Season 2 of The Boys has been mind-blowing. Explosive, even.
And now, we’ve got to keep our heads together for a year while we wait to see what will become of the disbanded team as they settle into their lives, with some kind of balance finally restored to their universe.
Of course, there have been winners, and there have certainly been losers. That’s nothing new. But, no matter what happens, The Boys endure.
So, what did we learn from the season’s final episode?
1. Violence begets violence
We know that satire is one of our most valuable tools of self-reflexivity as a society, but it still hurts to see our conditions laid out so plainly.
At every juncture in this season, Stormfront managed to embody the worst kind of calculated post-truther imaginable, stoking the flames of a false ideological inferno which captured the minds of a chunk of the public.
As expected, we saw Vought put their business interests before ethical responsibilities time after time, giving a known Nazi activist power and a platform where she could spread two-way hatred across the USA.
In an elegant twist of fate, however, two of Vought’s most warped initiatives collided when Ryan (the son kept alive to blackmail Homelander) annihilated Stormfront by doing exactly as she had instructed him during their faux-family playdate earlier the same day; he focused on something he hated.
But in the process, lost the one thing he loved.
Ryan had no choice but to make a move, but we knew he’d be cursed either way.
Is this a lesson in human nature? Are we destined to be overcome by our antagonism of other people? Given the distance between us all – it can be easy to forget who might be on the receiving end of our laser blasts, proverbial or otherwise.
But Stormfront was a raging Nazi, and most of us probably couldn’t wait until her head was popped off. Violence begets violence.
2. There’s no happy ending for Butcher
There were moments in the hour where I truly believed things might work out for Billy Butcher and Becca.
Then again, I’d spent half the season expecting Ryan to be left motherless, somehow, just so that we could see how Billy would react to a dilemma like that; would he be able to put his prejudices aside, and take care of the only thing Becca lived for?
We knew there was always a chance that Billy hadn’t changed at all, and would find a way to cut Ryan out of the picture without letting Becca know the full story.
But Billy had changed, and had made peace with the mistakes that ruined his life – the bloodlust he once suffered with had started to recede.
And then the worst possible thing happened. Ryan, who is living evidence of all the wrongs that had been inflicted on Becca and Billy, accidentally killed his mother while trying to save her life.
We could only hope that Becca’s goodness would be the one factor Billy would understand Ryan had inherited from her.
Sure, he’s not exactly the fatherly type, but Billy would have been a better role model for Ryan than Homelander. Fortunately, Ryan clocked this at the right time.
Ultimately Billy decided Ryan would be better off without him. This goes to the core of who Billy Butcher really is. He can never be happy, because he has to keep working.
And the kind of work he’s in – well, it’s not for folks with responsibilities.
He is, in that way, much like Hughie: he just never gives up, no matter the cost.
3. ‘Girls Get it Done’
A neat homage to Episode 2 in the season, Frenchie’s the one who points out the parallel worlds occupied by Vought’s supes and the real ‘heroes’ of the day; when ‘The Girls’ do get it done, it’s not half as glamorous as Vought had imagined.
Kimiko and Annie had the chance to savage their mutual nemesis, but needed the extra (wo)man power from Queen Maeve to tip the balance. After all Maeve had been through, all the mistakes she’d made, the rejection she’d suffered – she still proved to have much humanity left in her.
The show might be full of “c” words and “f” words, but the “l” word prevails. Love is the driving force behind all these tormented people. Too much love, or not enough. Either way, it has saved their lives many times over, and Maeve had just enough left in her to make the right move.
But some girls just seem to want to watch the world burn.
Victoria Neuman has been on our radar since the season’s first episode, even if we didn’t know it then.
I’ll be the first to admit – I didn’t see that coming. And neither did her boss. She’s in control now.
Everyone has some kind of dastardly motive for their own ends in The Boys. So what’s hers?
Does Neuman want to cut a deal with Vought to adjust supe legislation, or put herself at the helm? Who is she protecting by offing the Church of the Collective’s chairman, Adana? (Also, can she only explode heads, or does she just do it for effect?)
Whatever happens now, Victoria Neuman is bound to become a key player in Season 3, which doesn’t bode well for Hughie, who we last saw asking Neuman for a job in her congressional office.
Hughie is a treasure, but he has probably only made it this far with a lot of help from The Boys, and a touch of fortune. Now that he’s decided to ‘stand on his own two feet’, I seriously hope he gets to stand a bit longer.
Seasons 1-2 of The Boys are available to watch on Amazon Prime.