The Boys Season 2 arrived early, so let’s dig in to all the references and other hidden nuggets we could find.
Amazon’s The Boys is one of the best shows on TV, and not only because there’s not technically a whole lot going on right now in Hollywood. Wonderfully, to make 2020 a little more bearable, Amazon released the new season’s first three episodes–“The Big Ride,” “Proper Preparation and Planning,” and “Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men”–a few hours early. Surprise!
If you loved The Boys Season 1 as much as we did and were just as excited for Season 2, chances are you already binged Season 2’s initial three chapters. And if so, you must have noticed just how jam-packed these episodes are with background props, pop culture references, and countless other types of hidden nuggets. In just these three episodes, we managed to spot over 60 Easter eggs and other references–mind, that was after watching them each about five times, not to mention reading Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s original comics while we were at it. What can we say? We’re obsessed.
If you want to know what we think of The Boys Season 2 so far, check out our review of Episodes 1-3. If you’re curious how the versions of the characters in the show stack up against their counterparts in the comics, we have you covered there too. And if you want to know what you can spot when you go over every frame and each line of these episodes with a fine-toothed comb, read on for everything we spotted that you might have missed your first time through.
1. Yankee White
Stan Edgar says Vought requires a “top secret Yankee White” designation for Compound V. Yankee White is the term for a super high security clearance level within the US government.
2. Cone of Silence
3. Black Noir’s Kill Bill shoutout
Black Noir encountering the child after killing the “supe terrorist” is reminiscent of the scene in Kill Bill vol. 1 in which Beatrix encounters Copperhead’s daughter after killing her. Of course, Uma Thurman doesn’t wave around a stuffed animal.
4. What lies before us
Homelander says Translucent’s body “lies before us” in the glass coffin, but anyone who watched Season 1 knows that casket is empty, since Hughie blew Translucent up with a bomb shoved up his rear. In Season 1, The Deep found what was left of him buried at sea.
After killing Translucent in Season 1, Hughie learned that the supe had a son. At his funeral, we learn that his son’s name is Maverick. Translucent was such a douche–of course he’d name his son after Top Gun. That said, we wonder whether he’ll pop up again–and if, like Homelander’s son, he might have powers of his own.
6. Vought News Network
As if Vought wasn’t corrupt enough already, the company apparently has its own news network. Unsurprisingly, the branding and logo look a lot like Fox News. No one’s ever accused this show of being subtle.
In addition, the song Starlight sings at Translucent’s funeral, “You’ll Never Truly Vanish,” is streaming on a fictional service called #Voughtify–a play on Spotify.
The bartender threatens to call TMZ if The Deep doesn’t leave. TMZ is an infamous celebrity gossip website.
The song that arrives with the title card is Billy Joel’s “Pressure,” from the 1982 album The Nylon Curtain. Recall from Season 1 that Hughie loves Billy Joel–the artist will come up again throughout these episodes. Related: Note the James Taylor t-shirt Hughie wears later in the episode.
10. Haitian Kings
Hughie walks by a mural for the Clarkson Avenue Haitian Kings. Some Googling helped us determine that this is not a real gang, although the Latin Kings are.
11. Conspicuous posters
In the pawn shop, the camera passes some conspicuous posters. One is for Terminal Beauty 3, a movie starring Popclaw (and apparently Billy Zane) that we glimpsed part of in Season 1. The other is for an unidentified “feminine product” made by Vought, and branded with the superhero Liberty–a figure who comes up one other time in these episodes.
12. Comic book shop? What comic book shop?
The pawn shop sells comic books, which of course all feature The Seven, including Homelander, Black Noir, A-Train, and The Deep. In the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson comic books on which the show is based, Hughie and Butcher meet frequently with a character named The Legend who lives in the back of a comic book shop.
13. Making Shockwaves
The New York Post’s “Billy the Butcher” cover is the eye-catcher in this shot, but the back page features some new info about A-Train’s speedster rival from Season 1, Shockwave. Not only has Shockwave set a new speed record during A-Train’s incapacitation–he’s also rumored to be in talks to join The Seven, apparently as A-Train’s replacement. Then again, you definitely can’t believe what you read in tabloids.
14. Church of the Collective
There’s also a poster for the Church of the Collective, the Scientology-like cult that The Deep joins in these episodes. Their imagery (as seen on the poster and later, on the book) is even designed to look similar to the cover of L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics.
15. Alden Ehrenreich
Annie is apparently PR-dating Alden Ehrenreich (or so Hughie suspects). The actor played Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Hughie condescendingly calls him Ansel Adams, a 20th-century photographer.
16. Splash Zone Sandusky
Splash Zone is a real waterpark, although it’s not in Sandusky, it’s in Springfield, Ohio. Sandusky is, however, the home of the real-life amusement park Cedar Point, which has its own water park, formerly Soak City now Cedar Point Shores.
17. The Mariana Trench
The Deep references swimming in the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the ocean. The massive underwater canyon is almost 7 miles deep.
Fresca is a real drink, created by The Coca-Cola Company in 1966. Why it’s being featured so heavily in these episodes is still a mystery, although there’s been a historical association between cults and specific beverages ever since the members of the Jonestown cult drank cyanide-laced Flavor Aid in their infamous 1978 mass murder-suicide–the source of the expression “drinking the Kool-Aid.” We might have to start using “Fresca” instead after this season.
Eagle the Archer mentions Vought-Con, an apparent fictional convention meant to parody Comic-Con. Wonder if Vought held their 2020 convention digitally?
20. Seth Rogen cameo
Seth Rogen is one of the show’s executive producers. In this cameo, he’s on a show called LOLTV to look back on Translucent’s film roles, including Translucent: Invisible Force 2.
21. A Closer Look with Chris Hansen
Chris Hansen hosted the mid-aughts show To Catch A Predator, in which he entrapped and confronted would-be sexual predators.
22. Monsieur Charcuterie et Petit Hughie
Frenchie uses these nicknames for Butcher and Hughie, which come straight from the comics.
23. Marvin T. “Mother’s” Milk
It was mentioned once in Season 1, but Mother’s Milk’s real name is actually Marvin T. Milk. The explanation for his nickname in the comics is, uh, interesting, so we’re still waiting for the show to do some version of it.
Lee Marvin in The Dirty Dozen
Frenchie references several fictional and real leaders when discussing why he believes The Boys need Butcher: Lieutenant Colonel/Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith from The A-Team, The Dirty Dozen actor Lee Marvin, and The Beatles manager Brian Epstein.
25. La Croix
There are La Croixs in Stillwell’s fridge. La Croix is a trendy carbonated water drink that’s become popular in the last few years. Apparently Stillwell hadn’t received the memo about Fresca from the Church of the Collective yet.
Blindspot is an invention for the show–not a character from the comics, like many of the other minor heroes mentioned or features on The Boys. He’s an obvious parody of the Marvel hero Daredevil.
Homelander tells Ashley she’d be working at DivaCup if not for his recommendation that she get Stillwell’s job. DivaCup is a brand of menstrual cup, a type of tampon alternative.
28. Eagle the Archer
Eagle’s self-doubt about using archery in a modern setting echoes real-life conversations around the Marvel hero Hawkeye, who uses a bow and arrow to fight supervillains and aliens. In the comics, Eagle the Archer is a completely different character who makes an extremely brief appearance during World War II in a flashback issue.
29. News Easter eggs
The news show features multiple Easter eggs in the sidebar, including references to the G-Men, a supe team featured in the comics; Swatto, another supe from the comics; and Dawn of the Seven, a parody of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. There’s a giant billboard for it later in this episode when the Boys meet with Raynor, and in Episode 3, we get treated to a script reading from the fictional movie’s writer at Vought HQ.
30. Heroes to aspire to
Hughie knows he’s no Lee Marvin, but he believes he can be a Harry Potter, John Connor (Terminator), or “whatsername from The Hunger Games” (Katniss). Great pop culture references, Petit Hughie.
31. Stormfront’s livestream
Stormfront’s livestream is brimming with Easter eggs. Look at the usernames of her commenters and you can spot references to The Legend (a comics-only character), Jack From Jupiter (another comics character), Lamplighter, A-Train, Homelander, Queen Maeve, Starlight, Shockwave, Popclaw, and Ezekiel, plus a user named “Maeve*Beats*WW42,” which could be a veiled meta reference to the upcoming DC film Wonder Woman 1984 (42 is half of 84). The comment “Stormfront will rule the 7” might be a hint of things to come.
32. Lance Corporal Dan Miller
Stormfront points out that “army boy” is an actor who played “hotel clerk #2” from a Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders episode called “The Devil’s Breath,” which is a real episode of a real show. We have no idea if there’s really a “hotel clerk #2” in it, as we haven’t seen it, and IMDB doesn’t list one.
33. Stormfront’s earrings
Stormfront sports earrings in the shape of lightning bolts–a symbol of the Nazi SS. One of her livestream commenters even points them out. In the comics on which the show is based, Stormfront is more or less openly a Nazi, although the character in the show is very different.
34. You ain’t John Cusack
Mother’s Milk chides Hughie following Hughie’s previous speech by telling him he’s no John Cusack and lacks a “motherf***in’ boombox.” This is a reference to the 1989 movie Say Anything, in which John Cusack’s character holds a boombox over his head and plays the song “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel in a grand romantic gesture that’s since become iconic.
35. Congresswoman Neuman
Congresswoman Neuman is a reference to a The Boys comics character known as Vic the Veep, real name Victor Neuman. Vic, the vice president in the comics, is instrumental in Vought’s plan to install The Seven in the US’s national defense. Clearly, Congresswoman Neuman is very different from Vic the Veep.
36. Vought’s origin
Soldier Boy and Butcher in the comics
During Stan Edgar’s lecture on Vought’s origin, he describes Frederick Vought, the company’s founder, switching sides during the war, which really happened following WWII. He also mentions Soldier Boy, a supe from the comics who supposedly fought in World War II.
37. Tek Knight Lives
Tek Knight in the comics
Edgar tells Homelander to get to the premiere of Tek Knight Lives. Tek Knight is another supe from the comic books.
38. Tony Cicero’s
In the Episode 2 flashback following the events of the Season 1 finale, Butcher wakes up in the parking lot of a Tony Cicero’s. This is a running gag on the show–in Season 1, the Boys held Translucent captive in the back of a Tony Cicero’s. There’s a scene in which Hughie repeatedly punches a wall with the restaurant’s logo on it.
Mother’s Milk is wearing a t-shirt for Boogie Down Productions, a New York hip-hop group originally composed of KRS-One, D-Nice, and DJ Scott La Rock. Their debut album was released in 1987, and La Rock was murdered five months later.
40. Savesmore Supermarkets
In the background of Eagle the Archer’s apartment, you can see a poster for Savesmore Supermarkets, featuring Eagle himself. Eagle really is small-time compared with The Seven. Also, it’s a weird choice for him to hang that promotional poster on his own wall.
41. Goo Goo Dolls
Deep says he did shrooms at a Goo Goo Dolls concert with “some poly-sci chick from Oberlin.” The Goo Goo Dolls are a New York rock band formed in the mid ’80s and popular throughout the ’90s and beyond, and their popular song “Iris” plays during Deep’s drug trip later. “Iris” was written for the soundtrack of City of Angels, starring Meg Ryan, who is Jack Quaid’s (Hughie) mother. In addition, Oberlin is a private liberal arts college and music conservatory in Ohio.
42. Edible Arrangement
Butcher sends an Edible Arrangement, a somewhat-trendy bouquet of fruit and chocolate, to Raynor’s funeral. This is a callback to Season 1, when Raynor remarked that she’d send one to Butcher’s funeral. Butcher’s probably right when he says that “Raynor would have loved that.”
43. Deep’s gills
During The Deep’s drug trip, his gills are voiced by comedian and actor Patton Oswalt.
44. Save the Music
Deep’s gills mention the “VH1 Educator Awards.” This is possibly a reference to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, which works to build music programs at schools, though we’re not sure if there’s a related award show.
45. Maggie Shaw
Queen Maeve reveals in this scene that her real name–or possibly her pseudonym, as we don’t actually know much about her past–is Maggie Shaw. The Boys Wiki has this listed, so it may have been revealed previously, but we’re not sure when.
46. Precious Moments
The porcelain figurine Queen Maeve brings Elena is reminiscent of the cheesy but popular Precious Moments figurines that have been sold since 1978.
When Maeve tells Elena that “watching Botched doesn’t make you a f***ing medical expert,” she’s referring to the reality show that has run on E! since 2014. The show follows two doctors as they attempt to rectify apparently botched plastic surgeries.
48. You’re Only Human (Second Wind)
Hughie’s love of Billy Joel continues as he obsessively watches the 1985 music video for Joel’s song “You’re Only Human (Second Wind).” In the extremely dorky video, a teen contemplates suicide following a minor fender bender. Joel appears as a black-clad angel and takes him on an It’s A Wonderful Life-style journey through his future. The song and video appear again at the start of Episode 3. And although this is likely coincidental, it’s interesting to note that Joel’s black trenchcoat vaguely resembles the leather dusters worn by The Boys in the comics.
The gills also reveal Deep’s real name: Kevin.
50. You Are So Beautiful
You probably recognize the song that Kevin and his gills sing to one another, but you might not know its history. “You Are So Beautiful” was written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher and released in 1974 on the album The Kids & Me. It was popularized when another musician, Joe Cocker, covered it on his album I Can Stand a Little Rain.
Jay-Z in the 2006 video for “Show Me What You Got”
When Starlight condescendingly recommends A-Train not hit the sauce so hard following his recovery, she mentions the drink Cristal, an iconic type of cuvée champagne that has a surprisingly tumultuous relationship with the hip-hop community.
52. Backpack surprise
As Stormfront walks away, you can clearly see where Starlight stashed the Compound V as A-Train approached: in Stormfront’s backpack.
53. 12 Years A Slave
Maeve recounts a story from the Oscars part for the movie 12 Years A Slave. The 2013 film is an adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir of the same name, in which the freeborn African-American man recounts being kidnapped and sold into slavery.
54. Jiffy Pop
Homelander requests some Jiffy Pop from Becca. Jiffy Pop is a brand of popcorn invented by Frederick C. Mennen in Indiana in 1958. Homelander likely views Jiffy Pop as quintessentially American.
Visit any Halloween store and you’ll find cheesy knock-off superhero costumes. In the world of The Boys, these are obviously based on The Seven, because this show’s production design is ridiculously detailed and great.
56. Brooklyn Bridge
The apparent terrorist in the costume store who Kimiko kills is looking at a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge, likely as a target for attack. In the alternate history of the comics, the Brooklyn Bridge was destroyed on 9/11 instead of the World Trade Center, due to The Seven’s intervention–in a scene that was reinterpreted and adapted during Season 1, when Homelander and Queen Maeve failed to save the hijacked plane.
57. Pippi Longstocking
Stormfront’s account of Pippi Longstocking’s super-strength and temperament are accurate as far as we know. The character first appeared in an eponymous series of children’s books by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren that were originally published in 1945.
The start of Episode 3 brings a juicy one: Mallory asks Butcher whether he’s ever heard of an “old supe” named Liberty. Here’s our theory: Liberty is Stormfront’s previous identity, or possibly the identity of her mother or another figure from Stormfront’s past.
Stormfront in the comics is a full-blown Nazi, and if the show version is as long-lived as some supes from the comics supposedly are, she might have been around earlier in the 20th century–say, during World War II. Even if that’s not the case, Liberty could be someone related to Stormfront, or a mentor figure. In Episode 1, Stan Edgar told Homelander the story of Frederick Vought, a Nazi scientist who created Compound V and later switched sides. This figure might have been one of his early successes, made the trip to the Allied side with him, and assumed the ultra-American identity Liberty.
Here’s some more evidence: Stormfront shares her name with an infamous white supremacy and neo-nazi website (note: link goes to Wikipedia). The site was formed in the 1990s, but according to books cited on that Wikipedia page, it was built on the foundation of an early internet message board system in the ’80s. That message board system was called Liberty Net. Heck, even Stormfront and Liberty’s color schemes match. Finally, Edgar personally installed her on the team. What do you think?
59. Saving America
When A-Train leaves the club and enters the bright sunlight he’s passed by a bus that features an ad from the marketing campaign that Homelander and Queen Maeve were shooting in Episode 1 when they met Stormfront.
60. Hans Zimmer and Hitchcock
The movie storyboard scene has several pop culture references. The writer mentions Hans Zimmer, the iconic film score composer behind movies like Gladiator, The Dark Knight, and many more. Lin Manuel Miranda, who apparently wants to do the voice for Translucent, is the iconic creator of the popular musical Hamilton. And when Stormfront refers to “unknowable Hitchcock b****es,” she’s talking about influential 20th-century horror filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, whose treatment of female characters has been criticized.
61. Hughie’s message
Hughie leaves Starlight a message on her burner phone saying “we did it” in reference to the Compound V’s exposure. Later in the episode, Homelander is lurking in the shadows Hughie asks Starlight whether she got his message. No doubt Homelander will put two and two together and Starlight is basically screwed.
The moment when Stormfront uses a racist slur against Kimiko’s brother is inspired by a moment from the comics in which Stormfront and “The Female” fought.