Features and Columns · TV

The Ending of ‘The Boys’ Season 1 Explained

The first season of the Amazon series ends on an almighty cliffhanger, but what does it mean for Season 2?
The Boys Season 1
Amazon Studios
By  · Published on April 28th, 2020

Ending Explained is a recurring series in which we explore the finales, secrets, and themes of interesting movies and shows, both new and old. In this entry, we discuss the ending of The Boys Season 1.

Eric Kripke’s adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson‘s The Boys is full of surprises. The Amazon series follows a team of vigilantes whose goal is to lay waste to corrupt superheroes, and it’s a whirlwind of satirical dark humor and gratuitous violence. The show captures the spirit of the comics, despite toning down some of the more depraved elements.

Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) hates superheroes because his wife, Becca (Shantel VanSanten), supposedly died after being raped by Homelander (Antony Starr), the corrupt leader of The Seven. However, the season’s final moments reveal that she’s alive and living in suburbia, raising a child who was conceived after the alleged sexual assault at the hands of the superpowered being.

The introduction of the child raises some interesting questions going into Season 2. The story will likely revolve around Billy and Homelander battling for the young boy’s soul. During the finale’s closing scenes, Homelander says that he intends on raising the child, presumably to mold him into an evil bastard just like him.

Of course, while the child has Homelander’s glowing eyes, he isn’t completely evil yet. He’s still Becca’s son and is therefore still half-human. Her bond with the child also means that Billy will be torn, even though it wouldn’t be surprising if his immediate reaction is to try and kill Homelander and his offspring.

That probably won’t happen, though. At the end of the day, the boy is still a part of the person Billy loves more than anyone else in the world. But the fact the boy also has some DNA of the person Billy hates the most presents a conundrum.

The kid will play a major part in Season 2, and I’m willing to bet that he becomes a hero. The Boys universe is very cynical, and it’s always likely that the worst scenario will happen. But since the child has some of Homelander’s powers, he could be key to defeating him and his colleagues. It makes sense from a story perspective to have the boy turn on his old man, but you never know.

Season 1’s big reveal may also result in Billy being less enthused to kill Homelander. His entire existence is based on avenging his wife’s murder at the hands of the superhero, but now that she’s alive, that tosses a spanner in the works. He’ll be pissed, sure, but does infidelity warrant homicide?

Furthermore, maybe her relationship with Homelander was consensual — as the superhero claimed during his confrontation with Billy — and that’s why she didn’t tell Billy about her new life. It’s possible that she cheated on her husband and decided that faking her own death was a better idea than telling the truth.

If that’s the case, the core motivations behind Billy’s vengeance will no longer apply, but it’s only a matter of time before his values as a vigilante put him into Homelander’s path again. There are other reasons to justifiably murder Homelander, however, so Billy will still want to eradicate the show’s big bad. Just don’t expect it to be his immediate reaction in Season 2.

The first season’s ending is a major departure from the comics, meaning that there’s no telling where the story is heading in the next season. In the source material, Becca dies during childbirth and Billy kills the superpowered infant himself. That was the end of the arc, and the vengeance was simple.

In the comics, Becca was also sexually assaulted by someone who was disguised as Homelander. Without getting into spoilers, that person spent most of Season 1 in the background, hinting at bigger things to come. However, it seems more likely that the child in the TV series is the product of the leader of the Seven.

The Boys Season 2 is entering uncharted territory in many ways, and it’s going to be very unpredictable. While Season 1 was quite liberal with its creative changes, no one who read the comics saw that ending coming at all. Kudos to the showrunners for knocking it out of the park.

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Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.