The Boys is rarely subtle, but the show can be coy when it feels like it. That was the case in Season 2, Episode 5, “We Gotta Go Now,” when it introduced an extremely important new character, played by X-Men movie alum Shawn Ashmore, in a surprisingly understated way. Who exactly did Stormfront talk to on the phone during this episode? The answer is complicated.
This was, in fact, the on-screen introduction of Lamplighter, a former member of The Seven who has a thorny history with The Boys. Of course, Lamplighter has been mentioned in the past, but he was never seen on-screen before now. It’s understandable if you thought he was probably dead–in both the show and the comics on which the series is based, Vought doesn’t like to admit that its supes can die. When The Deep stood onstage during Starlight’s introduction and remarked that Lamplighter had “retired,” it sounded like a euphemism, and the fact that Lamplighter was barely mentioned again throughout Season 1 made it easy to forget about him.
But Lamplighter is very much alive–though exactly how “retired” he is seems dubious, based on what we saw in Episode 5. We knew from a casting announcement earlier this year that Ashmore, who played Iceman in various X-Men movies, was joining this season as (ironically) the fire-wielding supe. It may have taken over half the season to introduce him, but we think Lamplighter is going to play an important role in the rest of Season 2.
First off, how do we know this character is Lamplighter? Well, besides the earlier casting announcements, there’s one big clue in the episode: his “Titty Committee” lighter. Lamplighter’s powers are flame-based–he carried a flaming staff in battle–so the lighter is a big hint to his identity.
Maybe more importantly, why are we so convinced that Lamplighter is going to play a crucial role? Granted, we didn’t actually learn much from this episode’s tease of a conversation, besides that he’s working somewhere that looks like a psychiatric hospital, called Sage Grove. Then again, there’s that complex history with The Boys themselves–in the show, Lamplighter “retired” from The Seven after murdering Grace Mallory’s grandkids. Mallory, then a colonel and the Deputy Director of the CIA, had formed The Boys to keep supes like The Seven in check, recruiting Billy Butcher, whose goals more or less aligned with Mallory’s thanks to Butcher’s vendetta against Homelander. Although we don’t know the details, we know that Mallory disbanded The Boys and left the CIA after Lamplighter killed her grandkids. Based on her reaction any time she encounters Butcher, she may blame him for their deaths, at least partially.
We can glean a little bit more potential info about Lamplighter by looking at Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic books. In the comics, Lamplighter’s story is similar: He was a member of The Seven whose absence made room for Starlight to join. The inciting incident that caused him to torch Mallory’s grandchildren was a confrontation during which The Boys revealed photos of Homelander committing violent atrocities against innocent people in an attempt to blackmail The Seven. Incensed, Lamplighter followed Mallory after the confrontation and murdered the kids as they slept in bed.
The next time The Seven and The Boys met, Homelander served up Lamplighter as a peace offering. The Boys took the opportunity to beat the crap out of him before Mallory put a bullet in his head. Even that wasn’t the end, though, as Vought used the Compound V in Lamplighter’s system to resurrect him–remember, they don’t like admitting that their supes can die. However, the revived Lamplighter was a mindless husk, and Vought kept him locked in a cell at The Seven’s headquarters, where the former “hero” lived a based existence steeped in his own filth.
Clearly, The Boys is going a different direction for Amazon’s adaptation–at least that’s our bet, based on the fact that Lamplighter was speaking coherently and wasn’t smeared in his own s*** when we glimpsed him in person for the first time. We’ll have to wait until later on in the season to find out exactly what role Lamplighter does have to play, but if nothing else, this tease has us intrigued.
The Boys streams Fridays on Amazon Prime. For more Season 2 coverage, check out our gallery of all the Easter eggs and references you might have missed in Episode 5, not to mention GameSpot Universe’s detailed video breakdowns of each episode.
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