#REVIEW: The Boys, Season 2

Before I get into the post itself, I just want to point out that I find it kind of funny that I made a point of mentioning the other day that I hadn’t missed a post since April, and then bloody went and forgot to post yesterday until almost 11:30, at which point my inner fuck it, nobody is paying me for this kicked in and I didn’t bother throwing something onto the site just to check off the day. In my defense, yesterday was a deeply weird, schedule-murdering sort of day, the kind of day where you wake up with a certain set of expectations on how the day is going to go and then those expectations are rather rudely tossed onto their ear before you’ve finished your coffee.

What we did manage to do was finish the second season of The Boys. And while I watched the first season by myself, my wife was along for the ride for the entire season this time, thus the “we” and the slightly longer amount of time elapsing before its release and me managing to watch it all. The first season of The Boys was … messy. Real messy. To the point where I felt kind of squicky about recommending people watch it.

The second season was phenomenal.

Now, let’s not misrepresent things: The Boys is still hyper-violent (exploding heads make up more of the season’s plot points than you might typically see in a TV show, and there’s a thing that happens with a whale that is, like, wow) and profane and a lot of other stuff, but while the first season followed the comic books into leaning way too hard into sexual violence and rape than anything really needs to be, the second season has none of that. In general, the female characters are treated much better this season; there’s no fridging at all, and most of the new characters introduced are women.

This show does a couple of things that I really like. First, the acting remains absolutely top-tier across the damn board. Antony Starr as Homelander is Goddamned amazing. This is the role of Karl Urban’s life. The relationship between Jack Quaid and Erin Moriarty’s Hughie and Starlight is sweet and awkward in all sorts of adorable ways. And Giancarlo Esposito is in this show and I praised four other actors before I got around to mentioning him. I mean, come on. And while I wasn’t happy with the semi-redemption arc Chace Crawford’s The Deep got last season, his role this season is far more interesting than last year’s. And his character is responsible for what might be the single greatest cameo in the history of television. You wouldn’t think that the acting and the character work would be the highlight of a show that spends fully three-fourths of a season making you think a head might literally explode at any given moment, but it absolutely is.

(Also, I want every shirt that Mother’s Milk wears during the series. Every single one.)

The second thing that I love about the show is how it has handled adapting the comic book, and it’s kind of fascinating to me that my other example of an outstanding adaptation, The Walking Dead, is also an adaptation to TV of a comic book series. This is the right way to adapt things, guys: take what you think works from the original material and then twist it and fuck with it however you want so that the people who know the source material don’t necessarily know what’s coming next. Something happens at the end that manages to recast the entire first two seasons as a prequel, at least of sorts, to the place where the entire comic series starts. And while at least part of this season is taken, broadly, from the comic book, a huge chunk of it isn’t, and there’s no smug “I know what’s going to happen at the Red Wedding!” sort of scenes for people who have read the comics. I knew one reveal was coming about one character, and one major reveal from the end of the comic series appears to not be the case in the TV series, based on about four seconds of footage in the second-to-last episode. So they’re definitely going their own way here.

The last time I talked about this show, I ended with “If you think this is something you might like, and you’ve already got Amazon Prime, maybe check it out.” I’m still not telling you to get Amazon Prime just for the show, but it’s definitely a reason to get Prime now, as opposed to an ancillary side benefit, and if you already have the service you should strongly consider checking it out if the ultraviolence isn’t going to push you away.

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