The Boys has been a dark, arguably horrific look at a world where superheroes have the fame, influence, and power of major celebrities, complete with serious corporate backing from the mysterious Vought Corporation. While most of the supes are far from heroes, we’ve seen some good things from a few people in the series, and seen a lot of complicated secrets and conspiracies. Now, the first season comes to an end that’s arguably less violent than some episodes, but is somehow more ugly. “You Found Me,” is the finale title, and since it’s both a season ending and is a few years old now, there will be spoilers below.
After the stunning revelation that there are supes in other countries now, we see a military operation in Syria take a strange twist as a squad moves up on an enemy target in a huge warehouse, but then Homelander arrives, tells them to take a break, and goes in on his own. The fight goes about like you’d expect for the most powerful being on Earth versus normals with weapons. Homelander, once out of sight of the troops, indulges his powers and cruelty both. It’s ugly on many levels. Later, Madeline Stillwell, upper Vought executive and master manipulator, has a meeting with the Secretary of Defense. Madeline knows she has the upper hand now, and revels in it.
More of the fallout from last episode comes in a phone call between Butcher and his CIA contact, Raynor. Because of the radical shift in power following the news that there are terrorists with powers, the US government is working with Vought, and the deal Butcher had set up is out the window. He’s furious, and Raynor is sympathetic but practical. She warns him that there’s a massively powerful alliance of interests against him now, and she can’t do anything more. Milk and Frenchie are both ready to take off and hide, but Butcher demands more time for one last effort and takes Hughie with him for a visit. Other repercussions from last episode come as Annie, sans Starlight costume, goes home to confront her mother. After a really unpleasant conversation, Annie finds out the truth about what happened to her as an infant, and even the real reason her father left all those years ago. Annie’s mom does not come off at all sympathetic, despite her protests about not having a choice.
I can’t manage to feel sorry for Deep, given all he’s done and what we’ve seen of him, but he does get some bad news and has no idea what to do next. Butcher and Hugh pay a call on Mallory, Butcher’s former mentor, who has taken up an unlikely hobby following the deaths of her family and her getting away from supes. He pleads with her for help, which is new for him, and she’s not overly sympathetic. Kimiko, now finally with a name, is in the bathroom of their hotel room hideout trying to rediscover some of her humanity. She actually makes good progress until her enhanced senses warn her about what’s coming. There’s a very well-orchestrated attack against the room, and Frenchie, Milk, and eventually Kimiko don’t do very well with the overwhelming ambush.
Butcher’s badgering finally gets a suggestion from Mallory, but she has a price that’s not unreasonable given the circumstances. Mallory also gives Hugh a warning as they leave. A-Train, still wounded from last episode (I’m amazed they didn’t kill him, and it’s out of character that they didn’t), hobbles around in public and gets reminded what it’s like to be a non-celebrity in modern America, especially if you’re a Black man. Butcher’s extensive experience and paranoia pay off as he avoids the trap most of the rest of the team has fallen into, but he and Hugh argue a lot. Hugh remains adamant on some points, and the two finally part ways. Hugh’s too much of a good guy, and Butcher is far too obsessed to worry about things like his teammates.
After getting his bad news, Deep is clearly in need of some kind of counseling or help. Unfortunately for him, given the kind of person he is, he’s alone and really not handling things well. Annie, shaken by everything she’s learned, goes to a favorite spot to catch her breath. She’s told Hugh about the place, and he finds her there. They end up arguing outside, and he makes an appeal to her good nature. She’s not buying, and walks away from him after an interesting talk that didn’t go how she expected it to at all. Also not dealing with things well, A-Train has fallen back into bad habits. His brother/manager comes by to talk to him, they argue, and the brother leaves.
Celebrating their newest victory, Vought is throwing another big party. What’s left of The Seven are there, along with various military bigwigs and company executives. Madeline is surrounded by top brass and seems happy with this. Starlight is doing less well, in her new, far more revealing costume, drunkenly flirting with someone from the Navy. Finally, she leaves him to beat a retreat to the bathroom, where we see just how drunk she is. Maeve finds her there, and Starlight is snarky and bitter. Maeve actually opens up to her, bringing up some surprising things from her past and then giving the younger hero even more surprising advice. Noir freaks out a poor piano player and then shows his own talents while Madeline has a meeting with Mr. Edgar, pretty much the top of Vought, and gets some exciting news about her future.
Later, Madeline gets some shocking news when Homelander finds her. He leads off with a mild enough accusation, but then reveals what he and a fellow supe have been up to, and she’s utterly shocked. It actually makes a lot of sense, and solves a few mysteries, some of which go back to episode one. Feeling her control slipping, Madeline reestablishes her hold on Homelander the best way she knows how, and we see he’s not great at everything. Milk and Frenchie share a cage and talk about obscure things from history and the power of love. Whoever has them, and we never really do learn exactly who this is, underestimated these two and it’s going to come back on them.
Later, Madeline and Homelander get some quieter time together. She’s still trying to control everything, and makes a small but vitally important mistake. We can easily see when Homelander realizes what’s going on. Hugh embarks on a remarkably naïve plan, but then, what else would you expect from him? It works in part because everyone always underestimates him, and partially because he’s just moving forward based on complete faith in his friends’ abilities. Frenchie and Milk can’t believe what he’s doing, but despite their mocking him, Hugh’s plan more or less works. They get free and start working their way out of the strange place they are in, but in their hurry miss something important.
Things start shifting into a much higher gear as we get closer to the end of the episode. Madeline goes home and gets an unwelcome visitor. She and Butcher bicker, but he’s clearly got the upper hand and isn’t letting it slide. It’s sort of the start of a classic Superman/Lois Lane kind of issue, but things get weird as we go. The rest of The Boys find Kimiko, but get pinned down by a lot of bad guys. They manage a partial rescue, but get pinned down again and surrounded. Fortunately for them, Hugh is a good judge of people in spite of himself at times, and they get rescued by Starlight. Her easy rescue gets more complicated when there’s unexpected reinforcements from the bad guys, but she manages to win. Hugh once again shows he might be the best person on the show, and goes far out of his way to save the life of someone who wants him dead. Starlight takes steps to both save Hugh from himself but aid their fallen foe.
The final scene or two comes with surprise after surprise, and, even with the disclaimer I gave at the start of this, I’m going to do my best to avoid some of the really shocking spoilers. Butcher gets his showdown with Homelander, and has really gone full supervillain with how he’s prepared for this. Madeline is scared, which is understandable, but the one not playing his part is Homelander. He gets there and seems more amused than anything else. His attitude towards both Madeline and Butcher are not at all what anyone was expecting. For the most part, this scene becomes a tense and increasingly ugly scene between Madeline and Homelander, with Butcher looking on a bit perplexed but still radiating rage in the background. Things take a really unexpected turn, and Butcher shows he has the courage of his convictions. That could easily have been the end of the episode and the season, but the surprises aren’t done. There’s a final scene that shows some really stunning developments, creates a link between two enemies, and means someone will have reevaluate the last several years of their life.
What I liked: The storytelling and overall world-building remains excellent. I liked that, despite everything that happened to them and that they saw and learned, Hugh and Starlight remained true to themselves. Maeve’s scene with Starlight was haunting and touching. I still can’t stand Homelander, but Antony Starr gave a fantastic performance as him this episode, and through the series, really. His reveal of what he’s been up to was surprising, but fit the story perfectly. The small scenes they gave Kimiko showing her growth were nice touches. That final scene was amazing in its twists and turns.
What I didn’t: I not only dislike Deep, I just don’t care about him. I’d be perfectly content for them to kill him off and never see him again. I get where A-Train is coming from for some of this, but still don’t like him, either. I’m not sure at all about what to make of the final scene.
I didn’t really expect to like this, as superheroes are near and dear to my heart. But it was really well done with some unexpected developments and twists. I’ll give the finale a 4 out of 5, and the season a 3.5 out of 5. I’ll get to season two as I get more caught up, and I understand there will be a season three at the very least.