Warning: Contains SPOILERS for The Boys season 3.
Prime Video’s The Boys levels the playing field with a temporary, yet deadly version of Compound V called V-24, but Hughie’s powers might just mean V-24 can’t kill him, whereas Butcher has a big temp V problem going into season 4. Amazon Prime announced The Boys season 4 just a week after season 3 premiered. The loss of temp-V comes at a time when Homelander may be at his most powerful with Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) and Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) at his side. However, there is still a chance that Hughie can keep taking doses without succumbing to the side effects thanks to the special effect it has on his physiology.
V-24 is introduced in The Boys season 3, episode 1 by Giancarlo Esposito’s Stan Edgar as a stepping stone towards Vought’s goal of having full-on superheroes in the military. Butcher (Karl Urban) and Hughie (Jack Quaid) both take multiple doses of temp-V as they try to take down Homelander (Antony Starr) and experience a few nasty side effects after powering down such as vomiting and bleeding from the ears. Starlight’s (Erin Moriarty) trip to grab regular Compound V for a depowered Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) reveals the true extent of V-24’s severe side effects which include brain lesions and malignant tumors.
While the extent of V-24’s damage to Hughie’s body is unknown, he isn’t terminal like Butcher who is estimated to only have 18 months left to live after being taken to a hospital. Butcher definitely took more doses of V-24 than Hughie did as the pair helped Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) hunt down his former Payback team members. However, the superpowers Hughie gains from taking the temp-V might actually prevent the life-threatening side effects that come from V-24 and allow him to take it without fear, all thanks to his apparent regenerative ability.
How Hughie Can Take More Temp V Without Dying
Hughie’s main supe power is teleportation alongside the standard superhuman strength and durability. However, Hughie also possesses a regenerative ability after taking the temporary V that heals his broken arm and the deep cut on his hand that came from smashing a glass jar. Hughie’s ability is a powerful one in The Boys’ universe and it might be healing Hughie of any and all of the side effects that come with taking V-24. Homelander himself doesn’t have a power like it and so despite his extraordinary toughness, the co-captain of the Seven is forced to use concealer to cover his bruises from the Herogasm fight with Hughie, Butcher, and Soldier Boy. Kimiko is the only other supe shown with this ability and Kimiko’s powers bring her back to life even after she suffers otherwise fatal injuries at the hands of other supes. If Hughie’s power is anywhere near as potent as Kimiko’s then he’ll be a force to be reckoned with, but as it stands, even the speed healing of Hughie’s hand and arm point to the fact that the brain lesions caused by V-24 won’t last long.
Why Hughie Still Experiences The Side Effects Of V-24
Despite Hughie’s super healing, he still experiences the side effects of V-24 because the hangovers caused by the temporary V continue to degrade his brain and body after he loses his powers. Since the powers only last for about 24 hours, Hughie loses his ability to heal after temp-V stops coursing through his veins. The green vomit and the black aural discharge Hughie experiences from multiple doses of V-24 should spell for him the same fate Butcher faces given that Vought scientists found V-24 to be lethal after three to five doses. However, Hughie is likely under a much slower timeline than Butcher because his regenerative powers help him to heal when he’s under its influence. As the hangover only kicks in once V-24 has worn off, it follows that Hughie would still suffer from its effects, even though it has a unique effect on him when active.
Will Hughie Ever Take More Temp-V?
With The Boys looking to take on the head-popping Victoria Neuman in season 4 as she chases vice presidency, Hughie might need his powers to survive an encounter with Vic. However, Hughie opted not to take more temp-V in The Boys season finale fight against Soldier Boy and Homelander and helped Starlight reach new heights instead. Whether it’s because Starlight got through to him or the lethal side effect of V-24, Hughie’s decision to not use his powers in The Boys’ season 3 finale might mean Hughie is done with superpowers for now since he avoided temptation.
However, while Hughie may have psychologically moved on from taking V-24, the option to use it again is still in place, thanks to the unique effect it has on his body. Given how The Boys season 3 finale sets up what’s to come, this may well prove essential. Even though Soldier Boy is now sedated and under CIA guard, The Boys still have to confront the increasingly bold Homelander and Neuman who continues to grow politically. Hughie’s abuse of V-24 stems from his insecurities and desire to protect The Boys, but he was able to stop taking temp-V and find other ways to help instead. Nevertheless, given the combined threat of Homelander and Neuman, there may come a time where taking more V-24 is simply unavoidable. Hopefully, season 4 continues to make good use of The Boys as the whole squad truly reunites.
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