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What Is The Church Of The Collective On The Boys Season 2?

Contains spoilers for The Boys season 2

Nothing is off limits for Amazon Prime Video's The Boys – a scathing takedown of the superhero genre based on the Garth Ennis comic series of the same name. Like its source material, the show takes aim at every facet of the beloved format, while also tinkering with the valuables of various American subcultures. Season 2 has been praised by critics as a marvelous metaphor for our current times, and the whole set-up takes place in the first three episodes with the introduction of The Church of The Collective. Don't worry, my child, we are here to help decipher the light. It all starts with everyone's least favorite fishy predator: The Deep (Chace Crawford).

After drunkenly chastising youth at a water park, it looks as though The Deep has hit algae-covered-rock bottom. The Church of The Collective steps in to lend a psychedelic hand to the insecure Aquaman during the first few episodes of season 2. While the Church's actions suggest they truly want to help this lost soul discover his true self and find some inner peace, their general demeanor is — well — pretty creepy. So what's the deal with this enigmatic band of suspicious holy rollers? Here's what's been going on with The Church of The Collective on The Boys season 2 so far.

Diving deeper into The Deep

One of the interesting subplots that's been playing out since season 1 on The Boys has been The Deep's personal journey of self-awareness. Early on, he gave us a crash course in the depravity of the Supes when he tried to coerce an intimate relationship from his newest coworker. In those first "exposed" moments with Starlight (Erin Moriarty), The Deep demonstrates exactly what kind of man he is (or isn't, rather). It would be easy for viewers to loathe The Deep, but actor Chace Crawford brings just enough complexity and pathos to this anti-villain to garner a tiny minnow of sympathy, which makes his involvement with the Church even more compelling. 

Simply put: The Deep is tormented. His powers mean that he has to listen to the wanton slaughter of his fishy brethren day in and day out. He has to walk by their carcasses on display for consumption at every grocery store. Every time he tries to help his friends, they only end up impaled by speedboats, squished by semi-trucks, or squirming on the business end of a butcher knife. That's a lot of trauma for one man-child — however super — to handle.

At the start of season 2, it's apparent that The Deep is at a low point in his life. He hates his body. He hates who he is. He hates Ohio. Sure sounds like the perfect time for a cult to step in and offer him a fresh can of Fresca.

Would you like a Fresca?

The Church is pretty pushy with the Fresca. Maybe it's because that zero-calorie soft drink comes with a side of transformative psychedelic experience. That's right, The Church is lacing the soda pop. 

Some people are suggesting that The Church's strange and abusive methods are intended to poke fun at scientology. That would certainly make sense — especially when you consider that they enter The Deep's life when he is at his most spiritually vulnerable. That's Culting 101, right there. While we've only seen the beginnings of the relationship between The Deep and The Church of Freaky Fresca start to develop, we can certainly make an educated guess about where this all is headed.

Per the series' source material, the introduction of The Church likely means we're soon to meet a Supe named Oh Father. In the comics, Oh Father is a megachurch preacher with a penchant for sexually abusing his "sidekicks," of which there are 12 (an obvious reference to the 12 apostles). Homelander brings him into the fold in an attempt to wrangle additional Supes to his cause. In the comics, Oh Father shatters a reporter's jaw after he's confronted with sexual abuse allegations, so not exactly a nice guy — though, who really is in this series? Could The Deep become one of Oh Father's newest acolyte-conquests? That would certainly provide a disturbing bit of narrative symmetry given The Deep's predatory introduction.

Certain storylines from the comics have been deemed too intense for Amazon Studios, so who knows which direction the creators will take us. If you can believe it, the TV series actually sands off some of Garth Ennis' rougher edges. Users in the subreddit /r/TheBoys suggest that Eagle The Archer and his companion are lacing the Fresca with more doses of that psychedelic. This would keep The Deep disoriented and in a very malleable state — a perfect way for Oh Father to take advantage. What else might he be able to do with a fishy Supe under virtual mind control? Seems ominous.