The Boys: What I Know
October 9, 2020 6:39 AM - Season 2, Episode 8 - Subscribe

The Boys (and two girls) finally go after Homelander and Stormfront head on. But things don't go as planned when Butcher is forced to make, Atrain and Deep come to a collective decision, and new super villain pops up.

The season 2 was ok, not satisfying per se, but nothing terrible. There's still the question of what to do about Homelander, whether he can be controlled or dealt and of course, what to do about Stormfront when she returns.

But for now, the Nazi is defeated, though by a potential Homelander instead of girls getting it done. Butcher becoming a father figure, even in a limited role is a great touch and his relationship with Ryan will be one to watch.

I do wish things had been a more more conclusive, but hey, then what would we do with a season three.

The reveal of Neuman being the head popper felt like it appeared suddenly out of nowhere. It's decent twist, but felt too much like a twist delivered for shock, as opposed to a natural development. But it does make sense that she prevents Vought from being undone, to further her own raise to political power.

Highlights:

- Butcher's advice to Ryan

-Kimiko's death and resurrection. The neck snap was jarring and I was geniumely sad and annoyed when she "died," but just as joyous to her snap her neck back into place. Girls get it done!

- The Nazi memes about stormfront

- Homelander's final bit of control
posted by Brandon Blatcher (33 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Girls get it done! "Eat my shit you Nazi bitch!" That was satisfying. Also the knife in the eye! Anyone catch what she was saying in German, post-frazzling?

"what to do about Stormfront when she returns"
Will she return? I assume she'll be locked in a government vault somewhere for... ever? I guess? Is she immortal?

Annoying that they re-fridged Becca though. And, ugh, I'm not a fan of the "oh you thought that was a Good Person? No! They were a Bad Person all along!" shock twist. I agree it seemed done for shock value alone. And how do you fight a telekinetic head-exploder? With long distance weaponry and midnight assassins, I guess. A punch fight isn't going to get you anywhere but exploded.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:57 AM on October 9


Anyone catch what she was saying in German, post-frazzling?


From this link:
Reddit user Raidoton helpfully transcribed and translated the full text of Stormfront's dialogue, revealing that Stormfront was recalling a beautiful moment with her husband and daughter, as they sat in the shade of an apple tree. When Homelander arrived, she apparently saw him as her husband and said, "Do you remember the day Frederick? Chloe's arms out of the car window. We found the perfect spot by the river, in the shade of an apple tree. It was the first time Chloe ate fresh apples." Later, she muttered to herself, "It was so wonderful. I wanted it to never end." It might have been a sweet, sad moment, if you ignored that the memory was coming from a woman trying to start a race war with an army of superhuman soldiers.

There is another point worth noting regarding that the phrase "shade of an apple tree," which stands out in Stormfront's dialogue. "In The Shade of the Old Apple Tree" was the title of a popular love song written in 1905, co-written by German-American composer Egbert Van Alstyne. However, the song is mostly remembered today as a standard of African American jazz musicians like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong; something sure to annoy a long-lived Nazi. While this may be a coincidence, it would not be the most obscure reference that The Boys has dropped and it would serve as an interesting counterpoint to Hughie Campbell's obsession with Billy Joel.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:16 AM on October 9 [5 favorites]




Watching Stormfront get her ass beaten down was remarkably satisfying.
posted by wabbittwax at 11:59 AM on October 9 [11 favorites]


That was a decent twist, though I'm not looking forward to a new season with the "See? AOC and the Democrats are corrupt head exploders too!" bothsidesism theme.
posted by el gran combo at 12:00 PM on October 9 [8 favorites]


In the previous episode's thread: I'm rooting for Ryan to hear Stormfront say something horrible about his mother and lash out at her and/or Homelander.

[monkey's paw finger curls]
posted by straight at 1:10 PM on October 9 [5 favorites]


I guess Stormfront can either use her power to fly or fight, but not both at the same time. Otherwise that fight would have gone the other way.

I thought that Starlight's electricity-absorbing power would come into play when fighting Stormfront, but it didn't really seem to.

I barely noticed Neuman in the previous seven episodes, so the revelation didn't really mean anything to me except to confirm who the head exploder wasn't.

The self neck-relocation was cool and unexpected in a good way.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 2:05 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Stormfront getting beat down was quite satisfying, but my satisfaction was tempered by the knowledge that she'll most likely be back next year.

Either she will have regrown her missing parts - remember, her sex with Homelander included what would have been fatal injuries for any non-supe, and she was fine in the next episode - or she'll be kitted out with some sort of bionic augmentations.

It would have been much more satisfying if Butcher had taken that crowbar and smashed her skull like a rotten pumpkin. But with no actual death scene, and no body, they've left it wide open for her to come back.

I'm having mixed feelings about the writing on this show - there's some entertaining stuff, but also lots of plot holes and/or things that could use further explaining. The whole process by which heroes are vetted and "hired" to be in The Seven seems really vague - at one point, when The Deep gets sent to Ohio, it's implied that there's something similar to the "farm system" in professional baseball, with minor league heroes aspiring to make "the big show" while toiling away in secondary and tertiary markets.

But then Starlight's invitation to join The Seven at the beginning of the series seemed to come out of nowhere - she had no previous affiliation with Vought, and was just doing her own thing. And she's asked to join with not even a preliminary in-person interview, a psych screening, nothing? And where was Stormfront between the time she stopped being Liberty and re-emerged with her new identity that she was able to waltz right in and join The Seven? Did Vought just have her in cold storage for 40+ years?

The reveal that the Congresswoman is the head-exploder did seem a bit from left field, as they didn't spend very much time with that character previously. (The AV Club's reviewer also pointed out that the character's behavior in the hearing-room massacre scene wasn't really consistent with her being the attacker, and so maybe there's another doppleganger? I dunno, could be just poor continuity management.)

Also, in retrospect, the whole plot with The Deep joining Church of the Collective didn't really pay off in any significant way. Yes, they did get in a few shots at Scientology and celebrity culture, but the plot implications seem nil now that Goran Visnjic's character is dead.

It feels like a lot of the story beats for early next season already are pre-determined - Hughie will be working for the Congresswoman and romancing Starlight, when he discovers that something's amiss, and he decides he needs to reconvene The Boys.

Cut to the "getting the band back together" sequence, as Hughie tracks them down, we find out what everyone else has been doing, and at least one of them will be reluctant to go back to whatever it is they'll be going back to. At the pace this show seems to go, that could eat up two or three episodes. (I'd be glad to be proven wrong about this, but I suppose we won't find out for a year or so at least.)
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 3:51 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Snappy episode.

Highlights for me include Jim Beaver, and the school "L.A.W." psa. That beatdown was fun, but no payoff.
posted by porpoise at 5:31 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


The AV Club's reviewer also pointed out that the character's behavior in the hearing-room massacre scene wasn't really consistent with her being the attacker, and so maybe there's another doppleganger?

Also, didn't her eyes turn solid white when she melon-popped Goran Visnjic? Why then and not during the hearing?
posted by haileris23 at 6:09 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


Loved this episode! Last week I said I didn’t think this episode would be able to work as a season finale, even for the first two seasons combined, but it did (with the exception of Deep’s storyline). It even felt like it would have worked as a series finale, but I’m glad there’s another season greenlighted.

One of my favorite things about this show is the way it portrays how normal people would fight supes, and especially how most of the time the normal people (our heroes!) mostly are terrified and scream and run and hide. The pile of Vought Alexas to distract Homelander and provide cover for Ryan’s extraction was great. I was excited for the RPG round Frenchie built to take out Stormfront, but Stormfront taking it out first was way more exciting.

I’m super satisfied that Maeve’s two-season arc was resolved, but how did she know where to go, and how did she get there? Does she have an invisible jet?

I’m definitely pro-AOC’s politics and vehemently anti-Nazi and I did not at all see this episode’s head-popper reveal as a both-sidesist false equivalence. Neumann is clearly a Vought agent; every head-popping has had the effect of protecting Vought. Neumann is vocally anti-Vought but both the Compound V reveal and the Stormfront reveal were done without her. Of course Vought wants to be in charge of the anti-Vought faction in government; it’s Conspiracy 101.

With the head-popping of Adana, the whole Church of the Collective/Deep storyline seems like a waste of screen time in retrospect. Sure, it led to Stormfront’s unmasking, but it’s not like A-Train needed Edgar to say out loud why Stormfront obviously hated him, and he could have just as easily stolen files from Vought Tower. Maybe season 3 will justify the storyline, but in season 2 it just seemed like an excuse to keep Chace Crawford around.

I loved the scenes between Annie and Hughie in the car, and the scenes between Becca and Butcher that caused him to reconsider his plan, but it’s funny for this stuff to happen in the finale of season 2. Usually a show does this stuff earlier so the action in the finale is coming from an established emotional place. It was devastating when Butcher sent Ryan off with Mallory’s people, even though I really did not want a season of Butcher Bringing Up Baby.

The detente between the Seven is thrillingly fraught, though the fact that Starlight is back in her original, wholesome costume is encouraging. The scene where Homelander is masturbating over the city was actually a relief, because I was afraid the camera would pull out to reveal he was orally violating a helpless, limbless, disfigured Stormfront. Not sure if I should call a therapist for thinking that, or apply to join Eric Kripke’s writer’s room.
posted by ejs at 6:40 PM on October 9 [7 favorites]


Starlight and Maeve being back on the Seven at the end didn't make a lick of sense.

I do want to see more MacGyver action from Frenchie that actually works; part of the fun in S01E02 was them figuring out how to take down Transleucent.
posted by benzenedream at 9:00 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that twist ending. Worried the writers may be out of ideas. But the Ryan and butcher conclusion was touching. I guess there s still one big story arc in the books, besides all the weird sex stuff.

I guess season three will see butcher loosed from hughie, which will affect his relationship with Ryan?
posted by eustatic at 10:38 PM on October 9


But then Starlight's invitation to join The Seven at the beginning of the series seemed to come out of nowhere - she had no previous affiliation with Vought, and was just doing her own thing. And she's asked to join with not even a preliminary in-person interview, a psych screening, nothing?

She tested really well with with Midwesterners and conservative Christians in 18 to 49.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:33 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]


- I think the show is intentionally hand-wavey about how the nuts and bolts of the hero world works. For example, are the movies presented as fictional stories starring real people or as dramatizations of actual events that allegedly happened? But this vagueness actually sorta works for me. I don't know, I just don't need a deep dive on the intricacies of this world, I guess. Also I find some of the fuzziness charming...for example, the fact that nobody recognizes Annie outside of her Starlight outfit is pleasingly retro to me.

- Last week I said "I don't quite trust the show not to do something really gross with [the AOC proxy] for shock value. (Or just reveal that's she's just as corrupt as everyone else in a bit of South Parkian both-sidesism.)" And I guess that lack of trust was earned this week? It's not a deal breaker for next season but it IS a bummer.

- Though maybe that wasn't Neumann we saw at the end? Or if it was, she wasn't under her own control? Others have pointed out the white eyes inconsistency, which would seem to point to her either being either a different character or under someone else's influence. I'm genuinely not sure if the show would be this inconsistent about how a character's power works.

- There are a lot of people big mad in the AV Club comments section at the very idea that Neumann was supposed to be an AOC stand-in (she clearly was) or that making her a secret mass-murderer might be a bad look.

- Weird that in a season built around Billy Joel, they DIDN'T go with a Joel song for the big needle drop in the finale. I love love love "God Only Knows" but I feel like there are plenty of Billy Joel ballads that would have worked there. I think "You're My Home" would have worked perfectly, but "This Is The Night" or "Baby Grand" or "Vienna" or even "She's Got A Way." But I have to say I love the idea of the famously petty Joel watching this episode and getting pissed they went with a Brian Wilson song for the big emotional song instead of one of his, heh. (I'm aware that a Joel song played over the credits.)

- The 3-on-1 dogpile during the big superhero fight made me literally bark with laughter. So audacious and so satisfying. This is what the similar moment in Endgame should have been, just all the Marvel female superheroes wilding out and curbstomping Thanos into the ground...
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:00 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


Oh, and if the Neumann reveal is what it looks like, I sorta hate it for another reason: it ruins the lovely and very human moment in the previous episode where she runs back to the body of a colleague whose head just got popped. I just really loved that detail of her being so overwhelmed by shock that her first instinct was to run back to try to help someone whose head had just exploded. It was a nice character beat.
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:11 PM on October 10 [5 favorites]


Starlight and Maeve being back on the Seven at the end didn't make a lick of sense.

Starlight was officially a wanted fugitive from the law (I forget what crime Homelander accused her of when he announced her capture at the rally) so I'm not sure how you could exonerate her in the public eye without restoring her right back where she was with the Seven. Her original costume seems a pretty good indicator that she is back on her own terms rather than under duress.
posted by straight at 3:55 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


Homelander publicly apologized and said they were wrong about Starlight, so that’s probably good for most people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:32 PM on October 10


I got all that, they covered the public excuses fine. It's just ridiculous that two women are ok with standing all day in the same room as a guy who has threatened to kill them. They know he is batshit crazy and are relying on a piece of blackmail to keep him in line, when he could kill either of them in a second if he snaps. It's like going back to work at a place where your boss showed you a gun and threatened to shoot you in the head, because you have some financial blackmail on him.
posted by benzenedream at 6:08 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


So does Maeve have teleportation as an additional superpower? Otherwise she was able to harness the superpower of Plot Convenience extremely well.

One thing that I think I missed: what was the deal with Ashley's missing chunk of hair? Did Ryan do something to her?
posted by TwoStride at 8:40 PM on October 10


I'm a little surprised that Ashley survived the season.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:38 PM on October 10


There are a couple of earlier scenes of Ashley compulsively hair-twisting. Trichotillomania.
posted by bartleby at 10:52 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


I got all that, they covered the public excuses fine. It's just ridiculous that two women are ok with standing all day in the same room as a guy who has threatened to kill them. They know he is batshit crazy and are relying on a piece of blackmail to keep him in line, when he could kill either of them in a second if he snaps. It's like going back to work at a place where your boss showed you a gun and threatened to shoot you in the head, because you have some financial blackmail on him.

Staying on the Seven and employed by Vought lets them keep an eye on Vought and Homelander, both of whom they know are fucked up/corrupt. Leaving would mean no access to the inner workings of Vought and no way to see what Homelander's up to.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:09 PM on October 11 [2 favorites]


The twist ending made perfect sense to me and is in line with the cynical theme of the show and it's politics. I don't get why so many people dislike it unless they are uncomfortable with the fact that sometimes "#resistance" is yet another movement that can easily be co-opted for the greater bad, much like Vaught's corporate feminism and pinkwashing. Reminds me of many of the NeverTrump and #Resist types who are, ya know, still actual war criminals and corporate shills.
posted by windbox at 7:16 PM on October 11 [2 favorites]


I didn't like it because it was poorly telegraphed, seemingly coming from nowhere, just for shock value. The character is based on a real person, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but the reveal that the characters is actually a killer working for a morally defunct international corporation doesn't make the Congresswoman's views or positions. It comes off as a poorly drawn caricature. There isn't another character in the series so obviously based on a real and living person, so it's odd.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:20 AM on October 12 [4 favorites]


I’m guessing Stormfront comes back as some sort of Darth Maul bionic freak—which could be really fun.

I’m so glad petit Hughie stayed with Annie, but maybe that’s just because I’m a nervous boy who likes blonde women with heart-shaped faces and superpowers. (I’ve said too much.)
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 2:37 PM on October 12


The season 2 was ok, not satisfying per se, but nothing terrible.

I thought season 2 was MUCH better than season 1.
posted by Pendragon at 4:18 PM on October 12


So does Maeve have teleportation as an additional superpower?

Needed a shot of her in the invisible jetplane.
posted by benzenedream at 8:50 PM on October 12 [3 favorites]


Or just reveal that's she's just as corrupt as everyone else in a bit of South Parkian both-sidesism.

But her side isn't wrong, even if she herself is? That's what I don't get about people suddenly being against moral ambiguity and surprise twists in a gritty setting anymore. Has Game of Thrones become so forgotten in the last year? Is this the only major edgy show with heel turns on right now? And it's not like, there aren't still other good guys besides the protagonists, (Mallory is back in action!), even if one seemingly-saintly crusader is actually a double agent.

There isn't another character in the series so obviously based on a real and living person, so it's odd.

From what I understand some of the characters in the comics were based on Bush era politicians. That said, imho I don't see it as an attack on AOC so much as an homage to how she's so quickly become an iconic archetype. Granted, in this show that archetype only resembles her in superficialities, but that's also because it's not meant to be literally her. I think the show and its premises are sufficiently fantastical and removed from reality that it doesn't feel like a commentary on the real AOC, either as a person or her policies. It's sort of like when Arrested Development had a Herman Cain character. Or how the High Sparrow from GoT ended up being a weird unintentional echo of Bernie "Birdie" Sanders.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:58 PM on October 12


I’m guessing Stormfront comes back as some sort of Darth Maul bionic freak

I mean, it’s weird you’d go for Maul’s spider-bot power body from... the comics, I guess? If only there were an even more recognizable Sith Lord who had been a quadruple amputee but had limbs restored bionically and became a fearsome figure.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:38 PM on October 17 [4 favorites]


Ha ha! Yeah, you got me. I don’t know. I guess my mind went to Darth Maul because he’s so stupid and goofy, and that’s how I feel about Stormfront.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 7:22 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


Black Noir seems like more of the Vader type anyway: black mask over scarred face, virtually unstoppable with conventional weaponry, obeys the orders of his master without question.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:13 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


That said, imho I don't see it as an attack on AOC so much as an homage to how she's so quickly become an iconic archetype.

Yeah, like how Superman is actually, legitimately a good guy, but this show’s version is Homelander, who isn’t at all. The show’s version of AOC *should* be a creepy nightmare-world version of her, that’s how this show works. I don’t think it’s critical of AOC the actual congresswoman at all, I think that *because* she’s admirable and idealistic in reality, the dark mirror verse of her is going to be the opposite.

Also, it is totally apropos that the dark!AOC literally explodes heads. Because Real Life AOC does, too, metaphorically 🙄😂

There was a lot that I liked about this season... but what I like most about the show in general is Homelander. First of all, I feel like this show just explained Trump’s psychology to me better than the news ever could. Also, on the one hand he is completely grotesque, but on the other hand, I actually do feel bad for him. I’m always fighting with myself when he’s on screen because of it. Like when he let Butcher leave with Ryan — clearly for the best, but I actually was sad for him that he was losing his son, especially since he’s so entirely alone otherwise. I think he’s an interesting character.

Honestly, this season took a while to get going, but once it did, it was really good.
posted by rue72 at 11:31 PM on November 20


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