The Boys got bloody in Season 2’s penultimate episode.
Did The Boys just have its Red Wedding? On one hand, no main characters died during the head-popping orgy at Vought’s congressional hearing. But at the same time, the hearing, which should have been a triumphant event for The Boys Season 2’s penultimate episode, abruptly devolved into a bloodbath. The carnage was completely out of control. And that combined with the lasting impact it’s going to have on the characters and the story makes it comparable in my mind.
That wasn’t all that happened in “Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker” of course. The cold open, which showed a seemingly normal man being radicalized by an onslaught of propaganda, fearmongering, and right-wing memes, was chilling and terrifying. Butcher reunited with his parents, revealing how his younger brother Lenny died. Lamplighter helped Hughie get into Vought tower to rescue Starlight, but chose to kill himself in The Seven’s conference room instead of helping. Kimiko finally started teaching Frenchie her secret sign language. We got a small glimpse of Black Noir’s face. And Homelander and Stormfront disrupted Becca’s life in a major way.
Through it all, there were a ton of hidden Easter eggs and references to moments from the comics. Without further preambling, here are 34 things you might have missed in The Boys Season 2, Episode 7, “Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker.”
1. Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker
Appropriately, the episode’s title is taken from a chapter of the comics that tells Butcher’s backstory. The phrase comes from the classical nursery rhyme Rub-a-dub-dub: “Rub-a-dub-dub, Three men in a tub, And who do you think they be? The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, And all of them out to sea.”
2. Soldier Boy
The man in the opening scene is clearly a huge fan of supes. He has The Seven merch everywhere, including Stormfront Funko Pops, action figures, and posters. One poster is for Soldier Boy, a character who will be introduced in Season 3.
3. Alex Jones
Although it isn’t identified explicitly, the voice of the podcast or radio show the man is listening to throughout this opening resembles the voice of extremist right-wing radio host Alex Jones, whose show InfoWars peddles propaganda and dangerous conspiracy theories.
4. Comics shout-outs
One of the radicalized man’s posters appears to be a blown-up version of a comics cover. It features the names Avina, Bowland, and Rybant, which are shout-outs to creators involved in The Boys comics: colorer Tony Avina, letterer Simon Bowland, and editor Joseph Rybandt.
5. Dancing in the rain
The news chyron here features another reference to Congresswoman Victoria Neuman’s “college dance videos,” further cementing her comparison with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
6. Frosted A-Trains
The store where the clerk is murdered by the radicalized man features many The Seven-branded products, including our personal favorite, Frosted A-Trains, glimpsed in the background here.
7. An unending cycle of brutality
When Mallory remarks that Butcher “would be happy with an unending cycle of brutality,” she’s parroting a similar exchange from the comics. In the 10th volume, from which this episode takes its name, Mallory tells Hughie that Butcher is fighting “a self-sustaining, neverending conflict in which he can mete out the brutality and cruelty that lie at his core: Forever.”
8. The Sacred Heart cheerleading squad
Congresswoman Neuman remarks that Lamplighter has “f***ed half the Sacred Heart cheerleading squad.” That may not seem like so grave a crime, unless you’re aware that the Sacred Heart to which she refers is likely none other than Convent of the Sacred Heart, “New York City’s oldest independent all-girls school for grades Pre-K-12.” Yikes. When we chatted with actor Shawn Ashmore following Lamplighter’s introduction this season, he let slip that the character has had sex with underage girls–which may relate to what The Boys used to blackmail him in the first place.
9. White chocolate unicorn frappe
Although Starlight meets her mother at a place called Jitter Bean, the “unicorn frappe” to which she refers is a Starbucks product. Incidentally, Jitter Bean Coffee does appear to be a real place, but the real version’s logo is different, and they don’t have locations in New York.
Mallory uses Frenchie’s real name here: Serge.
Hughie’s shirt of the week features the 1970s San Francisco band Journey. You’re no doubt familiar with their iconic hit “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Specifically, the shirt is for the band’s 1981 Japan tour.
12. Deep Does It in the Blowhole
Lamplighter’s collection of The Seven-themed porn DVDs includes classics such as “Deep Does It in the Blowhole,” “Translucent: The Invisible Cock,” “Queen Maeve: Pleasure Slave,” “Big Black Noir,” and “Starlight Pulls an A-Train,” not to mention the unnamed “Homelander cucks your wife” video they’re actually watching.
13. Thoughts and prayers
Stormfront and Homelander use the phrase “thoughts and prayers” to condone the convenience store murder. The words have come to symbolize the right-wing tendency to feign empathy, often in the context of gun violence and mass shootings in particular, without actually doing anything; thoughts and prayers aren’t action, legislation, or charity, and they help no one. It’s a deliberate choice to have Stormfront and Homelander using this language here.
14. One nation under God
The words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance are another loaded issue. Contrary to what right-wing provocateurs like Homelander contend, the words were not originally present in the mantra. President Eisenhower had it added in 1954.
Stormfront uses the term “SJW,” which stands for Social Justice Warrior. The term was popularized by the 2010s hate group GamerGate. Another popular GamerGate pejorative, “cuck,” is used throughout the episode in scenes with Hughie and Lamplighter.
In the conversation between Butcher and his father (which is itself a mini Easter egg for Lord of the Rings fans, as both actors–Karl Urban and John Noble–were in those movies), we finally learn what happened to Lenny, who was mentioned by Butcher’s aunt in a previous Season 2 episode. It turns out Butcher’s brother killed himself, and Butcher believes it was because of abuse from their father.
Butcher’s dad mentions that Butcher joined the SAS. The acronym stands for “Special Air Service. They’re a special forces unit division of the British Army.
18. Two deaths
Frenchie’s truism about dying twice (once when you die, and again when someone says your name for the final time) is a well-known quote. He attributes it to American psychiatrist and Stanford professor Irvin Yalom, who said the following in his 1989 book Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy: “Some day soon, perhaps in forty years, there will be no one alive who has ever known me. That’s when I will be truly dead–when I exist in no one’s memory. I thought a lot about how someone very old is the last living individual to have known some person or cluster of people. When that person dies, the whole cluster dies,too, vanishes from the living memory. I wonder who that person will be for me. Whose death will make me truly dead?”
19. Shark head
Deep’s cult wife is wearing an appropriate novelty hat during their photobooth shoot at Alistair’s birthday party.
20. Toxic personality
Alistair informs The Deep and A-Train that Eagle the Archer, who appeared in episodes earlier this season, is now a “toxic personality” as far as the Church of the Collective is concerned. This is a play on the Scientology concept of a “suppressive person,” which is what Scientologists label anyone who leaves the cult or speaks out against it.
21. Mister Marathon
Lamplighter says he and Mister Marathon used to “sneak college girls” (“they were applying”) into Vought Tower through this side entrance. Mister Marathon was A-Train’s predecessor in The Seven. This is not the first reference to him this season; maybe he’s another formerly prominent supe who will be popping up in the future?
22. Comics Maeve
Maeve’s attitude and persona after Elena leaves in this episode match the version of her in the comics, where she’s more jaded and cynical, keeps beefy dudes around in her bed 24/7, and drinks and smokes constantly.
23. Lego Blindspot
The movie that Ryan recreated using Legos is the 2009 Sandra Bullock movie The Blind Side. He’s also done Dances with Wolves and Terms of Endearment–his mom’s favorites. What a sweet kid! Hope nothing terrible happens to him.
24. Things that kids are into
Stormfront wonders whether Ryan is “into any things that kids are into,” like NBA 2K (a video game series) or PewDiePie (a gaming influencer who, relevantly, has amplified hateful language in real life).
25. Homelander movies
This episode gives us the titles of some official Homelander movies (as opposed to, you know, the cuck-porn parodies): Homelander: Origins, Homelander: Rise of a Hero, Homelander: Darkest Day, and Homelander: Brightest Night. During this conversation, Stormfront also mentions Vought Land, an apparent Disneyland parody with The Seven-themed roller coasters (which could make it a combination of Disneyland and Six Flags).
26. Cuppa char
When Butcher accepts the cup of tea at Vogelbaum’s, he calls it a “cuppa char.” According to Post Magazine, “The word char/cha–as in “a cup of char” (reducible to “a cuppa”)–as this working-class drink was referred to in 19th-century colloquial British English, would have come from Hindustani char, likely introduced by British India servicemen.”
27. Lamplighter’s statue
Shortly before burning himself to death, Lamplighter laments that Vought took down his statue in The Seven’s conference room. Those who’ve been paying attention might remember the exact moment the statue was altered, in an establishing shot at the start of Season 2.
28. Black Noir’s face
We get a rare shot of Black Noir’s partially-unmasked face in this episode. He appears to have dark skin, although it’s hard to tell with this lighting. He also appears to have burns or some other type of scar on his face, which may explain why he never takes off his mask. Black Noir is played by actor Nathan Mitchell, who is Black; however, Homelander says in an earlier season 2 episode that Black Noir doesn’t identify as any race (although Homelander’s word can’t exactly be trusted). In addition, these shots of half of Black Noir’s face are going to throw comics fans for a loop, though to say why could be a major spoiler, depending whether and how the show adapts certain elements from the comics.
29. Almond Joy
The Almond Joy saving Starlight from Black Noir is a callback to earlier in the season, when Starlight and Hughie shared a cute moment on their road trip. Black Noir reaching helplessly for his EpiPen is a nice touch.
30. That sweaty young man from Believe
The last time Hughie and Starlight’s mother met was the Believe Expo in Season 1 Episode 5.
31. “I’ll piss on his coffin”31. “I’ll piss on his coffin”
Butcher is not joking–check out this page from the volume of the comics from which this episode takes its name.
32. Reindeer games
33. Bye-bye Shockwave
One of the people who gets head-exploded at the hearing is Shockwave, who was to be the new speedster in The Seven. Guess A-Train is back in for sure?
34. You’ll Never Truly Vanish
The song that plays over the closing credits this week is a repeat–it’s Starlight’s Translucent tribute song from earlier in the season.