Season 2 further highlights that “The Boys” really wasn’t suited for a weekly release schedule, as the show’s story feels more like a really long movie than an episodic adventure. Spoilers ahead.
This episode sees Homelander (Antony Starr) lose control over his public image when a video of him killing an innocent bystander surfaces online and incites protests against him; Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) visits his aunt’s house and almost gets killed by Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell); Vought tries to make Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) and Elena (Nicola Correia-Damude), her girlfriend, the face of the LGBTQ community; Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) becomes an assassin; Stormfront (Aya Cash) is on to Starlight’s (Erin Moriarty) plot against Vought; and The Deep (Chase Crawford) gets married.
That sounds like a lot, and it is. “The Boys” has a fairly large cast, and you might have around five different stories going on at the same time in each episode. What makes the show interesting is that these stories collide, merge, and create interesting scenarios, and Season 2 Episode 5 is no different.
In my review of Episodes 1-4, I predicted that the show was building up to an interesting finale, and I still feel that way. Butcher finds his motivation this episode, which really is the driving force behind this show. Without his amazing level of commitment to taking down the superheroes that ruined his life and his death wish, there wouldn’t be much of a show, as we saw in the first episode this season, when Butcher was largely absent.
Without spoiling too much, Homelander comes vicariously close to killing American protesters in cold blood, and has to get Stormfront’s help to quell them, by causing division. The show goes so far as to show Homelander imagining killing them, which makes me believe he will commit an atrocity so great all public support for him will evaporate by season’s end. Homelander, the show’s Superman-wannabe, is still under Vought’s thumb, despite killing their vice president last season. It makes you wonder what exactly is stopping him from killing everyone at Vought and doing whatever he wants. Mr. Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito), Vought’s president, fills the role Madelyn Stillwell did last season as Homelander’s handler, and despite having very strong disagreements with him, Homelander obeys him absolutely. It makes me wonder if Vought is hiding something more powerful than Homelander, or if they have some failsafe against him in case he goes out of control.
Black Noir versus Butcher is the other really interesting arc this episode, as Noir tracks Butcher to his aunt’s house, which he visits after losing his motivation to fight superheroes last episode, when his wife refuses to leave Vought’s compound. Butcher’s character is interesting, as he’s become this bloodthirsty, relentlessly violent person to go toe to toe with the supes, but in doing so, he has adopted a prejudice against them that has made him completely incompatible with his wife, who bore and is caring for Homelander’s son. Butcher’s arc is tragic because he just can’t win; He never would have found his wife had he not gone down his warpath, but said warpath molded him into somebody his wife couldn’t be with.
As such, he has to find his mojo again this episode, as Hughie (Jack Quaid) and Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) do their best to save him from Noir. And their plight is what brings Butcher back, at least for now. Butcher is a broken man, and while I think the show needs him because without him, our heroes have no teeth, I don’t think his story will end well.
The other plots are fine, there’s just not a whole lot to them. We’ll probably see more of them next episode.
“The Boys” Season 2, Episode 5 gets a 7/10