“The Boys Presents: Diabolical” is borrowed from the “The Boys” universe and has the same amount of gruesome and raw feel to it. But more than that, it is how the episodes are placed to put forward the different stages of our lives, from infancy to the elderly. Perhaps, in this way, the show aims to portray what it would be like if superpowers became a regular thing.
Episode 1: Laser Baby’s Day Out
A gory and visceral version of Baby’s Day Out, this first episode shows how Vought is experimenting on babies to turn them into superheroes. The episode shows how innocence, which is the highest in babies and the purest, is forgiven no matter how many times it results in destruction, e.g., breaking things, etc. But Laser Baby’s Day Out kicks this characteristic up a notch and turns the baby into a killing machine. This poses the question of whether we would forgive a baby if it killed someone (or, in this case, killed so many people). As viewers, we probably don’t feel bad or judge the baby when she kills all those “bad” people. But the real question is, what’s next for such a baby? It’s clear that she will kill all those whom the doctor points at, which is clearly because she loves him. In this way, the episode also shows the age-old theory of killing for love, something that we have seen in so many movies for so long. As a result, we have the first stage of a human being, i.e., infancy.
Episode 2: Annoyed ‘Supes’ Kill Their Parents
“The Boys Present: Diabolical” Episode 2 depicts the second stage of human development, that of a teenager. The episode shows a group of teenage “supes” who find out that as babies, they were injected with Compound V by their parents, who, upon finding out that their powers turned out useless, left them at an orphanage. These teenage “supes” thus decide to put an end to their parents, who ruined their lives and left them forever. Their rage is a combined result of having useless superpowers as well as the fact that they had no choice in the matter. The angry “supes” kill their parents, but they too are killed by the Homelanders at the end, except for one. But it doesn’t really matter because the deed is done. Ghost, who stayed alive, revealed the truth to all those “orphan supes” at the facility.
This one basically shows the common scenario where parents have already made up their minds about their child’s future. They want their kids to become whatever they want without paying any heed to what the kid likes doing. In this case, the parents want them to be superheroes. The episode vents out the dormant rage that is probably there inside all those teenagers who have to achieve their parents’ dreams. This is further stressed when the narrator, who kills his father, peels the skin off his father’s face and puts it on. He then turns to the mirror and tells himself, “I’m sorry for being selfish, son. I love you.” The line is symbolic of a child’s desire to have his parents realize their mistakes and accept it. Alternatively, it is also symbolic of a child killing a parent and then using the same excuse that the parents must have used, or usually use, after doing something against their child’s wishes, all in the name of love. And being a teenager is precisely when this happens, whether we like to believe it or not.
Episode 3: Drugs (Another Diabolical Part Of Our Society And An Unwanted Part Of Our Lives)
For a show based on “The Boys,” an episode on drugs is only significant if not necessary. Butcher traces down a drug dealer who provides heroine enemas to a “supe” known as “Wide Wonder.” Butcher intends to take revenge for some people Wide Wonder killed out of fun (and in space). Butcher gives the drug dealer a mix that will enhance the drug’s effects to the point of almost “no return.” And the same thing happens too. Wide Wonder not only ends up killing himself but another “supe” too. Perhaps the creators intended to show the repercussions of drug usage by reflecting its effects even on superheroes, thereby stressing the harm they cause.
Episode 4: Adolescence and Social Media
This episode is perhaps the most relatable of all the episodes in “The Boys Presents: Diabolical.” And to think about it, it can be diabolical too. It is a fact that adolescents constitute a major part of social media usage. People today can go to almost any extent to gain popularity on social media. In the episode, we have Boyd, who falls in love with Cherry but is unable to approach her due to a lack of confidence, something many of us go through too. But when he finds out about a Vought cream that will give him the face he wants, he goes for it. And as expected, he becomes handsome. Cherry falls in love with him. She too uses the Vought cream and becomes a pussycat because that’s what she feels she is and wants to look like (the cliché comparison of women with cats, for some God-forsaken reason no one knows, is made evident here). The couple gains popularity and a huge fan following on social media, something that creates a distance between the two.
There’s fame, and along with it comes drugs. Their personal lives are ruined, and Boyd even goes to jail for beating up a person. Both are fired from Vought, whose contract they had signed when they nodded to be test subjects for the cream. They end up breaking up. And Boyd dies as a result of a compound V overdose. The ending is also apt, with one of the scientists taking a picture of Boyd’s blown-up head (and perhaps posting it too). This is just another way of showing how we have all turned into machines whose job is to take pictures of everything that our minds find interesting and post them on social media. Furthermore, it also shows how looks are considered everything today, even if they are fake. And how social media has barred us from realizing what’s truly important in life, i.e., love.
Episode 5: Life Is Turd (For The Inability To Use The Common Word For It)
Episode 5 just proves a point, i.e., life is a turd, but what matters is to find the beauty in it too. Why? Well, because every turd has a silver lining. Sky drinks some compound V and produces a turd that is alive. And not just that, she has the power to control turds and bring them alive. The whole episode seems to be a satire on how a person can make do with any turd as long as it is his or her own.
Episode 6: Married Life, Kids, and Divorce
The next stage of life, after adolescence and handling our own turd, is sharing it with someone, i.e., marriage. “The Boys Presents: Diabolical” Episode 6 depicts the issues that a married couple (Nubia and Nubian Prince) go through, where their powers are symbolic of their responsibilities. Their being able to fight monsters together is symbolic of their being able to tackle any issue together. However, as far as their family life goes, this is not so. And they are on the verge of divorce. Their daughter Maya tries to bring them together with the help of a monster, and she is successful in doing so. But things again get back to the way they were (everyday arguments) until finally, Maya decides that their parents are better off divorced. Oftentimes, in the argument between a husband and wife, the child has to pay the price. And the way Maya tries to get her parents back together is proof of what’s best for a family, i.e., to be together. However, upon realizing that her parents were more of a team than a family, she opts for separation, something that will probably sort things out or at least cut down on the daily arguments. We do not know what happened to Maya. But then, that’s how it is. Do parents think about their kids when opting for a divorce? We will leave the answer to you.
Episode 7: Old Age and Death
John and Sun-Hee have grown old together, and now John is unable to accept that his wife will soon be leaving him forever. John gives Sun-Hee a dose of compound V so that her cancer gets cured, and it does, but only at the cost of the cancer turning into a monster that is killing everyone. Ultimately, a now-powered Sun-Hee bids goodbye to her loving husband and sacrifices herself to kill the cancerous monster. Episode 7 is about letting go. When the time comes, one has to let go, and no matter what you do, you cannot hold on to it. Death is a part of life, and although love never triumphs over it, it remains forever. We need to accept reality and move on, keeping love alive.
Episode 8: Anger Management
Let’s admit it, we all need it. And homelanders need it more than anyone else. “The Boys Presents: Diabolical” finale, Episode 8, shows where it all started for Homelander, as in how he was acquired by Vought Corporation. From the looks of it, he wasn’t really the over-the-top “supe” known for his anger management issues. However, it seems that he did have a tragic childhood wherein he was subjected to immense pain (probably at Vought itself) to test his limits and how the compound V reacts to them. (The process is pretty much like what we saw in Deadpool). So it is possible that all that inherent rage in Homelander is what is coming out now. This is pretty much the case for all of us. The pain that we have inside us tends to vent out by hurting others (not necessarily physically, but emotionally too). And it is perhaps Black Noir (our dark side) that makes us feel okay about it, much like he did to Homelander.
Overall, “The Boys Presents: Diabolical” is a visceral representation of the emotions that we all have inside us. With “The Boys” Season 3 arriving in June, this series keeps alive the gruesome vibe of the Boys franchise that had started to fade away. There is also a mention of Soldier Boy in Episode 8, which is a sign of his live-action debut in “The Boys” Season 3. Soldier Boy leads his own team of seven in Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s The Boys comics set during World War II. The character will be played by Jensen Ackles (Supernatural).
“The Boys Presents: Diabolical” is an Animated Action Series streaming on Amazon Prime.