“It was funny because I’d see Eric passing by on set and he’d just say to me, ‘Big stuff for Neuman!’” The Boys star Claudia Doumit — aka congresswoman Victoria Neuman — told Refinery29 earlier this week, referring to series’ creator, Eric Kripke. “I’d think, ‘Wow, he’s really excited about this political rally scene! He’s really into it.’”
However, by the time The Boys season 2’s finale, “What I Know,” rolls around, it becomes obvious Kripke always had more in store for Neuman than a few great speeches. Neuman, as the last minutes of the episode reveals, is the head-exploding supervillain who has been terrorizing The Boys since the very beginning of season 2. Neuman killed Susan Raynor (Jennifer Esposito). Neuman committed the viscera-heavy massacre at her own congressional hearing. And, in the finale, Neuman even kills cult leader Alastair Adana (Goran Visnjic). Apologies to Fresca, his beverage of choice.
While Doumit is still processing Neuman's heel turn for herself, she can reveal the moment she realized it was coming — and what it could mean for season 2.
“I knew that Neuman was this young, wunderkind congresswoman coming in to take down Vought. That’s how she was presented to me. And that’s what I thought she was — for much of production,” Doumit explained (yes, she did draw some mannerisms from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). And then Doumit started noticing Kripke’s excitement over “big stuff” on the horizon. “I was kind of walking around for the whole of production confused,” she laughed. “Because I was like, ‘He’s super stoked about this.’ I felt like when you’re not confident and your girlfriends pump you up. Like, ‘No! You look great! You look amazing!’”
Finally, the script for The Boys 2020’s seventh episode, “Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker,” came in. “And I was like, ‘Oh, crap. Big. Stuff. For. Neuman,’” Doumit recalled gravely. It was then that she realized Neuman had dangerous superpowers of her own. “I mean… She’s still powerful. She’s still progressive. But she’s also exploding heads as well,” Doumit continued.
I was so ready to be that tough bitch.
If there was any shadow of a doubt for viewers that Neuman is a head-exploding Big Bad, the finale’s second-to-last scene disabuses you of any such notions. The moment revolves around a phone conversation between Neuman and Alastair, the leader of the “religious” organization the Church of the Collective. Alastair congratulates Neuman on a recent, off-screen appointment to congress’ Supe Affairs committee — and suggests she’ll owe him a favor for his “church”/cult. Neuman agrees. And then Alastair’s head explodes. As the camera pans outside, we see Neuman right outside of Alastair’s window, looking into the carnage. Neuman's eyes cloud over, confirming she is a supe.
“It was maybe one of the best feelings that I’ve had in regards to an acting or a character. Because it’s so cool! Come on — everyone wants that,” Doumit said of the scene, making repeated “mind-blown” sounds as she went. “I was so ready to be that tough bitch … Yeah maybe Neuman's evil, but I don’t know.“
As Doumit looks towards The Boys’ already-confirmed third season, she is trying to fill in some of the blanks she has for her character — like why she's exploding heads in the first place.
“Why she is a politician? Why’d she choose this job? Why is she on this track is far more intriguing to me [than anything else]. But also, it’s hilarious, it’s like, ‘Yeah! Who is she behind this?’ And I don’t even know,’” Doumit admitted, pondering the future. “I honestly have no idea. I just know she’s gonna fuck shit up. That’s all! I’m so excited for season 3. I’m completely clueless, as I was in season 2. So it should be a lovely surprise to all of us.”
Still, there is one fact Doumit sounds confident about: that The Boys’ lanky hero Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) should be worried. In season 2’s closing scene, Hughie decides to dedicate himself to fighting Vought “the right way.” Unfortunately for Hughie, he thinks joining Neuman’s team is the path that will lead him away from a life covered in guts.
“Filming that last scene, I was like, ‘Ah! This guy cannot catch a break,’” Doumit recalled with a laugh. “‘This poor guy. This guy just gets blood every way. No matter where he turns.’”