With The Boys Season 2 only a matter of weeks away, a recap to ensure we’re all up to date is in order. Read on at your own risk. Spoilers ahead.
The Boys, the TV adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic book of the same name, has a very simple premise. What would happen if the Avengers assembled, only to abuse their powers and become selfish, power-obsessed, and damn right evil people?
Off the back of the conclusion of the MCU’s Infinity Saga and the arrival of a multitude of TV shows on Disney Plus, it’s a refreshing change of pace to finally watch a show that looks at superheroes in a very different light. We meet Hughie Campbell, (Jack Quaid), and learn within the opening minutes of the episode, as he walks down a street with his girlfriend Robin, of the show’s lack of compromise, and commitment to gore. To put it rather bluntly, Robin sort of explodes.
This is as a result of a speedster, A-Train, who runs through her. Yes. An actual person. A-Train is quite frankly an arrogant version of The Flash. His arc throughout the first eight episodes will see him contend with an addiction to Compound V, a performance-enhancing drug, challenging his speed record against fellow speedster, Shockwave, and his commitments to superhero girlfriend Popclaw.
There is The Seven, the eponymous group of superheroes up to no good. Led by the charmingly evil Homelander (the sensational Antony Starr), an unstable, laser-eyed sadist with little compassion for anyone, who is prepared to allow a passenger plane to fall from the sky following a botched rescue attempt, has a failed past relationship with Queen Maeve, and a twisted psycho-sexual engagement with Vought’s VP, Madelyn Stillwell. Then there’s the revelation that Homelander knows his true origins: he was raised in a lab, and deemed a failure. Ouch.
He’s further been up to no good with the wife of Billy Butcher, (Becca), in which his deviant antics lead to the birth of a son with Becca, culminating in a vengeful showdown in Episode 8 with Billy.
There’s the ambitious newbie, Annie, (otherwise known as Starlight), who rockets into super-stardom, but quickly realizes the life and fame as one of The Seven is not all it’s cracked up to be. At heart, Starlight stands up for equality for women as a superhero, using her powers for the good of humankind, despite Vought’s intentions to market her into their company’s image. She soon develops a romance with Hughie, later learning that her mother’s out for herself, willing to manipulate Annie for her own personal gain and learns, worst of all, that all superheroes have been engineered at birth with Compound-V, courtesy of Hughie.
Elsewhere, we’ve got The Deep, an amphibious supe at odds with his status in The Seven, who exploits his position of power against Starlight, attempting to blackmail her into oral sex. The rest of the season explores The Deep’s desire to improve on his self-worth within the group, speaking to therapists, talking to dolphins, (before said dolphin is sadly, yet rather comically catapulted through a windscreen and ran over), and by the end of the season, shaving his head.
Black Noir, the most underplayed of The Seven. Silent, yet strong, proven to be a formidable opponent (through his fight with Kimiko), has a talent for the piano, eating nibbles at parties and generally being the only superhero among the Seven to not get on Homelander’s bad side.
Queen Maeve, reminiscent of Wonder Woman, is a tortured soul, plagued by her culpability in the downing of a passenger plane, conflicted morally in her role as a supe. She’s a supporter of women’s rights and equality, reflected in her speech to Starlight on being who she’s always meant to be. I hope she comes good in the future because something tells me she’ll be one to watch against Homelander.
Then there’s Translucent, the creepy, carbon-skinned invisible superhero who meets a grizzly, undignified end by Episode 2. He explodes. Short-lived, but his death furthers the story. Plus, his absence makes trips to the bathroom a lot less uncomfortable.
Onwards we go. The titular Boys are a ragtag team of vigilantes, led by the enigmatic, yet embittered, Billy Butcher. Karl Urban, (known for his work in Dredd, Star Trek and Thor), provides a stand-out performance as the vengeful superhero hunter. He’s out for revenge against the supes, following his wife’s disappearance eight years earlier, and rightly so considering Homelander’s torrid actions against her. From his sharp one-liners (does it taste like lies?), to his sheer brutality (poor Mesmer), and his fondness for the C-word.
There’s Mother Milk, a former associate of Billy’s, Frenchie, a tech and gun wizard who develops a strong friendship with the ‘Female’, who is later known as Kimiko. Imprisoned by Vought, and dosed heavily with Compound-V, Kimiko’s first sequence sees her viciously pulverize men to death with her bare hands.
Other tidbits of information important to remember include The Seven discovering the identity of Hughie and The Boys, their involvement in Translucent’s death, the connection to Robin’s death, and blackmailing Ezekiel (an elastic Christian superhero) for information on Compound-V.
Betrayed, Starlight breaks off her relationship with Hughie, and the CIA take Hughie and MM’s families into protection in exchange for evidence against Vought. This is all before Homelander later reveals his part in the creation of super-terrorists, most notably the fiery Naqib, to force a move into the U.S Armed Forces, which was a bad decision whichever you look at it. The only people trained to deal with the super-terrorists are the very bad guys The Boys are attempting to bring down.
No pressure there then.
Then the’s revelation that Homelander knows his true origins. A flashback into Becca Butcher’s past cites that she and her unborn baby died. Homelander later discovers Stillwell and Vogelbaum lied, killing Stillwell and presumably the Doctor too. A-Train has a heart attack, relapsing on Compound V.
Lastly, as mentioned earlier, the showdown between Butcher and Homelander culminates in Homelander brutally murdering Stillwell, his supposed kryptonite. Her death makes one ponder, does Homelander have any weakness or any limits? For sure, he is far more formidable and dangerous than ever before. Following the failed kill attempt, Butcher wakes up and finds Becca alive, and Homelander has a son.
The Boys Season 2 premieres on Amazon Prime September 4.