Can’t remember exactly what went on in the action-packed first few seasons of The Boys? Look no further. Before you open up season 3 (out now!), we’re catching you up on all of the events that went down in the show’s first two spectacular seasons. If you’re not caught up, make sure to head on over to our recap of season 1 before getting into the nitty-gritty of season 2 below.
After Butcher abandons the team, Hughie’s resentful and wants to take charge. However, eventually, Butcher returns, hellbent on finding Becca, and conflict ensues. Despite this, he works with Starlight to leak the news about Compound V to the world and continues working with The Boys — though he continues to get pushed to his limits. Hughie’s nearly killed (by Starlight at Homelander’s direction) on the team’s mission to deliver Kenji to Mallory, but Butcher steps in and saves him. On the trip to investigate Liberty, Hughie invites Annie along. They disable her chip so she can escape the pressure at Vought. As they commiserate over how terrible life is and reconnect (emotionally and physically), all seems well. However, after the trip, Annie blows him off.
They mostly part ways until Annie helps them break into Sage Grove, where Hughie gets impaled when one of the patients rolls the van he was in. Annie and Butcher rush him to a hospital. After they bring back Lamplighter, who they found at Sage Grove, to testify before Congress about Vought’s dealings, Hughie sees Annie’s been captured and takes Lamplighter with him to save her at Vought Tower. This quickly goes sideways when Lamplighter dies by suicide. After finding Annie, who escaped by herself, they leave and are delivered the intel that will take Stormfront down by A-Train. After they defeat Stormfront and Starlight is reinstated into The Seven, Hughie and Annie officially commit to being together. Newly pardoned, Hughie asks Victoria Neuman to join the FBSA.
Starlight’s playing dirty this season, blackmailing her childhood friend Gecko (who lets people chop off his regenerable body parts for money) for a Compound V sample and leaking it to the media. She’s still under the threat of exposure from members of The Seven, but she’s used to the game now and navigates her way through these troubles. However, the pressure of putting on a show becomes too much for her (re: almost having to kill Hughie), and she eventually cuts out her tracking chip to help Hughie and M.M. find information about Liberty. She and Hughie reconnect and even sleep together. However, after the trip, Annie blows him off. They mostly part ways until Annie helps them break into Sage Grove, where Hughie gets impaled when one of the patients rolls the van he was in. Annie and Butcher rush him to a hospital, stealing a man’s car. Annie accidentally kills him in the process when she blasts him, as he hits his head.
Soon after this, Annie meets up to talk with her mother, who’s been making efforts to reconcile after the Compound V leak. However, her mom told Vought their location and Starlight is abducted and imprisoned in Vought Tower. When Lamplighter sets himself on fire, she escapes and joins back up with The Boys. She’s an integral part of leaking the news about Stormfront that A-Train delivers to her and Hughie. Later, she also helps give Stormfront a good beating when they take her down. Once Maeve blackmails Homelander with the plane video, Starlight is reinstated into The Seven and she and Hughie decide to be together.
Butcher’s thirst to find Becca heightens after Homelander shows him she’s alive and then takes him away. He’s willing to do anything, trying to shoot Kenji after they learn Kimiko’s his sister to take to Mallory after they strike a deal. He spearheads apprehending Kenji, but the idea goes sideways when they’re accosted by The Seven and Stormfront kills Kenji. Mallory gives Butcher Becca’s location anyway and Butcher finds her, imploring her to take Ryan and escape with him. She initially agrees, but backs out at the last minute, saying that he doesn’t want anything to do with Ryan and saying some hurtful things about his personality to make sure that he leaves them alone.
After this crushing revelation, Butcher visits his Aunt Judy. The rest of the team finds him there before they’re accosted by Black Noir, who blows up the house and nearly kills them all. At the last minute, Butcher leverages releasing information about Ryan to Stan Edgar for their lives. We learn more about Butcher’s background, including his abusive father and younger deceased brother Lenny (who everyone says Hughie resembles), who used to keep him on the straight and narrow but died by suicide. After Becca escapes and finds him, begging him to rescue Ryan from Homelander, Butcher secretly strikes a deal with Stan Edgar to give Ryan to them in order to keep Becca.
However, once the plan’s in action, he can’t follow through, telling Becca and Ryan to leave without him. They go, but are stopped by Stormfront, who attempts to murder Becca. A scared Ryan accidentally activates his powers, lasering through her, but also killing Becca in the process. Butcher is devastated, but as Homelander arrives, he tries to protect the kid as he promised Becca on her deathbed. Once Maeve blackmails Homelander into letting them go, Butcher delivers Ryan to Mallory for safety. Mallory tells him about the chance to work for the government again.
Season 2 sees M.M. continue to be the glue holding The Boys together with his levelheadedness and ability to bring the other team members back from the brink. The audience gets a deeper dive into his backstory and motivations for joining up with Butcher in the first place when he, Hughie, and Annie dig for information on Liberty (who turns out to be Stormfront). It turns out, an incident (which is never actually described in detail) went down between M.M.’s family and Vought back in the day, and his father — whom M.M. was quite close with — sent himself into an early grave overworking himself fighting for justice. It’s this fight that M.M. is attempting to carry on by fighting alongside The Boys. And it seems that he gets it in the end. An integral part in invading Sage Grove and eventually defeating Stormfront, M.M. is seen returning to his home and reuniting with his family after being officially pardoned.
Kimiko beings the season well-integrated into the team. As Butcher and co. get set in a concrete direction in order to clear their names and take down Vought, they find out the Super Terrorist Frenchie’s associates smuggled into the country is her brother, Kenji, who has been radicalized by the Shining Light Liberation Army in the wake of Americans demolishing their home village. Kimiko is essential in apprehending him multiple times, but she can’t protect him from Vought’s agenda, as Kimiko watches Stormfront brutally murder him after a botched mission to deliver him safely to Mallory.
The loss hits Kimiko hard. In the wake of Kenji’s murder, she starts executing paid hits for the Albanians. Frenchie strongly disapproves, and the two have a falling out (to be fair, things had been weird between them for a minute, as Frenchie laid a random kiss on her out of nowhere after Kenjid died). Kimiko’s tired of his agenda to “save” her and he’s tired of her not teaching him how to effectively communicate with her. Eventually, after Kimiko learns of how things went sideways with Mallory’s grandkids, Frenchie, and Lamplighter at Sage Grove, Frenchie apologizes for being overbearing and Kimiko starts to teach him how to sign. At the end of the season as The Boys work to take Stormfront down in the wake of her exposure, Kimiko — alongside Annie and Maeve — beat the ever-loving crap out of Stormfront, contributing to the events leading to her downfall.
At the beginning of season 2, you want to believe so badly that Stormfront is one of the good ones, with her take no sh*t attitude and her refusal to conform to the power structure of The Seven. However, that lasts all of two seconds when she reveals her true colors in episode 3, where she purposely destroys a primarily Black apartment complex and kills many tenants while chasing Kimiko’s escaped brother Kenji — who she brutally murders while spewing hate speech, revealing inklings of the depths of her racism and psychopathy (she loves watching the light leave her victims’ eyes?!?).
Later in the season, Stormfront helps Homelander win back public favor after a video of him killing someone on a mission goes viral. This and her tough attitude endears her to him, and the two begin a disgustingly violent relationship. She even reveals to Homelander the truth about her past — marrying Frederick Vought and her Nazism. The pair wreaks havoc, promoting racism and convincing the American people to support the production of more Supes “to fight terrorists” as Stormfront oversees the Sage Grove operation, testing Compound V in adults (in which it’s not typically stable). Eventually, Homelander introduces Stormfront to Ryan (whom she is just enamored with — the perfect little Aryan Supe child), and together they turn him against Becca (with Stormfront definitely trying to teach him her little Nazi ideals) and abduct him.
However, once the news that Stormfront/Liberty was a Nazi in her past life leaks, things go sideways for her. The public is outraged, and The Boys set out to stop her. In a scene that audiences had been waiting for, Stormfront gets absolutely wailed on by Kimiko, Annie, and Maeve before flying away to try and get Ryan back. However, as she starts to kill Becca in front of him, Ryan’s emotions activate his powers and he eye-lasers her into a somehow still alive limbless, charred lump. At the end of the season, Stormfront is allegedly locked up by Vought.
Like M.M., season 2 gives us a lot more background on Frenchie. Our favorite chemist/drug dealer started off the season in rough shape. Trapped in hiding and reverting back to his hobby of getting high as a kite at all times of the day, his relationship with Kimiko was deteriorating. This is only exacerbated after her brother dies by Stormfront’s hand and Frenchie decides to comfort her by kissing her (he was high, naturally). After he finds out Kimiko’s carrying out hits, the two snap. Kimiko’s tired of him trying to “save” her. The two are on bad terms for a while.
At Sage Grove, we finally learn Frenchie (whose real name is revealed as Serge) and Mallory’s backstory. In their days as a unit, Frenchie was assigned to watch Lamplighter on a mission, but left in order to save his friend who was overdosing. While he left, Lamplighter snuck away and murdered Mallory’s grandkids, thinking that the person in the bed would be Mallory herself. Both Frenchie and Lamplighter still carry immense guilt. Frenchie apologizes to Kimiko for trying to save her to atone for past sins. Later, Kimiko finally starts teaching him how to sign.
The Deep’s role as the comic relief perseveres. Starting the season at rock bottom and drunk, he’s dug himself a deeper hole in the court of public opinion. A fellow Supe Eagle the Archer comes in and stages an intervention (the shrooms and gills singing “You Are So Beautiful” really did most of the work) and recruits him into the Church of the Collective, which promises to get him back into The Seven with a bit of public image rehabilitation (for a price of course). It’s there that the Church auditions its members to find Deep a wife. His advisors eventually land on Cassandra, an eccentric woman who fits a “good girl” image that The Deep desperately needs to rehab his image.
As events of the season drag on, The Deep drags A-Train into the Church when he hears of his (forced) retirement, citing that the Church can also help get A-Train back into The Seven. However, after all is said and done and Stormfront is defeated (with the help of A-Train), it seems all of Kevin’s time and money has gone down the drain, as A-Train is reinstated into The Seven alone. Livid at the Church taking his money and not delivering on their promises, he breaks ties with the organization. Honestly, nothing probably would have lasted much longer on account of Victoria Neuman making the head of the organization Alistair Adana’s head go boom.
The beginning of the season sees Maeve turn over a new leaf with her ex-girlfriend Elena, whom we met last season. Despite the woes of the past, the two rekindle their romance. But soon, Elena wants out from under the thumb of Vought, especially in the light of the Compound V leak. Maeve doesn’t think it’s possible, and her point is proven when Homelander outs her on live television, attempting to quell questions of diversity in The Seven while exacting some personal revenge out of jealousy about Elena. However, she collaborates with The Deep, promising to put in a good word for him to help his comeback if he finds something to help her escape from under Homelander’s thumb.
In the wake of Maeve’s outing, Vought goes full rainbow capitalism mode with their “Brave Maeve” campaign, trying to control the narrative of her relationship with Elena. Around this time, Elena finds the video of Flight 37’s demise that Deep brought Maeve and leaves her shortly after, unable to deal with the real version of Maeve that’s constantly jerked around by Vought. Maeve really spirals, numbing herself with copious amounts of alcohol and sex. However, she’s dragged into action by Starlight to help take down Stormfront — though Maeve was violently against helping initially. It’s eventually Maeve that helps absolutely pound Stormfront and blackmails Homelander with the video to leave Butcher and Ryan, her and Elena, and Starlight alone, saving the day and subsequently allowing Starlight to regain her place in The Seven.
Moving on from Madelyn Stillwell (sort of — see breastmilk & Doppleganger), Homelander’s obsession finds a new target this season in Ryan. He constantly visits Ryan, upending Becca’s work to keep him normal and awakening his latent powers. Out in the real world, Homelander’s public favor and sanity begin to spiral. He becomes more reckless, doing things like killing Doppleganger, severely injuring a potential addition to The Seven because he was blind, and getting caught on tape killing a young man on an unauthorized mission in order to push the military agenda. That last one is what really lands him in hot water in the court of public opinion, pushing him right into the arms of new Seven addition, Stormfront, who initially rankles his feathers by not being afraid of him.
He enlists the social media-savvy (really, an expert at tapping into the alt-right) Supe to rehabilitate his public image, and after they’re successful, they begin a violently disgusting relationship. The two work the press circuit, trying to convince Americans more Supes are needed to fight Super Terrorists. As their relationship progresses and Stormfront reveals the truth about her past, Homelander introduces her to Ryan. The two poison him against Becca by revealing that their lives are fake and abduct him. This doesn’t last long, as the truth about Stormfront is leaked to the press. Homelander is led away while The Boys rescue Ryan, and he slaughters a myriad of Vought operatives who were supposed to pick up Ryan after Butcher tricks them. He finds Ryan and Butcher in the woods after Ryan has maimed Stormfront and accidentally killed Becca. He tries to take Ryan back, but Maeve shows up and threatens to release the video of Flight 37 if he doesn’t let them go and leave everyone alone. He has no choice but to concede. He publically announces Starlight is back in The Seven and renounces Stormfront. As we leave the season, it seems Homelander is losing his grip on his sense of power and subsequently his sanity.
The beginning of season 2 saw A-Train in a coma, still recovering from the Compound V-induced heart attack that Starlight and Hughie resuscitated him from. Though that doesn’t keep him down for long, as he spontaneously appears at a Dawn of The Seven interview, seemingly recovered. He initially gives Starlight a hard time, but she keeps him in check by threatening to reveal that he killed Popclaw. As the season wears on, Homelander notices A-Train’s not in the shape he used to be and subsequently boots him out of The Seven.
The speedster is not on board with this and ends up (reluctantly) going to the Church of the Collective for help. It’s from the Collective’s intel vault that A-Train steals and delivers documents to Hughie and Annie, proving that Stormfront was a Nazi in her past life as Frederick Vought’s bride. Alistair talks to Stan Edgar, who likes A-Train’s initiative. He’s subsequently installed back into The Seven (too bad so sad, Deep).
We can’t wait for whatever inevitably chaotic events season 3 will bring. As always, stay up to date of all of our coverage on The Boys here, and stay tuned for episodic recaps of season 3!