With the upcoming release of The Boys season two, you might find yourself in need of a refresher of the events of the first season. Here’s a quick recap of everything you need to know about the story so far so you can enjoy the new episodes when they drop on Prime Video on Friday, September 4.
The Boys, Prime Video’s dark and violent take on the superhero genre takes place in a world where superheroes wield power and influence much like politicians and celebrities. They use this power and influence to achieve their own ends, regardless of the consequences for people who lack such power. The corporation the most prominent superhero group (known as the Seven) is linked to is called Vought Industries. The company is like Disney/Marvel, except besides taking over the box office, they’re also trying to make their way into defence contracts. Their aim is to become a super-powered arm of the military.
When a superhero or “supe” accidentally kills the woman he loves, running through her with his super speed in a gory display of negligence, electronics salesman Hughie Campbell teams up with Billy Butcher, a vigilante bent on punishing corrupt Supes.
Starry-eyed aspiring superhero Annie January (Starlight) is accepted to join the Seven. Arriving at Vought headquarters, she quickly realises how truly vile and corrupt the heroes she idolises and dreams of joining have become when one of them blackmails her into performing oral sex.
Butcher and Hughie incapacitate and capture one of the Seven, Translucent. Under threat of death he reveals information about A-Train, the Supe that killed Hughie’s girlfriend, before he is killed anyway. They discover that A-Train takes a performance-enhancing substance known as Compound-V. Butcher wants to expose them before supers can be allowed into the armed forces.
Vought sends Homelander and Queen Maeve (the Wonder Woman-esque member of the Seven) to save a hijacked plane. When the rescue isn’t working, Homelander callously abandons the plane, forcing Maeve to choose her survival over the lives of the passengers.
Hughie infiltrates Believe, a superhero expo and extorts its host Ezekiel for information about Compound-V while Homelander rallies the crowd with a impromptu speech. Stillwell, the head of Vought, is pleased to see Homelander use the plane tragedy to push for militarised supers. However, Starlight breaks script to publicly reveal her sexual assault. Elsewhere, Butcher discovers babies exposed to Compound-V in order to turn them into supers.
Stillwell demands Starlight comply with her designed “all-American hero” image instead of publicly discussing her assault. Annie refuses, saying that firing her after she exposed her sexual assault would be a PR disaster for Vought. Butcher brings Hughie to a support group for victims of hero rescue collateral damage, but ends up shouting at the group for doing nothing to get justice. After this, Butcher explains to Hughie that Homelander raped his wife and she went missing shortly thereafter.
The Pentagon classifies Compound-V as a controlled substance and names Hughie and Butcher fugitives. Hughie seeks Starlight’s help, but she refuses because she distrusts him. However, when he invades a Vought black site, Starlight rescues him. A-Train arrives on the scene, she and Hughie fight him until the speedster suffers a heart attack, likely due to prolonged use of Compound-V. Hughie tries to save A-Train with CPR, but Starlight takes over, allowing Hughie to escape. Butcher takes Stillwell hostage and fits her with explosives to draw Homelander out. With Stillwell’s revelation that she never cared for Homelander, only feared him, Homelander kills Stillwell himself and saves Butcher from his attempted suicide by explosion, and shows him where his wife Becca has been secretly raising Homelander’s son.