REVIEW: Gen V – Season 1, Episodes 7 and 8, “Sick” and “Guardians of Godolkin”
The first season of Gen V been crazy so far. From bloodbending to making friends forget important developments, it’s been quite a ride. The finale, “Guardians of Godolkin,” will reportedly lead directly into the film The young Season 4. I’m a week behind, so I’m going to watch this and the previous episode, “Sick,” together. Let’s see how Gen V is wrapping up its introductory season.
“Sick” begins in Dr. Cardoza’s laboratory as a room full of superpowers becomes increasingly ill. Cate calls Dean Shetty and they arrange to meet at Shetty’s house. Jordan and Andre are skeptical of Cate’s intentions, but Marie wants everyone to work together again. Emma hides Sam in her room while she leaves. Marie and Jordan break into Shetty’s office to snoop around, but are forced to hide when Dr. Cardoza enters. Meanwhile, Shetty meets with Grace and suggests they spread Cardoza’s virus. Sam disobeys Emma and plays with students in the hallway. Polarity, who is scheduled to moderate Senator Neuman’s speech, suffers a seizure and is rushed to the hospital with Andre in tow. The event descends into chaos as students begin chanting and fighting. Marie meets Neuman and learns the truth about her. Cate makes Shetty kill herself. Neuman takes the virus and eliminates Dr. Cardoza.
In Guardians of Godolkin, Cate is bombarded with the dismay of her friends. She and Sam head into the forest, and Marie, Jordan, and Emma vow to stop them. Polarity’s brain shows damage from using his powers over the years. He must stop using his powers to prevent the condition from worsening. Andre and his father have a heart-to-heart talk and Polarity finally apologizes for helping cover up the Woods. However, he expects Andre to make the same decisions as him. Ashley and other executives discuss manipulating the situation to distract from recent disasters. Sam and Cate drive everyone out of the forest. Emma, Marie and Jordan split up to save everyone and put the school on lockdown. Ashley offers a place in the Seven to anyone who can stop the renegade Supes. It’s a draw until Homelander comes and takes Marie down. Sam and Cate are hailed as heroes, while Marie, Jordan, Emma and Andre are imprisoned.
The world of The young always punishes good people for doing the right thing, right? Marie and Jordan are the most likeable of the children and they always talk about wanting to be good people. In this world, being a truly good and caring person and being a successful superhero are contradictory. Shetty, who previously at least pretended to care for Marie, even throws the traumatic past in her face. I’m shocked that Dean Shetty actually loved Cate and apparently saw her as a surrogate child after her own loss. I wonder why a real bond grew there while Shetty treated others similarly to Marie but never felt real compassion for her. It’s sad that Dean Shetty’s husband and daughter died on the plane that crashed Homelander, although not surprising. This is the standard backstory in The young: “Homelander (or someone exactly like him) killed my family or kidnapped my wife,” etc.
I have a problem with how quickly Sam radicalized at Senator Neuman’s town hall. I understand that it’s a social commentary, and it’s not entirely that, having been held captive for years. But really? Some people shout and argue at a political meeting, and he’s ready to kill everyone and completely abandon Emma? Sam treats Emma terribly in “Sick” and “Guardians of Godolkin,” and I’m not sure why. He says she just wants everyone to like her and I don’t understand where that comes from. This is a strange way to show gratitude to the only person who ever came for him. Emma rescued Sam from the forest and just wants to protect him and deal with Shetty properly. Sorry to press a point, but Sam has shown himself to be a bit crazy before. He sees his enemies as puppets and argues with television characters. But at least in my eyes, there is a long way between that and rejecting your only true friend in favor of radical, violent policies you don’t even understand. Eight episodes isn’t a lot, and these shortened seasons are what I hate about streaming shows. But what was needed here was at least an episode or montage that showed Sam connecting with these crazy people and getting into their mindset. This character was previously likeable, although clearly unbalanced by his terrible life. To throw all of this aside is bizarre. It’s like what they did to Ryan The young, except he was a literal child, and even then he was manipulated by his own father. This is stupid and unbelievable.
I have other, minor problems with both episodes. Why doesn’t Cardoza betray Shetty immediately about the super-killing virus? Just tell Vought it’s her. Assuming you were forced into it, which is true anyway. Why doesn’t Shetty have cameras in her office? Cardoza peeing in her liquor bottles would be the least of the problems someone like that would face; I want to know who is in my office at all times. If Emma wants to make sure Sam stays in her room, why doesn’t she order delivery? It’s better to leave him unattended before you bring the burgers to his door. Problem solved. If Victoria Neuman was Marie’s mysterious fairy godmother all along and also grew up in the same facility, why is she okay with her being locked up in the end? Sam also forgives Cate fairly quickly when he joins her to clear the forest. I understand that they have a common interest, but seriously, dude; She helped you stay there and caused your brother to lose his mind and kill himself. In this case, the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy. Possible hot take there. Why does Sam start an argument with Andre when he tries to reason with Emma? At this particular moment, I see no reason for them to fight.
I think Cate’s pills are more complex than she lets on. They limited her powers, but in a way that benefited her and that she obviously wanted. Now she can hear everyone’s thoughts all the time, but she can’t handle it. And personally, I don’t want to constantly know what other people think. I’m not defending Shetty at all, but I wonder if Cate is making a mistake by skipping the medication altogether. The scene of Emma and Sam on stage is superbly acted. I still don’t understand Sam’s choices here, but the emotions expressed are compelling and I really feel for Emma. It seems like she’s now found a new way to shrink: cry. I wonder who Luke really was. We only saw him in the first episode, since then everything has been another person’s projection of him. It’s not that important, it’s just something I’ve been thinking about. Marie blowing up Cate’s arm is unintentional but awesome. I love this because Cate deserves it. I can’t say much about Homelander’s and Butcher’s respective guest appearances. It’s great to see them, but they show up at the last minute to lock up the kids and/or infiltrate the school. I like it and have no problem with it, but I have nothing to add.
“Sick” and “Guardians of Godolkin” end the season solidly for the most part, but I’m having trouble with the writing. Some of the characters’ decisions here are just stupid. In my opinion, the text in earlier episodes gave more credit to the heroes and villains. I’m looking forward to Gen V Season 2 and especially The young Season 4, but this finale could have been better.