Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Boys Season 3, Episode 7. Proceed at your own risk!
Never has a tragic backstory looked so cute!
Still on the run from Soldier Boy’s wrath, Black Noir took refuge inside an abandoned Buster Beaver’s pizza restaurant during this week’s The Boys. As the supe laid out various bowls of canned beans, a plethora of animated cartoon animals appeared around him. Then Buster Beaver himself came out to urge Irving to open up about what happened in his past.
“You can’t hide from Soldier Boy. We’re your best pals, aren’t we? We got you through that erection in seventh grade, that Hard Rock Café massacre in Lagos. And by golly, we’ll get you through this, too,” Buster Beaver promised.
When Noir sulked off, Buster presented Noir with an animated reenactment of his and Soldier Boy’s dark and violent history. First, Soldier Boy (played by a costumed bald eagle, naturally) cost Noir the Axel role that he very much wanted in Beverly Hills Cop. After beating up Noir, Soldier Boy exclaimed, “You think you can be me? You’re not a movie star. You’re not s–t. I see you getting out of line again, trying to move on up, I will put you in the f–king ground, understood?!”
So when Stan Edgar presented Noir with the idea of giving up Soldier Boy to the Russians and replacing him with a new supe, Noir was fully on board. Along with the rest of Payback (minus Gunpowder), Noir and the team subdued Soldier Boy — but not before he permanently disfigured Noir during the battle. Buster and the others then encouraged Noir to face his fears, stop running from Soldier Boy and finish what he started.
The idea to depict Noir’s heartbreaking story via animation was born out of necessity and ingenuity, showrunner Eric Kripke says.
“We knew that he had to have his dark night of the soul alone, and we would have to be inside his head because he has no one he can talk to,” Kripke tells TVLine. “So the very first notion was flashbacks, but straight flashbacks, one) they can be a little boring, and two) we did them already [in Episode 3]. We had to have a whole battle to make them exciting. So I didn’t want to do them again.”
Instead of going that traditional route, “if there’s an idiosyncratic way that I can tell a story, I’ll take it because it’s way more fun to step out of the box and tell something uniquely,” Kripke says, adding that “this notion of when [Noir’s] alone, he’s like Snow White, [with] cute animals fluttering around him, just made me laugh.”
And as evidenced by Noir’s past behavior and doodles, “it’s strongly implied that [the cartoon creatures are] always there,” Kripke notes. “If you look two or three episodes earlier, he’s sketching Buster Beaver in the conference room. We even had a scene that got cut because it just pulled you from the scene… where he was laying out cans of beans in the corners of just different scenes he was in to imply that he’s always feeding the animals.”
The Boys fans, what did you think of Noir’s cartoon backstory? Grade the episode, then hit the comments!