[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for The Boys, Season 2, Episode 2, “Proper Preparation and Planning.”]
After the tragically Billy-light season premiere, it’s a relief to report that Episode 2 of The Boys Season 2, “Proper Preparation and Planning,” puts our boy Karl Urban front and center. There’s clearly a lot more story to be covered about what happened after Homelander dropped him off on Becca’s front lawn at the end of Season 1, but right now we at least know the immediate aftermath — after passing out, Billy woke up in the parking lot of a chain restaurant called Tony Cicero’s (it’s endless pasta week!), using a placemat and a crayon to scribble down details about Becca’s house that might help him locate her again.
Skipping forward to the present, Billy has a plan for his Boys, building upon what they’d already been working on in Episode 1 (while refusing to keeping them in the loop, of course). Attending Rayner’s funeral (RIP, Rayner) he reconnects with his old mentor Grace (Laila Robins), making a deal to retrieve the “super-terrorist” spotted last week and bring him into her custody. (In exchange, Grace will give him the location of Becca.) Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) is frantic, though, once she at least recognizes the identity of the supe — her brother Kenji (Abraham Lim), who she refers to via sign language as Mouse.
Meanwhile, Starlight (Erin Moriarty) is waiting on Gecko (David Thompson) to slip her some Compound V to reveal to the world, but in the meantime, she’s being kept busy by Vought’s newest publicity push. This one is a female-centric celebration of Stormfront (Aya Cash) joining the Seven, complete with a catchphrase: “Girls get it done.”
This is one of those sequences that is funny on the surface and hilarious for anyone who’s ever participated in a publicity junket, especially for a major Hollywood production. Stormfront is a bit of a wild card at this point, but the shared experience of vapid junket interviews, and the ensuing boredom and frustration (masked or otherwise), seems to enable something of a bonding moment between them. At the very least, we can all agree that women uniforms deserve pockets, something Starlight feels keenly when Gecko does slip her the Compound V sample, and she’s forced to stash it in Stormfront’s backpack — something she pulls off surreptitiously, though it’s not clear how much Stormfront knows.
More tempestuous is Starlight and A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), as A-Train’s remarkable return to health after being hooked up on a ventilator might be a serious problem for Annie, based on what he remembers about the accident that incapacitated him. The answer appears to be “more than enough,” as he definitely remembers her “helping your traitor fucking boyfriend escape.”
At the end of the episode, he’s definitely ready to expose her — but she has her own ammunition, and threatens to reveal his use of Compound V, not to mention the way Compound V led to the death of his girlfriend Popclaw. That’s two instances of blackmail in just two episodes. Starlight’s getting pretty good at it.
Maeve (Dominique McElligott) is supposed to be around for all of that, but she bails on the press day after getting a surprise phone call — the family emergency she claims as an excuse is actually the news that her ex-girlfriend Elena (Nicola Correia-Damude) is in the hospital after an appendectomy. Doing her best to resemble a civilian, Maeve hustles to Elena’s bedside, attempting some degree of reconciliation. Elena initially shuts her down, annoyed by the fact that they can’t be publicly together, but Maeve finally confesses something she may never have told anyone else before — just how dangerous and unbalanced Homelander is, and what he’s capable of doing to anyone who gets close to her.
Speaking of Homelander (Antony Starr), he’s still hanging out at Becca’s (Shantel VanSanten) house after popping by at the end of the last episode, attempting to bond with Ryan, his son (as far as we know, anyway — I’ve seen enough TV shows to want a DNA test before I accept that as fact).
But Becca is less than thrilled about his newfound interest in parenting, and it’s her desperate effort to do something to stop him which reveals (to the viewer, that is) her current location — some sort of isolated compound with a very large wall around it. Becca’s furious at the unseen Dr. Park, who appears to run this suburban prison, for breaking the deal she’d made to keep Homelander away from her and her kid. But him knowing about them, Dr. Park says, is “the toothpaste out of the tube.” While Park urges her to stay calm and just wait for him to get bored, it’s a conversation that Homelander appears to have overheard, because he calmly tells Becca that he’s not going anywhere, before requesting some Jiffy Pop.
Meanwhile, in Sandusky, Ohio… The Deep (Chace Crawford) is taking the advice of his Church of the Collective friend Eagle (Langston Kerman) by going deep into his psyche with the help of some mushrooms… which lead to an intense experience in which the Deep’s own gills (voiced by Boys superfan Patton Oswalt) try to connect with him, and the duo (trio?) end up singing “You Are So Beautiful To Me” together.
The ultimate climax of the episode is focused on the Boys, as Billy manages to get some information that leads them to the secret headquarters for the group that brought in Kimiko’s brother — a group known as Shining Light, which Kimiko recognizes as the ones who tortured her into getting her powers.
Kenji does appear at the party supply store, but his reunion with Kimiko gets cut short when Billy tries to get off a shot and Hughie (Jack Quaid) stops him. Kimiko and Kenji run, but after fighting over why he’s come to America — specifically to help Shining Light in their battle against America — they end up fighting, a brutal super-powered battle that ends with her subduing him with a chokehold. The Boys roll up, loading their new prisoner into the van, and Billy warns Hughie, with a punch, not to get in his way again.
- Wondering how the star of Ratatouille ended up playing the Deep’s “mangina”? (That’s creator Eric Kripke‘s term for it.) Oswalt and Kripke told us all about it.
- Mad love for the Goo Goo Dolls callback once The Deep is on his mushroom journey. (Perhaps not the ideal choice of music for a drug trip, but to each his own.)
- Yes, I paused the screener to spend 10 minutes figuring out that the music video Hughie is watching in the basement is for (obviously) a Billy Joel song — specifically 1985’s You’re Only Human (Second Wind), should you care to listen to it in full.
- Maeve says that the man Homelander murdered after they went to an Oscars party for the 2013 film 12 Years a Slave. This movie has a lot of producers, most of whom are male, and so RIP (in the Boys cinematic universe) to Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad, or John Ridley. (Okay, maybe it’s just meant to be some random producer, not specifically a 12 Years producer, but I thought it’d be fun to look up the possibilities anyway.)
- Look, Aya Cash is stealing this season one episode at a time and this week was no exception, especially given the additional screen time. Her speech to celebrating the wonders of Pippi Longstocking, concluding with the killer line “Pippi Longstocking would bite a D. Dhat’s for damn sure,” is an all-timer.
- We actually don’t get much in the way of an explanation for what happened to Billy between waking up in that restaurant parking lot and arriving at the Boys hideout… but maybe some things, like how Karl Urban can look so good in an orange and blue velour sweatsuit, should remain mysteries.
The Boys Season 2, Episodes 1-3, are streaming now on Amazon. Future episodes debut weekly on Fridays. And here’s our recap of Season 2, Episode 3 (there’s a whale!).