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Why The True Hero Of The Boys Season 2 Isn't Who You Think

The second season of The Boys continued telling superhero stories from a dark, cynical perspective. The show's ostensible protagonists, Hughie (Jack Quaid) and Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), continued their attempts to bring down the Seven and Vought Internation, the company behind the creation of Supes. Hughie and Butcher hatch a lot of plans over the course of the season, and it almost seems like a couple of them might work. Ultimately, though, the show's heroes are stifled again and again, and their efforts to bring down Homelander (Antony Starr), Stormfront(Aya Cash), and Vought prove almost useless. 

In the end, though, Homelander is humbled, and Stormfront appears to be defeated. Although Hughie and Butcher definitely played a role in their defeat, there was another character whose contributions proved to be even more crucial. The real hero of the show's second season was actually a former member of the Seven who was forced out of the group last season: The Deep. 

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How The Deep brought down Stormfront

Throughout season 2, The Deep's (Chace Crawford) arc seems to have fairly little to do with the rest of the show's character. He slowly becomes involved in The Church of the Collective, an organization that seems to draft B-list Supes into its ranks in order to improve its reputation. Eventually, though, his role inside the Church proves to be essential because he ultimately brings A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) into their ranks as well after he, too, is ostracized from the Seven. 

A-Train's introduction to the Church is what ultimately gets him access to information on Stormfront's past as a Nazi. When A-Train leaks that information in the final episode, it precipitates Stormfront's eventual downfall. While the speedster does the actual leaking, The Deep is the only reason he as access to the information. Mind you, A-Train and The Deep are both acting totally selfishly, but they bring down Stormfront in the process. Butcher and Hughie had been earnestly trying to achieve the same goal all season long, and ultimately couldn't get it done without help from those former members of the Seven. 

The Deep saved The Boys' lives

In the finale of season 2, Homelander seems ready to fry Butcher and the rest of the boys where they stand. One of the main problems with The Boys is that, although Butcher and Homelander are in some ways pitted against one another, Homelander's powers far exceed Butcher's abilities. Once Homelander decides that he wants Butcher dead, there's nothing that Butcher can really do physically to stop him. 

Thanks to help from The Deep and Maeve (Dominique McElligott), though, Butcher and the boys were spared Homelander's wrath, at least for now. Maeve was the one who came up with the idea to blackmail Homelander, but she couldn't have pulled it off without The Deep. The Deep swims to the bottom of the ocean to retrieve footage of Homelander abandoning an entire plane full of passengers, which took place during season 1. That tape is what Maeve uses as blackmail, and it's what forces Homelander to let the boys walk away without a scratch. 

Butcher and The Boys fail a lot in season 2

The power mismatch at the center of The Boys is one of the show's best elements, but it can make it hard to find scenarios in which Billy Butcher and his merry crew can emerge victorious. They're a group of people without superpowers going up against Supes who have super speed and can shoot lasers out of their eyes. 

In season 2, we see the limits of the change that Hughie et al can affect on their own. We know that their goals are righteous ones, but also ones that they can't realistically achieve without help from people better positioned to make change. Every plan they have in season 2, from delivering the terrorist to the CIA to rescuing Becca (Shantel VanSanten), ultimately fails. The Deep is acting totally selfishly, and most of the time, he isn't even aware of what he's doing. All he wants is to improve his own status and prove that he's worth something as a hero. Still, The Deep ultimately and unintentionally has a bigger impact on the season as a whole than Butcher and his team do.