This will be the third time I have written about Amazon Prime’s series The Boys, based on the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson comic book of the same name, in this space. The first piece I wrote about it started with a content warning for “everything,” and mainly talked about the fact that I thought the show was problematic as hell, leaning way too much into sexism and rape and fridging female characters than anything I could be comfortable with recommending, but … well … if you could get past that awfulness, there was a pretty good show in there, somehow?
Then Season 2 rolled around, and they’d shed most of Ennis’ bullshit from the first season, in general treating their female characters a lot better, not relying on rape as a driver of the plot at all, and still keeping the insanely hyperviolent and raunchy tone of the first season, which moved the show from “Eh, if you were curious already, check it out, but don’t pay for Amazon Prime for this” to “Well, don’t pay for Amazon Prime just for this, but if you already have it, you probably ought to watch an episode or two and see what you think.”
We are, as of right now, three episodes into Season 3; my understanding is that new episodes are going to drop on Friday, although I’m not 100% sure what the actual schedule is– in other words, I’m not sure if they gave us three episodes to start and there will be 3 more this Friday, or if it’ll be on a more traditional one-episode-a-week schedule, or what, but we’re three episodes in. The season isn’t finished.
But based on those three episodes, and continuing to keep in mind that this show is not for everyone, and that I really can’t emphasize enough how much bodies literally exploding into chunky red sauce has been a part of this season, and there was a sequence in the first episode that very nearly had me hiding behind the couch …
I know Amazon Prime is $129 a year now, but … yeah, you need to be watching The Boys, if your constitution can handle it. If you know you can’t, go in peace and ignore this. But if you can?
This show has some of the best acting I have ever seen on a TV screen. Antony Starr as the Homelander is absolutely fucking terrifying in a way that I have never seen in a television character before. Like, my heart rate shoots up whenever he’s on screen. I want him to play the Joker so badly I can taste it. Karl Urban is amazing. Giancarlo Esposito is amazing. Jack Quaid is amazing. Erin Moriarty and Chance Crawford and Jessie Usher and oh my God Colby Minifie are amazing. Everyone with a role on this show is doing the job of their lives.
(Discovers that Mesmer, from last season, was Haley Joel fucking Osment, and has to take a moment.)
I really cannot express enough how much you need to see the clinic that Antony Starr is putting on here, though, managing to marry being an angry, unstable god with somebody who was very clearly so broken as a child that you almost feel sorry for him. Until, of course, you realize he’s fantasizing about killing every living person in New York City in the same disconnected, unconcerned way you might think for half a second before stepping on a bug. But you can see the scared little kid in him, and it’s just so good. And the writers, who are continuing to do adaptations The Right Way, have made it so clear that this show doesn’t even vaguely understand the concept of Plot Armor that there is literally not a single second where this man is on screen where you’re not worried about him doing something terrible at any moment. It’s been years since I had to take time to calm down after watching a TV show, and we’re only three episodes into this season and they’ve done it to me three times.
So, yeah. There’s still plenty of time for shit to go wrong, but at this point, and without relinquishing any of the previous warnings attached to previous seasons, this show is moving to You Need To Be Watching This. I’ll update again once the season is over.