The Boys in Season 1 debuted with a bang in 2019 when it took on an unconventional take where superheroes were not just the ‘good` guys always saving the day as Marvel or DC universe might lead you to believe. They are portrayed as complicated humans which is way more relatable with their own sets of problems and trauma that leads them to blur the line between a villain and a hero. The star superhero or supe of the show is Homelander, who gives people a dream come a true moment of a character by being a cross between Superman’s god-like powers and abilities mixed in with somewhat of a Captain America personality in public. The keyword here being public, whereas in private he can and is an absolute douchebag who prioritizes himself over anything and anyone and can go to any lengths to preserve his image to keep the public fooled from his wrongdoings and evil plans.
Season 2 returns with a bigger bang than I have come to expect from a sequel over the years when the first one is already so good. Everything done in season 1 is kicked up a notch to provide for more violent and brutal scenes mixed in with more complicated layers and added nuances to further the story. Homelander’s character development can be seen well over here, as he goes from this douchebag jerk that does whatever he wants without giving a single care in the world, to slowly getting exposed on his mental and fragile psychological being as he constantly trying to win over his illegitimate son while also having a weird, complicated mother-son that was sexual in nature with the late Madelyn Stillwell.
Traumatized by Madelyn’s death and missing her presence (he’s the one that murdered her, by the way), he tries to recreate her presence by having one of the supes use their powers to morph into Madelyn’s body temporarily. His character arc hits a peak when we see that throughout season 1 he longed for Madelyn’s affection, only to hit the boiling point and completely reject the relationship, going from seeking approval to being the approver himself, putting himself in a position of authority and finally being the douchebag that he always was.
There are many notable points in Season 2, but none come close to the debut of Stormfront (played by Aya Cash), the newest member of the Seven who seems to not have those ‘ new kids on the block’ vibes. With an attitude and demeanor on par with Homelander, she immediately appears to be a threatening candidate to Homelander’s mystique and presence in the Seven, offering a good dynamic rundown between the two of how both power-hungry supes operate. While Homelander is more of a brutal in-your-face do whatever he wants the type of guy, Stormfront is the same but keeps in mind how each interaction will spread on social media and manipulates it in a way so that her social media presence is always positive, no matter what goes on behind the scenes.
Homelander and Stormfront had the main character duopoly throughout the show in terms of writing and casting direction, while the other members of the Seven were put off in a more supportive cast with them having their own adventures here and there or trying to mesh in with the central plot to either foil or further Homelander or Stormfront’s plans for some bigger cause. Kimiko (played by Karen Fukuhara), the runaway supe from season 1 who had severe trauma issues from her childhood as well as from being locked up, has her own storyline arc where she is finally opening bit by bit to Frenchie and is able to communicate through the body language of what emotions or thoughts she is having.
The true stealer of the show, despite the heavy presence of Homelander and Stormfront, is Butcher. Season 2 explores his past among which is his relationship with his wife and more exploration as to what happened to her and whether she is alive or dead (a question asked since season 1, presumed to be dead). Butcher’s character played by Urban, is a nod to all those hardened Hollywood characters we are used to seeing, where emotions or panic ensuing moments have no effect on them, as they’re always calm and logical throughout everything (as they’ve seen it all).
Apart from the cliches, Butcher as a character is constantly shown to be growing and coming out of his shell where he is the most narcissistic person that you can find. His character develops from that to the one who has the potential to make a sacrifice for the greater good. After season 1’s finale of revealing that Butcher’s wife is still alive, in season 2, along with Homelander and Stormfront plot, Butcher’s investigation of his wife’s whereabouts and unraveling the mystery of what truly happened is the co-plot which takes a big piece of the action, and many storylines are infused by the supporting cast to further his cause as well.
The Boys continue with their proven formula of superheroes mixed with villains with a bigger budget, more over-the-top violence, brutal dismemberments of human ligaments, and a good storyline-driven plot that carries off right where season 1 ended. Some characters were left in the dark, but I cannot really blame them when they have so many actors and cast in an episodic format. Season 2 continues the trend and is a must-watch as it does what season 1 did, but bigger and better this time.