[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the Season 2 finale of The Boys, “What I Know.”]
All season long, The Boys creator Eric Kripke has been extremely generous with us in sharing his insights into Season 2 of the extremely wild Amazon superhero drama. And that continued to be the case with the season finale, in which the final massive confrontation stopped Stormfront (Aya Cash) from manipulating the Vought superhero empire into a too-powerful regime that the Third Reich would be proud of, with the ending giving most (though not all) of the Boys a pretty happy ending to their season arcs.
Of course, it delivered a few massive surprises at the end, including the reveal that Victoria (Claudia Doumit), the political figure who we thought was our best defense against the rise of the supe threat was superpowered herself — and was in fact the skull-exploding mystery figure who had been lurking in the shadows all season long. Was the plan always for her to play this role? How might Hughie’s (Jack Quaid) brand new job working for her campaign affect Season 3? Is Stormfront really dead? Why did Becca (Shantel VanSanten) have to die? And why was it important for at least some of the Boys to feel like they were winning? Let’s dive into it like a sperm whale in the way of our escape.
So I want to start off by talking about Victoria Neuman as a character, because she’s seeded so quietly into the background of the season until she becomes this massive force. Was the idea always to make her moment at the end of Episode 8 the big finale reveal?
KRIPKE: Yeah, that was designed from the beginning. It was always meant to be a big surprise. She was designed to be in the character you would least expect, so we could really surprise the audience.
But again, similarly, there is a corrupt politician in the books named Vic Neuman. And through him, they kind of dig into some of the seedier sides of politics. And although we have a very different character, I think we’re signaling that we also have a corrupt politician who is going to lead us into some of the seedier sides of politics as the show proceeds.
Of course. I mean, Season 3, it feels like a presidential run for the character isn’t completely out of the question.
KRIPKE: She’s still just a junior Congresswoman. So I think a presidential run is a little far. But we might be heading somewhere in that direction.
In terms of having Hughie come in and join her campaign, was that always something you had in mind?
KRIPKE: No. Funny enough, that actually came pretty late. Poor Hughie. He just always steps in shit. Originally, we had this reveal at the end of episode eight, that Victoria was the head popper, but it was [writer] Rebecca Sonnenshine who, as we were breaking that episode, said, “It’s not going to be as cool a reveal unless we put a character that we really care about in danger.” And we realized that Hughie, because all season he had been so trying hard to hold on to the boys and had to learn to sort of walk on his own, he was kind of ideally positioned to leave the boys for a supposedly more respectable gig. But unbeknownst to him, he walks right into the lion’s den.
So in terms of big things that happen in the finale, of course, another massive moment is the death of Becca. Was that something that was planned from the beginning?
KRIPKE: It was. I think we talked through every permutation really in the beginning, the knowledge that when we knew Becca was alive [at the end of Season 1], we knew that the end of the next season, she was going to die. We looked at any version of keeping her alive and we found that the show ended whenever she was alive, Butcher was just way too functional and complete a person. And we need to create this major wound in this character, so we could keep playing his anger moving forward.
I mean, when you say that the show ends if she’s alive, do you mean it’s because she and Billy get back together?
KRIPKE: Either he eventually goes off with her and finds a way to be with her, or by knowing she’s happy, he loses so much of his rage that really defines that character.
So Stormfront gets pretty messed up by the end, but I’ve seen enough comic book movies and TV shows to know no one’s ever really dead, unless they really are dead — and in the press conference, it’s even made clear she’s incapacitated and contained. What was important about that for you?
KRIPKE: Yeah, she’s not dead. What was important for us is, we felt a fate worse than death for that stumpy little Nazi was for someone who’s so believed in some kind of Aryan master race to become mutilated for potentially decades or centuries. I mean, she ages very slow. So being trapped in that state felt like the right punishment for her. We call her “Stumpfront” now, and she richly deserves it.
Okay. In terms of the finale, especially knowing that you have a Season 3, what were things that could have gone differently? Different paths you could have taken?
KRIPKE: Hmm. I don’t know. I mean, infinite. It’s a multi-verse of infinite paths. I honestly don’t know how to answer that question because we carve away everything until we land at the one that we think is the only path for us.
In that case, is it nice to be able to give at least several of the characters a happy ending?
KRIPKE: Yeah. We wanted to. That was the goal. Last season Homelander definitively wins the season. So this season we wanted the Boys to win. And it’s obviously very bittersweet, Butcher suffers a terrible loss, but by and large, they succeed in what they set out to do. And yeah, I think it’s important that in the show, as dark as this is, we have to show that there’s opportunities for victory and hope.
The Boys Season 2 is streaming now on Amazon. A third season has been greenlit. For more, check out our recap of the season finale.