“If you knew half the shit they get up to, diabolical.” Billy Butcher
“The Name of the Game”
Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) and Homelander (Antony Starr) stop an armor car robbery and save two boys.
Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) is standing on the sidewalk with his girlfriend Robin (Jess Salgueiro) when speedster A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) hits and liquefies her. An attorney for the company that the superheroes work for, Vought International, offers Hughie $45,000 for Robin’s death, but he has to sign an NDA. Hughie doesn’t want the money, he wants A-Train to pay for what he did. Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) shows up pretending to be an FBI agent. He takes Hughie to an underground supe club where the superheroes are getting up to some skanky behavior. Butcher shows him a video of A-Train laughing about Robin’s death. Butcher persuades him to accept the settlement, so he can get into Vought Towers and plant a bug. Hughie drops the bug in the bathroom but retrieves it. Translucent (Alex Hassell) is in there and sees him. Translucent follows Hughie to work and attacks him, Butcher drives through the shop and hits Translucent with his car, and Hughie electrocutes him.
In Iowa, Annie January/Starlight (Erin Moriarty) sends a video audition to join The Seven. In her in-person audition, she is very sincere about doing good deeds. Donna January (Ann Cusack) Annie’s mother gets a call, she got the gig. They go to New York for Starlight to be introduced. The Deep (Chace Crawford) gives Annie a tour of the Seven’s conference room, while she isn’t looking, he drops his pants. He threatens that if she doesn’t give him a blow job, he’ll get her thrown off the team. Later, Annie’s throwing up in the bathroom, Maeve tells her to clean herself up and don’t let the others see her like this. When they walk out, a naked Translucent becomes visible. Annie is in the park and she sits right next to Hughie who doesn’t know she is Starlight. He offers her sympathy and encouragement.
Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) offers the Mayor of Baltimore (Paulino Nunes) a supe for $300 million, the mayor wants him for a much lower price, he knows about Compound V. Homeland downs the Mayor’s airplane.
Translucent is still alive so Hughie helps put him in Butcher’s car trunk. They head to one of Butcher’s old comrades, Frenchie (Tomer Capon) for help. Frenchie makes a special bullet to kill Translucent, but it bounces off him. They imprison Translucent is in an electrified cage, Hughie asks him questions about A-Train, but he’s uncooperative, only taunting Hughie on how much trouble they are in. Frenchie finally figures out a way to kill Translucent, they stuff C4 up his bum. After Translucent finds out what they’ve done, he tells Hughie that A-Train was coming from seeing his girlfriend when he killed Robin. They see Homelander flying above them. When they leave the room, Translucent uses his urine to short circuit the electrified cage. Hughie has the detonator in his hand, Translucent tries to talk him out of using it; Hughie blows him up instead.
Vought is going to send Starlight on her first patrol but unfortunately, it’s with the Deep. Starlight threatens to burn his eyes out if he ever touches her again. Annie wearing her civilian clothes rescues a woman from two rapist. Vought’s public relation person Ashley Barrett (Colby Minifie) reprimands Annie for attacking the rapist, because it was recorded and she didn’t get a statement from the victim.
The Baltimore mayor’s plane is found, Madelyn questions Homelander about it. He admits to doing it, she doesn’t care that he killed him, she is only concerned about the timing. Vaught is trying to get a military contract, they want supes in the military. Homelander complains about wanting to do more in Vaught, Madelyn mothers him to shut him up. Vaught is holding a cocktail party for the members of the senate committee that will decide if the supes will be involved in the military. The committee chairman Senator Calhoun (David Andres) doesn’t want to outsource the country’s defense to Vought. Senator Calhoun is in bed with a beautiful woman, except it is a male shapeshifter (Dan Darin-Zanco). Homelander uses his x-ray vision to watch Madelyn pump breast milk. Madelyn sets up Senator Calhoun with the shapeshifter and blackmails him with the tape.
Hughie washes Translucent’s gore off himself. Frenchie escorts Hughie home to pick up some clothes. His room looks like a shrine to The Seven, he loses it. Butcher visits Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) at his place of work, juvenile hall. He wants MM to rejoin their group. He tells Butcher he won’t work with Frenchie but Butcher pretends like he hasn’t seen him. After getting MM and Frenchie to bury the hatchet, they along with Hughie are in a surveillance van watching Popclaw (Brittany Allen), A-Train’s secret girlfriend. Hughie goes in with MM to reconfigure her computer so they can spy on her. Hughie runs into A-Train but he doesn’t recognize him. The Boys listen as A-Train talks about his impending race with Shockwave (Mishka Thébaud), he’s worried about losing and wants Popclaw to give him a dose of Compound V. At the race, Milk warns Hughie about the rush of the job, there’s a price to pay, Hughie is willing to pay it for Robin. Frenchie is sneaking into the locker room to steal some Compound V. Hughie spots Annie entering the locker room and diverts her. He’s surprised she’s Starlight, he turns off his transmitter so they can talk privately.
Annie meets Madelyn about the rape attempt, instead of chewing her out, Madelyn is happy. The victim came forward, Starlight’s approval ratings have gone up, Vought is going to capitalize on the buzz by having Starlight wear a skimpy uniform, as a symbol of girl power. Annie refuses but Madelyn tells her if she doesn’t, she’ll be kicked off The Seven. Starlight is signing autographs, and a little girl is dressed in Starlight’s original uniform. Some men verbally harass Annie over her skimpy uniform.
Homelander is jealous of Madelyn’s baby. Queen Maeve and Homelander go to stop a shooter. Homelander brutally kills the shooter, Maeve is disturbed but hides her discomfort. Maeve used to date Homelander and it’s clear she is uncomfortable around him.
A-Train’s brother Nathan (Christian Keyes) can tell he’s wired. Popclaw watches the race on TV, after A-Train wins, at his press conference he acts like he’s single and ready to mingle. Popclaw takes some Compound V to ease the pain. She’s wired now, and when her landlord Aleksy (Christian Bako) asks for the late rent, to cover it she and Aleksy role play one of her movies, she sits on his face and accidently crushes his head between her thighs. Butcher and Frenchie enter her apartment to blackmail her.
“That’s the cost of a mortal like me being with a god like her.” Seth Reed
“The Female of the Species”
Butcher gives CIA deputy chief Susan Raynor (Jennifer Esposito) info on Compound V; she’ll use it to stop supes from being in the military but she needs hard proof. Mother’s Milk, Frenchie, and Hughie stake out the Noodle Shop where A-Train picks up the Compound V, courtesy of info from Popclaw. They follow a courier into an underground Triad hideout. Frenchie finds an Asian female (Karen Fukuhara) in a cage watching TV. Frenchie lets her out against MM’s advice. She has super strength and is vicious. The Boys lock themselves in the cage while she kills the men who held her captive. A-Train shows up at the noodle shop but sees the cops taking out dead bodies. A-Train asks Popclaw who she told about Compound V. She denies telling anyone. The Female walks into a nails salon and kills the owner. A-Train shows up at the salon, the Boys are already there. The Boys track The Female to the train station. Frenchie finds her and he tells her about the abuse he suffered as a child to gain her confidence. She runs away instead. MM gets on Frenchie for not following orders, just like he did when Mallory’s grandkids were torched by the supe Lamplighter. Butcher breaks up the fight, and eases the tension talking about the Spice Girls. He tells them they needed each other and so do they. The Boys remain in pursuit of the Female but A-Train gets to her first. He grabs her and repeatedly slams it against a wall using his super speed. Frenchie screams to the crowd that A-Train is there, allowing The Female to escape. Frenchie catches up to her and tries to calm her down, they have to use a knockout gas on both of them to save him.
Annie text Hughie about a date. Butcher wants him to accept the date so he can bug her phone. They go bowling, he asks her about Translucent and finds out he had a son. Annie and Hughie see a commercial for a big Christian festival called the Believe Expo. Hughie sees Robin’s ghostly apparition, but snaps out of it and bugs Annie’s phone.
The Deep is with his therapist discussing how The Seven treat him like a joke. The Deep tells Madelyn he wants to go to the aquatic theme park Oceanland to help the mistreated dolphins. She says no; Vought has a deal with them. The Deep breaks into Oceanland to rescue a dolphin he knows. A police car blocks the Deep’s route, he stops abruptly and the dolphin flies through the windshield into the highway where a 16-wheeler runs over it.
Madelyn is with two of her underlings, Seth (Malcolm Barrett) and Evan (David Reale) discussing how to cover for Translucent’s absence, they come up with a cover story that he is on a secret mission overseas. Madelyn calls in Homelander and Queen Maeve to rescue a hijacked airliner before the military gets there, the rescue could be a big P.R. win to get the supes in the military. Maeve and Homelander kill three hijackers. The passengers cheer, Homelander grandstands, but they discover there was a fourth hijacker who is in the cockpit. Homelander kills him, the pilot and the instrument panel. Since they screwed up, Homelander wants to bail and let the plane crash. Maeve tries to come up with solutions, but he shoots them all down. She begs him to at least save two little kids, he won’t because he doesn’t want to leave any witnesses. Maeve is heartbroken but she leaves with Homelander and hears the terrified screams of the passengers as the plane goes down. Maeve and Homelander are at the site where they are recovering the crashed airliner. Homelander uses this moment to say that if they had been part of the military, they could have prevented this tragedy. The crowd loves it, Maeve can’t believe it.
“Good for the Soul”
A-Train has taken Popclaw to Havana to hide out. He asks her again who she told about Compound V. She tells him about Frenchie and Butcher, A-Train kills her, trying to make it look like a drug overdose. With all the needles he threw in her arm, it’s not believable. A-Train immediately reports to Homelander. Homelander orders him to find the Female. A-Train watches a sex tape of him and Popclaw, the recording switches to her busting the landlords head open, and Butcher and Frenchie walking in to blackmail her. He teams up with Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) to track Frenchie down. Frenchie’ girlfriend Cherie (Jordana Lajoie) calls to warn him that Black Noir is looking for him. Frenchie calls Butcher to tell him he’s burned; Butcher tells him to abandon the Female. Frenchie lets the Female go. Frenchie is attacked by Black Noir, but the Female rescues him and fights Black Noir. He messes her up, but she doesn’t die and quickly heals.
Queen Maeve and Homelander are at a memorial service for the victims of the airline crash. Homelander puts on an act that makes Maeve sick. Homelander interrupts Madelyn’s pediatrician appointment. He complains about the speech she wrote for him to deliver at Believe Expo, he wants to make a hardline speech, but she wants him to appear moderate for CNN. Homelander takes the stage at the Expo and makes the hardline speech, Madelyn watches it on TV and is furious. In her office, Madelyn asks Homelander if she hasn’t been giving him enough attention. She unbuttons her blouse and lays his head on her lap so he can get a good look at her breast and lets him suck her fingers. Maeve drops by her ex-girlfriend’s place for an unexpected visit. Eleana (Nicola Correia-Damude) isn’t happy to see her. She hasn’t seen Maeve in years. Maeve has been drinking, something a recovering alcoholic shouldn’t be doing. It is apparent that something is wrong and Eleana asks Maeve to talk to her. Maeve thinks about it but can’t say anything and leaves.
Annie meets her mom at Believe Expo. She brought Hughie along, he’s there to blackmail Ezekiel (Shaun Benson) a supe preacher who runs the festival and was in the supe underground club with two other men. They want information on him using his ministry to smuggle Compound V. Ezekiel preaches on stage that God chose them to be superheroes. Annie questions the things she is hearing at the Expo. After all she has seen and been through at Vought, she questions what they are teaching these young people. Hughie sees Robin’s ghostly apparition again; he snaps out of it and asks Annie for an expensive diamond club pass so he can get close to Ezekiel. Annie does it, but she’s disappointed in Hughie for asking. Annie is scheduled to speak and she doesn’t want to, she tries to talk to her mother about it, but her mom guilts her into speaking. Annie doesn’t deliver the message they were expecting, she speaks about her doubts. She tells them what the Deep did without using his name. Annie tells them she still believes in God but doesn’t know what the answers are. Hughie meets up with Annie after her speech, she is still upset with him; he finally tells her about Robin, the only thing that he’s heard that helps him is what she said.
Hughie meets Homelander at the diamond club, who’s also an ordained minister. Ezekiel and Homelander baptize everyone including Hughie. Hughie stays behind to blackmail Ezekiel. The tape they had of him in the club won’t play, so Hughie pretends like he is one of the men Ezekiel screwed in the club. He forces Ezekiel to tell him where the next shipment is going. It’s going to a midtown hospital. Butcher and Mother’s Milk head there. They find a new born pumped with Compound V, discovering that supes are manmade. Butcher gets a sample of Compound V; Vought security shows up and Butcher uses the baby’s eye laser beams to kill them.
“The truth is our weakness is the same as anyone. It’s people, the people we care about. So I say cut them loose, for your sake and for theirs. That way you’re really bullet proof.” Queen Maeve
Super in America is a reality show Vought wants to use to show supes as someone you’d want in the military. Homelander gives a tour of his childhood home. He is acts nostalgic until he sees a blanket on his bed and loses it. A-Train is training with his brother. The interviewer asks him about Popclaw who recently died, he says haven’t seen her in years. Homelander reminds Madelyn that wasn’t his childhood home. Using her sexual wiles, she convinces him to finish the tour.
Mother’s Milk is going over what they’ve discovered. Vought has been drugging infants giving them powers. Frenchie wants to use a supe named Mesmer (Haley Joel Osment) to help them figure out who the Female is. MM goes to an autograph show to see Mesmer. He was a child star. MM takes Mesmer to see the daughter (Zoe Ambrose) he lost custody of 3 years ago. He’ll set him up to see his daughter once a month for one hour supervised visits if he reads the Female. Mesmer tries to read her; she breaks his wrist. Butcher and Hughie show up at Mesmer’s place. They make him try again, he sees a camp in the jungle, and a symbol of the Shining Light Liberation Army. Everyone thinks the Female is a terrorist, Frenchie asks her to prove she isn’t The Female holds Mesmer’s hand, he sees that her village was overrun by terrorist. She and her brother were made child soldiers. She wants to go back to save him. They find out her name is Kimiko. Butcher contacts Agent Raynor, tells her what they’ve discovered and can give her a sample of Compound V. He gives his demands; she can give him everything but Homelander. She’s scared what he’d do. Butcher lies to MM and Frenchie, tells them Raynor won’t help, they’ll have to take out Vought themselves.
Ashley takes the fall for sending Annie to Expo and is fired. Madelyn tells Annie’s to cut the diva shit and get back on board. Annie says no. Madelyn threatens to fire her, Annie reminds her about firing someone who reported sexual harassment. Maeve and Annie are in the elevator, Maeve thinks Annie is milking this, Annie tells her how she admired her, now thinks it was all created by marketing. [Maeve stopped plunging bus broke every bone in arm.] Madelyn makes the Deep apologize publicly for sexually assaulting Annie and she is shipping him off to Sandusky, Ohio. He has trouble sounding sincere when his apology is recorded. On the way to Sandusky, the Deep is pumping gas, someone throws a brick through his window. Madelyn sends Annie a text; they have enough footage to include her in the special.
Butcher takes Hughie to a supe collateral support group. Seth is there, a supe named Ice Princess froze up while they were having sex and broke his dick off. Butcher keeps whispering to Hughie and making fun of the people at the meeting. The group leader asks Butcher to speak, he goes off on the group for worshiping supes instead of being angry and going after them. Butcher takes Hughie to the last spot that Becca was last seen. He tells Hughie that Homelander raped her. She’s been missing eight years and he thinks Homelander killed her or she killed herself. He tells Hughie he can’t be distracted by Annie. Hughie has to remember who his friends and enemies are. Annie and Hughie meet back at the bar where they met his friend Anthony. She wants to get away from it all. Hughie sees Robin’s apparition; he kisses Annie and Robin disappears. Butcher interrupts them. After Annie leaves to get drinks, he promises to tell Annie everything if Hughie continues to see her.
Mesmer calls the case worker and tells her he doesn’t need to see his daughter. He meets Homelander on a rooftop and gives him photos of the Boys. He wants to work for Vought again.
“The Self-Preservation Society”
A Christmas party at Vought, eight years ago. A younger, happier Butcher is with his wife Becca (Shantel VanSanten). She works at Vought and handles some of Homelander’s social media accounts. Butcher meets Homelander who wants Becca to meet with her and discuss Becca handling all of his social media accounts. Back to the present, Butcher is watching Hughie and Annie check into a hotel. They are in their room making love, Annie’s eyes glow but he isn’t in danger. She realizes Hughie is a mystery to her. She’s never seen his place or his job. He jokes about her meeting his dad, and tells her he quit his job. He’s artfully keeping the truth from her.
Homelander is on to the Boys. He realizes who Butcher is. Homelander holds a meeting with what’s left of the Seven. Telling everyone except Black Noir, they are messing up. He reveals who Hughie is to Starlight. He accuses her of helping the Boys. Maeve persuades him not to kill her. Homelander asks Madelyn if she knows anything about Becca. She remembers her but doesn’t know what happened to her. Homelander drops in on Dr. Vogelbaum (John Doman), the man who ‘raised’ him. He tells him Becca went to Madelyn because she was pregnant with Homelander’s child. The birth was difficult, both mother and child died. Vogelbaum admits Homelander should have been raised by a family instead of in a lab. His greatest failure is Homelander. He apologizes but Homelander doesn’t accept it.
The Deep moves into his place in Sandusky. The man who runs the amusement park tells him his duties. He brings a groupie named Molly (Caitlyn Sponheimer) to his apartment. She wants to see his gills. She roughly fondles them. He asks her to stop and leave, she calls him a freak and continues to roughly finger his gills. Later, the Deep is shopping in a grocery store, he stops to talk to the lobsters. He buys one to free it, but the butcher chops it up for him.
Hughie tells Butcher he wants out. He gets a call from A-Train who is with his father (Simon Pegg). They realize they are burned; Mesmer burned them. Hughie meets up with A-Train, offers him Compound V. A-Train blames him for Popclaw’s death. Kimiko sneaks in and breaks his leg. Mother Milk’s wife Monique (Alvina August) is furious. He has to put her and their daughter into hiding. Butcher goes to the train station to murder Mesmer. He finds him hiding in a bathroom stall and beats him to death. Hughie’s dad and MM’s family are at their hideout. Hughie’s dad is proud he is standing up for himself. MM figures out that Butcher lied to them about Raynor, he’s hanging them out to dry to get Homelander. Butcher finally does the right thing. Cars pull up, it’s Raynor with her people to put the families in protective custody. Monique never wants to see MM again. Raynor has Madelyn in her office, she tells her she’s got Vought. There will be no superheroes in the military. Raynor gets called out to see a video of terrorist with superpowers.
Annie ignores Hughie’s calls. Maeve’s gives Annie advice about people. Annie finally calls him back; she has to see him so he can explain his actions. Annie meets Hughie at the park. She asks did he kill Translucent to get back at A-Train. She’s going to turn him in to the cops. He tells her about Compound V, she doesn’t believe him, she thinks she was born with these powers. Butcher shoots her with high powered gun. He and Hughie run. Annie survives.
“Vengeance isn’t a path to glory Hughie. It’s a one way ticket to a dead end.” Grace Mallory
“You Found Me”
U.S. troops are in Syria with Homelander, they attack a terrorist compound and find a bottle of Compound V. Homelander brutally kills everyone in the compound for good measure. Secretary of Defense Robert Singer (Jim Beaver) is in a meeting with Madelyn. He thinks she should have been hauled in front of Congress for what she and Vought have done, but she counters that terrorist have Compound V and their company is the only ones who can fight them. Later at a cocktail party at Vought Towers, Mr. Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito), Vought’s CEO stops to speak to Madelyn. The pentagon will pay them $40 billion and she’s getting a bonus and a promotion. She is going to the 82nd floor and is in line to be his successor. Homelander tells Madelyn that he created the terrorist supes. He created supervillains all over the world they can fight. Madelyn kisses him and they go to her office and have sex. She calls him her sweet boy, her special sweet boy. He asks her to promise there will be no more secrets. She agrees but messes up when she says that Becca had a miscarriage.
Agent Raynor informs Butcher that the pentagon has classified Compound V. The Boys are wanted men now, the CIA will continue to protect their families but the boys are on their own. Butcher wants to continue the mission, Mother’s Milk and Frenchie are ready to separate and run. Butcher leaves with Hughie. They go to meet with Grace Mallory (Laila Robins) to ask for her help. She tells Butcher about Homelander and Madelyn’s weird relationship, if Homelander has a weakness, it is Madelyn. Mallory offers Hughie some advice about vengeance. Black ops soldiers break into their hotel room and grab MM, Frenchie and Kimiko. Butcher and Hughie pass by the hotel and Butcher can tell they’ve been grabbed and the Black Ops soldiers are still there waiting for them. Hughie wants to rescue them but Butcher wants to grab Madelyn, he’s going to abandon his comrades. Hughie realizes Butcher doesn’t care about anyone or anything but getting Homelander. The two men go their separate ways.
Annie goes back home to Iowa to confront her mother about having her injected with Compound V as a baby. Back in New York she’s in church. Hughie sits behind her. He asks her to use her security clearance to help find his friends. She asks why she should help him. Hughie answers because she’s a superhero. At the Vought cocktail party, wearing her skimpy uniform, Annie gets drunk. She’s back in the bathroom throwing up. Maeve catches her again, but this time she is supportive. She tells Annie that she did save that bus and broke every bone in her arm. She used to be like Annie, but she gave little pieces of herself until she gave everything. Maeve advises Annie to be an original, be the annoying goody two shoes asshole they know she is. One of them has to be.
Hughie goes back to the motel to be grabbed by the Black Ops soldiers. He’s thrown in the cage with MM and Frenchie, they are appreciative he came to rescue them, though they’d rather it was Butcher. Hughie used Poligrip to keep his old retainer in his mouth so Frenchie can use the wire to break them out. It’s stuck so MM has to knock it out. Frenchie picks the lock and they get out. The Boys look for Kimiko and are fired upon. They are surrounded but MM gets Kimiko. They are out of ammo and all looks lost, but Starlight appears in her original uniform and takes out the Black Ops team. Before they can celebrate, A-Train appears. He’s clearly hyped up on Compound V and admits he murdered Popclaw. He tries to fight Starlight but has a heart attack. Hughie decides to help him. Annie reminds him if he lives, he’ll be after him. Hughie knows that but continues to assist him. Annie tells him she’ll call an ambulance and help A-Train, he needs to leave.
Madelyn arrives home, Butcher greets her. He rigs her with explosives. Homelander arrives and brings the baby downstairs. Madelyn begs him to get the baby out of there. Butcher knows he can’t kill Homelander with the explosives, but he can blow up Madelyn, hurting Homelander. Instead, Homelander kills Madelyn for lying to him about Becca. Butcher clicks on the detonator but he wakes up in a front lawn. Becca steps out of the house with a blond boy who is Homelander and Becca’s child.
The Boys comic book was created by Garth Ennis and Darick Roberson and ran from 2006-2008 during the George W. Bush presidency. It is a ‘realistic’ look at a world where superheroes exist. The Seven are alternative versions of popular superhero characters: Homelander-Evil insane Superman; Queen Maeve-Jaded Wonder Women; A-Train-Drug addled jock Flash; The Deep-Frat boy rapist Aquaman; Black Noir-Silent Batman, Translucent-Perv male Invisible Woman; and the newest member Starlight-Disillusioned Stargirl. The Seven is the premiere supergroup in this world, they are world famous celebrities who work for Vought International, a multi-national corporation that has its fingers in everything. Kind of like Amazon where the real-life television series appears. These superheroes or supes, aren’t like the superheroes in the Justice League or the Avengers, they are superheroes who would act like the celebrities we have in real life. They get into some dirty business and have a major corporation covering up their misdeeds. The group that opposes them is the Boys, Billy Butcher, Mother’s Milk, Frenchie, and their two newest members, Hughie Campbell and Kimiko Miyashiro, or The Female as she was known as in the first season. Except from Kimiko who has superstrength, the male members of The Boys are regular joes with no special abilities. Kimiko has superstrength because she was injected with Compound V, a substance developed by Vought. It turns out, all of the supes were injected with Compound V, and they and the world didn’t know it. Kimiko and other adults considered terrorist, were given Compound V to create supervillains for the Seven to fight. It wasn’t Vought’s idea, but Homelander’s. So, we end the season with terrorist having Compound V and the government having to let the supes into the military to combat them.
Hughie and Annie/Starlight are the two characters who introduce us into this world. Both are innocents who enter this world, Annie voluntarily and Hughie dragged in because his girlfriend was accidently killed by a high on Compound V A-Train. They both find out how messed up the supe world is. They come from different places in the story but unite. Homelander and Billy Butcher are the leaders of their respective groups, and both men are world class a-holes. Butcher is in this to get revenge on Homelander for raping his wife, who went missing after the rape. Butcher thinks she is dead, but he receives a major shock at the end of the season, she is alive and has Homelander’s son. Though Butcher is an a-hole, he’s not a complete psychopath like Homelander. To the general public, he’s a boy scout, but to those in the know, he’s a blood thirsty lunatic who doesn’t feel genuine human emotions. He can’t really love anyone, because he’s never been loved. He dated Queen Maeve, but she’s secretly terrified of him. He can smile at you one minute and kill you the next.
The series strength is its fascinating examination of corporations, the evangelical movement, the Me-Too movement, and how they can be co-opted. Homelander is also a minister, and it’s thought that the supes are blessed by God who gave them their powers, which we learn is furthest from the truth. Vought uses religion to glorify their supes to the public, and cover up their shady deals. Annie is sexually assaulted by the Deep and on her own stops some rapist. At first Vought is upset with Annie for beating up the rapist because it was recorded and she didn’t get a statement from the victim. Once that is cleared up and she announces to the public what happened with her and the Deep, they twist it to make it a message of empowerment for Starlight, and they make her wear a skimpy uniform she doesn’t want to wear because it is “a symbol of girl power.” It doesn’t hurt that it shows off Annie’s body. Vought uses the supes image to score a major military contract to fight the supervillains Homelander created. The corporation uses other institutions and movements to make bigger profits.
The series also has some weaknesses, aside from Hughie and Butcher, we don’t know a lot about the other Boys and what their motivations are to fight the supes. Mother’s Milk is a family man, Frenchie is an arms dealer, Kimiko doesn’t speak but we find out she and her brother were kidnapped by a terrorist group and made into child soldiers. Hopefully in season 2 the characters will be more flushed out. The blood and gore can be a little too much for my taste, but they do have some cool WTF moments, but the abundance of it does make it feel like overly excited 12-year-old kids are writing it. Fortunately, the character studies and storylines let you know that adults are in charge. Overall, this is a really good show that has some interesting things to say about our world and how much worse it would be if we had superbeings in it. The acting is excellent across the board with Antony Starr as Homelander getting special mention. He is absolutely chilling as Homelander. The episode The Female of the Species, which was my favorite indicated how evil Homelander really is. The production value of the show is top notch, they didn’t spare us any blood and gore.