The Boys Season 2 has reached its bloody conclusion, but our journey isn’t over.
The Boys Season 2 was a nightmare, in all the best ways possible. It held up a mirror to society and forced us to face our current dilemma head-on, by showing exactly how Americans–ordinary and super alike–can be so easily seduced by racists and nazis. It told a gripping story about corruption, hatred, unfettered corporate power, and how desperate the fight against those forces can feel.
At the same time, The Boys has some of the most complex characters around, with villains who have a soft side and heroes who are sometimes difficult to root for. It wasn’t all grim–with the gore turned up to 11, The Boys Season 2 often cut through the tension with well-placed laughs, even as we cried at the injustice of it all. Frankly, we just loved spending time with these characters. The Boys Season 2 cemented this as one of our favorite shows ever.
And with Episode 8, “What I Know,” the season finale was a hell of a note to go out on. Butcher and The Boys rescued Ryan and–with some much-needed help from a few other supes–defeated Stormfront, though at a heavy cost. And we finally got an answer to a 10-episode-long mystery: It was Congresswoman Neuman, who appears to be secretly working directly for Vought, who’s been exploding victims’ heads. Who saw that coming? Definitely not us.
And those are just the obvious beats. We scoured the whole episode looking for every tiny tidbit and hidden reference that was easy to miss. Read on to discover what we found.
1. What I Know
The episode title is taken from Issue 39 of the comics, in which Butcher discovers that Hughie has been unknowingly dating a member of The Seven.
2. How to survive a supervillain attack
This PSA was designed to resemble the school shooting PSAs that schoolchildren must now watch in real life.
3. ICE is next in line
We learn in the second scene that Compound V is going to be distributed widely among police and first responders. The Pentagon has a big order in, and ICE is “next in line.” ICE, of course, is the US’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. ICE has reportedly committed serious atrocities, among many other questionable acts and methods, and they’re probably the last people in the world who should be given superpowers.
4. A plum gig at Fox
It’s interesting to learn that Fox News exists in the world of The Boys, since Vought News was clearly meant to be a parody of it. Guess there’s room for two right-wing propaganda networks in this fictional universe.
While preparing to deal with the different supes, Mother’s Milk touts Epinephrine as A-Train’s kryptonite. Simply put, Epinephrine is a fancy name for adrenaline. With A-Train’s already stressed heart, it would likely do the trick, were it to come to that.
6. Wile E. Coyote
Frenchie compares Hughie to Wile E. Coyote, “always chasing Road Runner.” This is a reference to the classic cartoon characters, who were first created for Warner Bros. in 1948. In the cartoon, Wile E. Coyote always chases Road Runner, usually with elaborate plans and faulty gadgets, but never quite catches him.
7. Kill ’em all, let God sort them out
This common phrase is generally attributed to 12th-century Catholic crusader Arnaud Amalric. Supposedly, during the sacking of Béziers, a massacre that saw 20,000 people executed and began the Albigensian Crusade, Amalric said, “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius,” which translates to “Kill them. For the Lord knows who are His.”
8. Comics Maeve
Queen Maeve in the show has never resembled her comics character–jaded, cynical, and drunk–more than she does in this scene.
9. Ashley’s hair
If you’ve been paying attention this season, you’ve no doubt noticed Ashley slowly losing massive clumps of hair due to stress. Finally, someone else has noticed as well.
10. Vought: Tournament of Heroes
Homelander asks Ryan if he wants to play Vought: Tournament of Heroes, an apparent video game in which Homelander himself is the main character. But it sounds to us like the kind of crappy licensed cash-in game you find in bargain bins two weeks after it’s released.
11. West Elm Death Star
Stormfront refers to Vought Tower (and this room in particular) as a “West Elm Death Star.” West Elm is a furniture store that sells expensive, trendy furniture, often found in malls. The Death Star, of course, is the planet-killing superweapon from Star Wars, which is a funny reference for Stormfront to make, since she dresses like a Sith.
12. Planet Vought
The restaurant Planet Vought is a parody of Planet Hollywood, a cheesy themed restaurant chain.
13. Brave Maeve rainbow veggie burger
If you’ve been paying attention this season, you’ll have noticed that Vought has launched a line of vegetarian pride-themed food products tied to Maeve. The latest to emerge is Planet Vought’s new “Brave Maeve” rainbow veggie burger. No wonder Ashley was so stressed out when she walked in on Maeve in bed with two men.
14. Duane Reade
Starlight remarks that she thinks her mom got her new crucifix necklace at Duane Reade, a pharmacy and convenience store chain founded in Manhattan in 1960. The stores are mainly located in New York. In 2010, they were bought by Walgreen.
Starlight and Hughie send the Stormfront materials to “Breaking News VNN,” or Vought News Network. It probably wasn’t smart to send this damning evidence to the propaganda network owned by Vought itself. Later, though, the story breaks on NNC, a CNN parody, so clearly they sent it to more than one outlet.
16. Fort Bragg
Becca remarks that she and Butcher used to shoot guns at the range at Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg is a US Army installation in North Carolina. We know Butcher was a member of the SAS, a British Army special forces unit, but we don’t know why he might have been stationed at Fort Bragg.
17. White genocide
The concept of “white genocide” that Stormfront lays out for Ryan is a white supremacist conspiracy theory and propaganda tool. It is not a real thing. Even Homelander seems skeptical.
18. Jeffrey Epstein’s death
If you look closely at the news chyron when Stormfront’s Nazi ties break, you can see that the NYPD has a “credible lead” tying Stormfront to Jeffrey Epstein’s death. In real life, Epstein died in his prison cell on August 8, 2020 under suspicious circumstances while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
19. Goebbels and Göring
In addition to Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, the news program identifies Hermann Göring, Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, in photographs with Stormfront.
20. Vought Sonic
The speakers that The Boys use to distract Homelander are, ironically, Vought-branded technology.
Stormfront claims the pictures of her in Nazi Germany are “deepfakes.” The term is a portmanteau of “deep learning” and “fake.” It describes videos that use an algorithm to make one person look like someone else, often quite convincingly. The implications of this very real technology are frightening, and various forces have taken notice.
22. Kimiko’s healing
You might have been alarmed by Stormfront cracking Kimiko’s neck during this fight–but only if you forgot that Kimiko has powerful healing capabilities. This isn’t the first time she’s come back from the dead; she was mortally wounded by Black Noir in Season 1, but quickly recovered.
23. Girls do get it done
It’s a credit to just how good this show is that it can repeatedly make fun of cheesy moments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when all the female heroes in a given fight find themselves coincidentally battling alongside one another–usually with a swell of inspirational music–while also pulling off exactly that in this scene. Girls get it done!
24. The crowbar
The crowbar is one of Billy’s signature weapons from the comics. He uses it for a very specific purpose late in the books (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it).
25. Stormfront’s German
Stormfront’s German is hard to make out here, even if you run it through Google’s translation service and ask several co-workers who speak a little German. But she mentions having her “arm out a car window” and finding “a perfect spot under an apple tree.” Based on what we know about Stormfront, she’s likely experiencing flashbacks to her youth in Germany, and possibly her courtship with Frederick Vought, as her body shuts down following Ryan’s attack. In other words, her life is flashing before her eyes.
26. Maniacal Homelander
Homelander grinning maniacally while drenched in blood is one of those images that just sticks with you if you read the books on which the show is based.
27. Space spores
The Deep references part of the Church of the Collective’s beliefs during his rant to Alistair, relating to humanity being born from “space spores.” This is a reference to Scientology’s core belief tenets, which involve aliens and are pretty far out.
28. Saint Christopher
Butcher gives Ryan Becca’s pendant of Saint Christopher. Saint Christopher is viewed as the patron saint of travelers due to a legend about him carrying Jesus across a river as a child–not unlike Butcher carrying Ryan away from Homelander.
It turns out Congresswoman Victoria Neuman is the supe who’s been popping heads all season. Don’t worry if you didn’t see this twist coming, because there were virtually no clues all season. However, if you return to the previous episode and watch the hearing scene again, you can clearly see her look directly at several people right before they explode.
30. Only the Good Die Young
The credits song this week is “Only the Good Die Young,” from Billy Joel’s album. It also played earlier in the episode, when Hughie and Starlight were in the car.