That was some bloody ending, right?
I suppose things were ratcheted up to the required level for the finale, but it considering the weight of some of the reveals, they didn't leave much of an impression.
The only commonality I can find throughout the episode was family. From meeting Billy's parents to Annie reconnecting with her mom to Frenchie and Kimiko discussing family cooking to Butcher threatning Vogelbaum's children to Homelander flying off with Ryan, there was a alot of parenting going on.
So, we'll break it down that way, I guess, especially since I didn't even hit all the parenting points in that droning sentence.
When we met Billy's aunt on The Boys Season 2 Episode 5, I imagined that she had become like a surrogate mum to him. It never even dawned on me that we'd get to meet his actual parents.
But that visit set up their relationship because we learned about Lenny at that time and that he wasn't alive. Butcher blames his father (played by the incredible John Noble), but daddy blames his son. Needless to say, it doesn't make for a healthy relationship.
Suicide can rip apart a good family. The Butchers probably had issues well before Lenny put a gun in his mouth.
The visit brought out the very worst in Butcher. His face got snarled up first when he almost pummeled his dad, and later when he visited Vogelbaum, and still again as we closed on the episode.
But something interesting did come from his travels. When he threatened to destroy Vogelbaum's family within the day if he didn't testify against Vought, he also asked him about Homelander as a little boy.
What he learned surprised him. Homelander wasn't born evil; he was raided that way by Vogelbaum, who needed him to be the strongest man in the world.
Surely, Billy is asking because he's wondering about a potential life with Becca. How could he not? And there was nobody else to ask the most pertinent question. If Ryan wasn't born with Homelander's carlessness and wonton depravity, then maybe there's a chance for Ryan.
Then again, Homelander and Stormfront, the most maniacal couple on television, have just gotten the kid into their grasp.
And if Stormfront's rants about Supe terrorists can make an average man kill, then god help poor Ryan getting indoctrinated by her and Homelander.
Damn. Stormfront is annoyingly confident. The way she dominated the conversation and pulled the power away from Becca was tough. But Homelander had a little bit of agency of his own in that situation.
And, I dare say that I have to side with Homelander when it comes to acclimating Ryan to the real world. Living in the Truman Show variety where everything around Ryan is fake will screw him up.
Not only is Homelander living proof of how nurture can mess up a guy, but with power as strong as Ryan's, he cannot be allowed to grow up without an understanding of the world at large and how to handle the crap that will be thrown at him beginning the minute he emerges from his coccoon.
Of course, Becca wants to shelter him. She thinks by doing that, she'll keep him from being another Homelander. I think she could inadvertently push him in that direction being so isolated and out of touch.
Maybe Butcher will offer to help her raise Ryan so they can be together and they can get assistance from Starlight and The Boys. That's probably wishful thinking.
Proof of how much parenting can make a mess of situations was all over this episode. Heck, we even saw it with Annie.
She still feels betrayed by her mother, not only because of the Compound V injection but because she fell so hard for the religious aspect. Because she wasn't built by God, she's lost her connection to him, even feeling embarrassed that she believed she could have been touched by God.
Making matters worse, Donna never seemed to listen to her, which is how Black Noir found and captured them. Who is Donna to be asking Ashley for time off for Starlight? Annie's face just dropped when she said that, and not only because it might alert Black Noir to their location.
She was also upset that her mother wouldn't allow her to deal with her own affairs as an adult.
But that did allow Hughie to work on a rescue effort, which resulted in the reveal of another daddy issue.
Lamplighter's issue with his dad wasn't as clear, but hot damn (pun intended), it was certainly announced loud and clear.
He spent his life setting fires, and that made his dad proud. He got himself into a bit of a mess, probably believing the bigger and badder the fire, the more love he'd get from his dad. Well, if that was the case, then daddy must be gleaming with pride at the way Lamplighter took his own life.
And yes, I do believe he did that knowing fully well that it would set off the alarm and free Starlight. He'd been aching to put an end to it, but going out a hero was more to his liking. It's too bad that Hughie didn't see it for what it was. Or maybe he did.
Maeve was all Maevey and seriously turning off her girlfriend, but she did come through for Starlight when she really needed the assist.
That she took out Black Noir with an Almond Joy, one of Annie's favorite candy bars, was poetic justice. It still didn't make me all that interested in Maeve's story, though.
Similarly, neither newly wed Deep nor A-Train got much goin' for them, either. The cult leader is so skeevy he makes my skin crawl. But maybe he can be considered another father figure. Isn't that how those things go?
So, given all of the family issues, maybe it's fitting that Sadie/Cindy seems to have made her way to town and blew the heads off of half of the courtroom (although none of the regulars managed to get caught -- strange, that).
That was a pretty spectacular scene, SFX wise, and I'd love to chat with someone on the show to find out how much of that was done with traditional special effects and how much was computer generated.
Because let's be real, as disgusting as it was, it looked cool as hell from the pop, pop, pop of exploding heads to people slip-sliding through the blood in their frantic attempts to escape.
It's fitting because Homelander saw his father figure blown to smithereens right before his eyes. I doubt there was any love between them, but it was another connection to the theme.
Nobody thought that Vought was going to be taken down with a simple testimonial at court. Unfortunately, it will likely be deemed a Supe terrorist's actions, making the need for The Seven even more firmly rooted in popular culture.
What it all seems to lead to is that Ryan will be an enormous part of The Boys Season 3. He has to be, right?
When we chatted with Shantel VanSanten, she pointed out just how important the first natural-born Supe is to the overall scheme of things.
However it goes in The Boys finale, it seems impossible that securing his future won't be of the utmost importance, once again pitting Butcher against Homelander.
What did you think of this one? Are you prepared for the finale?
Drop down into the comments and share your thoughts.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.