The Boys brought in a new perspective to the superhero genre, touching on a broad range of issues like the way stardom shapes people as they tire of its burden, how celebrities are marketed to make them more appealing, and what happens when a group of down-on-their-luck schmucks threaten class dynamics. With explosive cliffhangers marking the end of the previous season, fans endured a maddening wait for The Boys Season 2 Episode 1. And, it was worth it.
The Boys Season 2 Episode 1: Quick Recap
The Boys Season 2 Episode 1 begins with Vought’s CEO Stan Edgar (played by Giancarlo Esposito – you may remember him from Breaking Bad) holding a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Robert Singer. The two ruminate over the nitty-gritties of letting Supes in the army, with Edgar assuring Singer that the Supes will always answer to him. Meanwhile, Black Noir goes on a secret killing-spree, chopping superterrorist Naqib’s head out of the equation.
Homelander delivers Translucent’s eulogy in front of what can only be an empty grave. This is followed by Starlight singing a power ballad. The scene cuts to The Deep watching the same on a television in a bar, bemoaning his ejection from The Seven.
Hughie, who is in hiding with the gang, watches the telecast on his smartphone. We see him furtively exit the hideout and meet up with Starlight on a subway train. The two talk about their plans to destroy Vought. Hughie hands her an envelope with an employee’s details, stating he can probably help get them some Compound V. Starlight realises she knows the guy from her Capes for Christ days.
The Deep, meanwhile, taunts children at a water park by aiming water canons at them. Eventually, he is arrested by the local police. However, his jail stint is short-lived as he soon learns that his bail has been posted by Eagle the Archer.
The audience is treated to some exposition in the form of a reconstruction of Madelyn Stillwell’s death. The video shows Billy Butcher as the killer, and then cuts to snapshots of The Boys. The team discusses whether they should run away. Hughie makes a case for staying.
Homelander sneaks into Madelyn’s office and steals a bottle of baby formula. He drinks it. Just as he’s about to enjoy his last sip, he’s interrupted by Ashley Barrett, the former publicist for Vought. She now holds Madelyn’s position (on Homelander’s recommendation). Barrett tells Homelander about the new member of The Seven – Blindspot. They visit the Supe in the gym, where Homelander smashes his ears, thus rendering him “useless”. He then tells Barrett that she’s not to make any new additions to The Seven without consulting him.
Meanwhile, Starlight tracks down Gecko, the employee at Vought who can get her a sample of Compound V. She records him in the midst of allowing a client to cut off his arm for money. Needless to say, it grows back. She uses the footage to blackmail Gecko into stealing Compound V.
The Boys study a video tape of a Superterrorist lifting a boat out of the harbour. They learn about a human trafficking operation and figure out that the target smuggled into US was the superterrorist. Mothers Milk and Frenchie tell Hughie they want to call Butcher and tell him about this. Hughie argues that it makes more sense to speak to Starlight or Reynor. The team agrees to see Reynor but before she can offer any information, her head explodes.
During a promotional shoot, Homelander and Queen Maeve meet Stormfront, the newest member of The Seven. When Barrett claims she knew nothing about the new hire, Homelander decides to pay Vought’s CEO, Edgar, a visit.
Homelander threatens to walk out of Vought, believing that any other talent management agency would love to have him. Edgar reveals that Vought is not a “superhero company”. It is, instead, a pharmaceutical company. This means that it is Compound V, and not Homelander, that’s the most valuable asset. He also chastises Homelander for giving Compound V to terrorists and revealing its existence to the government in the process.
Homelander rushes to Becca’s home to meet his son.
The Boys struggle to come to terms with Reynor’s exploding head. Starlight calls Hughie and explains that Gecko can help them. Hughie worries about Starlight’s safety and develops cold feet. Someone in the shadows throws a man down the stairs, and then descends the same, his heavy boots thudding. It’s Billy Butcher.
The Boys Season 2 Episode 1 ends here.
The Boys Season 2 Episode 1: One Liner-Review
One liner: The Boys Season 2 Episode 1 focusses on adding dimension to the world we know. As a result, this makes it the perfect opening episode for what can only be a good season ahead.
Best moments from The Boys Season 2 Episode 1
Learning that Vought is a pharmaceutical company
One of the best moments this episode was when Edgar reveals to Homelander that Vought should be seen as a pharmaceutical company. This completely changes the perception of Vought itself, and diminishes Homelander’s influence. As a result, with Homelander being just as vulnerable as The Boys, the show gets more interesting. After all, no one’s really interested in an all-powerful hero or villain.
Edgar’s revelation also throws a new light onto the opening scene. While audiences may have believed that Black Noir killed Naqib on Homelander’s orders, it’s more apparent now that he did so on Edgar’s orders.
Reynor’s exploding head
The Boys Season 2 Episode 1 didn’t have as many action-heavy moments as some of the other episodes in the previous season. However, the show runners gave all you gore-lovers a great moment to enjoy in the form of Reynor’s exploding head. Frankly, in terms of gore and effects, it stands a close second to Robin being pulverised by A-Train.
Homelander smashing Blindspot’s ears was pretty gorey too, but no where near as good as the exploding head. This moment makes it to number 2 on the list simply because of the special effects makeup and how realistic it all looked.
The Deep’s journey
Kudos to The Boys Season 2 Episode 1 for not trying to make The Deep a sympathetic character. Typically, shows with sexual offenders do take the character down the path of redemption. This is a disservice to survivors and the redemption feels a little too convenient, most of the times. The Boys is a show that understands that you don’t have to be a psychopath to be evil. That’s what makes it so great.
While The Boys Season 2 Episode 1 portrayed The Deep’s journey into alcoholism and self-loathing, it never makes you feel sympathetic towards the character. As a viewer, you’re glad he’s suffering. It’s the suffering itself that is the intriguing part of the story, especially when Eagle the Archer introduces Deep to Carol, his “teacher’.
The scene only lasts a few seconds, with Carol promising to help The Deep make his journey back to The Seven. It shows how easy it is to prey on people who’ve hit rock bottom. It’s little touches of realism like this that truly set this show apart from others.
If you happen to be a marketing buff, or like to dissect celebrity personas, Starlight’s packaging will rank as one of the top moments in The Boys Season 2 Episode 1 for you too. We see the character being developed as Homelanders love-interest subtly during media interactions. We see posters for a new show – Citizen Starlight. We see the giant curly wig, the shorter outfit, and the glamorisation of a girl who only wanted to save the world.
It will be interesting to see whether the character will grow jaded after a point. She’s already showing signs of discontent, and while a lot of that has to do with the fact that she’s trying to fight Vought, it’s important to remember that she was pretty sick of it back in season 1 too.
Okay, I’ll admit that is a pretty weird thing to add to a top 5 moments of The Boys Season 2 Episode 1 list, but hear me out. Gecko’s side-hustle gives us a glimpse into what happens to Supes who aren’t marketable or strong enough. This kind of world-building is always very interesting to see as it makes the universe that the show is set in more believable.
There are probably countless sub-par supes out there engaging in the oddest side-hustles. I want to see all of that.
All in all, The Boys Season 2 Episode 1 sets the ball rolling for the rest of the season to be a smashing one. With season 1 being the benchmark for plot development, world-building, humor and gore (obviously), The Boys Season 2 has a lot to live up to. Will it stand on its own feet or falter under the weight of its predecessor?
We’ll keep you posted.