In season 2 of the Amazon hit series, it’s business as usual for The Boys, and by business as usual, I mean, of course, being hopelessly outmatched by Vought and their superheroes, but taking them on anyway.
Based on the comics by Dynamite Entertainment, The Boys, if you haven’t yet seen it, takes a more cynical, realistic approach to what would things be like if superheroes really did exist. The answer is that they would be owned by a huge corporation, and marketed and commoditized to make enormous buckets of money, and they, and the people who own them, would have way too much power which would give them license to often do whatever they want.
While The Boys follows these superheroes, it more importantly follows the small but scrappy group of nobodies who’ve decided to take them down – Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid), Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Frenchie (Tomer Capon), and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara), with an assist this season from the famous Colonel Mallory (Laila Robins). Taking down supes is no easy task, and that makes season 2 just as much of a rollercoaster ride as season 1, this time complete with exploding heads. The first three episodes of season 2 are out today, with new episodes dropping every Friday (all eight episodes of the season were released to the press).
Season 1 ended on the massive cliffhanger that Becca (One Tree Hill’s Shantel VanSanten) is alive, and living with her son, who is also Homelander’s (Antony Starr) son. It takes an episode or two for the series to reveal exactly what happened after Homelander touched down in Becca’s white picket fenced yard, with Butcher in tow, but we do find out everything, and the deal with Becca becomes a big part of the season. Butcher, for his part, is just as obsessed with getting Becca back as ever, but don’t worry, it doesn’t take him long to meet back up with the rest of The Boys to help them try to take down the supes. Homelander, meanwhile, is invested in the idea of having a son, which makes him more terrifying than ever.
What is going on with The Boys? Well, their number has grown. Kimiko is officially part of the group. Even MM heartwarmingly says in an episode that “Kimiko’s one of us,” showing that she’s no longer just Frenchie’s adopted lost puppy. We always knew Kimiko was a Spice Girl. Starlight (Erin Moriarty) also becomes more allied with the team this season. While it’s normally antithetical for The Boys to work with a supe, Annie shows that she can be trusted, and is more committed to stopping Vought than ever. It also doesn’t hurt to have someone with superpowers on your side.
Speaking of supes, there’s a new member of The Seven, and her name is Stormfront (Aya Cash). At first glance, she appears to be a woke, media savvy, badass that doesn’t mind calling out Vought in public, and saying what she truly thinks, even challenging Homelander. (I heartily agreed when Stormfront bemoaned the lack of pockets in the women’s super-suits as a product of the patriarchy.) But Stormfront is a lot more insidious than she looks, and we soon learn that she has her own agenda and a dark past, which isn’t really surprising is it?
One supe, however, who proves herself to be not awful this season, is Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott). We already knew that Maeve had a heart from when she defended Starlight to Homelander last season, but this season we start to see who Maeve is underneath the jaded Vought veneer. She starts to pursue what she really wants, and not just what Vought and Homelander want her do. Her humanity shines through this season, and makes us root for her more than ever.
I did lose focus during the Deep (Gossip Girl’s Chace Crawford) rehabilitation scenes, as Deep joins a scientology-type church that promises to help him get back in with The Seven. If there ever was a character that the show could drop, it’s Deep, because I honestly don’t care about his sad life, or his efforts to get back on top.
There are also some things about the season that still feel like a mystery to me, though the show heavily hints that they will be covered in season 3. The end of the season, meanwhile, feels a bit off to me, as its unclear where a lot of the characters stand, or what The Boys’ next moves will be. While there’s usually always a new mission looming, a new urgent threat to address for our scrappy team, the season ends without one, and makes me worried about whether season 3 will be as a cohesive as the show has been so far, or if it will be all over the place.
Overall, season 2 works. It’s just as gory, cynical, and action-packed as season 1, but with many added twists. The show goes so much deeper on every character’s past, why they are the way they are. (Honestly the only character who still remains a monolith is Black Noir.) The progress The Boys make is very one-step-forward-two-steps back, which is the only thing that makes sense when you’re trying to take down a superhero backed corporation. It works as well as ever as a skewering critique of capitalism, and also a raucously good time.