Disclaimer: This is a spoiler-free review based on the 8 episodes of the second season of THE BOYS.
When I first dived into THE BOYS, I had no idea what to expect as I was not originally familiar with this particular comic. That being said, I am a comic book lover and I have to say, the concept of “what if superheroes were evil” was something I didn’t know I needed. It was gruesome, shocking, the thrill of a time and I was excited to see what would happen to our Boys, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid), Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Frenchie (Tomer Capon) and The Female (Karen Fukuhara) in Season 2.
As a recap of Season 1, Vought International both owns and markets superheroes, individuals who were believed to be born with amazing powers. The Seven are made up of seven superheroes, who are considered the most powerful and beloved of all, with Homelander (Antony Starr) as their leader. The ugliness of this lie is revealed straight in the first episode when A-Train, one of the Seven, kills Hughie Campbell’s girlfriend and simply dashes off with no remorse. Hughie is then approached by Billy Butcher, a leader of a dysfunctional vigilante team with the sole purpose of destroying the “supes”, as coined by Butcher. This vengeance-led journey is personal as Homelander raped Butcher’s wife and Butcher, believing her to be dead, had been on the warpath ever since. Along the way, the Boys discover the truth behind Vought International, with the revelation that these super-powered individuals are not born, but manufactured through Compound V, a formula created by Vought to create their “heroes”. Both seasons teeter the line between dark humor and actual darkness, between true conviction and political pandering, and features characters you love to hate, others who make it hard to root for them, and ones you feel just plain sorry for.
The second season is slower-paced than the first season, but with a clear sense that the edges are fraying for both the Boys and the Supes and it’s not entirely clear if they can be put back together again. But the slower pace doesn’t mean the stakes aren’t still high as a new hero appears on the scene named Stormfront (Aya Cash). This superhero brings with her some of the ideals and messages that 2020 is currently grappling with today.
From abuse of power to the falsehoods of white supremacy and other racist ideologies to the distrust in systems that have proven time and time again to be ineffective in distributing justice, this season of THE BOYS is even more disturbing because it touches on topics that people in the real world can’t even agree on. The show continues to push the question of how much of yourself do you give up for the sake of your cause before you become lost in it.
If the first season of THE BOYS was like a wild car ride that had you grappling to hold on, Season Two is the seconds right after the car crashes and you’re trying to put yourself back together. And one thing’s for sure; things don’t get any easier from here.
Season 2 of THE BOYS premieres on Amazon Prime Video Friday, September 4th.