Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Boys Season 2, Episode 7. Proceed at your own risk!
The message of The Boys‘ penultimate Season 2 episode: Don’t get too attached to anyone.
Just when Lamplighter (played by Shawn Ashmore) was starting to win us over with his genuine remorse and twisted sense of humor, the supe met his end — at his own hands! After he helped Hughie break into the Vought tower to rescue Starlight, who’d been taken captive, Lamplighter noticed that his statue was gone.
“I wanted to do it in front of my statue. I just wanted to make my dad proud,” he dejectedly remarked… and then set himself on fire! The act triggered the emergency evacuation system, allowing Starlight to escape her power-dampening cell. But the fiery twist shouldn’t have come as a complete shock to those paying attention to Lamplighter’s words.
“Our feeling was, in the writers’ room, that Lamplighter is suicidal,” showrunner Eric Kripke tells TVLine. “He pretty much straight up says it at the end of Episode 6. He says to Mallory, ‘Please kill me. I really want to be put out of my misery.’ So he’s pretty on record that he’s suicidal.”
“He’s just fallen so far between the backstory with Mallory’s grandkids and being reduced to a henchman and executioner for Vought,” Kripke explains. “He’s just degraded so far from who he thought he was going to be or being someone his father would be proud of. I think the pressure of trying to live up to his father’s expectations when he failed so greatly was too much for him. It’s tragic. It’s sad.”
Lamplighter’s actions were also “really symbolic,” seeing as how he chose to use his own super abilities on himself. “This power has ended up bringing him so much pain and suffering, and so he uses that same power to end his pain and suffering,” Kripke notes.
Even though Lamplighter’s story came to a tragically poetic conclusion, as intended, the showrunner wouldn’t mind a do-over. “We wrote all that before we cast Shawn, and once we cast Shawn and we saw how good he was and how soulful and weary and, in a weird way, sympathetic he made Lamplighter, I really regretted that we were killing him,” Kripke admits with a laugh. “If I could go back and do it again, knowing that I had Shawn and what he did with that character, I would have kept him alive for longer. But that was what that character was arced for from the beginning.”
Ashmore, too, knew “from the get-go that he was going out, and I loved that,” the actor says. “It was such a bold choice. The way that I look at death scenes is if you’re gonna go out on a show or on a film, it better be good, and it better be impactful. Otherwise, I feel like it’s a waste. I feel like it was a perfect ending to Lamplighter, and it puts Hughie in such a crazy situation.”
“It was tragic to me,” Ashmore continues. “He walks into his home, the tower, where he thinks he belongs or wants to belong, and the last remnants of who he was or what made him important or what his identity was as a supe is gone, and he’s been replaced. … [The death is] so final, and it’s so powerful, and it’s so intense that I love that scene. It was a bummer to be gone because I love the character, and I would have loved to continue playing him, but I thought it was a very, very important scene, and it was the right way for Lamplighter to go. It was an intense scene, but I was really happy with it.”
The Boys fans, what did you think of Lamplighter’s death? Grade the episode, then hit the comments!