Amazon Prime Video’s The Boys returns for a third season on June 3. The incisive and hyperviolent superhero satire’s second season wrapped with a mind-blowing reveal — and, judging by the trailers for season 3, that’s going to be far from the show’s last.
The third season will add even more new characters and storylines, including Jensen Ackles as Soldier Boy, a Captain America-like figure who predates Homelander (Antony Starr). To give you a leg up on all these developments, Polygon’s put together this speedy refresher on the ending of season 2.
First things first: Did The Boys really break up in season 2?
The anti-supe team began season 2 already divided, but the finale episode, “What I Know,” sent them all on diverging paths. Hughie (Jack Quaid), M.M. (Laz Alonso), Frenchie (Tomer Capon), and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) were in hiding while Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) made his way back to them in order to get back to Becca (Shantel VanSanten), who he found out was still alive at the end of season 1.
The ideological split between Hughie and Butcher grew ever wider — the youngest member of the Boys remained adamant that supes can be taken down the “right” way, while Butcher was still prepared to do anything in his quest for revenge, including capturing Becca and Homelander’s son, Ryan (Cameron Crovetti), to get back at Homelander.
In “What I Know,” Hughie left the team to work with Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit), the new head (heh) of the Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs. Little does he know that the congresswoman is actually the mysterious brain-popping assassin who took out the CIA’s Susan Raynor (Jennifer Esposito), former Vought science officer Jonah Vogelbaum (John Doman), Church of the Collective leader Alastair Adana (Goran Visnjic), and a bunch of other people at the hearing that was supposed to bring down Vought.
As for Butcher, he showed real growth and compassion by placing Ryan under Grace Mallory’s (Laila Robins) protection even after the poor kid accidentally killed Becca while trying to protect her from Stormfront (Aya Cash). But it sounds like he’ll have Mallory’s “off-the-books” backing to hunt supes once more in the new season.
“What I Know” seemingly ended on happy notes for the rest of The Boys: M.M. returned to his wife and daughter, while Frenchie and Kimiko set off together to “dance,” among other things. We have our doubts about just how “settled” they all are, and not just because we’ve seen the trailer for season 3. While tracking down an old supe named Liberty (who turned out to be Stormfront), M.M. revealed to Starlight (Erin Moriarty) and Hughie how he’d essentially inherited his father’s mission to bring down Vought — a quest that claimed his dad’s life and threatened to consume his own.
Kimiko may have gotten vengeance for the murder of her younger brother, Kenji (Abraham Lim), who was framed as a “Super Terrorist” and then killed by Stormfront, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about her time in the Shining Light Liberation Army. And while “The Bloody Doors Off” explained what led to Frenchie dropping his tail on Lamplighter (Shawn Ashmore), which led to the deaths of Mallory’s grandchildren, there’s probably even more tragic backstory to be explored there. So there’s no telling what will bring them all back into the fold with Butcher.
Who’s actually left in the Seven after the season 2 finale?
Even though season 1 already saw the loss of two supes — Lamplighter’s retirement and Translucent’s (Alex Hassell) gory death — membership in The Seven really fluctuated in season 2. A-Train (Jessie Usher) was hospitalized early on, then got back on his feet and rejoined the group only to be kicked out by Homelander for no longer being up to supe standards. But thanks to some “divine” intervention from the now-defunct Alastair, A-Train was officially back in the Seven by season’s end.
Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) was so desperate to take down Homelander that she teamed up with The Deep (Chace Crawford), who found video footage of Homelander and Maeve leaving a planeload of passengers to their deaths.
She successfully leveraged the video and Homelander’s insecurities into a reprieve for herself, Elena (Nicola Correia-Damude), who still broke up with her, and the Boys. Maeve was ostensibly still in the Seven at the end of the season — though the season 3 trailer mostly shows her in civvies — but The Deep remains excommunicated.
Starlight actually spent most of her time with The Boys to expose Vought’s vile practices. She rekindled her relationship with Hughie, but not before musing that Butcher might be right — that there’s no “going high” with supes, which could be a sign of things to come. But after being framed as Public Enemy No. 1 by Stormfront and Homelander and subsequently clearing her name, Starlight was at Maeve’s side during that final press conference. She’s still in the Seven, but it seems only in name at this point.
Lamplighter went from inactive member of the Seven to inactive member of, uh, life when he immolated himself in a kind of protest at Vought headquarters, helping to free Starlight. We did learn the circumstances that led to the deaths of Mallory’s grandchildren, as well as what he’d been up to since: namely, disposing of the patients at Sage Grove who either responded poorly to Compound V or refused to fall under Vought’s thumb.
Throughout the season, Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) hunted Butcher and Starlight, but it was Maeve who took him out of commission with an Almond Joy (apparently, he has a tree-nut allergy). That’s one less unquestioning soldier for Homelander, who also lost his most powerful ally to date: Stormfront, who was introduced as an edgy millennial but turned out to be a supe named Liberty and the wife of Frederick Vought himself.
Stormfront revealed Vought’s real plan: to make an army of über-strong white supremacists, led by herself and Homelander. Naturally, Homelander was really into it, but they faced some opposition from Victoria Neuman (though who knows what her real allegiances are), as well as the Boys. But it was Homelander’s son Ryan who ultimately incapacitated Stormfront, killing his mom in the process. So, the Seven haven’t quite been decimated, but Homelander’s running low on allies.
Where does Vought International stand after the events of season 2?
In season 2, Vought’s supes became part of the U.S. armed forces; the premiere episode featured government officials accepting the Seven’s terms on everything from who would be in command to acceptable collateral damage, i.e., loss of human life. But the multibillion-dollar conglomerate was hit with scandal after scandal: first, the exposé on Compound V, then the release of photos that showed Stormfront was an O.G. Nazi, not just a neo one.
Under Stan Edgar’s (Giancarlo Esposito) leadership, though, Vought managed to take control of the media narrative. The Compound V leak just led to a greater demand for the drug, which turned out to be the company’s real objective all along — as Edgar told Homelander, Vought is actually a pharmaceutical company, not a superhero company. That plan hit a snag after Stormfront’s background came to light, but in the finale’s closing moments, Edgar was back at the podium, deflecting the blame from his company and placing it squarely on one “bad apple.”
The Boys season 3 premieres June 3 with three episodes on Prime Video. Here’s the latest trailer: