The Boys showrunner explains the heartbreaking reason behind Hughie Sr.'s superpower: "It was a lesson we learned on Gen V"

(Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

Warning: Spoilers for The Boys season 4 episode 5 below!

The Boys creator Eric Kripke has revealed the heartbreaking reason behind Hughie Sr.'s powers – and it makes his fate all that more heartbreaking.

"We really like when powers can sort of mirror their psychological state, or some of their deep-seated subconscious. I think it was like a lesson we learned on Gen V that really served us well. So we got really interested in this idea of he, based on his relationship with his estranged wife, that he felt really slight," Kripke told Variety

"He has that line, ‘You would look right through me, like I was invisible to you.’ So giving him a power that made that metaphor concrete was something we were really interested in."

In order to save his life following a stroke, Daphne (Rosemarie DeWitt) injects Hughie Sr. with some stolen Compound-V. This backfires immediately, as he loses his memory and gains phase-shifting powers that allow him to move through walls – but has no way to control his powers. Tragically, Hughie ends his father's life in order to stop his suffering. Kripke says the way his powers manifested also has to do with the Campbell DNA, if we're getting scientific about it.

"It’s super subtle, but it says something about the Campbell DNA that Hughie’s power is a teleporting power and his dad’s power is sort of like a phasing power — but both are cousins in a way," Kripke continued. "It was in the same ballpark. In our minds, the power you get is some combo of V and your DNA. And so if he has similar DNA with his dad, it stands to reason that maybe his dad would have a similar power."

With three episodes to go, we can only expect things to get more tragic and chaotic from here. The series was renewed for a fifth and final season.

The Boys season 4 is currently streaming on Prime Video, with new episodes dropping every Thursday. For more, check out our latest coverage on the show:

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.