DISCLAIMER: This recap of Gen V Season 1 Episode 1, “God U.,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril. There’s also mention of eating disorders, suicide and self-harm.
Welcome, supes! Gen V bursts out of the gate with all the blood and guts we’ve become accustomed to, thanks to The Boys. It’s a solid start, with an action-packed outing, compelling performances and a taste of its predecessor’s penchant for dark humor. Plus, I love all the Easter eggs and nods to The Boys, especially the various movie posters we see adorning the walls in God U.’s dorms. Also, poor Deep. The flash to his number six ranking after Queen Maeve and A-Train are number one made me giggle.
Additionally, the episode pokes fun at superhero fare, including a not-so-subtle dig at WandaVision. However, Gen V doesn’t lean as heavily into dissecting our obsession with superheroes as it does with mental health, eating disorders and self-harm. This makes sense, given its collegiate setting. It handles these topics well, despite the metaphors for Marie and Emma harming themselves to unleash their powers being somewhat heavy-handed.
Ready to delve into “God U.”? Let’s get to it.
We open with a news segment featuring A-Train (Jesse T. Usher), who’s just been contracted to join The Seven as its first Black member. Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) is interviewed about it, while Professor Rich “Brink” Brinkerhoff (Clancy Brown) sings A-Train’s praises. He refers to A-Train as one of his best students. We see Marie Moreau’s parents watching said segment while she and her younger sister attempt to snap photos for Instagram.
Next, Marie heads into the bathroom after complaining about stomach pain. She’s officially started her period. However, this isn’t an ordinary time of the month — Marie’s blood starts levitating. Terrified, Marie topples off the toilet seat. Her mother, standing outside the bathroom door, barges in after hearing a crashing sound. Inadvertently, Marie’s fight-or-flight kicks in. She stabs her mother in the neck with her period blood. Yup. This is an offshoot of The Boys. Marie’s mother dies on the bathroom floor as her father bursts into the room.
Unfortunately, he, too, dies after Marie screams. The room shakes, and the ceramic sink/bathtub/tiles explode, causing shards to embed into her father’s skull. Marie sits there in shocked silence as her little sister stands in the doorway, horrified. It wouldn’t be a series set in this universe if it didn’t begin with an ultraviolent tragedy. A few years later, 18-year-old Marie (Jaz Sinclair) wakes in her bed at the Red River Institute. She looks at her calendar, which has a 4 o’clock appointment. We see her go about her day. She marks up the pages of her book by Professor Brink, wondering when her life will truly begin.
Then, she heads into the library and kicks off a kid watching Homelander porn. She logs into her Godolkin University account to discover she’s been accepted into the school with a full ride. Huzzah! Her instructor encourages her not to screw up this opportunity. Otherwise, she could be sent to the Elmira Adult Rehabilitation Center, which we glimpsed earlier when one girl was thrown into a truck with those words emblazoned on the side.
Next, we see an ad play for Godolkin, with Dean Indira Shetty (Shelley Conn) narrating it. The college has specific buildings for different majors, including one named after the Crimson Countess (for Performing Arts) and another named after Lamplighter (for Crimefighting). The ad ends with Luke Riordan, aka Golden Boy (Patrick Schwarzenegger), encouraging new supes to join. Later, Marie stares at a statue of Homelander while navigating her new home. She sees fellow supe students display their powers, such as her invisible dorm RA and one woman with a forked tongue. A bong floats by her. If only college was this fun in real life.
Marie heads into her dorm room, where she meets her roommate Emma, aka Little Cricket (Lizze Broadway). Emma was recording a new video for her YouTube channel. She was going to fight her gerbil while in miniature size. After reverting to her normal human size, Emma takes Marie to the stadium to watch Golden Boy compete. We see Andre (Chance Perdomo) flex his Magneto-like powers at the stadium while Luke shares a smooch with Cate (Maddie Phillips). He tells her he had that recurring nightmare about “trees” the night before.
Then, Luke morphs into Golden Boy and competes with a large, muscly man in some kind of competition. Luke rises victorious, ripping the guy’s arms off. Afterward, Andre and Luke reassemble said man’s arms. Marie vows to be number one in the school ranking. Top 10 students have a better chance of scoring a contract as protector of a city or joining The Seven. Most God U. students usually go into performing arts, though, hence why Marie hopes to snag the top spot currently occupied by Luke.
Marie borrows Emma’s phone to check her schedule. So far, she’s lied about her family history to Emma, talking about her parents in the present tense and claiming she has a brother. Marie notices something amiss with her course curriculum. She enters Brink’s office, encountering his TA, Jordan (London Thor). Jordan is number two in the ranking. Marie asks Jordan why she was rejected from Brink’s Crimefighting 101 course. She needs to take it if she’s to major in Crimefighting. Jordan reveals they gave her the boot, claiming Marie doesn’t have a social media presence, nor has she solved any crimes.
Suddenly, Brink bursts open his office door and shoots Jordan in the chest. Jordan morphs from presenting as a woman to a man (Derek Luh). Jordan is bi-gender, with different powers attached to each one. As a man, Jordan is impenetrable and possesses super strength. The bullet falls out of their chest, not even leaving a mark. Marie confronts Brink, stating she deserves a chance to be in his class. He rattles off a tepid excuse about how she’s better suited for Performing Arts.
That night, Marie notices a boy (Asa Germann) running across campus in matching gray sweats while armed security pursues him. When she asks what’s happening, they tell Marie he’s a “tweaker.” Marie cuts the palm of her hand. A stream of blood snakes out, wrapping around the boy’s ankle and sending him groundward. Then, Andre appears, moving a metal truck toward the boy to pin him in place. Security subdues him. Before that, the boy cried out that he wouldn’t return to “The Woods.” We see him being tossed into a room in a facility where the wallpaper boasts a forest theme. Hmm.
The following morning, Marie and Emma join Justine (Maia Jae Bastidas) and Liam (Robert Bazzocchi), two significant players in the Performing Arts scene. Justine and Emma trade acting stories. Marie leaves, feeling out of place. Meanwhile, Luke meets with Brink in the latter’s office. Brink presents Luke with a new suit and his official induction into The Seven. His contract is being drawn up for it. As Luke embraces Brink, he hears something peculiar. Outside the school, Andre runs into Marie. He invites her to party with him, Luke, Cate and Jordan that night. Watching Perdomo and Sinclair act together again is interesting, given their time on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Later, Emma gives Marie an outfit to wear out on the town. Emma urges Marie to attend the gathering on her behalf so she can live vicariously through Marie. While Marie’s out, Emma reads horrific, vitriolic comments on her YouTube from toxic trolls. Never read the comments. Marie hangs out with the gang on the roof of Seven Tower. She chats with Luke for a spell. She tells him the truth about her family. Marie wants to prove to her little sister that she isn’t a monster. Luke advises her to pursue a major that aligns with her desires, not what others envision.
Next, Emma and Liam make out in her room. Liam, a huge fan of Little Cricket, has a strange request for Emma. She heads into the bathroom and removes her clothes before vomiting in the toilet. The act of purging makes her shrink. That’s how she gets small. Meanwhile, Marie and her new pals head to the club. Cate uses her powers of persuasion through touch to get them past the bouncer. At the dorms, little Emma rides Liam’s dick like a carousel. It’s… certainly one of the weirder things this universe has displayed. Liam makes her tell him he has the biggest penis she’s ever seen. Well, given her current size…
Next, Luke and the others persuade Marie to take molly. Marie reluctantly gives in to peer pressure. Marie hits the dancefloor with Cate while Jordan, who’s in female form, learns Luke was accepted into The Seven. Andre hopes Luke can introduce him to A-Train, who’s his crush. At one point, a high Luke hears a boy call out to him.
Then, Andre flirts with a woman at the bar. He creates a bird out of a coin to impress her, hoping she’ll go home with him. He promises to send it flying across the room into one man’s drink. However, while the bird is en route, someone bumps into Andre, causing him to lose track of it. It flies into an innocent woman’s neck, piercing her carotid artery. Uh-oh. Blood splashes on Andre’s face, reminiscent of Hughie in The Boys pilot. Andre tries to plug the hole in the woman’s neck as she bleeds profusely. Jordan and Cate convince Andre to leave before they get into trouble.
Marie, who stays behind, watches the woman bleed out. She’s reminded of her mother. Marie manipulates the blood, sending it back into the woman’s neck. Then, she manages to close the hole, stopping the bleeding. Naturally, the crowd around her cheers. Marie basks in the glory of being a hero. The following morning, Emma congratulates Marie for going viral on social media for her heroism. Marie’s RA knocks on their door, claiming Brink wants to see her.
Unfortunately, it’s not to grant her access to his class. He’s expelling her. Brink recognizes her great work saving that woman’s life, but someone has to take the fall. Andre, Luke and Jordan are all in the top 10. Luke is joining The Seven. Marie understands that, right? Ouch. She storms out of his office. Meanwhile, Luke hears that same boy call out to him. His little brother, Sam, is standing in a forest. He reassures Luke that this is real. Hmm.
Marie finds a private place to sit outside. She sobs. Aw, poor girl. We flashback to after young Marie accidentally killed her parents. Her little sister calls her a monster. Marie mutters, “I’m not a monster,” before returning to Brink’s office. She discovers a shocking sight: Luke, in Golden Boy form, killing Brink. After Luke incinerates his professor, he turns to Marie. Marie claims it’ll be their little secret. However, Luke can’t let Marie live to potentially tell the tale. He chases her.
Jordan confronts Luke, standing in front of Marie. They shift between genders while they fight off Luke. It’s a pretty cool, solidly choreographed fight sequence with fun powers on display. Jordan, as a woman, seems to possess sound wave-esque abilities. After triumphing over Jordan, Luke heads outside. Marie informs Andre that Luke murdered Brink. Andre tries to comfort Luke while a crowd watches. Luke embraces Andre, telling him he loves him. Then, he sets himself on fire with his powers, launching himself into the sky before exploding. Marie and Andre are covered in bits of Luke now. Welcome to God U.
The episode ends with Vought’s CEO, Ashley (Colby Minifie), reassuring Godolkin investors that Luke’s death is a fluke. He was having a psychotic break from drug use. Sure, Jan.
Jaz Sinclair and Lizze Broadway steal the show for me with their nuanced, grounded performances. Marie and Emma are intriguing characters. I can’t wait to see where this story takes us, as we have more questions than answers to parse through.
What did Luke tell Andre before he killed himself? Why did Luke murder Brink? What’s the deal with the woods? Only time (and more episodes) will tell.
Gen V drops new episodes every Friday on Prime Video.
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