The following story contains spoilers for Gen V Episode 6, “Jumanji.”
IT’S NOT A Superhero show/movie in 2023 if it doesn’t have a major cameo or two, right? While Gen V has already featured the likes of Ashley Barrett (Colby Minifie) and Jason Ritter (as himself), in Episode 6 it pulls out the big guns: Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) shows up for an ever-so-brief (and very, very funny) appearance.
After Gen V‘s massive Episode 5 reveal—that Cate (Maddie Phillips) had actually been the one wiping our heroes minds and memories—Episode 6 takes things in a rather trippy direction. The majority of the episode takes place in a dream/memory world of Cate’s creation, a shared cognitive state for our passed out heroes that plays as a sort of hybrid between the WandaVision “Previously On” episode (where Wanda and Agatha journey through past memories) and The Matrix (with the protagonists in one world, and their actual bodies vulnerable in another).
As Gen V is just laying down the lay of the land with this dream/memory world that we’ve suddenly been thrust into, it’s a familiar face—Soldier Boy!—who shows up to explain a bit of what’s going on. As it turns out, he’s Cate’s imaginary friend from her teenage years. And while he does serve a larger, more important purpose to the episode, he also does what he usually does: be aggressive, be vulgar, and be lewd.
He explains that he was there when she first masturbated (“I taught her how to jerk off.” ), and then the language gets colorful. He uses all of the following synonyms and descriptions for/of the act:
“Diddle that skittle”
“Flick the bean”
“Find that man in the canoe”
“Came like a faucet”
“Crank up the Jonas Brothers, and she’d hump a Soldier Boy pillow. She’d raw dog that pillow until she saw god.”
When Marie (Jaz Sinclair) responds as just about anyone would (“Gross.”), Soldier Boy responds, well, exactly as you’d expect he would: “It was pretty romantic.”
Eric Kripke, co-creator of both The Boys and Gen V, said in an interview with Variety that Ackles’ only request for his cameo was that it be funnier. And so the two of them began to “riff and riff and riff,” and the endless masturbation jokes were born.
“We just shot so much stuff that I would say only 10% of it is in the episode,” Kripke said. “You cannot believe how many euphemisms for masturbation we came up with. Countless, countless euphemisms. And then we put in our favorites and that was the scene.”
What does Soldier Boy’s appearance mean for Gen V and the world of The Boys?
Soldier Boy’s primary, technical purpose for his appearance in Gen V is clear: to lay down a quick storytelling rule. Our heroes need to be fast and cognizant of their surroundings, —Cate’s head is unraveling, and if anything goes sideways for her, they could end up in a vegetative state for the long haul as well. And that’s showcased immediately, as this imaginary version of Soldier Boy is immediately blown up by a lightning bolt (which we learn a moment earlier is actually a burst blood vessel in Cate’s head).
But in addition to helping to set up the story that “Jumanji” tells for Gen V, it also helps to further build out the world that The Boys has done such a solid job of establishing over the course of these two shows.
For Soldier Boy to be Cate’s childhood imaginary friend—while in reality, as we saw in Season 3 of The Boys, being a heartless and violent monster—it really goes to show an example of how warped this world is, and how much covering up Vought does. This company makes war criminals and monsters into cuddly figures for kids to look up to.
Kripke explained in that same interview with Variety that Ackles/Soldier Boy wasn’t even his first choice for the character in the scene. He first thought of Twilight star Taylor Lautner. “The characters were wandering through the woods, and then they’re like, “Taylor Lautner?!”” he said. “And he’s like, “Ya, I’m Cate’s crush! Cate used to masturbate to me. “Anyway, here’s the rules.” And then he blows up.”
The fact that Taylor Lautner, who was one of the most prominent teen heartthrobs of the mid-late 2000s, and Soldier Boy, were interchangable for The Boys universe kind of says it all.
We may have a fun time watching this all unfold—but it’s a sick, sick world.
Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.