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'The Boys' Season 2 Recap: Sex, Drugs, and Exploding Heads

By James Field | TV | June 2, 2022 |

By James Field | TV | June 2, 2022 |


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Your, my, and Barack Obama’s favorite psychopaths are back! This Friday delivers the 3rd season premiere of The Boys, Prime’s wonderfully bonkers version of Garth Ennis’s seminal (heh) graphic novel. It’s crass. It’s violent. It’s got the best fake news team in the country. This season kicks off a year after the grisly events of season 2, and you’ll be forgiven for not remembering exactly what happened to whom and how many orifices were involved. So here’s a quick recap of everything important that happened in Season 2.

The Boys start out in a bad place, Most of them are shacked up with some human trafficker “friends” of Frenchie’s, because they’re wanted by the law. The suspicious death of Madelyn Stillwell, Vought International executive and enabler of Homelander’s lactophilia has been pinned on their merry band despite Homelander melting her face off. The Boys assume it was their leader, Billy Butcher. Billy, to be fair, was present at her grisly murder, but only because Homelander brought him there before reuniting him with his wife, who Billy thought murdered long ago. She wasn’t, and in fact had Homelander’s baby after he forced himself on her. The kid has powers similar to Homelander but none of his sociopathy… yet. Billy spends much of the season trying to find Becca and free her from the Vought compound on which she’s hidden for Ryan’s entire life.

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On the Seven side of things, Starlight’s still trying to get the secret of Compound V into public awareness, while Homelander deafens a blind superhero when Vought tries to add him to the team because he’s not perfect enough to meet Homelander’s exacting standards. There are already a few Aryan ideals running through America’s #1 mass murderer’s head when he meets Stormfront, a Supe nearly as powerful as Homelander and just as crazy, who’s actually Nazi eugenicist from the 1940s. We get our first glimpse of her particular brand of racist crazy when she tortures Kimiko and her super-terrorist brother, murdering the latter. She also kills a number of Black witnesses just for fun. Her behavior is in line with her behavior in the 1950s, when she was a violent superhero codenamed Liberty, murdering Black Americans simply because she could. She whips up an internet campaign that paints her as a progressive, modern woman despite beliefs that put her squarely in the die-hard MAGA camp.

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Speaking of terrible people who suck, the Deep’s been banished to Sandusky, Ohio, home of… well, nothing. After hitting rock bottom he’s bailed out of jail by Eagle the Archer, a lower-tier hero who’s backed by the powerful Church of the Collective, a cult so transparently based on the equally culty Church of Scientology that its founder could’ve been named M. Don Cupboard. They want to use the Deep as a successful redemption story to further their agenda and even pick a wife for him. Like the Scientologists, they keep files on their members going back decades, something that will come in handy for A-Train later on. The speedster’s being dumped from the Seven due to his unreliability, drug addiction, and fading talent.

Much of the season comes down to relationship drama. Maeve’s on edge because Homelander’s outed her, exposing her bisexuality and relationship with Elena. That relationship, already rocky, suffers further when she sees the recording of Maeve and Homelander abandoning the doomed airliner last season. Starlight and Hughie hit several speed bumps, mostly because Hughie repeatedly acts like a dick. Frenchie’s boundary issues end up freeing Kimiko’s brother, leading directly to his death and that of Stormfront’s witnesses. He tries to kiss Kimiko and hooks up with his ex when it goes badly. He still manages some personal growth and repairs his friendship with MM when the team kidnaps Lamplighter, a former Seven member and the accidental murderer of CIA bigwig Grace’s children. Frenchie, who the team knew failed to stop Lamplighter back in the day, had abandoned his post to save an overdosing friend. The killing broke Lamplighter and after convincing The Boys that he’ll show them Vought’s Sage Grove, an illegal medical testing facility, in which random people are exposed to Compound V and worse, he ends up burning himself to death. Mother’s Milk is having relationship troubles of his own, and despite several opportunities to vanish with his family chooses to stay and fight on. Billy and Becca’s clumsy attempts at reforging their relationship come to an end when Becca realizes Billy cares nothing for her son, Ryan. Homelander’s attempts to bond with Ryan are fruitless, as the hero’s just too damaged to connect with anyone save Stormfront, and she swiftly manipulates him into her twisted worldview of superpowered Aryan supremacy.

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Starlight exposes Vought and, despite Hughie’s assholery, comes to terms with him as well. During a Congressional hearing where former Vought CSO was set to testify in front of Congresswoman Victoria Neuman his head explodes, as do those of a number of staffers and witnesses. The Congresswoman escapes along with Grace and the Boys, having watched their chances at a legal win burst like so many fruit punch-filled balloons, lock and load in preparation for what will surely be a suicidal attack on the Seven. Becca shows up before they can go out in a blaze of glory and begs the team to help her get Ryan back from Homelander and Stormfront. During the attempt Stormfront beats the team senseless before Maeve, Starlight, and Kimiko lay the smackdown in a glorious “Girl Power” moment that feels — to me — much more organic than Marvel managed in Endgame. She escapes, however, and takes Becca hostage. Ryan lashes out in a fury and uses the eye beams inherited from his father to cut Stormfront’s legs off. Becca is tragically killed in the same strike. Furious at Billy’s interference and Ryan’s betrayal Homelander prepares to kill one or perhaps both before Maeve finally uses the recording of Homelander’s failure to save the airliner as blackmail. Homelander can’t touch any of them without being disgraced. Desperate to remain the public’s golden boy, Homelander retreats. Billy gives Ryan to Grace for safekeeping. A-Train uses the Church of the Collective’s files to expose Stormfront as the bigot she’s been for over 70 years, which allows Vought to turn her into a scapegoat for their misdeeds, and puts the speedster back on the Seven. The team’s tensions run deep but are kept hidden from the public for now. The Deep is furious at being passed over yet again, and when he confronts the head of the Church, Alistair Adana, over his betrayal, is branded as a Toxic Personality and cast from the organization. MM rejoins his family, and Kimiko and Frenchie go off on their own to pretend they’re normal. Billy refuses Grace’s invitation to join her new team, one working under Representative Neuman and dedicated to stopping power-mad supes. Hughie joins, of course, as he still naively believes the nation’s power structure can be used for good. The audience learns just how doomed his attempt is when Adana’s head explodes while he’s on the phone. Who’s he talking to? Victoria Neuman, whose last name was apparently a pun all along. All signs point to her joining Vought and Homelander as one of season 3’s Big Bads.

Ultimately, The Boys’ second season was as strong as the first, and maybe more so. The deep dive into the character dynamics and relationships brought a lot of depth to the murder and mayhem. What’s next? With less than a day remaining before the season’s premiere, we’ll know soon enough!





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Header Image Source: Prime Video screenshots.