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Why Homelander Is Afraid To Step On Stan Edgar's Toes In The Boys

For all of The Boys season 1, there's no question that Homelander (Antony Starr) is the king of the hill. The public sees him as the perfect embodiment of truth and justice, the spirit of America personified. There are other popular heroes out there, too. There's Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligot), A-Train (Jessie Usher), Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell), you name it — but Homelander is the hero. Even behind the scenes, where Homelander is more monster than man, few have the grit to stand up to him. Why bother? He can vaporize anyone who ticks him off.

Come season 2, however, the cracks begin to show both in public and in private. Someone catches Homelander fighting off a Supe terrorist on video — only, when he kills the man with a blast of heat vision, the lasers also burn through an innocent bystander behind the villain. He addresses the public's concern about the incident at a protest, and viewers watch what's playing out in his imagination all the while: lasering away the entire crowd. Starr always plays Homelander like he's on the brink of snapping, and one day he just might.

Regardless, Stormfront (Aya Cash) seems to be Homelander's only solace toward the end of season 2. The two Supes are at odds at first, but they develop a sexually charged relationship thanks to their similar power levels — which Homelander is only comfortable with because he's still the more powerful of the two. It's his way of reassuring himself that no matter what goes on outside, he's still the cream of the Vought crop. 

Yet, there's one man who Homelander just can't seem to rattle: Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito).

The world's most powerful powerless man

Edgar can't fly at supersonic speeds or shoot red-hot laser beams from his eyes. He can't take a bus to the head and walk away with nary a scratch. No, his is the power of influence and position — two things Homelander holds near and dear to his image-obsessed heart. The Supe may have no physical rival, but without the adoration and absolute trust of the people of protects ... who is he? What is he? Certainly not the godlike figure he sees himself as. Edgar knows this to be true, and has no trouble taking advantage of it when he deems it necessary to do so.

With a firm grasp on this truth and how to apply it, Edgar also has no trouble looking Homelander straight in the eye and putting him in his place. "When I was doing the scene [with Homelander]," Esposito said in an interview with CinemaBlend, "I thought, 'Just think in regards to being very calm, and dealing with a child, but with respect.' But also, you can't forget the vision of how Homelander could take you out." Considering Homelander's strange oedipal relationship with Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) and strained father-son bond with Dr. Vogelbaum (John Doman), Edgar acting like a superior parental figure is exactly the right thing to do. The sentiment is no doubt on display when the Supe confronts the CEO about appointing Stormfront without consulting him first.

Edgar cannot be intimidated

Homelander's usual intimidation tactics and holier-than-thou attitude have no visible effect on Edgar, who calmly reminds the Supe who's really in charge. Homelander has this conception that Vought orbits around him and only him. Understandable, since he is who he is, and since he and the viewers both don't know as much as they believe about the company. 

Indeed, Edgar doesn't try to hide the fact that the Supe is but a single bubble in the soda bottle that is Vought. Powers or no powers, the corporation has access to its trump card at all times: the confidential formula for Compound V. Homelander may have smuggled the substance overseas, but the formula itself remains a Vought secret.

Homelander exits the cushy office with the uncomfortable knowledge that Edgar has him pinned, and that no amount of superpowers can change that. Were the Supe's attachment to his own image not so strong, things might be different, but it is what it is. The proof is in the pudding: When forced to choose between his son Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) and preventing Queen Maeve from releasing video evidence of his monstrous ways, Homelander chooses the latter. What is Homelander going to do about Edgar? For once in his life, what can he do? The mighty Homelander is caught between Edgar's machinations and his own ego, and there's no escape.