‘The Boys’ proves it’s no one-hit wonder with a “diabolical” second season.
In the vain of ‘Deadpool,’ ‘The Boys’ is an incredibly fun superhero show with exploding heads and foul-mouthed anti-heroes to boot. It satirizes the genre and attempts to show what it would really be like if superheroes existed. Instead of having Superman and the Justice League, who fight for truth, justice and the American way, the world is stuck with the egotistical, sociopathic Homelander and the corporate-owned Seven, who fight only for approval points, votes and the precious price of Vought stocks.
Season two picks up right where the last one left off. Butcher, Hughie and the boys are now wanted criminals and have begun to lose hope in ever exposing Vought’s corruption. With nowhere left to turn, they’re forced to trust Hughie’s superhero ex-girlfriend, Starlight. All the while, they have to deal with the influx of “super terrorists” and a sinister new member of the Seven: Stormfront.
The biggest strength of this season is the cast and characters. First, there’s Billy Butcher, a smooth talking anti-hero with a killer British accent, played brilliantly once again by Karl Urban. Butcher continues down his revenge-driven warpath, and we get to see how messed up he really is. That being said, this season also does a fantastic job of humanizing him and giving him a bit of an arc.
Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid,) the Billy Joel-loving protagonist, is one of the few “good” guys on the show. His character shines this season as he finally learns to stand up for himself. Mother’s Milk (I still don’t understand why that’s Laz Alonso’s name) and Queen Mave (Dominique McElligott) are great too and steal most of the scenes they’re in.
In terms of villains, Homelander is quickly becoming one of the best of all time. Antony Starr is insanely good in this role. He oozes power, and in every scene you're scared he’s going to snap and kill everyone. Somehow though, there were still scenes in which I empathized with him.
Another standout this season was the action. In season one, too many of the action scenes were chopped up in the editing room to hide the budget. That’s not the case this time around, and we get a couple killer showdowns especially in the finale.
This season also retains its wonderful dark sense of humor. It’s not all dumb humor either. A lot of it comes from clever commentary on the real world. For example, Vought uses Queen Mave’s coming out as a way to sell movies and candy bars.
However, while this season was great, it wasn’t perfect. For one, the pacing was pretty bad, and the season definitely dragged in the middle. This was partly due to some storyline’s that went nowhere. The Deep’s (Chace Crawford) plotline was funny but took up way too much screen time and didn’t pay off at all. A-train (Jessie Usher), a character I loved in season one, was also kind of wasted. There were also far too many plot conveniences that drained some of the tension. The characters escaped an impossible situation using blackmail in almost every episode. That being said, the epic season finale more than made up for this.
Also, anyone interested in watching this show should be warned that it is extremely R-rated and not for the faint of heart. It’s probably one of the most violent things I’ve ever seen. There’s also graphic sexual content and significant explicit language. The show has a habit of seeing just how close to the line they can get, and there are definitely some moments they push too far.
Another thing that’s concerning is the show’s portrayal of Christianity. Christians are shown worshipping Homelander instead of Jesus, and Starlight (Erin Moriarty) even proclaims that the Bible shouldn’t be taken literally. It’s far from a focal point of the show — and it’s not the only thing satirized — but it’s something viewers should know going in.
All in all, ‘The Boys’ was a slight step down from season one but was still an incredibly enjoyable ride.