The Boys Season 2: How Becca Butcher Caused Her Own [Spoiler]

1 month ago

Becca Butcher is afforded more agency in The Boys season 2 than in the comics, with her earlier decisions even dictating the outcome of the finale.

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Warning: SPOILERS ahead for The Boys season 2, episode 8, "What I Know".

The finale of The Boys season 2 saw Becca Butcher's journey come to a tragic end — but that fate was partially sealed by one of her own decisions. Played by Shantel VanSanten, the character of Becca debuted during The Boys season 1. Believed dead, she was first seen in flashbacks and served as the impetus for Billy Butcher's hatred of superheroes. In a stunning twist (and firm deviation from Garth Ennis's source material), Becca was revealed to be alive in The Boys season 1 finale. Having successfully given birth to Homelander's son, she had agreed to raise him in secretive seclusion. The idea was that Ryan could one day act as a failsafe against his deranged father.

Throughout The Boys season 2, Homelander forcibly manufactured the kind of family dynamic he'd never had. Simultaneously, he tried to mold Ryan in line with his own image. To that end, he frequently pushed Ryan to tap into his latent superpowers. Those attempts included pushing Ryan off a roof to make him fly and encouraging hate in order to activate his laser vision. Ultimately, both attempts failed spectacularly. Only when Becca was in danger did Ryan's powers manifest. Firstly, when Homelander was aggressive towards Becca, Ryan was able to push him away. Lastly, when Becca was attacked by Stormfront, his laser vision severed Stormfront's limbs and burned her alive. Sadly, Becca was also caught in the crossfire and fatally succumbed to her injuries.

On the surface, it's clear that Ryan, incited by Homelander and Stormfront, was accidentally responsible for his mother's death. However, looking deeper, Becca was equally an architect of her own fate. Knowing all-too-well the upbringing Homelander experienced (and the man he became as a result), Becca resolved to raise Ryan in completely the opposite way. Where Homelander was deprived of affection in favor of honing his strength and abilities, the notion of Ryan's powers were avoided in favor of a loving environment. While that is a noble and worthy intention, it was taken too far in opposition to Homelander. Even after Ryan learned he might potentially have abilities, Becca was deeply averse to him learning to engage them. Unfortunately, that decision would go on to be the difference between life and death. Had Ryan been taught to hone his powers alongside having a more stable, caring childhood, he would've had more semblance of control at the crucial moment.

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It's understandable why Becca might have had some fear of the potential consequences. As implied by the overall plan for Ryan, though, there was always going to be a time he learned the full truth and had to embrace his heritage. Becca could've taken that inevitable eventuality into her own hands and helped Ryan both master his abilities and retain his good heart. That would've made even more sense after Homelander started showing up, forming something of a defensive strategy. By that point in Ryan's life, Becca was absolutely sure that he would grow up to be good. She proved that with her last words to Billy Butcher in the finale. If Becca's faith had been able to override those fears, she might have survived to guide Ryan through the next chapters of his life. Sadly, it wasn't to be.

Rather than a complaint, however, it actually served as a testament to the top-notch plotting in The Boys season 2. Showrunner Eric Kripke previously stated that the show would go deeper rather than bigger. That proved just as true for characters like Becca as it did the members of the titular group and the superheroes of Vought International. Rather than making Becca a bystander or ineffectual victim of the story, Becca was granted more agency and had a hand in her eventual destiny. Unfortunately, it was tragically realized. Becca was doomed as much by her own (understandable) emotions and decisions as she was by the external forces that plagued her and created the situation. As such, her demise on The Boys was granted additional nuance and an element of tragically dramatic irony.

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