The Worst Things Starlight Has Done In The Boys

Of all the characters on the Amazon Prime series "The Boys," Annie January (aka Starlight) is perhaps the most complex. Based on a character from the comic book series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, we first meet the young heroine as she auditions for a spot in The Seven, the premier team of superheroes sponsored by Vought International. As her superhero moniker implies, Starlight has the ability to harness the energy around her and channel it into energy blasts from her raised palms. With an outlook as bright as her costume, Annie has always wanted to save the world and becomes frustrated when critics read this starry-eyed hopefulness as naive.

In three seasons, Annie has come a long way from the innocent young woman who jumps at the chance to join The Seven. Quickly realizing that the leaders of Vought are soulless capitalists more interested in the bottom line than saving anyone, she faces countless disappointments while navigating an extremely volatile workplace. In spite of this cynicism, Annie never loses her moral compass, and Starlight seems to grow stronger with every challenge. Actress Erin Moriarty has said of her character's journey, "I enjoy the catharsis of playing a young woman coming into her power." As her dissatisfaction with Vought grows, Annie begins to work for The Boys, a ragtag group of vigilantes dedicated to taking down the massive company by any means necessary. A double agent of sorts, Annie's shifting allegiances frequently put her in uncomfortable and dangerous positions. The young hero is often punished for trying to do the right thing. Here are the worst things Starlight has done on "The Boys."

Never Truly Vanish

Season 2 begins with a somber moment: the funeral of Seven hero Translucent (Alex Hassell). Though the invisible man actually died early in season 1, Vought has been trying to avoid the appearance of weakness by claiming he's been away on a top-secret mission. Finally admitting the death when it proves politically advantageous, they memorialize the fallen hero with a lavish funeral service broadcast live across the nation. Starlight says goodbye with a performance of her new hit single "Never Truly Vanish," a power ballad written specifically for the occasion.

Composed by Christopher Lennertz and Michael Saltzman, the Emmy-nominated anthem is a hilariously corny send-up of emotionally manipulative power ballads. Starlight longingly sings to a closed coffin, and a music video features her surrounded by invisible dancers. Showrunner Eric Kripke reportedly requested "an Adele-meets-Celine-Dion-meets-Whitney showstopper." Lennertz and Saltzman delivered in spades with intentionally cheesy lyrics like, "And though we could see through you, it seems we hardly knew you." Despite being Erin Moriarty's scariest scene to film on "The Boys," the scene works thanks to a fully committed performance from the actress, who provides her own vocals. A dramatic key change — complete with glowing eyes and beams of light shooting from Starlight's dramatically raised palms — sends shivers down the spine despite the song's silly nature and our knowledge that Translucent was a pervert who liked to hang out in public restrooms. The chorus claims that Translucent will never truly vanish from our hearts. Unfortunately, the same thing can't be said for the memory of this awesomely bad song.

Leaking Compound V to the media

Annie has grown up believing that her superpowers are a gift from God. Her mother has fostered this idea and guided her involvement in Christian organizations like Capes for Christ and the annual Believe Expo. In season 2, Annie learns that her ability to channel energy is actually due to a drug called Compound V, administered to her as an infant. Her parents partnered with Vought to secretly dose their daughter to give her an extraordinary life.

Hoping to spare others from this deception, Starlight works with The Boys to leak news of the top-secret drug to the media. Unfortunately, this puts her in a dangerous position. She blackmails her old friend, a Supe named Gecko (David W. Thompson), to force him to steal a sample. When A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) witnesses Gecko passing her a vial of the bright blue serum, she blackmails him as well with proof that he murdered another Supe named Popclaw (Brittany Allen). Subsequent headlines about Compound V cause a massive scandal for Vought, but CEO Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) pins the blame on the recently murdered Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) who was senior vice president of hero management. They eventually spin the news in their favor and even attempt to release a Compound V-infused energy drink. Though the news causes a splash, it makes disappointingly few waves and Starlight essentially risks her position in The Seven and her life for nothing.

Blowing her cover

Every hero has a secret identity that allows them to navigate the world under the radar of their adoring fans. In contrast to her flashy superhero persona, Annie January is much more grounded. In a striped T-shirt and ponytail, Annie is walking back to Vought Tower one night when she notices two men about to rape a young woman in an alley. She uses her powers to save the woman and beats up both men, but doesn't realize her actions are being recorded on a bystander's cell phone. The footage only shows her attacking two men, and Director of Talent Relations Ashley Barrett (Colby Minifie) all but assures her she's about to be fired.

As Starlight learns after joining The Seven, Vought heroes only save the day in highly orchestrated busts they can use to garner maximum publicity. By saving an actual person in distress, Annie has robbed them of an opportunity to capitalize on her heroism. Even worse, she's blown her secret identity and opened the door for scrutiny into her personal life before the marketing team can construct a sympathetic backstory. Luckily, the would-be victim comes forward to thank Starlight, and Annie receives a well-timed bump in popularity. Though it ultimately works out in her favor, Annie has put herself in the crosshairs of Vought executives who will surely tighten the reins on their newest team member. From Vought's perspective, she's committed the cardinal sin by actually using her powers to help make the world a safer place.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Giving Kimiko Compound V

Though commonly administered to infants, Compound V is known to cause severe side effects and even death when given to grown-ups. However, a small percentage of adults thrive on the serum and become incredibly powerful. With her super strength and regenerative abilities, Kimiko Miyashiro (Karen Fukuhara), aka The Female, is a successful example of this risky modification. As a child, Kimiko was abducted and forced to serve in a terrorist army before being imprisoned in the U.S. She received Compound V as part of a racist plan to create supervillains that will increase the nation's dependence on Vought and The Seven. Kimiko eventually escapes and finds her way to The Boys, becoming an invaluable member of the team.

Kimiko loses her powers in a battle with the newly unearthed Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) in season 3. She is at first excited at the prospect of leading a normal life with her soulmate Frenchie (Tomer Capone) but realizes that she's lost the ability to protect those she loves. Wounded, Kimiko begs a reluctant Annie to get her a dose of Compound V to restore her powers. Annie knows first-hand the sorrow this drug can cause and is reluctant to risk Kimiko's life with a second injection. Against her better judgment, Annie honors Kimiko's choice and steals a vial of the serum from Vought Tower, once again putting her life in jeopardy. Though Kimiko's intentions are pure and her abilities successfully restored, Annie is continuing a cycle of super-powered humans The Boys have vowed to disrupt.

Mixed messages at the Believe Expo

Starlight's belief in God takes a big hit when she learns the truth about Compound V, but it's not the first time we see her question her faith. Early in her Vought tenure, Starlight is tapped as one of the headliners for the Believe Expo, a massive Christian convention with a steep entrance fee. At a teen round table, Annie is peppered with questions about her faith from regular teens looking to her for guidance. Flanked by her former pastor, her mother, and Vought associate Ashley Barrett, she's under intense pressure to present herself as a moral ideal. When asked about her romantic history, Annie lies and says she's a virgin. She also doesn't stop the pastor from telling another teen that it's her responsibility to save her friend who practices a different religion. Annie clearly feels conflicted about giving these answers, but she does it anyway, using her position of authority to mislead teens at a vulnerable time in their lives.

This roundtable seems to weigh on her throughout the day, combined with anti-LGBTQ+ messaging throughout the convention. When Annie gets ready to give her keynote speech, she comes clean with her audience, undermining the event speakers and Vought itself. She also reveals the sexual assault she suffered on her first day in The Seven, though she does not explicitly name The Deep as her attacker. It's a moment of stunning honesty that does her no favors with Vought and her Christian audience.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Joining The Seven

Like countless kids around the world, Annie has grown up wanting to be a superhero. When a coveted spot opens up on the world's pre-eminent Supe team, Annie jumps at the chance to audition. She is thrilled to get the job and eagerly prepares for the day when her life will change forever. Unfortunately, Annie's first day at Vought turns out to be a nightmare. She's introduced at a shareholders meeting by Seven member The Deep (Chace Crawford), who also happens to be her school-girl crush. While touring the official meeting room, Annie is stunned when she turns around to find Deep has dropped his pants. He coerces her to perform oral sex by threatening to have her fired, shattering the dream she's worked her entire life to achieve.

This assault is followed by a never-ending string of disappointments, as she slowly realizes that Vought only exists to make money and maintain power. Despite her dissolution, Annie vows to stick around and tries to change the system from the inside. Of this choice, Erin Moriarty told CBR, "The crazy thing is that she realizes that making the world a better place is going to entail taking down the very corporation that she thought was going to help her conquer crime." By the end of season 3, Annie has quit Vought for good and officially joined The Boys. Though her time as Starlight gives her a massive platform, she no doubt regrets her decision to take the job in the first place.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Teaming up with Supersonic

Season 3 sees The Seven again in need of a new hero to fill out their ranks. With two openings available, Starlight and team captain Homelander (Antony Starr) host a reality show called "American Hero" to select new members. One of the leading contestants is a young man named Supersonic (Miles Gaston Villanueva), whom Annie used to date. Once a member of an all-Supe boy band, Supersonic is a kind-hearted young man with the ability to create powerful sound waves with a clap of his hands. Given their romantic history, this could be seen as a conflict of interests or an unfair advantage, but it turns out there are larger threats looming. Annie warns him that he is probably going to be chosen for The Seven, but pleads with him to turn the job down given her terrible experiences with Vought.

Supersonic is indeed selected and joins the team to support his friend. It's a short-lived victory, however, and Annie wastes no time enlisting him to help her take Vought down. Supersonic naively mentions the plan to A-Train, who immediately tells Homelander. The maniacal superhero later presents Annie with Supersonic's mutilated corpse, a warning of what he will do to her boyfriend Hughie (Jack Quaid) if she ever turns against him again. While none of this is Annie's fault, there's no doubt she feels responsible for the death of her friend. Had she waited to fully explain the team's complicated dynamics, perhaps Supersonic would have lived to fight with The Boys as well.

Swapping uniforms

When Annie is caught on camera defending a woman from two rapists, her popularity begins to skyrocket. Her reward for her newfound status is more attention from the marketing department and a brand new version of her white and gold suit. Though stylish, her new outfit is incredibly skimpy, covering little more than a bathing suit in addition to thigh-high boots and hair extensions. Starlight balks at the costume, but Madelyn Stillwell makes it clear that refusing to wear it will mean losing her place in The Seven and she reluctantly agrees.

Starlight immediately regrets this choice as the very next day she's greeted by a young fan wearing her old outfit. Bending over to take a selfie, she struggles to cover her cleavage while dodging catcalls from male fans. She knows this new outfit compromises her ability to be a role model to her young female fans but doesn't feel like she has the power to say no.

Erin Moriarty has faced similar objectification from toxic fans commenting on her appearance. She reposted a Medium article about this negative attention to her Instagram account (via IndieWire) admitting, "I do feel silenced. I do feel dehumanized. I do feel paralyzed." Ironically, this is the type of toxicity "The Boys" specifically satirizes and targets. Describing her character's decision to Fault Magazine, Moriarty said, "We really want to satirize the way women are objectified to the male gaze ... Starlight sees it as a worthy sacrifice to make."

Going to Herogasm

For three seasons, fans of the comic series source material had been waiting for an episode featuring the fabled superhero orgy known as Herogasm. Founded by Soldier Boy, this annual event is a no-holds-barred Supe orgy currently celebrating its 70th anniversary. Annie visits the wild party with Mother's Milk (Laz Alonso) in an attempt to warn Soldier Boy's next targets that he's on his way. In addition to seeing naked bodies for days, she stumbles onto The Deep having sex with an octopus and Hughie in a pink bathrobe after teleporting into the party thanks to a dose of Temp V.

For an event dedicated to pleasure, Annie ends up having an incredibly bad day. Not only does she find herself arguing with Hughie while they're both naked on the side of the road, but she also has to help clean copious amounts of sticky fluid off of the germaphobic M.M., and care for the dozens of victims harmed in Soldier Boy's meltdown. Knowing Vought will cover it up, she films a livestream in which she shows the carnage to the world and officially quits Vought.

Erin Moriarty had a much more pleasant (and surreal) experience filming the legendary sequences. In an interview with Slashfilm she described, "Five days in a row, 12 plus hours a day, well over 12 hours, of just being surrounded by nudity. And it was pretty wild." While certainly enjoyable for the audience, Herogasm is a party Starlight likely wishes she could have skipped altogether.

Blackmailing Homelander and Stormfront

As Hughie finds out at the Believe Expo, blackmail is no piece of cake. Starlight tries her hand at this coercive manipulation several times and winds up putting her life in grave danger. When Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) acquires footage of Homelander abandoning the passengers of Transoceanic Flight 37, she threatens to release it if he doesn't leave her alone. Also threatened by Homelander, Annie attempts to use the tape as leverage too, with less successful results. By the time Annie plays the Flight 37 card, Homelander is over being controlled by this footage and threatens her back. His warning that he will become even more dangerous with nothing left to lose is a threat to both Starlight and the larger world.

In season 2, Annie once again finds herself blackmailing another member of The Seven. After learning that the new Vought hero Stormfront (Aya Cash) is actually an older Nazi Supe called Liberty, she tries to keep the secret under wraps until she and The Boys can figure out how to best use the damning information. Unfortunately, Stormfront knows that Annie is the one who leaked Compound V to the media. The two powerful heroes confront each other with their accusations, leaving the tense situation at a stalemate. Both women back down, but immediately begin planning to take the other down as soon as possible. Though Annie's intentions are in the right place, her track record with blackmail is less than impressive.

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Removing her chip

Once Starlight realizes Stormfront knows she leaked Compound V, Annie justifiably begins to fear for her life. She's particularly worried because Stormfront has so far done nothing, and Annie worries this may be the quiet before the storm. She also knows she's in Homelander's crosshairs and needs to join forces with The Boys to protect herself. Since the vigilantes are currently on the Most Wanted list, Annie worries that going to their hideout will lead Homelander right to them. The only way to prevent this is by removing a small tracking device implanted in her neck shortly after she joined The Seven. Ostensibly meant to protect her, this chip allows Vought to know where she is at all times, meaning anytime she has contact with Hughie, she is risking his life.

Due to her super strength, removing this device is easier said than done. Frenchie must take a small circular saw, the only thing strong enough to cut through her skin. With blood spurting from the wound, he digs into her neck and pulls out a small cylindrical device. Annie is incredibly brave, but she's not used to being injured, especially with wounds that draw blood. Though removing her chip ultimately gives Annie a new sense of freedom, she probably wishes she had never consented to have the device implanted in the first place.

Accepting the position as co-captain

Season 3 begins with Starlight on a high. She's been reinstated to The Seven and publicly praised for defeating Stormfront, who the world now knows is a Nazi. By contrast, Homelander is essentially on an apology tour for dating Stormfront and is more vulnerable than ever. With this realignment, Starlight is offered the position of co-captain. This promotion would give her power equal to Homelander, putting her in direct competition with the world's most dangerous Supe. Starlight knows Homelander will be enraged, but she also knows that becoming the first female co-captain of The Seven would provide an excellent example for her younger fans.

Starlight's intentions are once again virtuous, but she fails to realize the depth of Homelander's anger. Explaining her acceptance of the co-captain's chair, Erin Moriarty told Mama's Geeky, "She sees it as her final opportunity to properly impart change. She soon realizes that an increase in power just increases the threat of Homelander on her and on Hughie." She honestly wants to use her platform to help others and still believes that Vought can be taken down from within. Unfortunately, this ties her to the decisions of a man who absolutely hates sharing the spotlight, and places her in a position of leadership at a company she knows is massively corrupt. Any good she could do in the role is outweighed by Homelander's growing unpredictability and the danger he poses to everyone Starlight cares about.

Accidentally killing a civilian

As a hero, Starlight's #1 goal is to protect the innocent. However, with her impressive strength and abilities, she also has the power to cause significant destruction. Starlight is tagging along with The Boys as they break into the top-secret Sage Grove Center when she's confronted by an escaped hero. Having been the subject of Vought's Compound V experiments, the scared young man emits a sonic blast that knocks Annie and Butcher (Karl Urban) to the ground and flips their nearby van. Hughie emerges from the crumpled vehicle with a large piece of metal protruding from his stomach. While walking Hughie through the woods, Starlight flags down a passing car and tries to get him to turn over his keys. When the driver pulls a gun, Starlight reacts by using her powers to knock him into the air. As he falls, he slams the back of his head into the ground and dies. Starlight has now killed a civilian.

Desperate to save the man she loves, Annie is likely overwhelmed with panic and possibly emits a stronger blast than she ordinarily would. She feels especially guilty when they get in the man's car and notice a baby carrier in the backseat. There's little she could have done short of letting Hughie die by the side of the road, but she later shares with Butcher that she was angry at the man and simply wanted him out of the way. Though the death is an accident, her response shows a creeping nihilism that is likely the result of her time at Vought.

Pretending to date Homelander

While Homelander and Starlight are co-captains of The Seven, they're often paired together for press events. At one of these performances, Homelander surprises Starlight by announcing to the world that they are dating (#Homelight). This is news to Starlight, who is in a happy relationship with Hughie. Backed into a corner, Starlight goes along with the ruse and even gives her enemy a kiss for the crowds. This further increases her popularity and gives Homelander a much-needed boost to his numbers. In order to placate the dangerous narcissist, Starlight is now in a public relationship with a psychopath.

While pretending to date Homelander is mostly just unpleasant, it has larger implications given the timing of Homelander's announcement. By partnering with him, she has essentially accepted his public apology for dating a Nazi and used her popularity to bring him back into the public's affection. Homelander's strategy works and he finally gets to stop answering questions about Stormfront. It's a genius move on his part and a shrewd play for approval. This surprise announcement is also one of the reasons Annie eventually quits The Seven. Tired of being pushed around by Vought, she renounces the name Starlight and officially joins The Boys as a powerful vigilante. Describing her character's season 3 arc Moriarty told Mama's Geeky, "This is the season where she finally decides what her place in this world is going to be. And with that comes a confidence in her that we've not seen before."