(Warning: This post contains spoilers for “The Boys” Season 2 Episodes 1-3.)
At the end of “The Boys” first season, fans learned that Homelander (played by Antony Starr) is the proud papa of a Supe kid who just so happens to be the son of Butcher’s (Karl Urban) wife Becca (Shantel VanSanten) who, you know, we all thought was dead.
When Season 2 launched with its first three episodes Friday, we learned just how bad Homelander is at taking on the parenting gig, as he forcefully makes himself right at home with Becca and their son, Ryan (Cameron Crovetti), and tries to teach the boy how to be like his dear old dad in pretty screwed up ways — like pushing him off the roof in an attempt to teach him to fly.
“Yeah, that’s actually one of my favorite bits in the whole season,” Starr told TheWrap, laughing. “Homelander’s 101 class on parenting. That was one of the more fun and challenging elements of Season 2 was to figure that out. How does Homelander parent? And having no experience, where does he get his information and how does he make the choices he makes. And obviously, he’s not particularly good at being a parent.”
“He does try, I do believe as the season goes on he gets a little bit better and ultimately it’s going to be shaky the whole way through and he’s never going to be the perfect parent. But definitely the pushing-off-the-roof moment is, I think it’s hysterical. Especially when the little squeak comes out of Ryan when he flies off the roof. Just so high-pitched and it kills me every time I hear it, it’s so funny.”
Homelander only learned about his son, who the now-deceased Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) and the team at Vought had been keeping hidden away with Becca for years, at the very end of “The Boys” second season. And once he did, he took Butcher there to rub it in his face, showing him where his wife — who Butcher had presumed dead after she had been raped by Homelander — lived. Of course, Homelander soon took Butcher away before he could figure out exactly where she was, and then returned to force Becca and Ryan to play house with him.
“That’s his parenting style, really,” Starr added. “He’s a sociopath so it’s really about him and when the kid doesn’t do what he wants him to do, Homelander is frustrated pretty easily. So the old dog has to learn some new tricks in that respect. And he has to figure out how to control this little thing that doesn’t really want to be controlled, as most parents are figuring out now that they’ve got their kids home. They don’t always do what we want. And it’s a challenge for him with interesting results.”
As far as where this whole mess is headed as “The Boys” Season 2 continues to roll out its remaining episodes over the next five weeks, well, here’s what Starr could tease:
“Ultimately, one of the key issues for the character is the thing that he craves the most, which is connection and connecting deeply to the thing in himself he hates the most, which is his humanity and vulnerability So, it’s always going to be an issue for him and I think that’s where the Becca-Ryan-Homelander triangle comes in. Well, it’s a square really, because you put Butcher in there. It’s a mix and match of punishment and torturing Butcher and, to a certain extent, Rebecca as well. But he can’t kill Rebecca, because the boy loves her, but also there is more fun and joy in keeping her alive because that really messes with Butcher a lot more successfully. It’s a super twisted arrangement that he’s got going on. And I don’t necessarily think Homelander has put an endgame on it, as such, in that I don’t know that there is, besides having some sort of relationship with his son and maybe making his son a new version of himself. I think a lot of this is instinctual for him, because he doesn’t really know how to connect or parent or relate to anybody in a healthy way. I don’t really think he has an endgame in this case. I think ultimately he just wants to make another version of himself and deal with it as it comes.”
Part of the reason Homelander’s parenting style is so screwed up is because he was never parented himself, and he just killed Madelyn Stillwell — the only mother figure (albeit with a sexual component) he’s ever had — because she kept the Becca-Ryan secret from him.
“Oh, she absolutely was a stabilizing force for him,” Starr told us. “They came up together. She was his original handler and rep. And also there was this weird, sexual tension, this strange Oedipal complex at play in that relationship.”
“He took out the person that he loved, the person he was closest with,” he continued. “And he’s pining for her. It’s a pretty primal thing that’s going on. But he does find a way to reconnect with her, sort of, in this form of her breast milk, which is pretty weird. I don’t think there is any other way of describing it than slightly peculiar.” (We can confirm, slightly peculiar scene, yes.)
Starr says this is “indicative of the weakness of the character and the neediness of the character and that it was a pretty quick thing to do, maybe, to completely eradicate her by lasering her head through.”
A new episode of “The Boys” Season 2 will premiere next Friday, Sept. 11, on Amazon Prime Video.