*Spoilers for episode 1 of Gen V below*
Gen V is a spin-off of the popular show The Boys, which is based on the Garth Ennis comic book of the same name. Gen V follows Marie Moreau, a young woman with superpowers, as she tries to navigate life at Godolkin University, a school that specializes in teaching young people with powers how to fight crime and promote themselves. Episode 1 explores themes related to guilt, ambition, and the cost of dishonesty.
The episode begins with a Young Marie (Jaeda LeBlanc) accidentally killing her parents when her ability to physically manipulate blood manifests for the first time, which traumatizes her and her young sister Annabeth (Maria Nash). Years later, an adult Marie (Jaz Sinclair) is accepted into Godolkin University, a school that specializes in training superheroes. On her first day of school, Marie meets her roommate Emma (Lizze Broadway), who has the ability to shrink, and becomes friendly with a popular student with fire powers named Luke (Patrick Schwarzenegger), who is the number 1 ranked student at the university and is being prepped by the school to become a member of The Seven, the world’s most powerful superhero team. Later on, Marie and Andre (Chance Perdomo), a friend of Luke’s who has magnetism powers, are shocked when they see a mysterious man with powers get restrained and knocked unconscious by campus security.
Luke takes an interest in Marie and invites her to go clubbing with his friends Jordan (Derek Luh, London Thor), who has the ability the switch from male to female form and subsequently change abilities, Cate (Maddie Phillips), who has telepathic abilities, and Andre. At the club, Marie saves a woman from bleeding out and dying after Andre accidentally slices her neck using his powers. Despite being praised online for her actions, Marie is expelled by a professor of the university named Richard Brinkerhoff (Clancy Brown) since he plans on using her as a scapegoat to protect the reputations of Luke and his friends. After reflecting on her past trauma and desire to become a hero, Marie returns to Brink’s office to confront him, but in a shocking twist, walks in on Luke killing him. Luke then panics and tries to kill Marie, but he is stopped by Andre who manages to calm him down. The episode ends with a shocking twist as Luke takes his own life by using his powers to explode.
Episode 1 does a good job of introducing the audience to its cast and the characters certainly feel unique in their personalities. Marie is also a strong protagonist and her journey of overcoming adversity definitely make for compelling television. The episode also introduces some mysteries about the university and the people who run it, which helps maintain a strong desire from the viewer to keep watching the show. The most notable flaw of the episode is the fact that the tone feels inconsistent, as the show mixes dark comedy and drama in a way that doesn’t always work.
The strongest performance in the episode comes from Jaz Sinclair. Sinclair is able to create a lot of depth for her character. Marie is shown being emotionally vulnerable in several scenes but she also has a tough exterior and a strong will to succeed that the audience would expect of someone with ambitions to become a superhero.
The pilot episode of Gen V is fairly strong overall, despite it’s confusing tonal shifts. The episode is saved thanks in large part to its strong protagonist and interesting characters.