SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Payback,” “The Only Man in the Sky” and “Barbary Coast,” the first three episodes of “The Boys” Season 3.
Everything is finally going well for Hughie (Jack Quaid) in “The Boys” Season 3 premiere until, as star Claudia Doumit puts it to Variety, “In true ‘Boys’ fashion, just at the end of the first episode, we’ve seen enough of that and we need blood, we want chaos.”
After spending the year following the Season 2 finale working for Congresswoman Victoria Neuman (Doumit) at the Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs, Hughie finds out at the end of Friday’s Season 3 premiere that Neuman is a supe herself. She kills an innocent man from her past to keep her status quiet, not knowing Hughie is watching in the shadows, horrified to learn who his colleague and friend truly is.
“I think the biggest challenge in that is, as an actor, knowing that it’s inevitably going to go downhill, but trying to put that aside and make yourself believe that things are going well,” Quaid said. “Especially since the audience knows that Victoria Neuman is a supe and was the one exploding people’s heads, a sentence that never gets old, last season. And there’s that dramatic irony there where you know more than the characters. So it felt kind of odd at first, to be honest, to have a smile on my face during those scenes. Like that’s not really a thing that I’m used to on the show, being the happy-go-lucky person who is fulfilled in their life. They’re not looking for danger around every turn. But I just knew it was going to be so juicy when, ultimately, Hughie finds out the truth about Neuman and just feels so betrayed and realizes that he’s going to have to enter that life that he wanted to leave behind again. Because he starts out very idealistic, he wants to believe that there’s a right way to take down supes and that the justice system will prevail. But then it all just comes crashing down. And I think it’s really heartbreaking for him, because he thought he finally had it figured out.”
He thought he had it figured out so much so that he had Butcher (Karl Urban), Frenchie (Tomer Capone) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) working for him and the “good” guys throughout that year doing things in an organized and orderly fashion. “That really bothers Butcher. And I think it bothers Hughie that Bucher still doesn’t take him seriously,” Quaid said. “They’ve had to renegotiate who they are to each other, especially in the beginning of the season.”
By the end of the first three episodes of “The Boys” Season 3, which all debuted Friday on Amazon Prime Video, Hughie is back doing things the old way with Butcher while sorting out how to handle Neuman. That matter is complicated when it’s revealed to viewers that Neuman’s work in the government is done directly in the name of Vought, as Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) is secretly her adoptive father.
“A lot of what’s happening for her this season is she has to reassess her allegiances and what’s working for her and and who to trust, essentially,” Doumit said. “And we see that she has to make a couple of big sacrifices that benefit her initially, but are definitely going to cost her later on down the road… It was endlessly fascinating to be able to dive deeper into Neuman and see what motivates her and where she comes from and why she is the way she is.”
Now that Hughie knows her secret, and Neuman is on to the fact that Hughie knows, she’s going to be trying harder than ever keep her powers under wraps. And that’s what Doumit tries to do whenever she is acting as Neuman using her power to explode heads, which comes out through her eyes.
“For Neuman, in many aspects, subtlety is the name of the game because she is someone that does not want to be figured out,” Doumit said. “She wears many masks. She needs to kind of maintain that aura of an unassuming person. So when I’m doing the powers, it’s a lot of subtly through the yes.”