[Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Boys Season 3, Episode 5! Read at your own risk!]
The canary has officially lost his way. As The Boys crossed the Season 3 halfway point this week, it appears that Hughie (Jack Quaid) has gone to the dark side, teaming up with Butcher (Karl Urban) to manipulate MM (Laz Alonso) and hand over Crimson Countess (Laurie Holden) to Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) in exchange for the errant "hero"'s help in killing Homelander (Antony Starr).
"He's a character that is often overlooked. He's a character that people underestimate. I think that after a while it bubbles to the surface with a hefty dose of help from the V," Jack Quaid explained to TV Guide. "I really liked exploring a different side of Hughie this season. I liked exploring a side of him that wasn't totally likable. Typically, we see him as very morally upright, a good guy character and just to play around with his dimensions and get him more into the morally gray aspect was fascinating for me as an actor."
When Starlight (Erin Moriarty) discovers that Hughie doesn't intend to apprehend or even attempt to stop Soldier Boy from killing his former team, the two have perhaps the biggest fight of their relationship yet. Starlight can see that using a supe to get supes is going to have the opposite of their desired result, especially when the supe in question can't seem to control his powers. It's even more concerning what lengths Hughie is willing to go to himself in order to take down Homelander — including taking a drug that will probably kill him.
"[Starlight] is really surprised by [Hughie] this season," Erin Moriarty added. "First, she's really pissed off and really freaked out that he's taking Temp V. She says, rightfully so, that he has no idea what the consequences are." But the cracks in their relationship go deeper than Hughie's recent experimentation with V. His jealousy and overprotectiveness fly in the face of everything that made Starlight fall for him in the first place.
"You see this in the scene where they're bowling [in Season 1]. She doesn't want to show off her skill to him because she's afraid it's going to make him feel emasculated and then he says to her, 'No, no, no. I want you to show your skill, your power. I want to essentially empower you to feel like you can be yourself around me.' Then he totally contradicts that in Season 3. You see this side of him that we've never seen and I don't think we expect to see," Moriarty continued. "It breaks her heart a little bit, because that's what made her feel safe with him. That's what attracted her to him."
While Hughie and Starlight's relationship definitely hit the rocks in Episode 5 after he ditched her to follow Butcher and Soldier Boy, Quaid had a great time exploring this darker side of the show's former beacon of morality. "He's dealing with some budding toxic masculinity," Quaid said. "That was such an interesting place to act from. What I know of Hughie, and then this new side of him was really interesting…I liked that kind of gift that Eric gave me this season which was to spread my wings and explore the dark underbelly of this character that I've already played for two years."
The question is, can Hughie find his way back to the light or is the canary lost to the coal mine of superhero vengeance?
The first five episodes of The Boys Season 3 are now available on Prime Video, with new episodes released every Friday.