Aya Cash, The Boys | Photo Credits: Amazon<div data-shortcode="youtube_video" data-size="large" data-float="none" data-oembed="{"author_name":"Amazon Prime Video","author_url":"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/user\/amazonstudios","height":270,"html":"","provider_name":"YouTube","provider_url":"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/","thumbnail_height":360,"thumbnail_url":"https:\/\/i.ytimg.com\/vi\/MN8fFM1ZdWo\/hqdefault.jpg","thumbnail_width":480,"title":"The Boys Season 2 – Official Trailer | Amazon Prime Video","type":"video","version":"1.0","width":480}” data-url=”https://youtu.be/MN8fFM1ZdWo” data-autoplay=”false” data-loop=”false” data-start=”0″ data-fs=”true” data-rel=”true”>

[Warning: The following contains spoilers from the first three episodes of The Boys Season 2. Read at your own risk!]

When The Boys first debuted in 2019, fans and critics alike were blown away by Amazon‘s adaptation of Garth Ennis’ hit superhero comic. The series garnered praise for the chaotic joy it found in revealing the insidious nature of both people who are supposed to save us and the institutions they stand for. A major part of the series’s success was due to the fact that Homelander (Antony Starr), the leader of the world’s most renowned superteam, was one of the most degenerate villains of all time. Between kidnapping and imprisoning the woman he sexually assaulted, letting a plane full of people crash to force the US military’s hand in a power play, and killing his boss for loving her newborn baby more than him, Homelander’s depravity felt impossible to top in Season 2. But the first three episodes of Season 2, which premiered Sept. 4, proved everyone wrong with the introduction of two villains who seem even more sinister and cutthroat than Homelander (and worse, they are working together).

The first, and seemingly more prickly thorn in Homelander’s side in Season 2 is Stormfront (Aya Cash), a superhero hired by Vought CEO Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) as the latest member of the Seven. She courteously breaks the surprising news to Homelander while livestreaming their first meeting for her audience of millions. The embarrassing encounter, which makes Homelander look like a stiff, incompetent, leader, is only the opening salvo in Stormfront’s efforts to destabilize Homelander’s throne. 

After livestreaming his inability to have a normal conversation without a script, Stormfront kills a “super terrorist” (while spewing racial slurs) that Homelander claimed as his kill, and then outshines him in the celebratory presser that’s broadcast everywhere in the world. Homelander’s professional and public stock falls fast in the face of a supe who doesn’t care about shilling to corporate bosses and gives her fans behind-the-scenes insight into the supe world.

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Aya Cash, The Boys

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“Stormfront, she comes in as this charming disrupter,” said showrunner Eric Kripke in an interview with TV Guide, pointing out the new supe’s social media savvy and intrinsic ability to command an audience that even Homelander dreams of having. “But Stormfront is wearing her own mask, and there’s something much more awful happening underneath. She is somebody who’s very good at making people angry, getting them riled up, motivating them against an enemy that is, frankly, in most ways fictitious. Like so many things that are happening in our world, when people are scared, it’s an easy means to control them.” 

As Stormfront uses whips up fevered, public support for supes to fight Compund V fueled terrorism (along with border control, tightened immigration, and racially charged American nationalism), Homelander squabbles over unimportant branding issues — completely missing where the real fight is. “The problem for Homelander is Stormfront isn’t playing his game. She’s playing a completely different game that he doesn’t know how to play,” said Starr.  “And that’s the problem because usually Homelander sets the terms of engagement. But she puts him on the spot immediately and he’s not used to dealing with that kind of person, someone who doesn’t respect slash fear him.”  

The Boys Review: Season 2 Refuses to Rest on its Laurels

“But he might learn some things from her, who knows?” interjected Cash, before pointing out that while there’s tons of antagonistic tension between the two, their main agenda of killing people they’ve deemed a threat — which in Stormfront’s case seems to be minorities, and in Homelander’s case seems to be anyone who doesn’t love him — isn’t so different. 

“Or he might kill her,” joked Starr. “Look at it this way, you’ve got two people as you said, arguably, equally equal in psychopathy, so there will be blood.” 

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Dominique McElligott and Antony Starr, The Boys

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