The Boys cast unpacks the mind-blowing season 2 finale twist
Warning: Spoilers from The Boys' season 2 finale are discussed in this article.
The Boys season 2 director Alex Graves pauses the second-unit shoot on one of their final days of production in Toronto last October. The crew were in the midst of filming the very last scene: Hughie (Jack Quaid) decides to leave his days in the Boys behind and pursue a more noble path of combating the Seven by taking a job with Congresswoman Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit). They were a few takes in when Graves received a news alert on his phone: "Donald Trump booed by the stadium and they chanted 'lock him up.'" It was in reference to the moment when Trump attended a World Series game at Washington's Nationals Park in October. "Anyway, moving on..." Graves says as the chatter dies down.
Not even Quaid knew the full extent of what was going on in The Boys season 2 until he actually watched the finale episode, but he should've taken that moment as a clue: our politicians, regardless of how they present themselves to the public, aren't always what they appear to be. That is true of Trump and that is true of Ms. Neuman.
The season-long secret
After Stormfront's (Aya Cash) Nazi ties are exposed to the public in the finale episode — thanks to A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), who delivered secret files from the Church of the Collective to Hughie and Starlight (Erin Moriarty) — Victoria becomes a czar for the newly created Office of Supe Affairs. It appears they are finally taking legal action against Vought, who had plans to create an army of supes with a new strain of their Compound V formula. What becomes apparent is that Victoria, despite fighting Vought in court, is a supe herself. Not only that, but as we see her assassinate Alastair Adana (Goran Visnjic), the head of the Church of the Collective, it's clear she's been the one exploding heads all season long, including the head of C.I.A. Deputy Director Susan Raynor (Jennifer Esposito).
Showrunner Eric Kripke promises Doumit and Victoria will now "play a big part in season 3." "I don't want to say too much because there's a certain mystery in season 3 about exactly why Victoria is doing what she's doing,” he says. “But, yeah, I think the overall theme of the show is you need to have a healthy suspicion of your authority figures, and that goes for all of them.”
Doumit was equally "clueless" about this character going in for the initial audition. "I had no idea,” she says in her first interview about the finale. “I booked season 2, I came in, and all I kept hearing from Eric in passing was, ‘Big stuff. The Neuman thing. Excited for Neuman.’ And he'd just walk off. And I was like, ‘Crap! What's happening?’”
The role was initially described as a wunderkind congresswoman in the spirit of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “All I drew from her were a few mannerisms: how she holds herself in a room and how she communicates something," Doumit says. "Other than that, I didn't want to completely have Victoria Neuman just be a carbon copy of AOC.”
Doumit's introduction into the world of The Boys was particularly memorable. The first scene she filmed was the courtroom blood bath in which the Vought hearings kick off with everyone's heads exploding in particularly gory fashion. Of course, now Doumit knows it was her character causing all the chaos that ultimately led to the creation of the Office of Supe Affairs.
"There were just guns loaded with blood," Doumit says of that day. "We left the room for lunch or whatever the break was and everything was normal. And then when we came back, there were dummy bodies on the floor and there was blood everywhere and they were like, 'Okay, get ready!' And then I just remember sitting there next to the lifeless body. His head's just been exploded and he's on the table, there's blood everywhere. And they were like, 'Cool. So, we just need you to react as though his head's about to explode, but don't anticipate it. There's a gun here that's going to shoot blood in your face. And, action!'"
The Boys not in the band
"The last line of the script, the description is 'OH NO HUGHIE! YOU’RE IN TROUBLE GIRL' in all caps, and that’s true!" Quaid says.
For Hughie, who just can't seem to catch a break, his decision to join Victoria's team is tied to his love for Billy Joel's music — Hughie's mother being the common thread. All those Joel needle drops in season 2 weren't just for fun: Hughie recollects to Starlight how he and his mom, who left him and his dad when he was young, used to have Joel dance parties.
"He has the need to defend and protect and nurture those around him who he really cares about," Quaid explains. "He’s desperate to keep his family intact. The reason why he gloms onto people is because his mom left him, and he never wants to do that to anyone ever again. It comes out in interesting ways that could be considered a little bit codependent, a little destructive in a way. But I think he’s starting to pull himself out of that rut at the end of the season.... even though we know trouble is afoot."
He's not the only one changing course. By the end of season 2, the entire Boys team have gone their separate ways. Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) is now "a man at war with himself" heading into season 3, Kripke says.
In season 1, we learned that Billy's wife, Becca (Shantel VanSanten), wasn't actually dead, but instead living at a secret Vought-operated community where she was allowed to raise her son, Ryan, the supe child conceived when Homelander raped her. Throughout season 2, Billy fights to free Becca, leading him to make a deal with Mr. Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) to separate his wife from Ryan. In the end, "[Billy] did the right thing and yet it cost him the only thing he cared about," Kripke mentions.
The right thing was reneging on his deal with Mr. Edgar and sending Becca and Ryan off together, but things go awry when Stormfront arrives on the scene. Concluding the ensuing fight, Ryan unleashes his laser vision powers to protect his mom but instead accidentally kills her. In the aftermath, Billy sends Ryan into the protective custody of Grace Mallory (Laila Robbins), original founder of the Boys.
"[Billy's] really on the edge as a really fraught character," Kripke says. "There's a chance he'll have learned what Becca tried to teach him and really do the right thing, and there's a chance that he'll anguish over her death sentence and plummet right over the edge."
“Personally, I would like to see a smarter Butcher, a more dangerous Butcher,” Urban says. “I think Butcher’s fun when he's having fun, so I want to see more of that. I think he has to evolve beyond this example of toxic masculinity because that's going to wear thin. But Butcher's still Butcher.”
Mother's Milk gets his happy ending in finally reuniting with his daughter, but "we’ll see what happens with his wife because they’ve been at odds from his disappearance," Laz Alonso teases.
As for Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) and Frenchie (Tomer Capon), they are seen leaving the group's headquarters to go out dancing after Kimiko makes another surprise resurrection from getting her neck snapped by Stormfront. Can anything actually kill her? Not even Fukuhara knows. "I haven't had a specific conversation about what would actually kill Kimiko," she says.
She did, however, have conversations about the final shot of her with Frenchie. Is it meant to signal romantic feelings between the two or a friendlier, deeper connection? Fukuhara wants to leave that ambiguous. "We did talk about how far we wanted to take the romantic bits of that specific scene because it is very romantic," she says. "It's the silhouette of the two facing each other and then [the producers] went with the take where I waltz around dancing with him. But we did have some other takes where it was more platonic."
Fukuhara does hope that "we get to see a little bit of Kimiko having fun with life," even for a little bit before all hell inevitably breaks loose again.
Then there's the Homelander of it all. Antony Starr said Kripke gave him only two words to tee-up his character arc in season 3: "homicidal maniac." Starr says with a laugh, "He's a homicidal maniac anyway, so I'm not sure what that means."
With Stormfront defeated but not technically dead — she's still seen mumbling to herself in German after getting her limbs lasered off — Homelander loses another one of his obsessions after Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue). And another female figure, Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), someone he thought he had under control, pulls the rug out from under him. She recovered cellphone footage of the plane incident in season 1 and threatens to expose him to the world unless he leaves everyone alone. So, he welcomes an exonerated Starlight back into the Seven.
"He’s totally betrayed, insecure, and emasculated," Starr reflects on that moment. "He’s been opened up emotionally and burned." The final shot of Homelander in season 2 sees the supe masturbating off a rooftop and telling himself that he can do whatever he wants. It's "a sad, pathetic attempt to revisit a moment in the past when he felt emancipated and had a moment of self-realization," Starr says. "And with nobody to sexually gratify himself, it’s a desperate attempt to physically and mentally boost his ego, though it appears not to be working. It’s tragic and grotesque."
Season 3 return?
Cash plays coy on whether Stormfront might make a return in season 3 in on form or another. Her initial contract was only for one season, though she does agree, "I think they've left the door open," even if "there's not much left of her."
“She's not technically dead," Cash says, "but I think you'll just have to see season 3 to find out what happened to her if she's going to be around at all in her smaller form."
"She's not dead. She's just a stump," Kripke says with a laugh. "Among the writers and talking with Aya, we're like, 'Well, what is going to happen to Stumpfront?' So we’ll see.”
Someone who is returning in season 3 after a season 2 debut, however, is perhaps one of the wildest supes ever realized on screen. We're talking about Love Sausage. Actor Andrew Jackson played the character with superhuman genitals in episode 6 as one of the escaped patients from the Sage Grove Center. Finding a larger role for him in the context of the show was difficult because, as Kripke notes, "he's so absurd."
"That said," he adds, "without spoiling anything, someone just successfully pitched, not an extended return but a return of Love Sausage in season 3. So, there's more Love Sausage on the horizon."
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