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The Chekhov's Gun In The Boys No One Expected

When the famous Russian writer Anton Chekhov advised writers that they should never include a gun in their story if they don't plan for it to go off, he almost certainly never imagined that something as seemingly innocuous as an Almond Joy would one day be used to create one of the most surprising Chekhov's Gun moments in TV history.

Then again, it's hard to imagine a super serious author coming up with a show as wild and profane as The Boys in the first place (all due respect to Eric Kripke and Garth Ennis). Thankfully, The Boys writers' imaginations seem to know no bounds, and thus viewers were given the reveal of Black Noir's kryptonite: a severe tree nut allergy.

It feels safe to say that no one expected a Supe as strong as Black Noir to be allergic to anything, never mind nuts. However, The Boys set up the silent hero's aversion to Almond Joys long before Queen Maeve shoved one in his mouth to save Starlight on season 2's penultimate episode. Eagle-eyed fans, including Reddit user other1istaken, have pointed out that Black Noir showed his hand on the season 2 episode "Nothing Like It in the World."

During the episode, Black Noir pays a visit to Vought's tech team for help in tracking down Butcher, and finds the computer tech Anika snacking on an Almond Joy. When she offers him a piece, he silently holds a trash can out as a signal for her to throw the candy away. At the time, it seemed as if he simply wanted to get down to business, but in retrospect, it's apparent that Black Noir was being conscious about his allergy.

Black Noir actor Nathan Mitchell's real-life allergy inspired the now-infamous Almond Joy scene

Nut allergies are no joke in real life as Nathan Mitchell, the actor who plays Black Noir, knows all too well. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, an allergy to tree nuts is among the eight most common allergies that affect Americans, and it can be life-threatening. In an interview with TV Line, The Boys showrunner Eric Kripke said he and the show's cast learned about Mitchell's serious allergy at Comic-Con, and a crack from Karl Urban (Butcher) led to Black Noir's all-too-human weakness.

"Karl [Urban] turns to me, laughing, and he says, 'You know, we should give that weakness to Black Noir,'" Kripke told TVLine. "And I just thought that was brilliant. When you think of superhero kryptonite, you think of things like kryptonite. Like it takes a space rock, something very, very exotic. I was just tickled by the idea that someone as strong and powerful as Noir could be taken out by something so simple and something that so many people suffer from. It's a very common kryptonite, tree nuts."

For Kripke, seeding in the Almond Joy references leading up to the moment when Queen Maeve reveals Black Noir's allergy was the most rewarding part, because he knew fans would appreciate the big fight scene even more after rewatching season 2. And yes, that includes Starlight revealing to Hughie that Almond Joys are her favorite candy bar.

The Almond Joy twist was also about giving Starlight a win

The Boys still hasn't fully defined Black Noir's powers, but it's clear that he's an incredibly strong, gifted fighter. Starlight is certainly strong too, but she couldn't get the upper hand on the deadly member of the Seven during their brawl. Still, even though she couldn't physically overpower Black Noir, it's significant that her favorite candy bar is responsible for taking him down.

On the same episode during which Black Noir shuns the offer of an Almond Joy, Starlight defends the candy when Hughie jokes that only serial killers could appreciate the taste of chocolate, coconut, and almonds. For Kripke, the moment was about how Starlight would "symbolically" take Black Noir down later on in the season. "It's also Starlight, symbolically, [who] is able to take him down with something that she loves," Kripke revealed to TVLine.

Even with the show's brilliant foreshadowing, it's still surprising that The Boys was able to pull off such a rewarding Chekhov's Gun moment, and it certainly has us wondering which random scenes will lead to a major payoff next. Fresca, anyone?