SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read if you haven’t watched “Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed,” the July 1 episode of “The Boys.”
The penultimate episode of Season 3 of “The Boys” revealed Black Noir’s (Nathan Mitchell) history with Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) in the cutest, goriest way possible.
During Episode 7, Noir hides out in an abandoned children’s restaurant called Buster Beaver’s after running away from Vought Tower upon learning that Soldier Boy is still alive. Noir doesn’t tell anyone, including his best friend and Captain Homelander (Antony Starr), where he’s been and lives there in isolation – while being joined by several imaginary cartoon friends.
Noir’s animated animal buddies have him face his fears of Soldier Boy by recreating the event that made him so completely terrified of Soldier Boy in the first place, a day when Soldier Boy beat him up after he beat him up. stood up to, as well as the near-fatal attack Soldier Boy made on Noir the day he led Payback to conspire to have Soldier Boy kidnapped by the Russians, which left Noir’s face disfigured.
“I love that we’re revealing who he is, I love how we do it even more,” said ‘The Boys’ showrunner Eric Kripke. Variety. “When you look at all the different layers of these cartoons, it’s these animated characters that only he can see, that he’s probably been able to see since season 1 of the show; they’ve been around him all this time. I mean, that’s definitely what we’re implying. And they impersonate the characters from his flashback on a stage presented as an animated, elementary school musical. It’s a lot. There’s a lot going on there.
Kripke says animation studio Six Point Harness helped the Amazon Prime Video series “with the ‘Roger Rabbit’ of everything,” in these animated sequences he loves “so much” of cute animals dressed as supes, playing the drama and violence from the story of Black Noir and Soldier Boy. (There’s also a post-credits scene after the episode, featuring the cartoons bowing, so make sure you don’t miss that.)
“They’re adorable, aren’t they?” I kept giving the direction, it would be like Martin Scorsese directing ‘Snow White’,” Kripke said. “Adorable Disney characters, but once the beatings happen, they’re as anatomically correct as a real human body’s reaction when exposed to that kind of violence. And it’s a sizzling combination.
The revelation of Noir’s facial disfigurement comes several episodes after the first – and so far only – time “The Boys” fans encountered the man under the mask. In Season 3 Episode 3, an unmasked young Black Noir, played by Fritzy-Klevans Destine, is seen briefly speaking with Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito). Noir tells him that he doesn’t want to wear the mask anymore and wants to be taken seriously as a black superhero and actor, before Soldier Boy is kidnapped. He is shown again in this episode after Soldier Boy is taken, this time with half of his face bloodied and damaged beyond repair, although it is implied in this episode that general warfare is what led to injury.
So far, these are the only times viewers have seen Black Noir’s face – the series has never yet shown Mitchell unmasked – and Kripke says this will be the only time in the rest of Season 3 of ” The Boys”.
“We wanted to explore Noir’s origin story and really reveal who he was and where he came from,” Kripke said. “And in the flashbacks, he was a handsome young superhero with aspirations of being the next Eddie Murphy, but he was targeted by Soldier Boy and in such an extreme way that he ended up being really out of shape. And in our minds, once he got over it and put the mask back on, he rarely, rarely, takes it off Darth Vader style, so there was no point that felt natural. We played with, like, when he’s at Buster Beaver’s, does he take the mask off? And we were like, but why? He’s so ashamed of who he’s become that it didn’t feel right.