The Deep joins a cult in The Boys season 2, and the Church of the Collective keep drinking Fresca as a recurring theme. What’s going on here?
What on Earth is going on with the Fresca drink obsession in The Boys season 2? He may not be the easiest character to like, but Chace Crawford’s The Deep (Kevin to his friends) has experienced a highly tumultuous journey in The Boys so far, and will likely continue to do so in The Boys season 3. To the public, The Deep is a vain male model of a superhero, more concerned with Instagram likes and his hairstyle than saving lives. Behind closed doors, Kevin is far worse, forcing Starlight to perform a sex act on him to keep her job. The Deep is publicly outed as a predator and quietly moved away from The Seven to a small town with minimal crime as punishment.
In The Boys season 2, The Deep joins a cult – an incredibly him thing to do. Now indoctrinated by the Church of the Collective, The Deep is encouraged to confront his self-esteem issues and earn back his spot in The Seven. Deep is accompanied on his journey of self(ish) discovery by Eagle the Archer and Carol, and the trio delight in doing some soul searching… over a cool, refreshing can of Fresca, of course! The Fresca references in The Boys season 2 are so blatant and repetitive, it’s natural to imagine there must be some significance behind them.
The official word from The Boys‘ showrunner, Eric Kripke, is that the Fresca gag is nothing more than an in-joke. Speaking with CinemaBlend, Kripke alleged that the writing team were trying to imagine what alcohol-free cult members would drink, and Fresca just happened to be the lucky winner, gradually transforming into a running joke whenever the Church of the Collective are on screen. Taking the showrunner at his word, the Fresca joke could be seen as a riff on the “drinking the Kool-Aid” trope. Whenever someone buys into a conspiracy or cult, they’re said to be “drinking Kool-Aid” and the Church of the Collective’s obsession with Fresca could be The Boys‘ own spin on that familiar phrase.
What The Boys’ Fresca Joke Could Really Mean
Fresca isn’t the first random, unexplained running joke in The Boys. When Butcher and the gang first debuted in 2019, season 1 included a fly prominently placed in several episodes, buzzing around the main cast. While Kripke dismissed the insect as an outtake included in the final edit for comedy value, fans continue to speculate that there’s more to the fly than The Boys is letting on, possibly an Ant-Man style superhero keeping tabs on Vought’s enemies. Fresca seems to be The Boys season 2’s fly – something that could either be an inconsequential in-joke or a tease towards a future storyline.
Heading into theory territory, perhaps The Deep is unknowingly involved in a Truman Show-esque reality series. Vought might’ve sidelined Kevin from The Seven, but they’d still be looking to make a profit from their biggest aquatic superhero. Deep could be caught in an elaborate hidden camera deception, with Eagle and Carol willing participants. In this setup, the running Fresca joke could be product placement within the show, which should be called “Deep Undercover.” Alternatively, perhaps the Church of the Collective’s leadership are lacing Fresca with a drug to make their new recruits more compliant. The Deep seems to waver between skepticism and unquestionable devotion in The Boys season 2, and Fresca might explain why, making him more susceptible to the madcap teachings of his new cult friends.
Even The Boys Cast Don’t Understand The Fresca Joke
Even more unsettling is the fact that the actors who star in The Boys also don’t understand what the Fresca is supposed to mean. It could be that Kripke’s explanation of the joke really is that simple, but the cast members are also waiting with some trepidation for the other shoe to drop. Erin Moriarty, who plays Starlight, has said “I think we’re all waiting for like, ‘Okay, they’ll tell us what the Fresca is about. We’ll get there.’ What’s with the Fresca?” (via CBR). Likewise, Crawford has admitted that even he doesn’t know what the Fresca is really supposed to mean. This is another layer on which the joke works perfectly; with even the actors uncertain about it, Fresca can continue to be a humorous and mystifying presence in The Boys season 3 and for the foreseeable future.
Only time will tell as to whether the Fresca references in The Boys season 2 and onward are a harmless joke, or whether there’s a Deep-er significance Kripke is trying not to spoil. In the meantime, it’s certainly fun to speculate about The Deep’s cult future, and Fresca themselves are benefiting from the extra exposure – although whether they’re happy to be associated with the Church of the Collective is another matter.
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