Amazon’s The Boys Hasn’t Lost a Step

After an almost two-year wait (twenty months to be exact, but who’s counting), Amazon Prime’s excellent superhero show The Boys, which is an adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic series of the same name, has returned and it’s everything fans could want from the series and then some.

Fair warning, I’m about to go full fanboy in discussing the latest season, so spoilers aplenty.

When we last saw Billy Butcher and his crew, they had seemingly bested both Vaught and Homelander, tying up a surprising number of loose ends, some lingering questions (i.e. Victoria Neuman) aside. Thus, it makes perfect sense for the show’s third season to take place a full year after the season two finale. 

Time jumps can be a tricky balancing act to pull off, however, showrunner and series creator Eric Kripke, along with the creatives that includes Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg who serve as producers, have an impeccable track record for kicking off a season of The Boys, and season three certainly doesn’t disappoint. In fact, the opening episode makes a statement, doubling down on the show’s established mix of violence and irreverence to deliver arguably some of its best shock value yet. I mean, a superhero named Termite, whose powers are a deliberate parody of Marvel’s Ant-Man, shrinking down to consensually enter another man’s penis before – while still in there – sneezing and ripping him in half as he suddenly returns to normal size is sure to raise the bar, and we haven’t even gotten the season’s most anticipated episode, “Herogasm”, which will likely set yet another benchmark of irreverence if it’s anything like the comic storyline from which it is adapted.

However, don’ let all the sex and viscera make you think that The Boys has lost its trademark edge in any way. No sir. Its satire is still sharp as ever, with Kripke and co. continuing to lampoon hot-button topics such as gun control and conservative media. Dildos have also been something of a recurring image this season for reasons that I am sure are thematic (though I’m not quite sure what it might be yet), but whatever the case, its wanton regard for ‘common decency’ is glorious!

Speaking of recurring elements of the show, the latest season proves yet again that the people behind it know how to make a newly introduced character feel like part of a greater storyline, only to off them a handful of episodes later. Think of it as the opposite of Game of Thrones, in that, instead of taking their time over numerous episodes – or even seasons – to make audiences care about a character being unceremoniously offing them, The Boys might kill them before you ever had a chance to fully consider it. And they still manage to work through some serious character development in spite of it.

No character embodies this more than Lamplighter, who featured in one of the show’s best episodes in season two and was an enthrallingly tragic character with what seemed like an important arc moving forward. Only, he was unexpectedly killed off the very next episode. This didn’t sit well with me at the time because I thought they had squandered a rich and engaging character, but after killing off Super Sonic at the end of the most recent episode, I realise that these kinds of sudden deaths are far more calculated than I initially thought, and if anything it is the show’s creatives sticking to their guns, which is a hell of a lot more than I can say for Game of Thrones towards the end.

Essentially, anyone outside the show’s central cast is fair game, yet the show is by no means predictable. Oh contraire: Madelyn Stillwell’s death at the end of season one dispelled any such notions, leaving audiences on their toes ever since.

The Boys has scarcely made a wrong move so far this season, at least in the grander scheme of things. Very occasionally the smaller beats might feel somewhat compartmentalised and not quite hit the intended mark, but its pacing is absolutely spot on, and the show always finds thrilling ways in approaching its crescendos. Four episodes in, we might only be at the halfway point of the season, but it has already delivered in spades, and with Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy finally set free, it seems a blazing season is about to kick things up another notch, and I, for one, cannot wait.

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