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Spoilers below for The Boys' Season 2 episode titled "Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker."
As one of the most ruthless members of The Seven whose name isn't Homelander, The Boys' Black Noir is often portrayed as being a mostly unstoppable badass whose targets fall on all sides of the moral spectrum. (Especially in the Season 2 premiere's opening scene, which also featured the character's most light-hearted moment yet.) Just when it looked like he might snuff Starlight out in Episode 7, Maeve showed up just in time with the ultimate weapon to take Black Noir down – an Almond Joy – before revealing that the quasi-hero suffered from a tree nut allergy.
It was a wild twist that I can't imagine a whole lot of viewers saw coming, even with the candy-related foreshadowing earlier in the season. As it happens, that tree nut allergy reveal was inspired by Black Noir actor Nathan Mitchell's real-life allergy, which is one of the most unique "art imitating life" examples I can think of. The actor recently spoke with CinemaBlend about everything that went down in "Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker" and when I commended him for allowing his real-world kryptonite to be used in the show, here's what he told me:
Honestly, it is interesting exposing my kryptonite to the world. But that representation matters, too. You know, allergies are a real thing, and it affects people really seriously. And this is something we never see in television, or in movies, connected to superheroes. So to give that to Noir, it makes him more relatable and more universal, in a sense.
Though Compound V might seem like it makes certain people immortal – such as Homelander or perhaps Stormfront – while eliminating some of the problems that affect regular humans, Black Noir is proof that even members of The Seven have to reckon with specific health issues that affects untold numbers of the aforementioned regular people. It had to be somewhat strange for Nathan Mitchell to portray a situation that could potentially kill him if it happened in real life. I mean, obviously Black Noir has faced several different hyper-violent situations that would also kill a normal human, but allergic reactions are obviously more specific and nuanced. And apparently they're not kept top secret from the rest of the team.
For Nathan Mitchell, allowing Black Noir to share his tree nut allergy is not only an interesting way to share something personal with The Boys' fanbase and the world at large, but it's also a way to raise awareness for the issue and to normalize it within pop culture. Considering such allergies are so vastly widespread that schoolchildren around the country generally aren't allowed to bring lunches that have anything to do with peanut butter, it does seem strange that there aren't more prominent TV and movie characters who are also allergic to nuts. One of the only examples I can think of right away is Milly Shapiro's Charlie in Ari Aster's horror flick Hereditary, and while I'm sure there are more, there's still an imbalance. And here we thought The Boys was mainly concerned with awesome head explosions and Homelander's milky desires.
So we were getting on the plane to Comic-Con, and we're all sitting down, and I had to tell one of the flight attendants that I had a nut allergy. So I was sitting beside Laz and Karl was there, and he's like "Oh, what would happen if you had a reaction?' I'm like, 'It'd be pretty bad. Anaphylactic shock. All the things that go into anaphylaxis would eventually happen.' It's like, 'Oh, that's rather interesting. I think I'll present it to Eric.' So I was like, 'Okay, cool.' [Laughs.] And what was funny is, somebody on that flight didn't hear. So we're sitting down, and they pull out nuts and they start eating them. And I'm looking around, like, 'Something smells off. What's happening?' And by the time I find them, they've been eating it for a bit, and it's in the air. So I'm sitting in this plane, and I have my shirt over my nose the entire time, because it was filling up the cabinet. Laz was just like looking over at me occasionally, and I was just there. We land, and I'm like, 'Oh, thank God I can get off.' He's like, 'What?' I told him about the nuts, and he's like, 'Oh, I thought I just smelled.' So that was funny, and then once we were at Comic-Con, Karl pitched it to Eric, and Eric thought it was a great idea, so he ran with it.
Ha! I like that Laz Alonso was possibly self-conscious about his own stench for the entirety of that flight, when it was just Nathan Mitchell trying to stay alive. Can't hate on Karl Urban for spreading the word about Mitchell's allergies, either, since Black Noir's takedown was one of the most surprising moments of the season. Now let's just hope he actually got to his EpiPen and actually lived through the experience.