Post Mortems

The Boys EP, Star Karen Fukuhara Talk Kimiko's Big Musical Number and That Long-Awaited Moment With Frenchie

The Boys Recap

Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Boys Season 3, Episode 5. Proceed at your own risk!

The Boys surprised this week with a PG musical number that was a far cry from the show’s typically gory and violent antics.

After waking up in the hospital to discover that she no longer had powers (thanks, Soldier Boy?), Kimiko was overjoyed that she could now be a “regular” girl. Lying on top of her bed, Kimiko and Frenchie cued up the 1943 musical Girl Crazy, when Kimiko suddenly began to speak the lyrics to “I Got Rhythm.” Then suddenly, she launched into a full-on song and dance number with Frenchie through the hospital hallways. Coming out of the fantasy sequence, Kimiko leaned in and kissed Frenchie, who didn’t seem to know how to respond when they pulled away. But as he was getting coffee, Frenchie smiled to himself, just as Nina’s men nabbed him, leaving a happy Kimiko all by herself.

Below, showrunner Eric Kripke and star Karen Fukuhara break down the musical number and the future of Kimiko and Frenchie’s “pure” relationship.

TVLINE | Episode 305 is a big one for Kimiko and her relationship with Frenchie, between the musical number and the kiss. Karen, what kind of discussions did you and Tomer Capone have going into the episode?
KAREN FUKUHARA | We hung out before filming Episode 305 and discussed our characters’ relationship and brainstormed ideas for the musical number. We showed each other dance moves we thought could work from clips on YouTube and where we could potentially sprinkle in our characters into the choreography. We were both passionate about making it work! We discussed Frenchie and Kimiko’s relationship, but it feels too private to reveal here. I feel protective of them. That day was one of my favorite days offscreen during Season 3 — a day of playing backgammon and cooking dinner together (I shouldn’t take credit here, he did all the cooking!), while we “worked.” Life is made of small moments like these.

TVLINE | Music plays a big role for Kimiko this season, from the “Dream a Little Dream of Me” fantasy in Episode 1 to Kimiko being rapt by Crimson Countess singing in Episode 2 to the “I Got Rhythm” musical number. What does music represent for her?
FUKUHARA | Music is an escape for Kimiko. Because she’s mute, she can’t communicate with most people and that puts her in a very lonely position. She wants nothing but to connect with another human being, to cultivate deep friendships, but there is always a language barrier. I still remember the first time I saw a musical, and how moved I was already with the opening number. I imagine that was the feeling Kimiko must have felt with those songs. Music unites people, and that’s what she longs for most: human connection. Musicals are especially special to her because of the way characters rejoice, dance, and sing together — an even more exaggerated version of what she longs for. On top of that, there is always the romantic aspect, which she’s never had the opportunity to explore before.

TVLINE | Eric, the musical number’s probably the most wholesomely crazy thing you’ve done on the show. How did the idea for that sequence come about?
ERIC KRIPKE | It actually started in Season 2. We had a notion for a musical number for Kimiko because as she’s finding her voice, we just loved the idea that she started singing, something that is both wholesome but has this undercurrent of sadness, like Bjork in Dancer in the Dark. It lived so long in the script that I even told Karen about it, which is a horrible mistake because then we had to cut it, and then I had to tell Karen that this beautiful musical number we were going to do for [her] fell out. I said, “But I’m gonna get one in for you because I really want it!” I love Hollywood musicals. They’re actually one of my favorite genres. You wouldn’t know it from what I make, but what I make and what I watch are often two different things. So when the opportunity came up again [and] we just needed to express her total joy at getting everything she wants, of just being what she considers “normal,” it felt like this was the perfect opportunity to have her get into that sequence.

The Boys Recap Frenchie/KimikoPeople call The Boys so dark and nihilistic. I actually think it’s got a lot of pure heart to it. Frenchie and Kumiko are one of those relationships that it’s so pure to the point of almost being old-fashioned, and it’s really necessary in the middle of all the blood and gore that there’s something that pure.

TVLINE | How did you land on the song choice of “I Got Rhythm”? I thought it was so cute that the word “starlight” is in the lyrics.
KRIPKE | It was Ellie Monahan who wrote the script. She’s the one who found the song and put it in. My favorite musical is Singing in the Rain, so I was online, looking through all the songs again and seeing what might fit. But Ellie said, “I think I have it, and look at the lyrics,” and it was like, “I’ve got starlight, and I’ve got my man,” and there’s Frenchie, and it so lined up [with] where Kumiko was that it felt like fate that we had to use it.

TVLINE | Karen, what was your reaction when you found out you’d be doing this big musical number? 
FUKUHARA | I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe the writers gave the one mute character a musical number. It’s the most unpredictable choice, and I love anything that surprises audiences. I knew I’d have to work even harder than previous seasons to make it the best it could be. Eric had once said it was his dream to put a musical number in one of his projects, so I was honored to be given the opportunity.

TVLINE | What was it like filming the musical number? What was the preparation process like? How long did it take to film?
FUKUHARA | We had weeks and weeks of prep leading up to the musical number. I started taking singing lessons over Zoom and rehearsed the dance choreography with Tomer and Amy [Wright], our coach. Repetition worked wonders. Actually filming it only took two days, I believe. It may have just been one day for the dance number and one day for the other scenes in the hospital. The days are blending together. [Laughs] Time blew past on the shooting day, but I remember taking a step back and soaking in everything around me — the hard working crew, the professional dancers, and the fact that for those two minutes, my character was the lead of her own musical. I was filled with gratitude.

TVLINE | We finally got a Frenchie/Kimiko kiss! Karen, what did you think when you first saw that moment in the script?
FUKUHARA | I screamed internally! We aren’t informed about Frenchie and Kimiko’s relationship prior to reading the scripts, so I definitely had an “OMG” moment.

TVLINE | You’ve got this musical number, you’ve got Kimiko and Frenchie finally kissing. What made this moment the right one to bring all these elements together and have them act on their feelings?
KRIPKE | It’s about this moment of happiness. She’s feeling this ecstatic joy that she finally thinks she can have the future she wants. Obviously, the audience very strongly ships Frenchie and Kimiko, and so we felt it was necessary to let them try it because it seems like that’s what everyone wants to see. But it’s so interesting that everyone always sees them as a couple because we talk about them in the writers’ room like soulmates, but we rarely talk about them as boyfriend/girlfriend or anyone who would have a sexual connection. We talk about them as like their connection is so deep, and when you’re really willing to die for someone over and over again like that, it transcends it into something else. So we wanted to tell that story. We wanted to start with like, OK, let’s have them kiss, and then in later episodes, you’ll see how they feel about it.

The Boys Recap Kimiko/FrenchieTVLINE | Their reactions after the kiss are interesting. Frenchie kind of pulls away abruptly and he leaves. But then by the vending machine, he smiles to himself in that private moment. Is that a signal that he feels the same way about her that she feels about him?
KRIPKE | Again, in future episodes, they’ll both be able to discuss how they really felt about that kiss. But it’s like really mixed feelings. It’s surprising, and I love what Tomer did in that moment [right after the kiss]. That was not scripted, and it was just his choice, and it was so beautiful because he’s so cool in every other moment, and then he’s like a goofy 12-year-old in that scene. Like he just doesn’t know what to do, where to put his emotion, and so he bails to get coffee. So it was just like the intensity of the emotion for both of them.

TVLINE | Kimiko doesn’t see Frenchie’s smile after the kiss, and then he doesn’t come back right away. So what’s running through Kimiko’s brain with regards to Frenchie? Is she regretting the kiss?
FUKUHARA | She’s definitely freaking out. Who wouldn’t?! She is thinking about all the possibilities: “Did I cross the line?” “Did he hate it?” “Why didn’t he say anything?” — everything a normal person would feel after that kind of reaction. She cares deeply about him and is afraid she ruined their great friendship.