1 Detail Suggests Hughie Is Developing Permanent Powers In The Boys

1 Detail Suggests Hughie Is Developing Permanent Powers In The Boys

A small detail from The Boys season 3, episode 5 hints that V24 might not be totally temporary. Is Hughie getting permanent powers in The Boys?

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for The Boys season 3, episode 5.

A clever detail in The Boys season 3 might prove Hughie and Butcher’s V-24 isn’t quite as “24” as the name suggests. Over the first two seasons of Amazon’s The Boys TV series, the superpower line was clearly defined – either someone had Compound-V running through their veins, or they didn’t. Speaking with Robert Singer in The Boys season 3’s premiere, Stan Edgar changed the landscape by introducing Vought’s latest attempt at cracking the military: V-24. According to the bottle, one dose of V-24 will give a person superpowers for approximately one day before wearing off. Billy Butcher and Hugh Campbell have both started taking doses before missions, with Butcher getting laser eyes and Hughie learning to teleport.

Hughie giving himself powers plays directly into his relationship insecurities. Romancing Starlight means relying on her for beating up villains or opening stubborn jars, and Wee Hughie’s masculine ego just can’t take it. The jar issue has proven especially sticky, coming to symbolize Hughie’s inner feelings of inadequacy. During the opening episodes of The Boys season 3, Starlight opens a container Hughie was struggling with over breakfast, and when exactly the same trouble arises the next morning, he smashes the glass in sheer frustration.

Related: Stan Edgar’s The Boys Twist Explained (Will He Return?)

The Boys season 3, episode 5 (“The Last Time To Look On This World Of Lies”) hints that Hughie might be getting more than he bargained for with V-24. He injects Compound-V ahead of episode 4’s Russian lab mission, then episode 5 picks up the following morning with Hughie throwing up green puke. The Boys then fly home from Moscow to New York – a trip that typically takes 11 hours – and next appears at home with Starlight. It’s here that Hughie strides over to a kitchen cupboard, grabs the same kind of jar that mocked him only a few days earlier, and effortlessly opens the lid without any assistance from his girlfriend. Given the episode’s timeline and Hughie’s vomiting, the V-24 should’ve worn off by this point. If it hadn’t, Hughie surely would’ve demonstrated his new teleportation trick to Starlight. Opening the jar lid might, therefore, suggest V-24 leaves lingering, permanent aftereffects.

Jack Quaid as Hughie opening jar in The Boys

Back when Stan Edgar introduced V-24 to his politician friend, the Vought CEO readily admitted the product wasn’t field ready, and scientists were still resolving kinks in the formula. The Boys has already confirmed the drug doesn’t 100% function as advertised, and one of those kinks could be a residual amount of Compound-V remaining even after 24 hours. In effect, this would mean Hughie loses his teleportation and the strength to punch clean through another man’s chest, but still possesses increased physical attributes – stronger, faster and more resilient than he’d usually be.

There’s a similar-ish precedent in Garth Ennis’ original The Boys comics. The source material’s version of MM gained his super-strength not via injection, but through his mother working in a factory previously used as a Compound-V lab. Background amounts of the blue stuff seeped into her system and were passed down to MM who received the same standard physical power set (strength, durability, agility) Butcher, Frenchie and Hughie gain artificially. Maybe Hughie taking V-24 in Amazon’s live-action The Boys TV show borrows the same basic principle, and trace amounts of V left in his bloodstream lead to permanent physical enhancement without any of the crazier abilities many proper supes possess.

Another explanation is that opening the jar was always a psychological stumbling block for Jack Quaid’s Hugh Campbell. Before injecting V-24, Hughie was riddled with low self-esteem and confidence issues, feeling mightily inadequate compared to his super-powered girlfriend. Getting a taste of Compound-V buoyed Hughie’s ego and left him on a huge high. Maybe knocking down that psychological barrier is the real reason Hughie shows that pesky jar who’s boss in The Boys season 3, episode 5.

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The Boys continues Friday on Prime Video.

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Craig Elvy
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Craig first began contributing to Screen Rant in 2016, several years after graduating college, and has been ranting ever since, mostly to himself in a darkened room. Having previously written for various sports and music outlets, Craig’s interest soon turned to TV and film, where a steady upbringing of science fiction and comic books finally came into its own.
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