Some pretty icky spoilers are below for those who haven't yet watched the first two episodes of The Boys Season 2.
It would have been easy-peasy for The Boys' showrunner Eric Kripke to let The Deep off the hook in Season 2 by immediately letting him get back in The Seven's good graces, but this show is anything but lemon-squeezy. By sending the redemption-seeking hero to the cult-adjacent Church of the Collective, The Boys brought The Deep's gills back to the forefront in a way that was as equally jarring as that intense sequence in Season 1: with a singalong.
Everyone who watched Episode 2, "Proper Preparation and Planning," witnessed The Deep making a true connection with his gills for the first time, albeit with psilocybin as the connective tissue. Once again nailing it with the guest-casting, The Boys brought in Patton Oswalt to take on the voice of The Deep's gills for a scene that went from confusion to light introspection to a ballad. When CinemaBlend spoke with Chace Crawford ahead of Season 2's debut, I had to ask what his thoughts were when he read that scene for the first time. Here's what he told me:
I kind of heard that they were doing like some sort of a mushroom or psychedelic-type trip journey, and I thought like, 'Great!' I'm thinking it's gonna be just sort of surface-level, all comedy, you know what I mean? And then when they sent it and I got it, I'm like, okay, well I'm gonna have to go hard in both directions and sort of see where it lands. I knew kind of what I wanted to do with that, but I'm like, 'You know what, I'm just gonna save it for the day and just try and figure it out.' We had a lot of time to shoot it, and it was obviously just me and like the director and a few people in there. [Laughs.]
Not that prepping for any particular scene in The Boys is a simplistic feat, but I can fully understand Chace Crawford's decision to only keep a loose plan in mind for the scene. After all, there's isn't a "correct" way to act opposite your own talking breath-holes, so basically anything he did was setting the bar. Because to his point, that sequence didn't simply go for the laughs, but actually deepened the character's self-acceptance, pun not intended.
Chace Crawford talked more about the one-of-a-kind experience of trying to find a proper harmony with his gills, both literally and metaphorically, saying:
And the funniest thing was, they had this guy who's a singer trying to sing with me, you know, sing the other parts of the gills, and then he would help me, like, 'Am I on key right now? I don't even know.' It was a lot of fun, man, at the end of day it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of time to shoot that scene, which I'm glad they spent time on, and Phil did a ton of different shots and angles. I was really pleased with it; it turned out well, and obviously right in the vein of our show. It's super weird and fucking crazy and bizarre and heartbreaking and funny.
By all means, The Deep appeared to be back to feeling confident again by Episode 3, at least until Karl Urban's Butcher drove a boat straight through his whale buddy Lucy, which led to all kinds of blood and guts. If that wasn't bad enough, whenever The Deep next saw Homelander after that, The Seven's leader took a harsh swipe at the hero for having his gills showing. What a douche.
I asked Chace Crawford about that moment's impact as well, and he told me:
It's funny, I can't remember – I think that was in the script – but Antony either improv-ed or he did something really, really good, like really subtle, like 'Ew, cover those things up,' kind of a thing. Obviously, it was just a nice moment between them, and I do love our characters interacting and so, you know, I like that little interaction, and wish there was more with everyone, to be honest. But it just kind of is like right in the gut, you know what I mean? Sort of unravels him all over again. So yeah, it's a sensitive topic. It still is.
Chace Crawford is clearly feeling The Deep's pangs of loneliness for not getting to stand toe to toe with the other members of The Seven, either in real life or on the big screen in one of their scripted adventures. We'll just have to wait and see if he makes it back onto the team by the end of Season 2.
Understandably, Chace Crawford doesn't necessarily feel the need to speak of The Deep's gills as if they're God's beautiful creations, and he joked about how they freak co-star Antony Starr out while also reflecting on the sexu-gill assault from Season 1.
They're gross. I think they actually put the prosthetics up in the hair and makeup trailer and, you know, make sure Antony has to see those every day. But yeah, everyone's really grossed out by them. You know, the big scene where he has comeuppance in the first season, I thought that shooting it was hard enough and gross enough, but then rewatching it was maybe even more difficult. It was very, very cringe-worthy, even on the day shooting it, even though I think it was a really interesting place story-wise for them to go. But yeah, the gills, man, they're the source of all of his insecurity, and he feels like a freak. It's kind of the secret he has and, you know, I believe he was made fun of it when he was growing up, and that's kind of his kryptonite.
I wonder what Superman would think of The Deep drawing that kryptonite comparison. He probably wouldn't love it. But maybe next time, champ.