The Boys Couldn't Have Picked A Better Power To Give Jack Quaid's Hughie In Season 3

In the third season of "The Boys," Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) takes a turn for the worst. When the series first began, Quaid's character was the stereotypical "nice guy" in a world of chaos, debauchery, and corrupt corporation-created superheroes. Kindhearted and timid, Hughie was an unlikely addition to the Supe-hunting crew led by Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), but he had just as much reason as anyone else to resent the Vought machine: his girlfriend was killed in his arms, and it set him on a path for revenge. But even in the midst of all that anger and grief, even though he got plenty of blood on his hands (and everywhere else, too), Hughie always did his best to steer Butcher back on path as his walking moral compass. Although Mother's Milk (Laz Alonso) and Frenchie (Tomer Capon) certainly try their hand at getting Butcher under control, Hughie has the best track record. Without him, Butcher would be utterly consumed by his rage. But even someone as reliably good as Hughie can crack under pressure.

In season 3, Billy Butcher discovers Compound V-24 (aka Temp V), an experimental drug that grants its user temporary superpowers. When Hughie finds out, it seems only natural that he would chide his mentor and demand he get rid of the drug. But instead, Hughie jumps at the chance to try some for himself. And so begins his descent.

Power corrupts and other beta-male clichés

Tired of being powerless in the presence of superpowered antagonists and feeling emasculated beside his superhero girlfriend, Hughie is thrilled by the idea of trying Compound V-24. This is a striking difference from the storyline in the comics, where the V is forcibly injected into him by Butcher. But this change marks yet another way that the show enhances the story with a sharp, satirical read on its characters — Hughie getting intoxicated with power makes much more sense for his journey and ends up becoming a fascinating dissection of toxic masculinity. While we already see plenty of that from the obvious antagonists of the show (like Homelander and A-Train), seeing that even the good guys can be corrupted by power is exactly the kind of nuance that makes the show so great.

The results of his V-24 injection add yet another fun layer to the story. The Temp V grants Hughie two main powers: he gains super-strength (becoming strong enough to punch a hole through a man's chest) and the ability to teleport, but with one minor caveat. When Hughie disappears from one place and appears in another, he doesn't take his clothes with him.

In his June profile with GQ Magazine, Jack Quaid explained why he was so thrilled by the revelation of Hughie's power:

"My favorite superhero growing up was Nightcrawler from the X-Men. So the fact that I got to teleport was amazing. And then I heard that I had to be naked in order to do it... But it's hilarious. It's so great for Hughie specifically, because he finally has a power. But of course, it has to come with this embarrassing twist."

Teleportation... with a twist

For obvious reasons, Hughie's superpower came with a bit of an adjustment period for Quaid. And probably for his colleagues, since he spends a good portion of the show running around without clothes. All things considered, Hughie being butt naked during fights is far from the weirdest thing to happen on "The Boys," but that didn't make it much easier for Quaid:

"My first day doing that the scene where he first teleports, that was kind of terrifying because it's just so vulnerable. You're not naked in any kind of sexy way, you're just naked. You're like, oh, man, I have all these thoughts about my body that I've like never had before."

In the end, that nakedness is an important part of Hughie's arc. Finally getting powers, dealing with an embarrassing drawback, and having to admit his feelings of inadequacy to salvage his relationship with Starlight (Erin Moriarty) are very important developments. His powers bring out the worst in him — but those emotions were bubbling up long before Temp V became a factor. Hughie had to deal with his insecurities eventually and by the end of the season, he finally sees the error of his ways. Hopefully, this means that The Boys have their moral compass back. But even if they don't, there's a new addition to the team who is bound to balance out all the darkness.

The first three seasons of "The Boys" are now streaming on Prime Video.