truth?) I know this compulsion is taken from the comics — along with the brain tumor that triggered it — but personally speaking, it’s hard to react much to a random supe humping inanimate objects after the other stuff we’ve seen in this universe, even in this same episode. It’s also just a little too convenient of a way to wrap up Tek’s episodic story and maintain the dean’s fictions.
The rest of “The Whole Truth” deals with Sam and Emma, who hide out at a drive-in movie theater. This stuff is a bit rushed, too, with Sam moving past the initial news of his brother’s death pretty quickly. (It’s just a matter of Emma reassuring him that she won’t leave him the way everyone else does.) The focus, first and foremost, is their budding flirtation, built on shared weirdness. And there are some cute moments here, especially when Sam says, “We’re both sick,” and Emma quietly replies with a “yeah.” Kudos to Lizze Broadway, who lets you see just how gratified Emma would be to find someone who isn’t turned off by her powers.
But Sam is more concerned with killing the people who hurt him (and could still hurt Emma). So, with the help of some encouragement from a televised hallucination of Jason Ritter and a puppet of the Deep, he sets off to find Dr. Cardosa. By the time he arrives at his home, Emma has enlisted the rest of the gang for help. So Cardosa and his family presumably live to see another day.
There’s lots of fun in these final minutes, especially with Emma binge eating to become huge enough to stop the super-strong Sam. It’s another warm-and-fuzzy resolution to a high-stakes situation, with Andre and the others assuring Sam that they’re all on the same side. Maybe with Sam free of the Woods, everyone can band together and get to the bottom of what’s really happening at Godolkin.
Before we can get to that point, though, the episode cuts abruptly to the next morning, with Marie in bed with Jordan. It’s a confusing moment, but it seems that’s by design. What happened to interrupt that confrontation at Dr. Cardosa’s house, and which supe is responsible? As soon as one mystery ends, another begins.
• Most people will want to discuss this episode’s “tag-team cocksplosion,” which is indeed pretty wild: Marie uses her blood-bending abilities to engorge Rufus’s penis until it bursts. It’s a fitting punishment for Rufus, who seems to have a pattern of using his psychic abilities to “roofie” girls on campus.
• I’m into the developing romance between Marie and Jordan, though so far, I much prefer London Thor’s performance over Derek Luh’s.
• Nice acknowledgment of Johnny Depp’s campaign of obfuscation and misdirection against Amber Heard, though I can tell the Depp defenders watching will interpret the joke the opposite way.
• “Just leave me alone, television’s Jason Ritter!”
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