There are big spoilers ahead for this second episode review of The Boys. Catch up with Flickluster’s review for Episode 1. It’s Homelander’s birthday – so three cheers for everyone’s favourite laser-eyed man-child supe. Or not – considering his birthday is a part of an extensive, annually planned marketing campaign by Vought. Homelander wasn’t even born, and this makes the concept of a birthday obsolete. Vought are preparing a live televised event to commemorate the birthday of America’s greatest hero. Homelander is front and centre, dictating the state of play with mixed results.
After Vought elected Starlight as Co-Captain, Homelander attempts to coerce Starlight into singing Happy Birthday on stage with stage dancers. It’s an attempt to belittle Starlight and upstage her as Co-Captain. It’s a cheap tactic, and one Starlight sees through without her powers. She finds it demeaning, and with Stan Edgar backing her corner, an aggrieved Homelander sulks away. Later in the day, Homelander meets Chelsea, a young woman preparing to jump from a high rise.
Vought PR teams are on the ground waiting to capture his heroic moment on camera. However, his day is about to go from bad to worse. At the same time, news breaks of Stormfront’s death by suicide at the secure facility. Distraught and enraged, Homelander forces Chelsea to jump to her death. The episode owes its title to this scene as Homelander tells Chelsea there is no God – and that the only man in the sky is him. The scene demonstrates Homelander at his most despicable – echoing the failed rescue mission of the hijacked airliner from Season 1.
Homelander’s terrible day ends on a sour note at his televised birthday special. After joining Starlight on stage, a heckler in the crowd makes fun of Stormfront’s death, and Homelander publicly snaps. However, this is not conjured from his imagination – after he fantasised about massacring protestors with his laser eyes last season.
He calls out Vought for stage-managing him, for the public relying on him to save them, telling them in no uncertain terms that he’s the real hero. From one deadly supe to another, this latest episode explores Victoria Neuman’s back story as the head-exploding assassin. Neuman shares a connection, not unsurprisingly, to Vought’s corrupt CEO, Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito).
He’s taken on the position of a father figure in her life after she massacred her family with her powers, and Neuman spent some time at Red River, a care home for superheroes. There’s an update on Madelyn Stillwell’s son, last seen during the first season finale. Homelander killed Madelyn and saved the baby from the house as Butcher detonated explosives. Teddy is now a few years older with teleportation abilities and is one of the children at the group home.
With Hughie and Starlight on TV at the Dawn of the Seven premiere, Teddy blows Hughie’s cover and eerily points to the television. Hughie changes tack, using the cover story that he and Starlight are adopting a child. Hughie’s lying technique is painfully terrible but hilarious to watch. A-Train is looking a bit out of sorts of late. In an attempt to get back on track – (because he’s a speedster, get it?), he makes a pitch to re-brand his image. It doesn’t go well. From a video game based on the slave trade, and an African-themed suit to a TV show exploring his ancestral past, A-Train’s plans go off the rails. No pun intended.
If Homelander and A-Train are having a bad day, then Frenchie and Kimiko are likely having an even worse one. They attend Vought World, a theme park inspired by their multi-million pharmaceutical company. Kimiko wants to fulfil a childhood dream she shared with Kenji and ride a rollercoaster. A meeting with Crimson Countess (Laurie Holden), a member of Payback who loves chimpanzees, turns into a disaster, and the theme park is thrown into chaos as the Countess kills a man with her powers. It ruins Kimiko’s perfect day and will probably deter the kids eating candy floss from returning to the park.
With Crimson Countess in the wind, Butcher pays a visit to Payback’s other key member, Gunpowder (Sean Patrick Flanery). He’s a hardcore gun-rights activist with a lethal aim. He fires bullets like performing magic tricks, echoing James McAvoy’s bullet-bending tricks from Wanted. Butcher meets the gun-toting supe in the men’s bathroom at a weapon’s convention. Butcher’s attempt at blackmailing the supe for information on Soldier Boy falls through – and an official complaint made to Vought by Gunpowder against Soldier Boy fails to produce results.
So Butcher ups the ante – and he takes V24, a drug in the research and development stage that can give a soldier superpowers for 24 hours. Butcher goes head to head against Gunpowder, and the drug puts the Payback supe at a disadvantage. Not only is Butcher bulletproof, but he’s gifted with immense strength and laser eyes that slice through Gunpowder. Before his death, Gunpowder reveals that Payback had worked with the CIA under Grace Mallory. Despite the victory, Butcher is considering packing it in and quitting, left emotionally fragile by an animated Lego film of Becca sent by Ryan. He dreams of Homelander and his brother Lenny speaking to him as he debates taking V24.
However, after a phone call with Hughie, who reveals Victoria Neuman is the head-exploding assassin, Butcher and Hughie find themselves realising the best way to take down Vought is the only way they truly know how. Blood and bone. Shock and awe. Elsewhere, Monique is encouraging M.M to return to the Boys.
He loses his temper with a smoke detector and scares his daughter. The episode explores a story thread between Payback and M.M’s deceased father, a backstory established in Season 2. The Boys are back, and many of us will cheer and pump our fists as the fight against Vought resumes.
The second episode of The Boys Season 3 remains consistent from start to finish, with top marks for the writing, humour, performances, and surprising revelations. With the absence of Payback’s Soldier Boy – (the fallout from Homelander’s live meltdown will surely open doors for the Nazi-killing supe), the second episode effectively fleshes out two members of Payback with brutal and bloody results.
Butcher has leveled the playing field with his newfound superpowered abilities and makes for a formidable opponent against the Seven. Highlights include Kimiko and M.M’s character development and the arrival of Crimson Countess and Gunpowder. Other noteworthy moments include Butcher with superpowers, Hughie’s inability to lie convincingly, a peek into Victoria Neuman’s gruesome backstory, and Homelander’s meltdown on live television.
Seasons 1-2 and the first three episodes of The Boys are available to stream on Amazon Prime. What did you think of The Boys Season 3 so far? Give us your thoughts in the comment section below!