‘Gen V’ Episode 1 Recap & Ending, Explained: Why Does Golden Boy Explode?


The third season of The Boys ended on a pretty wild note, as almost every single character in the show duked it out with Homelander and Soldier Boy. Homelander openly became a fascist. Soldier Boy was put in some kind of cryostasis. Maeve was presumed to be dead, but she was alive and didn’t have her powers. Butcher found out that his overuse of V24 had given him some kind of cancer. The titular team found out that Neuman was vying for the position of Vice President of the USA, and they marked her as their new target. But instead of continuing that story with a fourth season, showrunners Craig Rosenberg, Evan Goldberg, and Eric Kripke have momentarily shifted their focus to the Godolkin University of Crime Fighting. Just like the name of the institution suggests, it’s where superpowered kids come to hone their powers and join The Seven. The show’s primary protagonist is Marie Moreau, and we see her go from being a traumatized kid to an actual Supe.

Spoiler Alert

There is an underground prison facility at Godolkin University

The first episode of Gen V opens with a young Marie learning about her ability to control blood and subsequently killing both of her parents accidentally. Marie’s sister, Annabeth, luckily survives this incident, but she is clearly traumatized. A time jump takes the narrative to the present day, where we see Marie growing up at the Red River Institute, which seems to be a place meant for superpowered orphans. She idolizes Maeve (because she doesn’t know what she has done or what she has been through), and she wants to become a superhero by enrolling in the crime-fighting classes at Godolkin. But when Marie sees a superpowered individual getting abducted by the Elmira Adult Rehabilitation Center, she doesn’t move a muscle, and that pretty much shows what she prioritizes. She knows that if she stands out in any way, especially in front of an organization that is capturing Supes, she is going to be penalized unfairly. Anyway, she does get into Godolkin, and she is warned by her mentor that it isn’t a cool place because Marie can find herself in a cell if she does anything wrong.

At the Godolkin hostel, Marie is paired up with Emma, who has shrinking powers and is a social media influencer who goes by the name, The Cricket. After learning a little about each other, Emma takes Marie on a tour of the college, where we meet Luke, aka Golden Boy. He has fire based powers. His girlfriend is Cate. She has mind-manipulating powers. His best friend is Andre. He has metal-bending powers. Once the introduction to the main characters is done, Marie goes to the crime-fighting division to learn about Richard Brinkerhoff’s class. However, due to her lack of social media presence and unmarketable powers, Marie’s candidature is rejected by not just Richard but also his assistant, Jordan Li, a gender-shifter with a different set of powers for each personality. Later that night, Marie witnesses a kid trying to run out of the institution by using his superstrength. Without realizing what is going on, Marie and Andre use their powers to apprehend the kid, who is then sedated and taken away by the fully-armed and armored security forces living on the college premises. We see the kid being taken to an underground facility that has these creepy forest drawings on the walls. I guess this is what the counselor at the Red River Institute was talking about. Not weird at all.

Marie’s first night out goes horribly wrong

Emma tries to help Marie make some friends, but Marie realizes that there’s a massive cultural gap between her and the rest of the people because everyone has earned some level of fame, while she has been in a bubble, away from anything that’s synonymous with technology. On top of that, Marie is aware that if she tries to be like anything that she isn’t, it is going to backfire on her, especially since she is not interested in any of the things that the other students are interested in. Luke learns that he is on his way to The Seven. It’s a proud moment for him, but given the situation with The Seven, it’s probably not that big of a deal. Starlight has left. Maeve is gone. Black Noir is dead. So, there’s Homelander, The Deep, and maybe A-Train? That’s just three people. There are four other slots left, and of course, one of them is filled by Godolkin’s top-ranking candidate, i.e., Luke. Elsewhere, Andre invites Marie to a party with the popular group because he likes her superpowers. Marie doesn’t want to go because, even though she hasn’t seen what happens at a party where drugs mix with superpowers, she can imagine what can happen. And she doesn’t want to risk her reputation in any way. Emma, who is way more into socializing with the popular folk, pushes Marie to go to the party.

After a lot of persuasion, Marie decides to go, and she is warmly welcomed by Luke, Andre, Cate, and Jordan. Meanwhile, Emma decides to hook up with a fan named Liam, who wants her to become small and ride him in a sexual way, if you know what I mean. That’s when we learn that Emma has to puke her guts out in order to grow smaller, which is in no way a pleasant experience. She does that for views every day, and now she is doing it to appease a guy. The whole thing ends up being pleasant for Liam, but it turns out to be a hideous ordeal for Emma. Marie opens up to Liam after he opens up about his brother, Sam. In order to fit in, Marie has been lying about her parents. But she admits to Luke that they are actually dead, and she wants to become a Supe so that her sister can stop treating her like a monster. When they enter the party, Marie starts to do hard drugs. Luke begins to hallucinate about a forest and his brother calling out to him. However, it’s Andre who messes things up while trying to woo a girl. He successfully turns a coin into a hummingbird and tries to, let’s say, use it in a creative way to win a bet. When a guy runs into him, Andre loses his focus, and the coin or metal hummingbird slices the neck of an unsuspecting woman. To avoid getting caught, everyone makes a run for it, but Marie hangs back and saves the woman with her blood-controlling superpowers. This is recorded by the people present at the party, and Marie becomes an overnight sensation.

Why does Golden Boy explode?

The night after the disastrous party, Marie is called up by Richard and expelled because she has to take the fall for the rest of the guys. Godolkin ranks them higher than Marie, and they think that Marie’s powers are going to weird out everyone, thereby making her unmarketable as a potential member of The Seven. Hence, she has to take the blame. When Emma catches Marie walking out of the office, she tries to learn what has happened. But Marie simply lashes out at her. Yes, Emma is a little clingy and a little desperate for attention and fame. She doesn’t seem like a bad person, though, and she is clearly battling her own demons. And she doesn’t deserve to be treated like that. She’ll learn how to give someone space when they need it, but Marie shouldn’t have talked to her so aggressively. I mean, Marie wants to portray herself as a superhero. That’s not how a superhero handles a stressful situation. Just saying. Talking about stressful situations, Luke hallucinates yet again, and he sees his baby brother stuck in a forest. This somehow prompts him to talk to Richard. Simultaneously, Marie realizes that she can’t give up on herself so easily, especially when she is hellbent on proving to her sister that she isn’t the bad guy. So she goes to meet Richard too.

During Gen V episode 1’s ending, Marie walks through the doors, and she witnesses Luke incinerating Richard. Marie assures Luke that she hasn’t seen anything and that she won’t say a word to anyone. Luke tries to attack Marie, and she makes a run for it. Jordan comes in between Marie and Luke. So, Luke gets into a fight with Jordan, and they put up a brilliant but badly edited superhero battle. Andre intervenes too, and when Luke realizes what he has done and that he is being recorded, he seemingly calms down. He hugs Andre and tells him something. Then he shoots up into the sky and explodes, thereby showering everyone with his blood and body parts. It’s obvious that whatever triggered Golden Boy to take such a drastic step has something to do with his brother. Since he killed Richard before killing himself, it’s safe to assume that he had something to do with Luke’s dead brother. Given how Golden Boy uttered his last words to Andre, it’s possible that he holds the key to the mystery surrounding his brother and the deceased Richard. Why did Golden Boy kill himself, though? Well, he was clearly suffering from something. I don’t think shame had anything to do with it. He probably couldn’t deal with the constant hallucinations anymore, and he wanted to put a permanent stop to them. I don’t know how fictional superpowers work, so I don’t know how a fire-powered individual can explode. You just have to accept it at face value.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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