Editor’s Note: This is a non-spoiler review.
The Boys, Amazon’s Prime Video’s enormously successful anti-superhero series, returns on September 4th to kick off an explosive new season. Even before the premiere of Season 2, The Boys has been renewed for a third season!
The major question at the end of the first season was whether or not the series could continue to carry forward its insane momentum. Could they replicate the sheer hilarity, outrageousness, blood, and guts from Season 1 into Season 2? Let there now be no doubt in anyone’s mind: Season 2 picks up where Season 1 left off and takes the series to an entirely new level.
The titular cast returns but they are now wanted people who are hiding out in a drug den surrounded by criminals. Butcher (Karl Urban) is missing. Hughie (Jack Quaid) tries to fill the gap left by Butcher as the leader of the group but he does not possess the ruthlessness needed to do so, especially while the absence of Starlight has left a massive hole in his heart. Meanwhile, Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Frenchie (Tomer Capon), and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) flounder as they try to cope with their new life on the run.
As for the superpowered Seven, Homelander (Antony Starr) openly continues his campaign against the foreign-born superpowered “terrorists”, with the help of Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), while Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) carries on an undercover operation. Starlight (Erin Moriarty) continues to be torn between two worlds, The Deep (Chace Crawford) has hit rock bottom and searches for redemption as a means of returning to the world of The Seven, and finally, A-Train (Jesse T. Usher) just wants to regain consciousness.
Into this miasma, the writers introduce several new super-powered characters. Aya Cash (You’re the Worst, Wolf of Wall Street) expertly portrays Stormfront, a seemingly contemporary, media-savvy hero who has a very dark secret. In the comics, Stormfront is a man. By changing the gender of Stormfront to a woman in the series, the writers have added a new dimension, which adds a new point of conflict. Stormfront is confrontational, snarky, and leaves no doubt about what she believes.
Shawn Ashmore (The Rookie, Conviction, X-Men) also joins the cast as Lamplighter, a superhero who has a history with the Seven and The Boys. Again, this is a perfect casting choice, since Ashmore has the ability to make viewers sympathize with a person who has committed heinous acts.
There are several other super-powered individuals who join the series at different points during Season 2. While their parts are small, they drive the story in surprising and powerful directions. Some of them have a history with different members of the Season 1 characters. On more than one occasion, different super-powered individuals graphically remind the viewers why The Boys is an adult series that fans love.
Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, The Mandalorian) returns as Stan Edgar, the non-super-powered CEO of Vought International. Esposito subtly and brilliantly portrays Edgar as the true power (and perhaps the true villain) in this horrible menagerie that is the world of artificially created superheroes. Edgar is CEO of Vought International for a reason and viewers are constantly reminded of this throughout the season.
Edgar is not the only human who wields an incredible amount of power in this world of superheroes: Goran Visnjic (Timeless, Extant) joins as Alastair Adana. When you think of Adana, think of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Adana leads a similar type of group. Also joining the cast is Claudia Doumit (Timeless, Scandal) as the extremely politically savvy and fearless Congresswoman Victoria Neuman. Neuman courageously takes on Vought International.
If all of this is not enough, there is the problem of Butcher’s wife, who is alive and raising Homelander’s son.
At first glance, it may appear that Season 2, with the introductions of so many new characters, might create an unwieldy, overly complicated storyline. However, the writers have carefully crafted a wonderfully balanced tale over 8 episodes that is a fast-paced, compelling drama that does not let up. There are moments of laugh out loud comedy which can be followed by sheer horror. The writers never let the viewers forget that these people are still human, no matter how flawed or powerful they are; but at the same time, they remind us that one does not have to have superpowers to be a hero, or a villain, or to exercise tremendous power.
One caveat for viewers, since it is The Boys, it would be wise to expect some major surprises literally until the last moments of the season finale.
Season 2 delivers as only The Boys can and we recommend you add Season Two to your ‘must-see’ list.
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