The Boys season 4 episode 1 recap and review: “Department of Dirty Tricks”

The Boys is back and as good as ever in the season 4 premiere!
Singer Neuman
Singer Neuman /

The Boys season 4 episode 1, “Department of Dirty Tricks,” begins with an epic recap of the first three seasons of the series, including the incredible season 3 finale that changed the playing field. 

The season 4 premiere really begins with the Boys at an election night rally for Victoria Neuman and Robert Singer. The Boys are on a top-secret mission, but Butcher is nowhere to be found. He’s throwing up in an alley, but is he still feeling the side effects of Temp V? Is he giving up on life? We’ll find out shortly! 

Kimiko and Frenchie, dressed as waiters catering the event, kick Butcher, clearly not in his right mind, out of the elevator and proceed on their mission. 

In the first look at Homelander in season 4, he’s peeing at urinal at the campaign event. He finds what appears to be one grey pubic hair, which he plucks, before pulling himself together and taking Ryan to the floor of Neuman’s event. 

Mother’s Milk, Starlight, and Hughie see Homelander on the security cameras and call Butcher, Kimiko, and Frenchie off, but we know Butcher isn’t going to listen. 

Neuman is seriously angry that Homelander appeared at her event, especially after lasering that guy who threw a plastic bottle at Ryan in the season 3 finale. 

After Ryan’s sent to the kitchen for ice cream, Butcher asks him if he wants out, if he wants to get away from Homelander, but Homelander interferes. Homelander sees the effects of Temp V on Butcher’s brain. He asks him if he has six months to live before forcing Ryan to come back to the event with him. “I do not want to miss Smashmouth,” Homelander says. 

In the hotel, Frenchie breaks into Neuman’s room and switches her eye drops. They’re clearly trying to blind her and neutralize her powers. Zoey, Neuman’s daughter, arrives and sees secret service in the hotel room. She knows they aren’t supposed to be there, and she uses snake mouth powers to kill the secret service and rip off Kimiko’s arm. Kimiko and Frenchie jump out of the nearest window, and Starlight saves them! Well, kind of! She drops Kimiko, who smashes into the street below, but she lives, as her skin and bones regrow back together. 

During that whole mess, Neuman comes to the stakeout van and talks to Hughie. They have a much-needed conversation about her past and their history. She says that she was scared to tell Hughie that she was a Supe because she’d lose him. Hughie throws acid on her, trying to blind her, but it doesn’t work. Not wanting to kill a friend, she offers a truce to Hughie. Butcher, then, shows up and shoots her in the head, but it obviously doesn’t matter. She lives, and then she breaks the news that they “called Arizona.” She’s well on her way to the presidency. 

Grace Mallory and Robert Singer call MM into the CIA headquarters where they talk about the failed mission to take out Neuman. The plan becomes clear that Singer, who appears to have won the election, doesn’t actually want Neuman anywhere near the Oval Office with him, but to do that, they have to stop Neuman from using her powers, which explains why Frenchie and Kimiko were in her room with the eyedrops. Cool. Makes sense, right? But, it’s not going well! 

While waiting for MM, Butcher meets Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Joe Kessler, who makes fun of Butcher for not keeping his eye on the ball with Homelander. They could have killed him with Soldier Boy, but Butcher got in the way. He offers Butcher a chance to join his team, the team that’s going to stop the Supes from rounding humans up and putting them in camps. 

At Vought Tower, the Deep, A-Train, Homelander, and a new Black Noir are trying to pick two new members of The Seven with Ashley. Homelander is distraught about being surrounded by sycophants and imbeciles. After trying to make Deep perform a sex act on A-Train as a show of his power over the group, Homelander loses his mind and leaves the meeting. 

The Boys are still struggling with trying to find a way to kill Neuman.The crew wants Butcher gone, but Hughie won’t give up the dream of Butcher on the team. 

Shortly after, Butcher meets with Neuman and offers to scratch her back if he scratches his. He wants Ryan away from Homelander, and he proposes a deal. Butcher references the virus that was used at Godolkin in Gen V season 1. Neuman is trying to make it strong enough to kill Homelander, or so Butcher says. She says if Butcher will get rid of the evidence from her stay at the Red River group home, she’ll make a deal with him to get rid of Homelander and save Ryan. 

At CIA HQ, MM keeps getting logged out of his computer, which is very frustrating. Hughie helps him, but then he finally listens to the voicemail from his dad. His dad is in the hospital, and he might not survive. 

Firecracker, the host of an alt-Supe YouTube channel, is very anti-Starlight, and she’s gaining popularity. Annie, who swore off the cape and suit in season 3, still doesn’t want to return to her job as Starlight, even if it means the Starlight House, her charity, is suffering because of it. Oh, and Frenchie seems to be hitting it off with Colin, one of the people working for Annie, which is is maybe upsetting to Kimiko? 

Homelander, who again finds a stray grey pubic hair and collects it in a jar next to his Nazi memorabilia, decides to approach Sister Sage, the smartest person in the world, about joining the Seven. Homelander tests her, and she passes by diagnosing Homelander as “getting old.” Homelander opens up about his struggles with the team. He doesn’t know where he fits in the world, and he starts to worry about his legacy. It appears Homelander has lost his sense of meaning. 

Then, we get Sister Sage’s speech from The Boys season 4 trailer! She recommends that Homelander be more like Caesar. Help things fall apart and then be there to save the day. Homelander is impressed. He wants her to join the Seven as Homelander’s mentor of sorts, which she accepts. 

Back at the Boys headquarters, Hughie confides in Butcher about his father. Butcher offers support, but he also starts shaking while having a drink. The TEMP V seems to be doing a number on him. Butcher, then, steals Hughie’s keys to his CIA computer. 

While on a mission with MM to find Monique’s partner, Todd. Kimiko tells Frenchie that she loves him but can’t be with him. She tells him to pursue things with Colin if that’s what he wants. Then, they find Sister Sage meeting with Homelander’s fans, including Todd at a Vought building. When Homelander arrives, he asks Deep, Black Noir, and A-Train to use the bats to beat his fans to death. He wants them to become martyrs. AND THEY DO! While Sage watches. She tells them to stay there and wait for further instructions. Then, Black Noir talks! 

Homelander leaves the building, and MM drives off. 

Finally, Homelander’s verdict is reached. He’s found not guilty of murder. Sister Sage, disguised as a Starlighter, ignites a riot at the court house. Starlight leaves Hughie at the hospital with his father and enters the frey. MM, Kimiko, and Frenchie join in, as well. Frenchie saves Colin in the chaos, and they share a kiss. 

A-Train, Black Noir, and Deep receive a text, and A-Train picks up the dead bodies and runs them to the court house. 

The Boys Season 4
The Boys Season 4 on Prime Video /

Starlight flies in and begs everyone to go home, but that’s when the three bodies of the Hometeamers are found outside the court house. 

MM tells Monique that her partner was one of the people killed. They decide to wait until the morning to tell Janine. 

Ryan opens up to Homelander and tells him that he doesn’t want Butcher to die. Homelander doesn’t want to help, but Ryan says that his mom loved him. Now, Homelander has to either help save Butcher or watch his son be disappointed and distraught. 

Hughie is at the hospital with his dad. He’s talking to him and encouraging him to fight. Just then, Hughie’s mom arrives!

Back at the headquarters for the Boys, Butcher is talking to Becca. He’s hallucinating, but she begs him to find a better way than screwing over Hughie, his one ally left in the world. She asks him to save Ryan from becoming like Homelander, but Butcher realizes he’s all alone. 

He emails the files to Neuman that she requested, but when she opens the files, they are – let’s just say – not what she’s looking for. 

Butcher pours himself another drink and is ready to rock and roll! 

Now that we know The Boys season 5 will be the final season, it makes sense why Eric Kripke and the writing team started to make some of the choices that they made to move forward. Clearly, the situation with Homelander is the biggest issue. The Boys want to take down Homelander, but they also need to keep Victoria Neuman out of the White House, which is why the many assassination attempts on her life should continue throughout season 4. 

Most importantly, though, Homelander has made the next big move, allying with Sister Sage. Homelander is not stupid, but the rest of the people at Vought are clearly very dumb. With literally the smartest person in the world on his side, how does that change Homelander’s priorities? We’ll see throughout season 4!

. "Department of Dirty Tricks" . The Boys S4E1 grade . A. Overall, The Boys season 4 premiere is one of the best episodes of the series in a long time. But, it’s also just been a long time since the season 3 finale. There are so much work to do just in moving the story forward after the season 3 finale and Gen V season 1, which obviously opened a lot of possibilities for where the season could go.