SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for Episode 5 of “Gen V,” titled “Welcome to the Monster Club,” now streaming on Prime Video.
Even superheroes can party a little too hard.
The heroes of “Gen V” wake up wondering what the hell happened last night in this latest episode, but what seems like some alcohol-induced memory loss turns out to be diabolical mind wiping. The culprit comes from within our core group of heroes, when it’s revealed that Cate (Maddie Phillips) was erasing people’s memories on Dean Shetty’s (Shelley Conn) command.
Last week’s episode ended abruptly, just as Marie (Jaz Sinclair), Emma (Lizze Broadway), Jordan (London Thor and Derek Luh), Andre (Chance Perdomo) and Cate were close to getting answers on the mysterious supe program called The Woods. But suddenly, the screen cut to black and the heroes found themselves waking up at a wild house party, with Marie in bed with Jordan and Cate with Andre. Huh?
The college kids assume it was just a night of blackout binge-drinking, but then their suspicions turn to Rufus (Alexander Calvert), the psychic creep who uses his powers to take advantage of women. Rufus denies the allegations, though, and Marie discovers a tracking device embedded in her neck. She then realizes it was Cate all along who had been using her mind control powers to wipe the memories of her classmates. Before Andre can kill Rufus, Cate confesses her complicity in Shetty’s scheme, shattering her friends’ trust.
The only person who doesn’t get his mind wiped is Sam (Asa Germann), who is on the run from Shetty’s Woods guards. Isolated and alone, Sam has mental break, and starts seeing the intruders as puppets. Yes, puppets. Fans of “The Muppets” should look away, because what follows is a brutal, bloody massacre, in which all the blood, guts and bones are made of felt and red confetti. Sam tears the puppet guards limb from limb in, and once the mayhem is over the show reveals the bodies and carnage left behind.
In an interview with Variety, executive producer Michele Fazekas breaks down the puppet fight scene, Cate’s betrayal and a couple of brand new supes who get a brief, but graphic, first appearance at the party.
Where did the idea for the puppet massacre come from?
Every outrageous, crazy thing you see on this show, or on “The Boys” comes from a real place of drama and emotion and character. We wanted to show Sam almost decompensating, and under so much stress. How can we show that in a way that we haven’t seen before? That came with the writers’ room. We had the scene with Jason Ritter and the puppet — that was great. I was really happy that everyone signed on to what on the surface sounds like a ridiculous idea, which is we’re going to shoot a fight sequence exactly as if it’s a visceral human action fight sequence, and the only differences is it’s also with puppets but treated exactly as if it’s a real fight sequence.
Where did you get the puppets?
The head of our makeup department goes, “Oh, I can do that. I’ve done this before.” How is that possible? So he built them all. We hired puppeteers to come in and help us, because we built that set. You can’t really go out on location and shoot something like that. The puppeteers wore a green sort of body sock and then we erased them in post. I couldn’t believe that.
How many unique puppets are there?
At least four or six guards. There’s the Sam puppet, the Emma puppet and we also have a Deep puppet.
Last week, you and Eric Kripke mentioned that the writers pulled a lot from their own college experiences. Was there any real-life inspiration behind the opening party sequence?
It’s like the supe-ified version of going on a bender in college and not remembering what you did. Eric Kripke talked a lot about his 21st birthday in college. A lot of what really works well in “Gen V” is taking those typical college experiences and putting our spin on it. That’s why for a little while they are chalking it up to “Oh, I guess I just got really sick last night.” But they quickly start to put pieces together, like maybe that’s not what happened. If you’re binge-drinking in college it’s probably not an uncommon experience. We liked the “Gen V” version of that, and it’s a great cover story for Cate.
We’re briefly introduced to two new supes while they’re hooking up. One is a guy who can make his hand vibrate incredibly fast, and the other is a girl with a dolphin blowhole on her back. Do they have names, and when will we see them again?
I don’t believe they have names. The dolphin girl, that was when we got a lot of notes for how much we could see, which is somewhat amusing because, I mean — it’s a hole in her back. So you’re not actually seeing anything. But I really love how it seems gross and graphic, but it’s also not a real thing, so it’s kind of perfect.
Marie and Jordan awkwardly navigate their new relationship in this episode. And it’s made more complex because Jordan can change their gender. How did you decide when to portray Jordan as a male and as a female when they’re with Marie?
We are really intentional about that. In a subsequent episode, you’re gonna see Jordan talk about that, and why they decide to become male for certain things and female for other things. It is intentional: Their powers are very gender specific. As a male, Jordan is like a brick wall, a tank, immovable and can withstand a really strong impact. As a woman, Jordan can expel this energy blast. It’s like offensive and defense. You heard in Episode 3, they were born male, but they see themselves as both, and it sort of depends on how they feel in a given moment.
In the end, it’s revealed that Cate is the one wiping her friends’ memories and causing the blackouts. It’s a major betrayal, — so can she really be trusted anymore?
It’s complicated. When Cate reveals herself to Marie and says “I’m so sorry,” she really is. There’s a part of her that really loves her friend. It’s really hard for her. A lot of this is going to come out in subsequent episodes, but is she trying to protect them?
I like that her motivations aren’t just like, “I’m evil.” No, she’s doing it for a reason.’I like that her motivations aren’t just like, “I’m evil.” No, she’s doing it for a reason.
This interview has been edited and condensed.