The first season of The Boys–or, as I lovingly refer to it, “Holy Shit! The TV show”–introduced us to the idea that the term “Superhero” could be a huge misnomer.
Within the world of the show, The Seven, a group of superheroes worshiped the world over as the saviors of humanity, are basically the worst that humanity has to offer. Homelander is a sociopathic murderer who only cares about himself. Queen Maeve is reluctantly complicit in his actions and too jaded to do anything about them. Translucent and The Deep are sexual predators, and A-Train is a druggie who’s okay with manslaughter as long as he gets his fix.
I guess there’s also Black Noir… but I’m still not sure what his deal is.
As a counterbalance to the “Supes,” there exists The Boys, a ragtag group of vigilantes who seek to bring down The Seven and the corporation that created them: Vought International. Their team consists of Frenchie: an arms dealer with ties to multiple cartels, Mother’s Milk: an obsessive-compulsive ex government operative, Kimiko (AKA The Female): a Supe who was created for The Seven to fight against, and Billy Butcher: the leader of The Boys and a man on fire.
The main focus of the first season is the newest members of both organizations. The Boys recruit Hughie, a bumbling everyman whose girlfriend was recently manslaughtered by A-Train; while The Seven bring Starlight, a kindhearted –if woefully naive– supe, into the fold. Both are put through the wringer as they are pulled into the darkness behind the public facade of superheroism.
Now, the first season finale left not only “The Boys” in a bit of a bind, but it also left us (the viewers) dangling from a cliff. There were a couple of big reveals, some narrow escapes were made, and more than a couple of people died. It was a near perfect–save for the part where I’d have to wait almost a year for new episodes.
The second season started a couple of weeks ago, and I finally got a chance to sit down and watch the first couple of episodes. It was definitely worth the wait. The new season builds upon the triumphs and failures we saw in the first season and lets us see the ripples those events helped to create.
Taking the world by Storm(front)
One of the better additions to the new season is Stormfront. She is the most recent member to join The Seven after they lost Translucent and The Deep to various circumstances in the first season.
She is a social media sensation and feminist whose constant sarcasm and sardonicism is a welcome balance to Starlight’s (faultering) optimism and Homelander’s overly serious tone. She comes out of every gate swinging, and it’s hard not to immediately like her. In fact, she quickly becomes embedded with the public at large as a staunch critic of Vought International and the way they run The Seven.
However, I’m genre-savvy enough to know that if I like someone this much, this quickly, they are likely not who they appear to be.
The Deep End
The Deep continues to reel from his–well deserved–fall from grace at the end of season one. Still stranded in Sandusky, Ohio, he spends most of his days drinking and doing ads for the local water park. However, the new season sees him befriended by Eagle the Archer, a superhero who–if you hadn’t already guessed–is really good at archery.
Eagle is also a member of the Church of the Collective (dime store Scientology), and wants to help The Deep realize his “best self.” So along with the support of the church, and a couple of cases of Fresca, The Deep begins a “spiritual journey” in the hopes that he can face his innermost fears and once again rejoin The Seven.
I’m sure everything will go as planned and he’ll be fine.
The Boys are Back In Town
In fact, they never left.
The remaining members of The Boys (Hughie, Frenchie, Mothers Milk, and Kimiko / The Female) have been laying low since their harrowing escape from the clutches of Vought. Unfortunately, since they are wanted criminals and Butcher is nowhere to be found, they lack the resources or leadership to continue their efforts.
They spend the majority of their time languishing in the basement of a pawn shop (read: cartell front) while they try to figure out what their next move will be.
Hughie wants to continue the fight against Vought and the Supes. Mother’s Milk wants to find a way back to his family. Frenchie just wants to get out of dodge. And Kimiko does the sensible thing and takes the opportunity to learn to read and write English.
Unfortunately for all of them, the only way through most things is to go even deeper.
When Butcher finally returns, with his Cockney accent and cocksure attitude, he comes with an offer: Hunt down a super-terrorist, and their records will be expunged.
Of course, nothing ever goes as planned, so I look forward to watching this explode in their faces in the most spectacular manner possible.
Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom…
One of the more intriguing storylines is actually that of Homelander. While clearly the show’s most antagonistic, and reviled, villain, Homelander has a vast array of psychological issues that make him almost pitiable.
After murdering his surrogate mother / boss / handler at the end of the first season, he assumed that as the face of The Seven– and their most powerful hero– he would be able to run roughshod over them and Vought. After all, what could they possibly do to stop him?
The answer is “a lot actually.”
Stan Edgar, the CEO of Vought, maneuvers circles around Homelander’s somewhat simplistic worldview. Stan instates the heroes he wants in The Seven. He sidesteps the landmines laid out by Homelander– and The Boys for that matter– and keeps running his company in the way he sees fit. Even when directly threatened by Homelander, Stan is a stone-cold Boss and tells the super powered psychopath exactly how things really are.
Watching the world’s strongest “Hero” seethe with impotent rage as he continues to be manipulated by those around him is honestly a bit Kafkaesque.
Who will watch the Watchmen… I mean The Boys?
While The Boys may have lost a little of the punch it had during the first season, and the multiple intersecting storylines could mean that the one you care about is left a tad underdeveloped, overall it’s shaping up to be a strong entry in the series.
I look forward to learning more about Stormfront. I desperately need to see exactly how wrong The Deep’s storyline is going to go. I want someone to punch Homelander in his stupid face (and have him feel it). And gosh darn it I want to see Hughie and Annie (Starlight) get together for good.
Oh… I also want about 50% more superhero fights… so hopefully that happens.
I’m giving the first couple of episodes a super 8/10 because, to borrow a phrase from Billy Butcher, so far it’s “Fucking Diabolical.”