The Boys: Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker   Show Only 
October 2, 2020 7:10 AM - Season 2, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Butcher has a family reunion, Mallory and The Boys prepare for Congressional hearing against Vought but a surprise pops in on that, and Lamplighter gives Hughie a hand with a Starlight problem. Meanwhile, Homelander and Stormfront continue their master plan.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (54 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's all about parents and and children this time around, and how latter shapes the former. Butcher is who is because of the abuse he and his brother suffered from their father. Homelander is who he is because of Vogelbaum raising him to be the strongest man on Earth. Now Homelander's son, the first natural born supe, is being raised by an actual Nazi and a damaged God. In one way or another, most of the major characters have been manipulated by their parents (looking at you too Starlight).

So, the cycle will continue and that doesn't sound promising for the future.


* The sleek and deadly Black Noir being felled by an Almond joy. See it is god awful candy!

* That opening scene felt way too real

* French and Kimiko are cut together. ‎Karen Fukuhara is killing it as Kimiko, communicating thoughts and feelings solely by looks and body language

* What IS the Church of the Collective's point here?

* Supe porn

* Who or what is literally popping heads off. There doesn't seem to be a common thread or person present when it happens.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 AM on October 2, 2020

Well that's probably the grimmest thing I've seen in that whole show. Black Noir though, lol.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:12 AM on October 2, 2020

Maybe it's not a supe doing the head popping. Maybe it's just a Vought microwave gun. My assumption was Stormfront though, it seems like her powers could extend to somehow making heads explode.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:08 AM on October 2, 2020

What if we never learn who's sploding those heads? What if it's the ultimate lazy-writer's plot-shaping device for when a character needs to die but you just can't be bothered with the details?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:44 AM on October 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Good casting on Butcher's father. Another experiment in cockney-antipodean mash-upping.
posted by biffa at 11:48 AM on October 2, 2020

Oh, he's Australian? I thought I heard a bit of that in the accent, but put it down to that thing that happens where US actors doing UK accents can sometimes slide into a whole range of other English speaking countries by mistake.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:11 PM on October 2, 2020

he's Australian?

Yeah, nah. Kiwi.
posted by flabdablet at 1:14 PM on October 2, 2020 [4 favorites]

Not Mr Urban...John Noble/Butcher's dad. Never picked up on it on Fringe.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:17 PM on October 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Obviously, this (and any other superhero show) requires a willing suspension of disbelief, but I'm really having trouble with:
◦ Mug shots of the Boys was live on TV news and they know they're being looked for, yet they travel around continuously without changing how they look and without seeming to worry about anyone recognizing them. At the most, I recall Hughie pulling the hood of his hoodie over his head in the first episode.
◦ Nonchalantly using cell phones to call each other or parents without worrying about them being traced.
◦ The lack of video cameras and security in the Vought building.

(On another note, Amazon says new episodes appear on Friday, but since I've been watching them Thursdays nights on the West Coast of the US, it looks like they're up right after midnight brings on Friday on the East Coast of the US).
posted by ShooBoo at 3:57 PM on October 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm thinking that the exploding heads were courtesy of Cindy, the escapee from the Sage Grove from the previous episode. Although we'll have to wait for the exact "why", I'll bet she was on site as Stormfront's contingency plan.
posted by Zack_Replica at 6:31 PM on October 2, 2020 [5 favorites]

I just remembered Lego Blindside.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:47 PM on October 2, 2020 [5 favorites]

Supe porn

The Boys A XXX Parody [nsfw]
posted by porpoise at 7:30 PM on October 2, 2020

I'm not clicking on a porn parody from "porpoise." I've seen quite enough of the Deep.

I don't think the exploding heads can be Cindy. It should be the same person (weapon?) who exploded Rayner's head in the beginning of the season. I can't think of anyone we're waiting to meet like we were Lamplighter.

Poor Black Noir. The Seven is definitely a little light these days.
posted by gladly at 9:54 PM on October 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Wait, so they exploded Shockwave. That clears A-Train as the speedster replacement (deplacement). How did the cult know?
posted by Apocryphon at 11:29 PM on October 2, 2020

[sound of one hand clapping for Brandon's episode description]
posted by straight at 12:00 AM on October 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

The episode recap made a point of showing Cindy exploding some heads, but i can't see how that could be who killed everyone a the end of this episode because Cindy was presumably locked up when Rayner was killed but now is on the loose. Maybe Vought/Stormfront were able to use Cindy to kill Rayner, but I don't know what motive Cindy would have to attack this hearing.

Maybe Cindy is one of the more successful experiments meaning Vought can deliberately give those particular powers to an adult now? Or maybe Cindy was an attempt to duplicate an existing super -- maybe a super who works for the Collective?
posted by straight at 12:13 AM on October 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Stormfront recommending Pewdiepie is some next level writing.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:09 AM on October 3, 2020 [30 favorites]

Also, and I don't know what official body keeps track of these things, but surely Karl Urban now holds the world record for the use of the C-word on television?

"Term of endearment where I come from, love" indeed.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:02 AM on October 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Slimepuppy, it sounds like you haven't had the pleasure of watching Peter Capaldi swearing on The Thick of It, which is also free to watch on Amazon Prime. (If you like it, you won't want to miss Tom Hollander and James Gandolfini joining the cast for the feature film In the Loop.)
posted by straight at 11:07 AM on October 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

I knew that either Vogelbaum’s head or Neumann’s head was going to wind up exploding. Did not expect that, though.

Hey, it’s Neil from Community! So great to see—oh.

So there’s only one episode left this season? When season 1 ended, it seemed more like a mid-season cliffhanger, and that seasons 1 and 2 together might have a full-season arc. Now we’re approaching the end of season 2 and it seems like we’re at best 2/3 of the way through a full-season arc. It feels much more like comic-book plotting with no end in sight than television plotting. Maybe Eric Kripke took show running lessons from Zeno.
posted by ejs at 11:15 AM on October 3, 2020

I’m a big fan of the costuming on this show, specifically the well thought-out realistic-yet-fantastic supe costumes, so was glad to see Vulture just interviewed costume designer Laura Jean Shannon. Would love to see this article expanded to cover everyone in the show, supe or not.
posted by ejs at 11:25 AM on October 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Cindy is one of the few supes at Sage Grove who had an actual name. I assumed Stormfront and Vought had been using her to assassinate enemies like Raynor while out on a day pass. She could easily have been in the hearing room. We haven't seen how far her power range extends though.

I really want to see the rest of Ryan's mediocre movie Lego universe.
posted by benzenedream at 4:51 PM on October 3, 2020

Cindy seems like a weird person to have assassinated the head of the hearing (?) and Vogelbaum though? She'd want to kill the Vought people sure, but not prevent the hearing that would show how bad Vought was? It would make sense if Vought were using her to do this, but she was very specifically shown to have escaped.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:26 PM on October 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think Headpopper works for the Church of the Collective, which is why they know that Deep and A-Train may be back in the Seven soon - they knew there was going to be a couple seats opening soon.
posted by jazon at 9:52 PM on October 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

- Butcher nonchalantly driving through Vogelman's roundabout was a series highlight for me.

- I'm not a huge fan of the grossout stuff on the show—I'm not offended or sickened by it, it's just not my thing—but Hughie having to cut off Lamplighter's hand really worked for me. Especially because it showed a nice character change from first season: Hughie was disgusted by it, sure, but mostly I'd describe his primary reaction as "chagrined." I feel like last season there would have been a lot more shrieking.

- Always happy to see John Noble, but the Butcher's Dad subplot didn't do much for me. Unless it becomes hugely important in future episodes, the whole thing felt perfunctory and largely unnecessary: we probably didn't need to be told that Butcher had a shitty dad.

- Aside from that though, I liked Butcher a lot this episode. Last week I complained that it felt like the series no longer knew what it wanted us to think about him, but this week his writing was much more assured. His character just felt more...Butcher-y than he has all season.

- "What IS the Church of the Collective's point here?" Until I see otherwise, I'm convinced it's to keep Chace Crawford on the show, either because he has a contract or because they just like the dude and want to keep working with him. (The latter happens way more on TV series than people think.)

- I agree that the pacing of this season feels less propulsive than last season, probably because The Boys themselves have been a bit marginal to the main plotline. Or maybe just because of the fairly common "now what do we do" season 2 phenomenon.

- I meant to mention this last week, but I cringe every time the AOC expy is on screen, because I don't quite trust the show not to do something really gross with her for shock value. (Or just reveal that's she's just as corrupt as everyone else in a bit of South Parkian both-sidesism.) I liked her character development in this episode, though, and hope if she sticks around she continues to become more than just AOC with the serial numbers filed off.

- In general, the name-drops of real world people (Lil Nas X, Joss Whedon, etc) just feel really try-hard and cloth-eared to me. Like, AS IF Malala would give a Twitter shoutout to a sexual predator!

- The opening was really masterful (though I would have gone with something other than the millonth ironic iteration of "What A Wonderful World".)

- I wish that Stormfront's desire to be around kids again had been telegraphed at least a little before this episode. It felt a bit out of nowhere. Not a fatal flaw by any means, though.

- Completely disgusted at Maeve's "lost weekend" scene: no way she would VAPE!

- I can't confirm this but someone in the AV Club comments pointed out that this is the first time we've seen Maeve use her talents in a significant way since the very first episode.

- I loved The Boys watching the hearing at home acting as audience surrogates for us watching the show at home: open-mouthed shock and bewilderment. What an ending!

- Sorry so long-winded...I know my comments have been mostly critical, but I really am enjoying the show and I thought this episode was easily a season best. Excited to see where the finale goes.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:35 PM on October 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

Surely the headpopper is a character who we've known all along but not previously suspected of having powers? That's what narrative arithmetic would suggest - Chekov's gun works both ways: unless the gun is seen in the first act, the firing of the gun in the last act doesn't resonate dramatically. Cindy wouldn't be that much of a payoff and it wouldn't be satisfying to introduce a character at this point - there's no mentioned-but-unseen character (like Lamplighter was) outstanding is there?

(The gunshot in this case being the reveal rather than the cranial incidents.)
posted by Grangousier at 2:17 AM on October 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

I'm still guessing the head popper is Cindy, but agree it doesn't fit storywise, as she was locked up when the deputy CIA person was, um, popped. It's an odd little mystery, as the creators seem to have left out some narrative bits on it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:37 AM on October 4, 2020

Do we know that Lenny is a hundred percent dead? He’s the only character we’ve hearing a lot about and haven’t seen yet. It could tie up Butcher’s narrative and the Boys narrative, I suppose. But resurrecting him would be schlocky.

Headpopper as the Church’s weapon does make sense and ties things back together. I hope we haven’t seen the last of Eagle the Archer. I love Langston Kerman. I wondered if Tom Cruise was ever considered for the MCU. Sometimes, I read the Boys as a direct commentary on Disney. The mention of Voughtland this episode reminded me.
posted by gladly at 12:26 PM on October 4, 2020

Do we know that Lenny is a hundred percent dead?

This is still basically comics. No one is a hundred percent dead until you see their heads explode. And sometimes not even then.
posted by Grangousier at 1:28 PM on October 4, 2020

Vought is the main antagonist of this show since they started everything, but the world-building has revealed other organizations up to no good. My guess is that the Church of Collective will be the season 3 villain, having usurped power within Vought and the Seven after the Edgar-Stormfront plot is somehow defeated.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:16 PM on October 4, 2020

I feel like the Butcher’s pops storyline is a setup for a future arc where Butcher has the chance to destroy Homelander, but he doesn’t because Vogelbaum purposefully turned him into a monster just like Butcher’s dad did to him.
posted by sideshow at 8:09 PM on October 4, 2020

Or maybe it's just trying to regain a little of the audience sympathy Butcher lost when he revealed he thinks Becca's son is just a supe, not a person.
posted by straight at 8:17 PM on October 4, 2020

All this time we're supposed to understand Butcher's brutality as rooted in the loss of his beloved wife. Then we find out his "love" is the sort that would ask her to run away with him and leave her son behind.
posted by straight at 8:22 PM on October 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Maybe the Collective has a supe who can dupe the powers of other supes?
posted by straight at 8:34 PM on October 4, 2020

OMG. In Episode 4, the tech who helps Black Noir locate Butcher is eating an Almond Joy and when she nervously offers it to him, he holds out a wastebasket. Later in the episode, Starlight eats one and Huey declares "Nobody likes Almond Joy!"
posted by straight at 8:48 PM on October 4, 2020 [10 favorites]

Were heads exploding every time one moved into Homelander's eye line? (I'll have to watch again). A supe who can work abstractly and ruthless and calmly? Haven't seen Stan Edgar for a couple of episodes now. He's not afraid of Homelander . . . . what's up with that?
posted by lemon_icing at 9:03 PM on October 4, 2020

Maybe the Collective has a supe who can dupe the powers of other supes?

If they're not called SuperDuper, that's a missed opportunity. Does seem like a comic trope that basically has to happen at some point though....
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:30 AM on October 5, 2020 [4 favorites]

TVLINE | Where did the idea for the Almond Joy takedown come from?
The actors and I were at Comic-Con promoting Season 1, and that was where I learned that Nathan Mitchell, the actor who plays Black Noir, has a super severe nut allergy. Like one of those people who can’t be in the same room with nuts, like a vampire with garlic. Karl [Urban] turns to me, laughing, and he says, “You know, we should give that weakness to Black Noir,” and I just thought that was brilliant. When you think of superhero kryptonite, you think of things like kryptonite. Like it takes a space rock, something very, very exotic. I was just tickled by the idea that someone as strong and powerful as Noir could be taken out by something so simple and something that so many people suffer from. It’s a very common kryptonite, tree nuts. So it was fun. If you look at Episode 4 — just because I love that we are always planting in these little Easter eggs that make more sense on a second viewing — he goes down into crime analytics and Anika, the computer tech, is eating an Almond Joy, and his very first move is to hold out that garbage can like, “You throw that sh-t away.” So I love that we set it up as early as Episode 4.

From a link with spoilers
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:06 AM on October 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

Edgar must have powers surely?
Can he pop heads?
posted by fullerine at 4:49 AM on October 5, 2020

Hughie has to have powers, right? He recovers very easily from being impaled through the torso.

There's gotta be a Homelander last ditch weapon somewhere. I suspect Stan having powers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:01 AM on October 5, 2020

I will be very disappointed if Hughie has powers.
posted by Pendragon at 2:22 PM on October 5, 2020 [6 favorites]

All this time we're supposed to understand Butcher's brutality as rooted in the loss of his beloved wife.

I think now we're supposed to see that as a story Butcher was telling himself, and that it's really deeper. Becca knew that, that's why she left the kid behind when they met the second time. He was going to kill that kid first chance he got.
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:50 PM on October 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

There's gotta be a Homelander last ditch weapon somewhere.

I'm rooting for Ryan to hear Stormfront say something horrible about his mother and lash out at her and/or Homelander.
posted by straight at 4:23 PM on October 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

Wait, am I really cheering for a kid to accidentally murder someone? No, I don't think that's what I want. But it seems like the sort of thing this show would do...
posted by straight at 4:24 PM on October 5, 2020 [4 favorites]

Upon rewatch, the two other Lego films made by Ryan were 'Dances With Wolves' and 'Terms of Endearment'. These films need to see the light of day.

posted by benzenedream at 5:40 PM on October 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

the world-building has revealed other organizations up to no good.

Kenji wore a hat with a star on it, which I assumed was supposed to telegraph some future link between the Shining Light Liberation Army and Starlight. That plotline seems to have been dropped, though.
posted by HeroZero at 7:51 PM on October 5, 2020

I was surprised when Butcher's father didn't go over Chekhov's Balcony.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:11 PM on October 5, 2020 [9 favorites]

I totally expected Butcher's eyes to glow in that last shot.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:09 PM on October 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm rooting for Ryan to hear Stormfront say something horrible about his mother and lash out at her and/or Homelander.

I'm curious to see Homelander's reaction to the kid if Ryan can physically hurt him. Is there anyone who can do that?
posted by gladly at 6:45 AM on October 6, 2020

In terms of characters we already know secretly having powers, I don't think they'll go down the road of "oh Hughie could fly all along" or whatever. However, this season has established that Vought is working on an adult-stable version of Compound V and I feel like that's gotta have a payoff sooner or later.

My (completely uninformed) prediction is that this season or next ends on a twist that one of The Boys has been given superpowers by Vought. (A further prediction is that it will be Butcher, because what worse fate would there be for the world's biggest supe-hater that being turned into a supe?)
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:12 AM on October 7, 2020

I've been wanting to write up a comment that delves into who might be head exploder, but life has been busy and frankly, I just don't know. Either I'm missing something or the show has purposefully hidden some info from us. Since the finale is only 12 hours away at this point, might as well buckle up for that and see how it goes!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:52 AM on October 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

I kind of like how this whole episode was about the importance of family, and Butcher learnt a Very Special Lesson about family, and went on to apply it by threatening to murder Vogelbaum's entire family.

I'll miss John Doman's head for the rest of the show though.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 3:38 PM on November 26, 2020

I'm watching this months late so I have little to add except.. I really like how they've handled Maeve's sexuality. We're shown season one she had a girlfriend, and clearly it's on the down low, and that's about it. No big deal, but she's a queer character.

Then in season two it becomes a Big Deal. All because Homelander is a total asshole about it. He's jealous, he's vindictive, he forces her girlfriend Elena into the spotlight as a way to torture them both. And Vought does this godawful "gay is great!" marketing that has me, an actual queer person, cringing. Brave Maeve Pride Bar: You can't be proud on an empty stomach! Yuck.

And then the coup de grace, from the previous episode, when Elena is like "um, Maeve is actually bisexual". And the Vought folks wave that away, a hilarious commentary on bi invisibility. So then they double down on it this episode showing Maeve and her Lost Weekend with some boy toy in her bed. Why the hell not? It's great.

I love how outside all this insulting hype she's just this competent, normal(*) woman trying to work her way through a really fucked up situation. She's queer, yeah, but that's not some distinct defining personality trait, it's just who she is. (*) well not completely normal, being a superhero and all.
posted by Nelson at 10:10 AM on February 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Don't forget about the Vought brand Maeve Lasagna: Meatless wrapped in pride colors that Becca was going to serve for dinner before her child is kidnapped by Stormfront and Homelander.

By other unconnected point is that the vintage t-shirt budge for this show must be significant.
posted by mmascolino at 1:17 PM on October 14, 2023

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