Since The Boys is releasing the second season in a very strange way, we can only review it three episodes at a time. So let’s jump right into it!
Even though we only have three episodes to pool over, there is quite a lot to laud and talk about in these three episodes. If you’re thinking it’s gonna be all about Homelander and how intensely creepy he is, fear not. We’re here to talk about everything in season 2 so far!
Granted, we’re also assuming that you’ve seen the first season of The Boys so presumably you already know that fact. The Boys is not a show about making you cry with laughter, it has some extremely dark comedic moments, but it’s much more about social impact and deep rooted issues.
Almost from the very first scene, Season 2 of The Boys takes things up to 11 and immediately lets viewers know that shit hit the fan. Homelander is becoming increasingly psychotic and serial killer like, Butcher has vanished (though not for long) and the rest of the crew is being hunted. Starlight finds herself in a precarious position of cat and mouse after A-Train blew her cover. Everyone is on edge and struggling to find the way forward, except for Homelander who is reveling in his newfound sense of purpose and power.
Where the first three episodes of Season 2 have excelled above the first season is the sheer sense of terror in each episode. You’re constantly on edge between Homelander, Maeve, Butcher, Hughie, Starlight and the thought that anything can go wrong.
This pervading sense of terror and heightened fragility between the characters lends an enormous amount of weight to The Boys’ already timely themes. When touching on topics like sexual assault, rape, racism, hero worship and more, it can be difficult to not come off as egregious and overbearing.
However, season 2 of The Boys (for now anyways) flies through with zero issues thanks to the impeccable writing and pacing of the episodes. As mentioned before, you feel legitimately terrified of what is going to happen, and wanting everyone to find their own justice.
Let’s Talk Characters
In only three episodes, all of these actors went from rock solid to Emmy worthy in the blink of an eye. With so many outstanding performances to name, let’s start with the characters that surprised us the most.
Chace Crawford, who plays The Deep is probably the character that is going to really make you question some things. Back in season 1, The Deep is mostly remembered for the deeply unsettling scene where he solicits sexual favors from a non-consenting Starlight. It was a truly disgusting and upsetting moment that hammered home from unbridled this show was going to be.
After he was expelled from The Seven for his actions, The Deep starts going through a massive personal crisis of faith. Trying to come to terms with his own inward hatred of himself and learning how he takes it out on women.
Watching Crawford have a breakdown, albeit in a somewhat comical way, and admit to abusing women due to his hatred of himself is truly heartbreaking. Obviously it doesn’t excuse the blatant horribleness of his crimes, but it feels all too real in today’s society of awareness and equality.
Erin Moriarity Shines as Starlight (Pun Intended)
Once again showing her extremely underutilized talent, Erin Moriarity excels as Starlight in Season 2 of The Boys. Becoming much more conniving and underhanded as she recognizes the deep seated corruption within Vought and The Seven.
But, she also finds herself constantly playing backwards into deeper issues. While we haven’t yet seen what will come of the Compound V revelation, Starlight is bound and determined to expose the superhero lies.
Her back and forth desire to be normal with Hughie plays excellently against her desire to do good for the world and its people. At the end of the day, she just wants to help and believes that by exposing Vought she’ll be doing just that. That being said, there are absolutely a lot of selfish undertones to Starlight’s motives, as she feels robbed of her life due to Compound V. Once again showing that nobody in The Boys is purely altruistic.
Honestly the whole cast just absolutely shines so far in Season 2. Mother’s Milk, Frenchie, Billy Butcher and Hughie all turn in Emmy performances as well. Balancing sheer charisma, terror, desperation and perseverance at every turn.
Anthony. F**king. Starr.
Alright, it’s time to talk about Homelander and the absolutely scene chewing powerhouse that is Anthony Starr. While some fans already knew he was phenomenal from Bansheeand American Gothic, he is just on another level in The Boys.
In season one, Starr showed the more reserved side of Homelander. A Superman who is more than eager to flex his power and kill with abandon, but reigned in by corporations and popularity. Once those obstacles are less in his way, Starr gets to show fans a truly unhinged and depraved Homelander. And holy hell does depraved really not give justice to just how twisted this character is.
Whether it’s getting off sexually to drinking breast milk from the woman he murdered in cold blood or trying to be the father to a child born from a woman he raped. Homelander is effortlessly terrifying and mesmerizing to watch in every scene. If Anthony Starr does not get at LEAST an Emmy Nomination for this season, we will be blown away.
Smartly Written and Timely
One of The Boys biggest draws, at least for most, is the focus on more social and world issues as opposed to just shock value and superhero mayhem. This is not The Avengers, it is not Deadpool and it is not Wonder Woman. Topics are extremely touchy and harsh, focusing on the cruel reality of the world that we live in.
Superheroes in this world are celebrities. They host the Grammys, the Emmys, they go on live TV to sell products and they scheme with world leaders to keep the public in line. Implications of these ideas are found in Marvel and DC, but in The Boys it is explicitly stated.
When the pilot episode features a blatant sexual assault, and it’s just acknowledged by the rest of The Seven as just “one of those things” should tell you a lot. These are people that are not held by the same moral standards as everyone else, and believe themselves above everyone else. Ironically by no hand of God or genetics, but rather by lab rat experimentation and child abuse.
In Summary and Score
With it’s much stronger emphasis on social issues, and exploring the ramifications of those issues as well as Emmy deserving performances, The Boys did the impossible. They followed up an already rock solid debut season with some of the best storytelling in the entire medium.
Yes, we only have three episodes, but unless the remaining episodes completely ruin it, this show is one gutpunch of a story. When backed up by the combined talent of Karl Urban’s Butch, Anthony Starr’s Homelander and a stellar supporting cast, there is no downside.