***Spoilers for season two of The Boys***
Our heads are still exploding from the wild ride of The Boys season two. It was shocking, topical, darkly funny, and used superheroes to say some incredibly apt things about America today. There were so many big moments we loved, along with a few that stumbled. But one of my favorite storylines this season was Queen Maeve’s.
Now, I’ve loved Maeve since season one. As a queer, Amazonian redhead with a love of Celtic culture myself, Maeve feels a bit like seeing myself reflected on screen and that’s really powerful in its own way. But her story this season was done so well, and I really enjoyed every beat of it, even the ones that were hard to watch.
This season saw Maeve (Dominique McElligott) unwillingly outed by Homelander, which was followed by Vought commodifying and marketing her queerness. And that wasn’t even the end of her problems. Maeve was dealing with her guilt about the plane full of people Homelander forced her to let go down, Homelander’s threats against her girlfriend Elena, and her own deep disillusionment with the cruel world. But in the end, she was the one to save the day. It was pretty amazing.
Maeve’s outing was incredibly painful to watch, because it was just another way that Homelander was victimizing her and that the system she was part of (capitalism/the media/Vought) were taking away her power. Coming out is a choice, and many don’t make it even now because they feel unsafe or even ashamed. But seeing that choice taken away from Maeve by the very person who was keeping her in the closet was extra painful.
Once Maeve was out, the way that Vought treated her sexuality as just another storyline they could sell was so difficult to watch because it felt so accurate. The immediate pivot to selling “Brave Maeve” lasagne and protein bars, writing her schlocky scenes in the new
Justice League Dawn of the Seven, positioning her to take center stage at Pride events. The scene where two Vought creatives pitch Maeve’s new marketing strategy and narrative to her was so cringe-worthy and but also seemed so real. Especially the bit where one writer shot down Elena telling them Maeve was actually bi, because lesbian is apparently a better sell.
But Maeve went with it because she wanted to protect the woman she loved and the little happiness she had. She knew she had to play the game and Maeve is very good at that game. Her cynism and shrewdness have always been one of her strengths and it’s clear that’s what’s kept her in the Seven for so long. But that kind of cynicism has a price.
Maeve made the big move this season to go against Homelander, taking back her power at last, but she did it in a personal way. Finding proof of what Homelander and she did (or failed to do) on the plane was risky and personally devastating, but it had to be done. It was also a truthful characterization to see Maeve’s depressed, hopeless side. Watching her vape, drink, and sleep around after Elena left, because what was the point? It’s not the kind of hero’s journey we see very often, and there aren’t a lot of heroes on this show that’s about heroes of the super variety.
All of this is why it was so satisfying to see Maeve come through and save the day not once, but twice. Seeing Maeve’s reaction to the revelation that Stormfront was an actual Nazi was a great moment of wordless storytelling from The Boys because we (or at least me watching) could see the calculus in her mind that this was a woman who would have literally sent Maeve and the woman she loves into concentration camps. It made the “girls get it done” beat down of Stormfront by Maeve, Annie and Kimiko that much more powerful.
But the real power came when Maeve stopped Homelander with the video proof of their crimes. Now, I know this will probably end badly for … everyone. But seeing Meave take back the power and make Homelander the one on a leash, living in fear—THAT was something wonderful to witness, and that’s why Maeve is my secret MVP of The Boys’ second season.
(image: Amazon Prime Video)
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