Gen V Episode 8 review: A superb, shocking finale

Cameron Frew
Cate and the other supes in Gen V Episode 8

Gen V Episode 8 pulls out all the stops for its visceral, nightmarish finale, equipped with jaw-dropping action and a long-awaited appearance that goes terrifyingly beyond fan service.

Episode 7 upended Gen V’s new world order early in motion; Dean Shetty’s plan to infect and kill every supe on Earth was nipped in the bud before it was too late, and despite her best efforts to convince her friends that she should be trusted, Cate reveals herself to be a more dangerous threat than ever before.

Even when the drama has felt a little trite, what’s been most impressive about Gen V is how it’s managed to blend coming-of-age woes with larger, franchise-altering stakes; it’s not trapped in the shadow of The Boys, but it stands alongside it, forging its own disruptive, exciting path that also hypes up whatever’s coming up in the mainline show.

If the finale has one weakness, it’s that it feels too concerned with keeping you invested after the credits roll – but the events of Episode 8 are genuinely shocking and smartly at odds with what fans may be expecting. It’s great on its own terms, but also too concerned with what’s next.

Gen V Episode 8 starts with a bloody situation

Jordan Li in Gen V Episode 8

Episode 8 opens on Cate struggling to silence the cacophony of frightened, angry voices of her friends after forcing Dean Shetty to slice her own throat – with the exception of Sam, whose steely, calm resolve stands in contrast to everyone else’s darting eyes.

“Let’s assess the situation,” Jordan says, and Emma quips: “The situation is bleeding all over the f*cking rug.” Cate doesn’t regret killing Shetty. “I did this for all of you… when I’m done maybe eventually you’ll realize I’m being a hero,” she tells them, and Sam steps forward. “I wanna be a hero too,” he says. Emma is upset by him leaving with Cate, but none of them fully understand the level of resentment he must hold for the normal people in that university – every human he’s ever met has wanted to tinker with him and keep him locked away.

“I’m not an experiment,” he says, warning Emma that he’ll not be only one Vought will torture if they find them. “Maybe it’s time for me to save you,” he adds.

As they’re about to leave, Jordan stands in their way in their female form. “You can beat me, but do you really think you can beat him?” Cate asks, with Sam’s blank, undaunted expression eventually convincing Jordan to step aside and let them go. They propose phoning campus security, but Emma doesn’t want to put Sam in any danger. Jordan thinks they should stop the students in the Woods getting out, but Marie doesn’t entirely disagree with Cate and Sam; those students deserve to be released, but they could threaten the lives of anyone around them, including other supes.

“This is f*cked up… but Godolkin and Vought are f*cked up too,” she says, and pitches another plan: they should stop them.

Polarity and Andre are doomed

Andre in Gen V Episode 8

Polarity is still laid up at Vought Tower, and while Andre continues ignoring Marie’s calls, he gets some disconcerting news from the doctor: his dad had a seizure due to accumulated microtears in his neural pathways as a result of using his powers. In simple terms, his powers are breaking his brain, and the damage is done – all they can do now is mitigate or slow the symptoms. It’s almost like supes in the world of The Boys aren’t metahumans – they’re glorified junkies.

Polarity apologizes to Andre for “everything” and admits that he’s always known about the Woods. “I played along, stayed quiet… to protect you. School’s done now, kid. It’s your time. You’re the big man now, you follow the straight and narrow, you do whatever they tell you,” he says, telling Andre there’s “no life without regrets” and his family is counting on him to take the next step: becoming the new Polarity as his dad retires.

Back at Godolkin, Ashley holds an emergency board meeting amid all the chaos at the university. They need a massive distraction, so they decide to choose a student to join the Seven. Andre is first on the list, but Ashley isn’t impressed; high IQ, dreadful GPA, and he listed a British accent as one of his skills. “Who’s pushing for this kid?” she asks, but she’s not as dismissive as one of the board members, who cites Andre’s “on screen skin colour tests” reading “a bit dark” – which Ashley rightly slams as racist.

Sam and Cate head down to the Woods, where Sam offs a guard by punching through his face; they may have a point, but the wanton savagery isn’t doing them any favors. Cate orders another guard to let everyone out, including a supe who asks if Gangnam Style is still a thing (apologies for making you replay that song in your head).

As Cate and her newfound army of rogue supes walk out the facility, Sam peers into his old cell and sees Luke lying on the bed. Sam assures his brother he’s helping people, but Luke says he’s “hurting humans”, and the only reason he killed himself is that he couldn’t stand the guilt of having killed a single person. Furious at having been abandoned, Sam walks out and locks his own voice of reason behind him.

Cate catches sight of a dead supe infected with the Virus. “This school thought they could torture you… you are not inferior. You are superior to them,” she tells everyone around them as they set off to begin their massacre (considering Godolkin was a parody of Charles Xavier’s school for the gifted in X-Men, it’s not surprising to see the series pulling from Magneto’s manifesto).

“Eat your own f*cking hands, you monster,” Cate tells the guard as she rests her hand on him, and we hear his pained crunching as they emerge out of the Woods (imagine munching on your own fingers). One of them walks outside and asks a random professor if she’s a supe. When she says no, he fries her head in front of everyone outside.

The Godolkin University Massacre

Students start running for their lives, but they’re not the targets: it’s the faculty, who are murdered one by one in sickening fashion. While Marie, Emma, and Jordan sweep the school and try to protect people, crude social media guru Jeff faces off against a supe – but he’s armed with a sonic device that immobilizes supes with high frequencies. He slips an extra receiver in her mouth and turns the dial to the max, exploding her head.

“My cover’s blown, I think our rehab’s been unlocked,” he says – Jeff has been in on everything the whole time. However, he’s not quick enough to step away from Cate, who puts her hand on him and says: “Let’s do a livestream.”

As the board debates the worthiness of Maverick on the Seven, Ashley notices Jeff standing outside. Cate makes him put a receiver in his mouth and suffer the same Scanner-esque fate as the supe he killed, with thousands watching online. Pandemonium ensues, but Adam Bourke’s acting class is none the wiser – until Sam walks in (with less stage presence than Josh Hartnett, apparently) and chokes the director.

Before he can snap his neck, Emma rushes in and asks Sam to stop. “You don’t wanna hurt people,” she says, but people hurt him – it’s the same debate as when he wanted to kill Cate in Episode 6. This time, Sam isn’t as receptive to Emma’s good nature, feeling liberated by his rage. “I want what’s best,” Emma urges, and Sam replies: “You want what’s best for you… Emma, you would do anything for everyone to like you. You’re not a hero.” As he walks out, Emma starts to cry – which causes her to shrink. “What the f*ck?” she reacts, but this has big implications for her powers – what if she doesn’t need to puke to reduce her size?

Ashley asks her assistant to find Homelander, and in the meantime, she offers a spot in The Seven to whoever kills Cate and stops the slaughter. She phones Marie, and even claims she can arrange a meeting with her sister Annabeth if she helps them.

Marie, Andre & Jordan vs Sam and Cate

Cate in Gen V Episode 8

Marie finds the lockdown button in Shetty’s office, shuttering students inside their dorms (without any WiFi, cue the off-the-grid wailing) while the carnage continues outside. Cate orders a supe to take down a helicopter, but Andre arrives and uses his powers to land it safely. Cate then forces Maverick to fight Marie – so far, he’s always been wearing a hat and glasses, but he removes everything he’s wearing. Marie struggles at first, but then she remembers the extent of her abilties, as tested in her meeting with Victoria Neuman: she focuses and begins to see Maverick’s pulsing heart and veins in front of her, and she manages to knock him out.

As Andre catches up to Cate, she asks: “Who’s side are you on?” He replies: “Whatever side gets us out of this sh*t.” He tries to appeal to any empathy left in her heart, but she was just stalling – Sam spears him like Roman Reigns and the pair start duking it out with molar-quaking haymakers. Sam then grabs Andre’s neck, but he manages to use his powers to pick up a nearby taser, and after ramming it into his torso, both of them collapse to the ground.

Marie finds Cate and asks her to stop the madness, but Cate tells her she’ll always be a “freak” and “product” to Vought. She sees Jordan being ambushed by supes, so she induces a heart attack in one of them and weaponizes the blood of all the corpses around her to create a hail of shards that kills the others. “F*cking christ! I’m putting that in my next movie,” Bourke reacts, in the funniest line of the episode.

As Jordan walks towards Marie, she says: “See, we’re good together.” However, Cate walks towards them with her hand out, so Marie does what she should have done already: she causes her arm to explode, leaving Cate powerless and screaming in pain.

Suddenly, a speed-of-sound boom thunders above them – it’s Homelander! He lowers down onto the grass, but the heroic music scoring his arrival quickly stops. Marie greets him with “sir”, but he waggles his finger at her. Surveying the bloodshed and noticing what she did to Cate, he asks: “What kind of animal are you? Do you like attacking your own kind?” Marie doesn’t understand, but before she knows it, she’s blasted with his laser vision and knocked out cold.

Vought, under Homelander’s direction, spins the violence in a particularly insidious way: Jordan, Andre, Emma, and Jordan are framed as murderers, while Cate and Emma are the new so-called Guardians of Godolkin; blonde hair, blue eyes – are we really surprised? With Victoria Neuman in Vought’s back pocket and Cameron Coleman essentially acting as Homelander’s lapdog, he’s just as powerful as ever.

Marie then wakes up in a white cell with Jordan, Andre, and Emma. There aren’t any doors, and none of them have a clue where they are – and it gets worse: this is where the episode ends.

Gen V Episode 8 review score: 4/5

Gen V’s finale satiates your bloodlust, but it also deepens The Boys’ skewering of superhero culture; this is nasty, excellent storytelling – it’s a compliment, really, but we’re dying to find out where the series goes from here.

Gen V Episodes 1-8 are on Prime Video now, which you can sign up for here. You can check out our other coverage below:

Gen V review | Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | When does Gen V take place in The Boys timeline? | Gen V cast and characters | The Boys cameos | Gen V runtimes explained | Tek Knight powers explained | What is the Virus? | Jordan Li powers explained | Why does Soldier Boy return? | Every supe’s powers explained

Please note that if you click on a product link on this page we may earn a small affiliate commission.

About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, and Oscars enthusiast. He loves Invincible, but he's also a fan of The Boys, the MCU, The Chosen, and much more. You can contact him at cameron.frew@dexerto.com.