- Episode 2 (of 8), ‘Proper Preparation and Planning’
- Written by Rebecca Sonnenshine
- Directed by Liz Friedlander
See what we know about The Boys season 3 so far. Spoilers follow for this episode.
Billy Butcher stares at a sheet of paper containing random information about a location. A flashback reveals that it’s a description of his wife Becca’s house, as seen in the season 1 finale. Butcher wakes up in a car park outside a Tony Cicero’s restaurant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with no memory of how he got there. He scribbles everything he can remember on a kids’ menu, as a news report announces a news report about the manhunt for him. Back in the present, Butcher says he’s going to meet a contact who can help track down the suit terrorist who disembarked in New Jersey.
Homelander plays catch with his son, Ryan. He encourages the boy to use his powers – which the child seems to know nothing about – as Becca calls the kid inside for math lessons, telling Homelander she just wants her son to be normal. “My son is the furthest fucking thing on this planet from a normal little boy,” he replies.
Back at Vought HQ, Starlight, Stormfront and Queen Maeve are in the midst of an intensive press day. Ashley is keen to promote the fact that this is the first time there have ever been three women in the Seven, so she’s visibly annoyed when Maeve takes a phone call for a “family emergency” and walks away.
At the funeral of deceased CIA deputy director Susan Rayner, Butcher tells Grace Mallory (the founder of The Boys) that he believes Rayner was killed by Vought for getting too close to information about the terrorist smuggled into New Jersey. He asks for her help in the investigation.
In Ohio, Eagle the Archer gives The Deep a hallucinogenic brew to help find his inner self. The Deep starts an in-depth conversation with the gills on his torso. They tell him that his past indiscretions with women were often the result of his issues with his own body – that he wanted to humiliate them before they could humiliate him.
A disguised Maeve arrives at a hospital where she meets her ex-girlfriend Elena, who’s suffering a burst appendix – and very surprised to see Maeve.
At the press junket, Starlight and Stormfront are bombarded with questions about whether female superheroes are better than their male counterparts. As the journalists’ enquiries get more and more inane, Stormfront eventually breaks the company line and says that everyone is in it together.
A-Train then makes a surprise appearance, having recovered from his heart attack in the season 1 finale. Starlight and A-Train have a tense encounter, where she asks what would have happened to him if she hadn’t been there to give him CPR. He takes the bait, revealing that he remembers seeing her help Hughie get away.
Butcher returns from his meeting with Mallory, telling the others that if he can deliver the supe terrorist, she’ll get their criminal records scrubbed clean.
The conversation continues between The Deep and his gills, as they tell him he deserves to be loved. They end up singing “You are so Beautiful” to each other.
Stormfront tells her social media followers not to waste their “hard-earned cash on this silly, big-titted piece of plastic”. Starlight says she totally agrees with what her new colleague’s been saying about Vought, but Stormfront thinks Starlight’s words are hollow, telling her she’s the epitome of the company.
Gecko finds Starlight and gives her the sample of Compound V. A-Train confronts her, asking what she’s just hidden in her boot.
With Ryan at a piano lesson, Becca uses the time to pay a call on her Vought supervisors. She reminds Dr Park of a promise that she and Ryan would never have to see Homelander again. They respond that the company has taken the decision to give Homelander what he wants so as not to antagonize him: “Now that he knows, there’s no putting the toothpaste back in the tube.” Back at the house, Homelander goes through Becca’s things and finds hidden photos of Billy.
Maeve tells Elena why she left. She recalls a story of an Oscar party where she spent an evening being chatted up by a movie producer. Two days later there was a fire in his office, his head found in one room, his torso in another. Maeve explains that she didn’t want to risk Homelander doing the same to Elena – and that she’s telling Elena now because “I don’t want you to hate me anymore”.
Homelander gives Ryan a cellphone so they can stay in contact. He tells Ryan that they are gods who can do anything they want. Becca tells Homelander to leave.
The Boys break into a shop where they think they’ll find the supe terrorist. Kimiko recognises a man from the Shining Light Liberation Army, the terrorist organisation that kidnapped her as a child, and pulls his head off. The next man she sees, however, gets a hug, as he turns out to be her long-lost brother.
Hughie pushes Butcher out of the way before he can get fire a tranquiliser into the brother, who protects himself with psychokinetic powers. The siblings run away. Butcher tries to ditch Hughie, but Frenchie and Mother’s Milk insist they stay together because they think Kimiko is one of the team. Butcher reveals the truth about Becca, and that Mallory will help him find her if he brings in the supe terrorist.
As Starlight tries to text Hughie about the Compound V, A-Train breaks into her apartment. He discovers the Compound V and threatens to tell Homelander. Starlight counters by telling A-Train that she’s ready to leak that he was responsible for his girlfriend, Popclaw’s, death. He leaves, leaving the Compound V with Starlight.
Kimiko’s brother tells her that their village no longer exists, that an American hero came “shrieking out of the sky like a demon”. He believes that Shining Light were right all along, that they stand up for people without a voice, and that the US is the enemy. He asks her to fight with him, but she reminds him that Shining Light kills their parents. They fight on the street and she eventually incapacitates him. As The Boys take Kimiko’s brother into custody, Billy punches Hughie in the face, and the gang drive away.
Even in a show as unafraid of pushing the envelope as The Boys, a superhero having a tearful heart-to-heart with the gills in his torso is pretty out-there stuff. That the scenes are simultaneously icky, funny and heart-breaking is a sign of how accomplished this series has become.
Especially as The Deep’s travails in Ohio are far from the A-plot. Kimiko’s meeting with her long-lost brother is emotional stuff – and tenderly played – but the best moments are reserved for the Seven. Homelander is evolving into one of TV’s great villains, the outspoken Stormfront is already feeling like an integral part of the show, and Starlight has really started to shine as she grows into the role of double agent – especially in some wonderfully tense scenes with the returning A-Train.
- The Deep’s gills are voiced by Patton Oswalt, whose also lent his vocal cords to Remy in Ratatouille and Happy in Happy!.
- This episode’s Billy Joel offering is ‘You’re Only Human’ – Hughie sings along on his phone after Butcher returns from his meeting with Mallory.
- Amanda Richer, the sign language expert who guided Karen Fukuhara (who plays Kimiko), also consulted on Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water.
Episodes 1-3 of The Boys season 2 are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video now. New episodes appear every Friday.
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Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.