The city is filled with advertisements for the superhero team The Seven. Jamie and his friend discuss the upcoming video game featuring one of the Seven, Translucent, and whether he can beat his teammate The Deep. The police chase an armored transport through the Baltimore streets and the two boys run as the chase comes their way. Queen Maeve drops down and blocks the armored transport before it can hit the boys. Two robbers climb out and grab the boys as hostages, and Maeve just smiles. Homelander fires heat beams from his eyes, superheating one gun. The robber holding it screams in agony as the molten metal covers his hand. The boys run off as the other robber shoots as Homelander without effect. Homelander throws the robber down the street and asks if the boys are okay, and poses for a selfie with them.
Hughie Campbell is working at an electronic store and watches a news report about Homelander and Maeve thwarting the robbery. Afterward, he tries to talk to the manager, Gary, who tells him to check back later. Hughie's girlfriend Robin comes in and tries to flirt with him. They go to get a meal and walk down the street, and Hughie claims that Gary was too busy for him to ask for a raise. Robin says "okay", and reminds him that she had to ask him out. She suggests that they move in together, catching Hughie by surprise, and she points out that they can't keep having sex at his father's place.
As Hughie and Robin kiss, a blur goes by and Robin vaporizes in a cloud of blood and bone. The super speedster A-Train stops a few feet away, says that he can't stop, and runs on. The only thing left of Robin is her hands, which Hughie were holding when she died. Shocked, Hughie screams Robin's name.
In Des Moines, Iowa, Annie January is exercising in her room. She goes out in the yard and lifts a car with her bare hands, and then punches the brick garage wall. Later, Annie films a video of herself in her superhero costume as Starlight, and advises her mother Donna to look away because she could blind her with her light powers. Donna does so and Starlight releases a blast of light, knocking her mother to the floor.
Later, Starlight talks on camera about how she always wanted to save the world. She insists that she's hopeful but not naïve, and saving the world is all she ever wanted. That's why Starlight always wanted to be a Seven.
Hughie and his father Mr. Campbell return from Robin's service. Mr. Campbell talks about the service, and a news report about A Train comes on. A-Train offers his deepest condolence to Robin's family and claims that he was chasing bank robbers and Robin stepped in the middle of the street. Hughie is furious that A-Train is lying. The doorbell rings and a lawyer from Seven's company sponsor, Doug Friedman, has a NDA for Hughie to sign in return for $45,000 in restitution. Hughie points out that he'll have to pretend that nothing happened, and tells Doug that no one will look him in the eye and say that he's sorry. He imagines yelling at Doug to get out, and asks Doug for time to think about it. Doug agrees, leaves the NDA, and leaves.
Annie listens on the police scanner for any reports of criminals. Donna says that her daughter could use the publicity, and Annie tells her that she didn't get the job. A call comes for Annie, and she takes it and learns that she got the position with the Seven.
At home, Hughie gathers papers trying to work up a legal case against A-Train. Superheroes can't have charges filed against them when they're on the job, and he needs Robin's parents to sign off on the case he plans to bring. Mr. Campbell tells him that he can't make things right for Robin and advises him to sign the NDA. He notes that they need the $45,000, and says that there's no case. Mr. Campbell tells Hughie that he doesn't have the fight and never has, just like him. Angry, Hughie walks out.
Starlight and Donna arrive at the induction ceremony and Ashley Barrett with Vought PR greets her. She assures Starlight that the hundreds of fans are there for her.
Madelyn Stilwell, a CEO at Vought, tells the shareholders that their profits are through the roof and the branding opportunities are limitless. She presents a PR film about the two hundred superheroes with Vought.
The makeup people go over Starlight, and Ashley tells her that she's already up in the ratings.
Once the film ends, Madelyn brings out the Deep, the aquatic member of the Seven. He announces that Lamplight has retired and leads a round of applause. The Deep then introduces his replacement, Starlight. Ashley sends Starlight out and the crowd goes wild.
Hughie goes to a convenience store and buys beer, and sees A-Train's picture on the side of some of the cases. He looks around and sees A-Train's face on dozens of products, and finally collapses, gasping in shock.
The Deep takes Starlight to the Seven's HQ tower and shows her around. She stares at Homelander's chair at the conference table, and the Deep assures her she'll soon have her own chair. Starlight talks about how she used to pretend she was there and now she is, and the Deep tells her that everyone feels that way at first. The Deep says that they're a team and Starlight admits that she had a crush on him when she was growing up. He drops his pants and says that he figured she could give him a blowjob. As Starlight walks away, the Deep says that it's a matter of how badly she wants to be in the Seven. Her powers flare briefly as Starlight turns back to him, and the Deep tells her that he knows that she's powerful but he can get her kicked out and will claim that she attacked him. The Deep has already wrecked the TV screens to make it look like she attacked him, and says that her admirers would be shattered if she went back home. He insists that it's no big deal, and afterward all of her dreams come true.
Jimmy Fallon interviews Translucent on his show, and Hughie is working with the show tuned in on a TV. A man, Billy Butcher, comes in, addresses Hughie by name, and says that he heard what happened to Robin and Hughie afterward. Billy flashes an FBI badge and introduces himself, and says that the two of them should talk.
Hughie and Billy walk down the street, and Hughie points out that Billy doesn't look like a FBI agent. Billy says that Supes kill hundreds of people every year in "collateral damage" and it's swept under the rug. Vought won't risk its cash cow and the public doesn't want to know about the price of Supes doing what they want. When Supes get out of line, that's when Billy deals with them. Hughie refuses to go with Billy, and Billy tells him that he's offering him the chance to get the Supe who killed Robin. Billy walks away and after a minute, Hughie follows him.
Billy takes Hughie to an underground sex club off of an alley. The security guard, Harry, lets Billy in along with Hughie. Supes are having sex, including the religious superhero Ezekiel. Billy goes to the security room and has Harry show him video of A-Train there the night before. A-Train talks to another Supe about running down Robin and they both share a laugh over it. Hughie is furious, and Billy asks what he's going to do about it.
At the Seven's tower, a battered Starlight vomits in a restroom stall and then staggers out. Maeve is there, and as Starlight cleans up. The older superhero tells her to clean herself up so the public doesn't see her the way she is, and tells Translucent that he's a pervert. As Maeve leaves, Translucent makes his naked body visible and leaves as well.
They go to a bar and Billy tells Hughie that all of the Supes are the same except for Homelander, who doesn't drink or smoke. He gives Hughie the police log on the day that Robin got murdered. There's no report of a bank robbery like A-Train claimed, and Billy figures that someone is hiding something. They wonder where A-Train was running to, and Billy tells Hughie to take the money, sign the NDA, and make sure A-Train is there in person. They'll take Hughie into the Seven's tower, and then Hughie will plant a bug so they can find out what's really going on. Hughie insists that he's not an infiltrator and he'd screw it up, ending up dead. He tells Billy that he's not like him and leaves.
In her office, Madelyn meets with the mayor and tells him that the police aren't closing cases and Baltimore is about to lose its Federal grants. She offers him an exclusive contract for a Supe, Nubian Prince, with full PR support and 9 points of the merchandising. It will cost the mayor $300 million a year, and he haggles for $200 million. When Madelyn says that she can't do it, the mayor tells her that he knows about Compound V and it could tarnish the heroes. He promises to make it stay a rumor if she'll cut him a deal on Nubian Prince. Madelyn claims that she doesn't know what he's talking about.
Annie calls Donna and says that she hasn't met Homelander yet. She starts to tell Donna what happened with the Deep, but Donna talks about how she's told all of her friends that Annie is in the Seven. Annie tells her that everything is great and quickly hangs up. Hughie is on the bench next to her, and notices when Annie breaks into tears. He asks if she's okay, and she says that she's having a bad day at work. Annie says that she had an image of herself as strong, but then she was faced with a horrible situation with an asshole and she gave in and kept smiling. Now she feels sick, mostly because she realized she isn't who she thought she was.
Realizing what she's said, Annie apologizes for dumping on Hughie. Hughie assures her that it's okay and asks if she likes her job, and Annie insists that it's a great job. He talks about Robin and how they went skating, and she would always charge into the middle of the rink while he hung onto the railings. Robin wasn't good and fell a lot, but she was never scared. Hughie tells Annie that just because she fell doesn't mean she isn't who she thought, and asks who she is. Annie shrugs and says that she's a fighter and is going to fight, and Hughie tells her that she's scary but cool. They introduce themselves and look out on the city.
Later, Hughie goes back to the bar and tells Billy that he's in. Hughie calls Doug and tells him that he'll take the $45,000 and sign the NDA, but wants a face-to-face apology from A-Train so he can get closure. Doug warns him that the answer will be no and hangs up, but Billy assures Hughie that Vought will call back.
Starlight arrives at the Seven's boardroom for her first meeting. The Deep drops a few innuendos and Starlight assures him that she can handle it and she's not going anywhere. Her eyes flicker briefly and the Deep looks nervous. Translucent complains about copyright pirates and they argue about their points. Homelander tells them that they're the Seven and what matters is how many people they saved.
Billy drives Hughie to the tower, plants the bug on Hughie's phone, and explains how they'll take him in. Then Hughie should excuse himself to go to the restroom, get the bug out of the phone, and plant it under the table. Hughie panics and Billy tells him to calm down and stop being a cunt.
Hughie goes in, braces himself, and walks up to security. His phone sets off the metal detector, and the security guard checks it while Hughie goes through. The guard finds nothing and gives Hughie his phone back. Before Hughie can go to the restroom to get the bug out of the phone, Doug, A-Train, and Ashley come in and Doug makes it clear that A-Train's apology isn't an admission of guilt. Hughie imagines A-Train covered in Robin's blood and remembers him laughing about Robin's death at the club. He gets control of himself, shakes A-Train's hand, and says that he's fine.
Ashley leads A-Train away and Hughie asks to use the restroom and goes into a stall. Hughie gets the bug and drops it on the floor, and Starlight comes in to make up her eyes. She doesn't see Hughie in the stall and he doesn't see her. Once she leaves, Hughie comes out and goes back into the boardroom... unaware that Translucent was there, invisible.
As Hughie signs the NDA, he plans the bug under the table. As Billy drives him away, Hughie describes what happened and how awesome it was. He realizes that he's back at the electronics store, and wonders why they're there. Billy says that he need Hughie to go back to his normal life, and he'll call Hughie when he needs him. Before he goes, Hughie tears up the check. Billy tells him that he's a good lad and drives off.
Madelyn calls the mayor and tells him that she'll come down to $230 and insists that any rumors he's heard about Compound V are libelous and untrue. The mayor assures her that he'll keep it quiet.
Gary leaves Hughie to lock up the shop. Translucent, invisible, comes in and asks Hughie who he is. He shows him the bug and then slams Hughie's head into the case. Translucent throws him into the window and asks who Billy was, and prepares to smash Hughie with a TV. Billy drives through the front, slamming Translucent across the shop, and tells Hughie to leave.
As Hughie staggers out, Billy tries to hit Translucent with a crowbar. Translucent manages to hit him, but Billy spits his blood on the "invisible" man, revealing where he is. The Supe still manages to knock him down, and Hughie comes back and watches as Translucent hits Billy repeatedly. As Translucent grabs the crowbar and demands to know who Billy is, Hughie grabs an electrical cable and tries to shove it into Translucent. The cable is too short, but Billy kicks Translucent into it and the hero dies, electrocuted.
Hughie explains that he heard that Translucent has carbon based skin and carbon is highly conductive, and Billy admits he wouldn't have worked it out. Billy picks up Translucent and tells Hughie to help him dump the Supe in his car trunk. He warns that they're both in trouble and admits that technically he's not a Fed.
The mayor and his son are taking a private plane out of Baltimore. The boy looks out the window and sees Homelander flying alongside. As the mayor look out in horror, Homelander uses his heat vision to destroy the plane.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 30, 2019