Warning: Massive spoilers for Gen V season 1 episode 8 ahead!
Gen V has come to an end (for now, anyway – it'll be back for season 2) and I'm not mad... I'm just disappointed.
The good news: the final episode of season 1 gives us the moment we've all been waiting for. The doors to each cell in The Woods are opened. The kiddos are freed. Instead of being left to die by way of that evil virus, they've been liberated by Cate of all people – who has decided to 'do the right thing' mid-psychotic-break and take down everyone who isn't a Supe. We get a pretty stellar shot of Cate leading the newly liberated Supes through the halls of The Woods, with Sam in tow, before she basically tells them that getting revenge is their God-given right.
And then chaos ensues. The slaughter begins. Campus is quite literally on fire, and the best part is: no one knows whether or not to intervene or immediately start live-streaming. Here is where we get some of the gnarliest kills and fights in the entire series: Sam punches right through a security guard's helmet and straight into his head, and Cate commands another guard to eat his own head. Marie has a full-out battle with Maverick, the invisible RA – and it's just as weird and cool as you'd hope.
The bad news: everything stops making sense after a while. We learn that Polarity and Andre are dying a little each time they use their powers (which could apply to everyone injected with Compound V, though the only person we really see become weak after using their powers is Cate). Ashley Barrett and Vought decide the best way to save everything is by enlisting a Godolkin Supe to join the Seven – and call Marie up mid-slaughter, promising her a meeting with her sister if she kills Cate and co. It's unclear if Marie takes this offer seriously, because killing Cate and the rest of the freed Supes is the last thing she wants to do – but the scene feels lazily thrown in. Sam completely rips Emma a new one, seemingly feeling nothing in the process and leaving her a crying mess, and then almost has a change of heart in the very next scene. Oh, and Homelander shows up.
While I don't really think the show needed the other cameos, the Homelander appearance makes sense. I audibly groaned, but it makes sense. Who else would be powerful enough to stop the campus massacre?
But that's when the major plot twist happens and the episode ends and I sat in front of my computer for five minutes with my mouth fully open. Homelander doesn't show up to stop Cate and Sam from leading an army of angry Supes and killing every human in sight. Instead, he asks Marie if she likes harming her fellow Supes before immediately subduing her. Plot twist! Cate must have manipulated a media broadcast to paint Marie, Jordan, Andre, and Emma as the bad guys – with said broadcast depicting Cate and Sam as the new 'Guardians of Godolkin.' The four wake up in a hospital room with no doors and boom, cut to credits.
We could have stopped the season at episode 6, where we got our massive cliffhanger about that Supe-killing virus that could change the fate of The Boys universe forever. We could have also stopped at episode 7, which ended with Victoria Neuman bottling up said virus for her own special distribution. The cliffhanger at the end of episode 8 doesn't feel as shocking. It feels a little last minute, like an idea that was initially cut from a first draft. In fact, if we hadn't seen the news broadcast that depicts Sam and Cate as the heroes – Marie and co. being attacked by Homelander and ending up in the prison-hospital room would've been actually been shocking. We already knew Cate had turned her powers into overdrive and manipulated everyone around her with strength than ever before – and we could have began season 2 with Homelander watching the news broadcast.
Heck, I'm not even sure I'm sold on Cate being so motivated by guilt (after it was revealed that she was manipulating Luke and was well aware of the horrible experiments going on at The Woods the entire time) that she suddenly decides to 'do what's right' and get revenge. Sam going on a killing spree and getting revenge, however, feels absolutely warranted given all of the horrible things that were done to him. In a way, he deserves to be on that news broadcast. It feels like retribution.
Gen V is one of the best shows to hit streaming in 2023, but it frequently gets caught up in its own mess. The season finale is fun as hell, but the ending is frustrating – and it doesn't feel earned. Regardless, we'll be waiting in front of our laptops when the clock strikes midnight on the day of the season 2 premiere.
Gen V is streaming now on Prime Video. For more, check out the rest of our coverage:
- Where does Gen V take place on The Boys timeline?
- Gen V release schedule
- Can you watch Gen V without watching The Boys?
- Everything you need to know about The Boys season 4
- A Homelander Easter egg you might have missed
- Why Jordan Li is the best superhero in years
- Gen V may have introduced a Supe that can take down Homelander
- A major Gen V character had a secret cameo in The Boys season 3