Who was responsible for the death of Susan Raynor in the premiere episode of The Boys season 2? The debut season of Amazon’s The Boys introduced Jennifer Esposito’s Raynor, loosely based on a character from the original comic book series. The deputy director of the CIA, it quickly transpires that Raynor worked alongside The Boys during their initial run as a supe-busting force, and there are rumblings of a past sexual relationship with Billy Butcher, now very much a source of regret for her. Susan breaks off contact with the gang following the fabled Lamplighter incident that killed Mallory’s grandchildren, but is dragged back into the fray in The Boys season 1.
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After Butcher cracks the Compound V conspiracy and obtains a sample of the blue stuff, he approaches Raynor about working alongside the authorities once again. Raynor agrees to all of The Boys’ demands except the guaranteed prosecution of Homelander, and puts Hughie and M.M.’s families into protection, but after trying to turn the screw on Madelyn Stillwell and Vought, Naqib the super-terrorist emerges and changes the playing field, suddenly making Vought and their superheroes untouchable. With the brakes slammed on Raynor’s investigation and The Boys left out in the cold as wanted criminals, the Deputy Director’s role in The Boys season 2 was unclear ahead of the premiere episode.
However, Esposito would reprise her role, albeit very briefly, in the season premiere, “The Big Ride.” As season 2 begins, The Boys are laying low underground (literally), facing a super-powered terrorist recently smuggled onto U.S. shores, and missing their leader as Butcher remains AWOL. With their options limited, Hughie, M.M., Frenchie and The Female decide to rendezvous with Raynor and continue their mission to bring down Vought. And it doesn’t go well.
Vought’s Ant-Man Killed Raynor
In theorizing how Raynor’s head ended up splattered over the various members of The Boys and their van, another popular theory needs to be examined. In The Boys season 1, several key scenes feature a prominently-placed fly buzzing around the main characters. The insect appears at the Believe Expo and when The Boys are chasing Kimiko through a subway station, and then returns in season 2 when the gang are viewing CCTV security footage of Kenji levitating the smuggler’s ship he arrived on. Fans have speculated as to whether the fly is an inside joke or a visual cue to indicate when a character is lying (flies = BS, get it?), but the most popular theory is that the fly is a Vought superhero based on Marvel’s Ant-Man or DC’s Atom. Vought could potentially have a spy constantly buzzing around The Boys whenever they appear in public, which would certainly explain how the company is often several steps ahead.
Interestingly, there is precedent for an Ant-Man style character in Garth Ennis’ The Boys comic series. Swatto was an insect-themed member of the Payback group and a minor character in the comic series. While he might be mostly insignificant to the original story, The Boys season 2 has already used Eagle the Archer, another small-time comic character, as the basis for an MCU Hawkeye parody, and the lure of Swatto could prove too tempting to resist. Furthermore, a superhero with size-altering superpowers has already been introduced in Amazon’s The Boys, taking a dive into the unknown back in season 1 when Butcher and Hughie infiltrated a supes-only club.
While the mystery fly wasn’t overtly present during the Raynor meeting, the show’s smallest character could’ve been hanging back, waiting for orders on whether to take direct action. This theory would fit with the scant information The Boys gives about Raynor’s death. Frenchie and M.M. surely would’ve recognized a sniper shot if a gunman were responsible, and none of The Boys have heard of a hero who can explode heads. The culprit has to be a previously unseen super-powered character, and an Ant-Man equivalent fits that bill.
Susan Raynor’s Head Explosion Might Be A Thanos Joke
Though you’re unlikely to see such graphic violence in the MCU, a superhero with Ant-Man’s abilities could absolutely be behind Susan Raynor’s exploding head. If Swatto (or whoever The Boys uses) shrunk down to a minute size and then flew at high speed into the ear of the CIA’s deputy director, emerging out the other side, the effect in real-time might look similar to what The Boys witnessed in “The Big Ride” (we’re guessing, anyway). The small nosebleed Raynor suffers immediately prior to her Scanners impression might be the delayed effect of having a tiny superhero flying straight through her head – like the aerial pause before a firework explodes.
A shrinking superhero causing Susan Raynor’s death would be very appropriate for The Boys, not just by being incredibly gory and darkly comic, but because it would lampoon real life superhero movie culture. In the lead up to Avengers: Endgame, Marvel fans were theorizing how the mighty Thanos could possibly be defeated. The most popular theory, as well as the most hilarious, was that Ant-Man could shrink down, enter Thanos, and then expand to destroy the Mad Titan from the inside. While Kevin Feige unfortunately opted to take a different direction, the Thanus theory gained mainstream traction, and was always unlikely to sneak by the parody-heavy world of The Boys unnoticed. Raynor’s death could be The Boys‘ way of referencing the Thanus theory by using a similar idea adapted to fit their own purposes and storyline.
Obviously, the tiny superhero couldn’t expand after entering Raynor, otherwise The Boys would notice him immediately, but the insect-man’s speed by itself would likely be enough to kill a person, and The Boys has a long, rich history of detailing how superpowers can be used in grossly violent ways that would never grace the pages of a comic book.
Why Vought Killed Raynor
Assuming it was Vought who killed Raynor, why did they do it, and why now? If the superhero company had the ability to instantly assassinate their enemies over a long distance without being seen, they could’ve hit The Boys, Raynor, and their government opposition long ago and covered it up. There must be a reason why Raynor is killed in the season 2 premiere, but The Boys are allowed to drive away freely… Covered in blood and petrified, but free nonetheless.
Most likely, Vought harbor a secret far worse than anything Butcher’s gang have come close to exposing. It’s interesting that in The Boys season 2, Giancarlo Esposito’s Stan Edgar tells Homelander that Vought are not in the superhero business, but the pharmaceutical business. Butcher and The Boys are solely focused on fighting The Seven and taking down Homelander, but if Edgar sees his super-powered employees as expendable assets, he perhaps isn’t too worried about whether The Boys kill Homelander or not. Moreover, Edgar is largely unmoved when Vought’s Compound V secret goes public, maintaining a sinister calm throughout. This suggests there’s a secret motive behind Vought’s business – a deeper intention that The Boys are utterly oblivious to, but Raynor was gradually closing in on.
Shortly before her demise, Raynor says “Vought… it’s a f**king coup from the inside” and these are more or less the character’s final words. While the quote is certainly open to ambiguity, the big puzzle Raynor refers to could be Vought’s secret overriding goal – to take over the United States government, with access to the military being merely a tentative first step in that process. The Boys have a very narrow perspective of Vought’s plans; they see The Seven as a nuisance and believe supes in the military was the company’s endgame, and this could explain why they’re left alive by Raynor’s mystery assassin. However, if the Deputy Director of the CIA had been digging further and came close to uncovering Vought’s true goal for a White House takeover, it makes sense that the company would go the extreme measure of having a near-invisible insect assassin take a bloody dive straight through Raynor’s ears in The Boys season 2.
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