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"What did you expect me to do? It was Homelander."
—Mesmer pleading to Billy Butcher[src]

Mesmer (real name Charles) is a minor antagonist in Season 1 of the Amazon series The Boys. He assisted the vigilante group, The Boys by helping them understand the background of The Female before he betrayed them to Homelander.

Biography

Washed Up Celebrity

Charles, also known as Mesmer, was born with the ability to read people's mind. He became a famous child celebrity and was the main star of The Mesmerizer, a television series where he portrayed a psychic detective. During a period of his fame, he was a member of Teenage Kix, a teenage based superhero team along with A-Train and Popclaw. Mesmer would however lose his popularity, and was fired from Vought International when he decided to use his powers for insider trading.

At some point, Charles had a daughter named Cleo. Due to his frequent drug use, he lost custody of her in 2016. Though he wanted to reunite with Cleo, he became more focused on trying to regain his fame, and only made his living by going to conventions to sign DVD copies of The Mesmerizer.

The session

Mesmer was approached by Mother's Milk at a convention in The Innocents. In exchange for visitation time with his daughter, Cleo, Mesmer agreed to a "reading session" with The Female. After some initial trials with her, which included getting both of his wrists broken, Mesmer was able to identify the Female as a forced member of a terrorist organization, The Shining Light Liberation Army. She was captured, brought to America, and injected with Compound V. This allowed The Boys to realize that Vought was creating super terrorists to give themselves supervillains to fight and to give the military a reason to put Supes in the military.

The Betrayal

At the end of the episode in The Innocents, Mesmer approached Homelander on a rooftop to make a deal. Mesmer gave him photos of The Boys, allowing The Seven and Vought to identify the members of the Boys and target them and their families. Mesmer then proceeded to demand a job at Vought, however Homelander left without promising any guarantees. This was eventually his downfall when Butcher followed Mesmer's attempted escape at a subway station in The Self-Preservation Society. Butcher cornered Mesmer in a bathroom, revealed he planted a tracker on Mesmer even before his betrayal just in case he ever did turn on them and proceeded to beat him. With each blow, Mesmer saw into Butcher's memories. Seeing Butcher's final moments with his wife Becca, Butcher discovering her disappearance, and possibly Butcher's recruitment by Grace Mallory or more likely Butcher's desire to kill him. Mesmer uses this information to try and convince Butcher to let him live, suggesting that he can help Butcher find his missing wife. Despite his pleas, Butcher grabbed Mesmer and bashed his face into a sink 6 times until he died.

Relationship with Cleo

Cleo expressed a distant relationship with her father, possibly due to a lack of involvement he had in her life from being a celebrity. Mesmer himself expressed concerned love towards his daughter, as shown when he was willing to make the scheduled visitation times in exchange for a reading session with The Female. This is also what leads to his involvement in the war with supes. Mesmer goes back on his deal by later attempting to call Tina and tell her that he doesn't have to see Cleo, as long as his daughter is cared for. Mesmer betrays The Boys by giving information about them to Homelander in the hopes that his influence will get Mesmer back into the public eye. Butcher figures out Mesmer's betrayal and confronts him on his attempt to flee. In his final moments in the season against Butcher, Mesmer pleads profusely for Butcher not to kill him. "Please, I have a daughter!"

Powers and Abilities

"There are no secrets from me."
—Mesmer's catchphrase[src]
  • Telepathy: Charles possesses telepathic abilities. Allowing him to sense the target's mind, utilize in combat, and creating a strong psychic shield that will protect him against other beings.
    • Mind Reading: When at a convention he is able to "guess" what people are thinking. He was shown to be able to read their current thoughts through physical contact, like what number they're thinking of or what they want to do.
    • Memory Reading/Memory Manipulation: Mesmer's main demonstration of his power was being able to read people's memories through physical contact. In his show The Mesmerizer, he is able to determine who committed a crime based on their memories. The Boys use Mesmer to identify and "read" The Female. He was able to see her memories about becoming a forced member of a terrorist organization, and her relationship with her brother. When Butcher confronts Mesmer in a bathroom, he first beats Mesmer. As Butcher is punching Mesmer several times in the face and grabs him by his head, Mesmer is able to see Butcher's memories of Becca and Butcher's thoughts on wanting to kill him.
    • Hypnosis/Mind Control: As a tribute to his father, and as a focus for his control, he casts hypnosis by speaking backwards or "Logomancy". For example, saying "pots" would cause the target of the command to stop in their tracks.

Weaknesses

  • Physical Contact Required: Unlike conventional telepaths, Mesmer must have physical contact in order to read the thoughts of others. Obviously, this would preclude him reading minds over a distance.
  • Uncontrollable Powers: Mesmer appears to have no control over his ability to read minds and his power is activated with physical contact regardless of whether he wills it. This is shown in his reading of Billy Butcher's mind even as Butcher was beating him to death.
  • Human Physiology: Unlike most supes, Mesmer does not appear to have secondary enhancements, such as increased strength, resilience or recuperative abilities. He was easily overpowered and killed by Butcher. And while most supes seem to have accelerated healing, Mesmer still was recovering from a broken wrist he suffered several days earlier.
  • No Combat Abilities: Mesmer is overweight and probably less than average strength, even by non-supe standards, and has no combat skills. He was effortlessly overpowered by Butcher.

Trivia

  • He is a composite parody of the trope of telepathic superheroes with little to no combat skills. In particular Professor X, since both him and Mesmer are named Charles.
  • He is also a meta parody of the career of actor Haley Joel Osment, who came to stardom as a child playing a psychic in the film The Sixth Sense.
  • The narration that plays over the opening credits of The Mesmerizer says "there is only one person who can see inside their hearts," which is a possible reference to Osment's long-standing voice role as Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series.
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