Black Noir in Amazon's 'The Boys'.

‘The Boys’ Reveals Black Noir’s Tragic Backstory

No one comes out of the Seven unscathed.
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***SPOILER ALERT: This episode discusses major plot points from The Boys S3, episode 7, “Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed”.***

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Every member of Vought’s superhero group the Seven has a history of secrets, trauma, and scandal. But while we’re all familiar with Homelander’s megalomania and The Deep’s history of sexual assault, there’s one member about whom we know very little … until now. Black Noir has long been the strong and silent muscle of the Seven, and we know little about him beyond a tree nut allergy. But season 3 changes all that with a look at Black Noir’s tragic history.

An original member of Payback, Black Noir (Fritzy-Klevans Destine) was part of Soldier Boy’s crew alongside Crimson Countess, Gunpowder, the TNT twins, Mindstorm, and Swatto. We see a flashback of the team in episode 3, “Barbary Coast” where Mallory recounts the disastrous mission in Nicaragua that saw Soldier Boy captured by the Russians. The untrained and egotistical supes compromised the mission, but their real plan was devised by a young Stan Edgar: a plot to get rid of the abusive and out of control Soldier Boy.

Black Noir tells Edgar that he wants to go maskless and reveal his true face, but Edgar tells him Silent ninjas score extremely high with boys seven to ten years old. The mask lends a certain mystique. He also implies that America wouldn’t accept a Black superhero, leading to a defiant Black Noir taking off his helmet. Unfortunately, its in this moment that Soldier Boy burns off half of his face. Despite this, the team was successful in selling out Soldier Boy to the Russians.

Black Noir went on to be a part of the Seven, but once he hears of Soldier Boy’s return, he cuts his tracking chip out of his arm and runs away. In episode 7, we find Black Noir hiding out in an abandoned Buster Beaver’s (their equivalent of Chuck E. Cheese) as he imagines the animated characters coming to life to support him. He also remembers his abuse at the hands of Soldier Boy, acted out by cute cartoon critters in superhero costumes.

Noir confronts Soldier Boy for costing him the Eddie Murphy role in Beverly Hills Cop. Soldier Boy brutally beats him down, yelling  “You think you can be me? You’re not a movie star. You’re not s–t. I see you getting out of line again, trying to move on up, I will put you in the f–king ground, understood?!” It’s a grisly scene, made all the more so with the violent animation.

“They’re adorable, right? I kept giving the direction, this would be like if Martin Scorsese directed ‘Snow White,’” showrunner Eric Kripke said. “Adorable Disney characters but then once the beatdowns happen, they’re as anatomically correct as how a real human body would react when exposed to that kind of violence. And it’s a sizzling combination.”

Ultimately, Black Noir’s animated pals convince him to return home and face his fears. Kripke says that the idea for the animated sequences came after they realized they didn’t want to make another straight-up flashback. “If there’s an idiosyncratic way that I can tell a story, I’ll take it because it’s way more fun to step out of the box and tell something uniquely,” Kripke says, adding that “this notion of when [Noir’s] alone, he’s like Snow White, [with] cute animals fluttering around him, just made me laugh.”

Kripke added, “It’s strongly implied that [the cartoon creatures are] always there, … If you look two or three episodes earlier, he’s sketching Buster Beaver in the conference room. We even had a scene that got cut because it just pulled you from the scene… where he was laying out cans of beans in the corners of just different scenes he was in to imply that he’s always feeding the animals.”

Will Black Noir’s critter companions have his back when he finally faces off against Soldier Boy? We’ll have to wait and find out in next week’s season finale.

(via TV Line, featured image: Amazon Prime Studios)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.