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The subtle Starlight detail you missed on The Boys season 2 finale

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The last episode of season 2 has a scene featuring Homelander (Antony Starr), Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), and Starlight holding a press conference. This is the moment the Vought admits that Stormfront is, indeed, a Nazi, and that she’s no longer part of the Seven. For fans, the scene contains a subtle detail that fully rounds out Starlight’s character arc. All throughout season 2, Vought has made her wear a highly sexualized outfit that clearly Starlight doesn’t like (as evidenced by a scene wherein she covers up her cleavage when a young fan asks for a selfie). 

In a Reddit thread started by u/rickybland, many fans of The Boys commented on how the new look was a change for the better. Some of the comments about her regaining her old suit include, “I personally think it looks better, and I just love that she is now able to wear the costume she is more comfortable wearing” and “I don’t know if it’s on purpose, but she definitely stands up straighter and looks more confident in the old costume.” The general consensus from fans seems to be that the Vought suit was gaudy and hyper-sexualized, clearly serving as a commentary on how female superheroes tend to wear impractical outfits for the sole purpose of showing off some skin. 

It turns out Starlight stands up to Vought in a far more significant way than Stormfront, making some viral TikToks about the company. Hopefully, we’ll get to see plenty more of her classic costume when The Boys season 3 eventually drops on Amazon.

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How Video Games Are Saving Those Who Served

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Jones had been going to hackathons for years before being approached by someone who worked at Microsoft. “He was a programmer. He asked me if I had any ideas for improving the design of Xbox controllers for the severely disabled. It was mostly just simple things, at first, just add a button or two.” After being initially impressed, Microsoft asked for more suggestions to improve their gaming peripherals. Jones’ project for the 2015 hackathon in Austen, Texas, became the Xbox adaptive controller. “Once those disabled veterans were able to get back into gaming, they’d come back with positive attitudes toward therapy. Playing video games was a major plus for them. So many people are alive today because of these technologies. Many would have committed suicide, otherwise.”

John Peck served from 2005 to 2012 as a sergeant in the Marines. He tells me, “I never suffered from PTSD. And people get surprised when I say that.” He pauses. “However, I was suicidal. They put me on suicide watch while I was in the hospital, and I suffered from general depression afterward.” His harrowing story began on a mounted patrol in Helmut Province, Afghanistan. He and several others “entered a compound, and I had my mine detector. Everything seemed clear. I told my sergeant something, took one step forward, and an IUD blew off my right arm above the elbow, both legs below the knee, then a fungus ate my left leg up to the pelvic muscle. I suffered a traumatic brain injury. Due to complications, they later amputated my left arm. I even flat-lined at one point.” A few days later, he was at Walter Reed. “I’ve had around 35 actual surgeries. Two arm transplants. Using a prosthetic arm, I was playing with remote-controlled cars. But it was useless, because I kept crashing the $300 dollar RCs I bought.” While in the hospital, he met Ken Jones and asked if Jones could help him out. “He made me a joystick. But getting used to my limitations was a full-body workout. At first, I could only sit up for two hours at a time. Getting back into video games kept my life on track and helped my sanity.” Now, Peck, who loves the Assassin’s Creed series, can access the same gameplay as others.

In the ever evolving world of virtual-reality tech, gaming and simulations are providing even more resources for vets. Bravemind, a project using virtual reality as therapy, has been used at over 60 sites, including various VA hospitals. Bravemind project leader, Albert “Skip” Rizzo, director of medical virtual reality at the University of Southern California, has seen positive results from VR since the mid-’90s. His research shows that “a large and maturing scientific literature has evolved regarding the outcomes and effects of what we now refer to as clinical VR applications that target cognitive, psychological, motor, and functional impairments across a wide range of clinical health conditions.” Rizzo perfectly sums up how many vets feel after trauma: “They walk around angry all the time. They don’t want to talk to anyone about it, they don’t even want to admit they have a problem.” Although to a lesser extent now, I can attest to being one of those veterans who still feels uncomfortable when the subject of military trauma comes up.

Frans Steenbrink works at the world’s most advanced biomechanical laboratory. From the outside, the Netherlands-based Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment) looks like the dome of an observatory, but inside it brings together various elements that influence a patient’s behavior in one therapeutic environment. Comprised of a moving platform, a huge screen, wires, straps, and harnesses, the laboratory provides a total-body, fully immersive form of therapy. Working closely with the military, the lab is used for patients with PTSD. Says Steenbrink: “The real-time feedback options and dynamic and interactive environments with exercise games at the optimal level for the patient ensure the best treatment and analysis.”

Games Help, but the Challenges Persist

In too many ways, I long felt it would have been better to come back home in a casket than come back home any other way. The way civilians looked at me, treated me, when I showed my VA card as a form of ID, it was like I should have died a hero. However, I was now the villain. I was immediately treated like the bad guy. A baby-killer, a product of George Bush playing toy soldiers for oil. That’s how it felt. People would say things like, “Why does he get special treatment?” Then, as now, many people had a problem with giving me veterans’ discounts, even when the place of business promised a discount. Folks would often dismiss me as a fraud, saying I hadn’t been through enough, or just calling me a liar after giving a fraction of my stories about military service and trauma. I learned to shut up and keep it to myself. People say they will be there for you, and that they want to hear what veterans have to say, but I’ve found that when I begin to say it, they no longer want to hear it. Maybe it’s a disconnect. Maybe they really don’t care but have to pretend to because of the notion that America doesn’t do enough to help vets.

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Paul Mescal Doesn’t Get What the Big Deal Is About His Normal People Necklace

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Paul Mescal doesn’t have quite the same appreciation for his Normal People character Connell’s chain necklace as the rest of the world does. While the subtle piece of jewelry inspired something of a sexual awakening amongst viewers of the Hulu limited series earlier this year, for the actor, it’s very much just a regular old piece of jewelry.

When asked about his character’s signature accessory in a new interview with GQ, Mescal said, “It wasn’t something that we put any focus on during filming. I think there has been a kind of leaning on the sexualizing of it, which has been a little bit difficult to adjust to. I don’t really have a response to it, because I don’t know what to say other than it’s a chain, and it’s a chain referenced in the book, and it’s a chain Connell wears. It’s not something I lie in bed thinking about at night.”

But while the actor may not lie in bed thinking about that necklace at night, plenty of other people certainly do. The chain is so popular it’s not only inspired a jewelry trend amongst men, but also its own very thirsty Instagram account dedicated exclusively to documenting every appearance of the accessory throughout the show, which now boasts 182,000 followers. And while he may not get the mass appeal, Mescal has capitalized on the necklace’s popularity for a good cause. He gifted the original chain to his Normal People co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones as a gift, but raffled off his own, similar necklace to raise 70,000 euros for an Irish suicide-prevention organization.

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Ariana DeBose Stars in the Buzziest New Musicals

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West Side Story’s Anita has an impressive track record, netting Chita Rivera and Karen Olivo Tonys and making Rita Moreno the first Latina to win an Oscar. “Lots of people have absolutely no problem telling me that they wanted my job,” says the Tony-nominated Afro-Latina actor Ariana DeBose of her coveted role in Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming remake. And with her starring role in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix movie musical The Prom, opposite Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Kerry Washington, she’s giving us something to sing about.

Suit by GUCCI; top by GANNI; sweater by Hermès; boots by BY FAR; earring by MIZUKI.Photographs by Emma Trim.

SHE ENTERED the competitive dance world at age three. “At 18, I auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance.” She was sent home. “I was told that I was a stunning dancer but didn’t have enough passion in my eyes for what I do. That took me a while to get over.”

SHE WAS ONE of the 30 Broadway debuts in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Bring It On: The Musical. The same choreographer booked her in Hamilton’s original cast. “I watched my colleagues become rock stars in front of my eyes.”

SHE HAD LESS than 12 hours’ notice for the West Side Story audition. “I realized very quickly that Señor Spielberg was in the room.” At one point, “he picked up one of his cameras and it felt like we were doing a pas de deux, just him and me.”

AFTER THE DANCE CALL, DeBose, running late to her matinee of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, told Spielberg she couldn’t read lines that day. “Playing hard to get is inherently very Anita,” she says.

SHE WAS NERVOUS to meet Moreno, now playing Valentina in Tony Kushner’s rewrite of the script. But “she was so gracious with me. She redefined how the movie business looked at Latinos.”

WHEN THE FILM premieres in 2021, DeBose says, “I know that it will be given to the world in the best way possible. The release will usher in a new energy for New York City.”

IN THE PROM, DeBose plays a cheerleader coming to terms with her sexuality. “I’m really hoping that the mother-daughter relationship with Kerry will be something that is a great conversation starter for young, queer, beautiful girls of color.”

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