The second season of Amazon’s smash hit The Boys — a superhero satire that also found something to say about hate speech and fearmongering in 2020 — has come to a bloody close. Spoilers ahead! Major characters are dead. The villainous Homelander is alone, masturbating furiously atop the city after losing his girlfriend and son. Billy Butcher has lost his wife again, this time for good, and appears to be back under Grace Mallory’s thumb, asked to lead a team of superhero watchmen. Hughie and Annie seem to be happy, but he’s looking for more focus in his life and ends up working for a rising-star congresswoman named Neuman, who is, of course, a secret superhero. It’s a lot for a season finale, and, like any great year-ender, it leaves even more on the table to consider for season three. Where does The Boys go from here? We have some questions we’d very much like to see answered, like …
What is Victoria Neuman’s game?
The big question that seems likely to drive season three of The Boys is the one that’s set up by the finale’s epilogue. In the final scenes of season two, The Boys reveals that Neuman, who has led the congressional hearings against Vought and Compound V, has a big secret. She’s a supe! After Alastair Adana, the head of the Church of the Collective, gets his head popped off by Neuman, her eyes do that superhero thing, and it’s revealed that she’s been behind all the Scanners-esque carnage all season. She killed Susan Raynor way back in the season premiere and led the bloody destruction at the hearing that killed Jonah Vogelbaum, one of the key Vought players and the man who basically raised Homelander.
The question now is what’s next for Neuman? Is she just sowing chaos in a way that’s not that different from the anarchy sought by Stormfront? Or does she have a greater plan? And could she be working with, or even for, someone else? In the final scene, it appears her campaign for Congress is building up steam, indicating that a powerful super could be in a more powerful political role next season. And it’s worth noting that the character is a riff on Victor Neuman from the Garth Ennis source material, who was a parody of George W. Bush. That character was kind of a puppet, an idiot for a hidden cabal determined to get superheroes into the American military. Given what she does to someone as powerful as Alastair in the finale, the show’s version of Neuman doesn’t seem likely to be anyone’s puppet, but it could hint that she’s not alone.
What will motivate Billy Butcher now?
Billy Butcher is a character who needs a reason to get up every morning and kick some ass. For two seasons, that reason for Butcher has centered on his wife, Becca — first via vengeance and then reunion. In the first season, Billy thought Becca Butcher was dead, and getting revenge for her murder fueled his every waking minute. At the end of that year, he learned that she was still alive and being sheltered by Vought with his son, Ryan, the offspring of a rape perpetrated by Homelander. Billy’s motive shifted to getting his wife back by his side, although he stumbled his way through that mission, underestimating how much a mother would refuse to give up her son and run away with Billy. Well, now Becca Butcher is dead, the collateral damage of her son, Ryan, trying to save her from Stormfront. Without Becca or even Ryan in his life, what will Billy fight for in season three? He’s not exactly the kind of guy to go to extremes just to “do what’s right,” so the writers will have to find a reason to get Butcher’s blood boiling again.
What will motivate Homelander now?
Billy Butcher’s evil counterpart has a similar issue in that he’s left kind of adrift again at the end of season two. Honestly, he was kind of bouncing around all season, trying to find his purpose in a world without Madelyn Stillwell and entranced by the power of Stormfront, who knew exactly what to say to get this evil version of Captain America on her side. Well, now Stormfront is gone (for the time being, anyway) and Ryan Butcher is out of Homelander’s life. He’s stuck praising Starlight and Queen Maeve in front of the world and masturbating like a serial killer above the city. He seems to once again have the thing that matters most to him — the love of the people — but will that be enough? It would be smart of the writers to give Homelander urgent stakes early in season three — something to fight for or against — because the reduction if his character often felt like a flaw in season two.
Is Stormfront really dead?
Any time a show like The Boys leaves a character only mutilated and not blown to pieces or burst into flames, viewers should probably wonder if said character is actually dead and gone. Such is the case with Stormfront, a character who took a brutal blow from Ryan Butcher that left her mumbling German and missing some key body parts, but it’s hard to actually kill ageless Nazi superheroes. In fact, this one may not even qualify as a question since creator Eric Kripke has come out and said that the fearmongering super-jerk is not dead yet. He told TV Line, “No, she’s not dead! She’s Stumpfront! She’s a stumpy little Nazi. She’s actually not dead. What we thought was interesting is, if you remember, she ages very, very slowly. So the best poetic ending for that character is someone who so believed in some kind of pure race finds herself mutilated and having to live with it for potentially centuries felt like a fate worse than death for her. So no, Stumpfront is not dead. Hashtag Stumpfront lives!” This could be just a commentary on the ironic, horrible, mutilated fate of Stormfront, but it also leaves the door open to bring her back. Doing so at the beginning of season three would probably feel cheap, but it sure seems like we haven’t seen the last of her. It may not be for a few episodes or even a season or two, but “Stumpfront” will probably return. Prepare yourself.
So are the Seven going to just be the Five?
The show’s version of the Justice League has had an incredibly fluid roster over the first two years, but here’s how it ends with the close of season two: Homelander, Queen Maeve, Starlight, A-Train, and Black Noir. The Deep is told there was only one spot open after Stormfront’s defeat, but the group seems a little thin to start season three. Will they seek to bulk up the Seven or leave it as is to start the new year? Will they rename it the Five? And what about all the reshoots they have to do on The Dawn of the Seven now that Stormfront is out of the picture? Can you imagine? #ReleasetheStormfrontCut.
What’s the Deep’s next move?
The math may not add up on the current iteration of the Seven, but that does not appear to be helping the Deep, who spent the season doing everything he was told to do by the Church of the Collective, only to be left stranded in the end. After Stormfront’s defeat, Alastair used the opening to get A-Train back into the Seven, dashing the Deep’s dreams yet again. Where does he go now? With a power vacuum at the Church, does he take over there, or does he leave them behind to find a new way back into the group? Or does he just sit around talking to his gills and commiserating with Eagle the Archer? The Deep has been a tough character to figure out and felt relatively stranded this season after the first couple episodes. While it might be kind of funny to watch the Deep spend the entire run of the series paying his karmic penance for his action in the series premiere, that might also grow stale if he starts distracting from the rest of the show.
Are Kimiko and Frenchie officially a couple now?
After much back-and-forth dealing with their various traumas, the potential showmance within the Boys seemed to take a step forward near the end of the season. Frenchie dealt with some of his grief over not being there for either his friends or his colleagues on a tragic night years earlier; Kimiko channeled the demons of her abusive past and the murder of her brother by pummeling on Stormfront in the season finale. And the last time we see Kimiko and Frenchie, they’re heading off to do something they haven’t been able to do while being in hiding for so long: dance. It’s an interesting beat, indicative of their new freedom, but also making it clear that they’re spending that freedom together. It’s also a callback to Frenchie asking what the point of life is without dancing. Kimiko has found the point of life, and it looks like it could be next to Frenchie.
Has Hughie fully left the Boys?
Poor Hughie Campbell has largely been a victim of circumstance for two seasons. Yes, he’s made major decisions and been pivotal to the plot, but he’s also been batted around a lot, and he’s ready to move on from street heroism at the end of season two. He tells Annie/Starlight that he wants to stand on his own two feet, but he can’t leave behind his newfound passion of watching the watchmen, so he joins the campaign of Congresswoman Neuman, having no idea that she’s a murderous superhero herself. This question seems to answer itself with an “of course not,” but it will be interesting to see how long the writers keep Hughie and Billy Butcher on separate tracks next season, perhaps both aware of problems with Neuman and working them from very different vantage points.
How will Alastair’s death impact Vought?
In the second-season finale, it was revealed that Stan Edgar, the head of Vought, worked closely with Alastair Adana, the head of the Church of the Collective, a vague parody of the Church of Scientology. Before the writers had a chance to explore what it means that the most powerful organization in the world has worked closely with a self-help/religious group, Alastair’s head went boom, courtesy of Congresswoman Neuman. What does this mean for the Church? Will the writers just move on, or does this impact Vought? Could someone new in power at the Church of the Collective find the room of files, like the one A-Train had on Stormfront? It seems logical that the Church could have a storeroom of similar files on people like Queen Maeve and Homelander, and it could be important to see who gets their hands on all of that kompromat. What if it’s the Deep?
Have we seen the last of Ryan Butcher?
Poor Ryan Butcher. He’s living a happy but sheltered life with his mom when the most famous superhero in the world drops onto his front lawn and says he’s his dad. For weeks, mom and superdad fight over whether or not Ryan should be encouraged to use his growing powers and then mom ends up dead at the end of the season. (Something to consider: If Ryan had been allowed to train and hone his powers like Homelander kept pushing for, might he have known how to use them better and Becca would still be alive? Discuss among yourselves.) Where do the writers take Ryan from here? The answer could be nowhere. He’s safe and no longer a bargaining chip for Homelander, Butcher, and even Stormfront. So we could have seen the last of him, at least for a season. Or he could lie in wait, ready to spring as a major character again in a season or two. Only time will tell.
Will the show stay on a weekly format?
The first season of The Boys dropped all in one day, but the second season spread out its action over six weeks. At first, fans seemed furious about the shift, vote-bombing the show on sites like IMDb over the decision, but it seemed to produce exactly the impact that Amazon and the producers wanted, in that people are still talking about The Boys in mid-October, and there’s simply no way that would be the case if everyone had binged the whole season in one weekend. Amazon has reported massive numbers for The Boys this season, claiming it holds its own with Netflix’s biggest hits. Again, that could be a product of the release schedule that everyone claimed to hate mid-season … but they kept watching. It probably will never go back to the season-one format again.
Update: This article has been updated with a new question regarding Stormfront’s fate.