In the Boy’s Season Finale, It was the ladies that saved the day
The best thing about The Boys, and it’s aftershow Inside The Boys, is that it’s not afraid to cause a commotion. This season, was most definitely an attack at rightwing extremists, corporations, but also, the far left. As revealed at the end of the finale. With so much built up towards this season finale, it’s refreshing to see that it was the women of the series that more-or-less actively resolved every issue this season.
Now, everything about Season 2 has led us to this moment of The Boys thus far. In “What I know”, Becca seeks Billy’s help to get her son back. Right as everyone makes their final moves against Vought and the Seven. With Government officials terrified after last week’s congressional hearing assassinations, almost everyone is in a state of panic and seeking Vought’s compound V as a solution. Though not all is as appears. As every character in this finale has a hidden angle.
Warning Spoilers inbound
Poking Fun At Right-Wing Militarism
The episode begins with a parodic instructional video about what to do during a Supe terrorist crisis. As students take cover while teachers grab their designated handguns. What’s horrifyingly funny, is that according to showrunner Eric Kripke (On Inside The Boys, The Amazon after show to watch if you like the series), it’s based on real-life videos. All they did was swap the word gunmen with Supe terrorists.
Atop of this, we also have the ‘Stormfront is a Nazi angle’ brought to light in this episode. Her desire for a Homelander led Aryan race of Compound-V empowered supermen doesn’t go according to plan. Especially, because not everyone at Vought is white. Chief director Stan Edgar for one, and of course, A-Train. Whom in a bizarre turn of events turns the tide in The Boys favor by stealing Stormfront’s Nazi records kept by The Church of The Collective.
It’s a beautiful metaphor for modern life. That bad guys don’t lose because of goodness. They lose because of personal and corporate interests. And A-Train is a celebrity brand of capitalist. A man who’ll do whatever it takes for money and fame.
Not Your Nazi
In Homelander’s American Dream, he would be dad, Stormfront mom, and Ryan the chosen son. In reality, the Supes lavishly run out of bribes for the kid, and so a scared shitless Ryan wants his mommy back.
Now to be fair, the trio tried to be a working family. But Stan Edgar made a deal with Billy Butcher, that Vought takes back Ryan as their primary Homelander deterrent, and Billy gets his wife back. What nobody expected was that Billy would grow a heart. Both caring for and sparing the boy. This, combined with A-Train’s information that The Boys released, effectively outed Stormfront as a Nazi. Ending her career.
Which leads to our inevitable final confrontation with Stormfront. Though she proves to be incredibly powerful against the entirety of The Boys team, including Starlight and Kimiko, it turns out to be Queen Maeve of all people to pull a Han Solo and save the day. Stopping both Stormfront (physically, along with Starlight and Kimiko in a beautiful #GirlsGetItDone moment), but also Homelander, by threatening to share his abandonment of passengers in a plane crash that they were involved with last season.
The Stormfront finale is definitely one of the series’ most epic battles. But it does see some tragic losses, where Stormfront does her best Thor Ragnarok impression (by also losing an eye) before going full-on Anakin Skywalker. Something an angry Homelander was not happy about.
With Great Power, Cums Great Irresponsibly
The most powerful being in the world is now alone. With no one to love except the fans who worship the false image, he’s sold to them. The only thing he has left in the world, or so Queen Maeve has proven. And so with no remaining fucks left to give, Homelander jacks off into the wind amongst the backdrop of the city. Proudly realizing, he can do whatever he wants.
As for the rest, Stormfront gets blamed for the Washington attack. Maeve, Starlight, and even A-Train are let back into The Seven. As the distribution of Compound V to the wider audience is indefinitely put on hold. Everyone gets a bit of what they want except for Vought and Homelander.
Billy hands Ryan off to the CIA as a Homelander deterrent and is possibly recruited into Mallery’s new team at the office of Supes affairs. A-Train is brought back into The Seven by the Church, who in turn, screws over The Deep leaving him with nothing. Even Starlight and Hughie seem to be a couple, as Frenchie and Kimko get close, and are at the least, really good friends. Even Mother’s Milk gets to see his family again. Everyone is happy.
Which is why I really liked the Victoria Neuman angle. The series’ resident AOC impersonation is revealed to be the head exploding Supe killing and manipulating people behind the scenes. All while utilizing extreme left-wing accountability politics in order to gain a following (Like a left-wing version of Stormfront). It’s horrifyingly brilliant in that it reaffirms that no one can be fully trusted. And oftentimes, people too good to be true, usually just are.
This is an unpopular opinion but I thought the finale was just okay. Definitely funny and exciting for the moment, but I don’t really think The Boys brought much to the conversation this time around by the season’s end. Where season one was genuinely shocking in subverting the superhero trope, with moments where we watched Homelander let people die, or A-Train casually murders Hughie’s girlfriend by running through her, I don’t really see that same type of conversation being had.
Instead, this season’s inspiration has mostly been a parody of events in real-life America. As places like Breitbart news proliferate propaganda for white nationalists in a similar fashion to Stormfront. Or the Disney corporation, which has sold the dream of the superhero mythos to push products not unlike the Vought corporation. And while parodying real life was funny and compelling at first, it ultimately felt lax because, as strange as this sounds, real-life was just that much crazier. This week alone was a viral outbreak at the white house, the president possibly turning mentally unstable over a series of what’s likely steroid treatments (mentally unstable enough to call on the 25th amendment), and an assassination attempt of a Michigan Governor by rightwing extremists.
The issue with this season wasn’t that the show ultimately poked at the flaws of the American people and its pop culture superhero idolatry. It’s that by embracing so much parody and trying to force the conversation, it ultimately didn’t go far enough. I’m hoping Season 3 either steers clear from parodying real life political events, or better yet, doubles down hard on them. Because, maybe it’s just me, but I think Nazi sympathizers (including Stormfront and Vought) deserve a much harsher and crueler fate than simply outing their identities. This show is in desperate need of a moment of evil getting punished. Something beyond just how unbelievably pathetic The Deep has become.
I will celebrate though, that where this season works best is in getting to know its cast of characters. Delivering quality storylines to audiences while juggling a large ensemble. Yet as strange as it sounds, it’s hard for me to feel any real sort of real shock value from this season. Even an elongated dick choking Mother’s Milk, while hilarious, doesn’t elicit as strong a response as it used to.
Or perhaps I’m just suffering from too much of the 2020 blues.