Warning: There are spoilers for The Boys season 2 episode 6 ahead.
Can you handle another new superhero The Boys? The latest episode of the Amazon Prime Video series introduces us to a hero who’s new to us, but not so new to the world of the Seven and Vought International. Meet Lamplighter, played by Shawn Ashmore. The character has actually been referenced before on the series, but this is the first time we’re actually seeing him on the show.
Introduced in episode 6, "The Bloody Doors Off,” some of the The Boys come across Lamplighter at a Vought facility after following a lead obtained by Starlight. At first, they don’t register who he is — they’re The Boys, after all, not his ex-coworkers the Seven. But Frenchie (Tomer Kapon) recognizes Lamplighter and after confronting him about his identity, and following a very tense standoff between some of the patients and supers, he agrees to join them on their quest against Vought International — though he does so with a lot of reservations. Here's the background you may have forgotten — and a few things you'd need a comics fan to help you process.
Who Is Lamplighter?
If you have been paying close attention to the murals and statues in Vought International, then you’ve seen Lamplighter before. As a former member of the Seven, he’s obviously had his likeness plastered just about everywhere for promotion over the years. But, for reasons that aren’t specified initially, Lamplighter decides to retire from the Seven, leaving his days as a superhero behind him — and that is actually why Starlight comes into the picture: In case you forgot what happened in the pilot, she’s his replacement.
Since he’s a former superhero, he’s mentioned in passing a handful of times, including by Grace Mallory (Laila Robins). During The Boys season 1, Grace explains that Lamplighter is the one who killed her grandchildren, after he incinerated them. It’s this act that spurs her to leave the CIA and abandon Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and the rest of The Boys. Lamplighter admits to Frenchie that killing Mallory's grandchildren was a mistake, and that he was actually targeting Mallory herself.
Does Lamplighter Just Blow... Fire? What's His Superpower?
As his name suggests, Lamplighter’s power is pyrokinesis. However, he can’t manifest fire just on his own, and he needs some sort of fire “starter.” In the comics — which we’ll touch on more in a sec — he actually has a giant lamplight with him that he uses to harness fire. In "The Bloody Doors Off,” we see him simply use a small lighter and threaten everyone with it. The thing is, once the fire has started, he can control it with his mind. That's the scary part.
What's Lamplighter's Deal In The Comics?
Just like in the show, Lamplighter was one of the original members of the Seven and has since left his superhero days behind — though not necessarily by choice. After a terrorist attack goes sideways for The Boys, Lamplighter is injured in the process and almost dies. And this is the first of two times he almost dies. After killing Mallory’s grandchildren (yep, like he does in the show), it’s decided that in order to call a truce between the Seven and The Boys, Lamplighter will be sacrificed to the latter. The Boys beat the crap out of him, and then throw him out of a plane.
While, yes, this does kill Lamplighter, Vought International brings him back to life with Compound V. He has enough strength to announce that he’s retiring from the Seven (and Starlight replaces him as she does in the series). Then he slowly descends into undead, zombie territory.
Yup, Vought International has a zombie in the basement. Considering that we just met Lamplighter, and he’s very much alive, it’s clear that the show isn’t going down the zombie route for now. But this is The Boys we're talking about, so that trajectory could change at any second. I mean, we all kinda figured that zombies would show up at some point... right?