The Boys are back in town (cue Thin Lizzy guitar riffs), and all is right again. Season 3 of the mega-popular Prime Video series returns after almost two years. Folks, it’s well worth the wait.
Eric Kripke pushes the narrative envelope, and while there’s the show’s signature gore and heart-pounding action, The Boys takes an introspective approach too. Each character embarks on a profound journey of self-reflection, hitting new lows in the process. I’m a sucker for methodical, nuanced character development, and, thankfully, the series doesn’t forget to check in with its core players.
Season 3 is all about addressing trauma and insecurities. The show brilliantly tackles toxic masculinity through its male leads, examining what it means to be “a man” in modern society. Additionally, our characters naturally grapple with grief, often acting out to suppress their pain.
The Boys deftly explores other themes, including social media’s influence, mental health, addiction, race — namely, the Black Lives Matter movement and police murdering Black people — and the illusion of “cancel culture.” They also showcase the dangers of ignorant ideologies and ill-informed vitriol. The Boys depicts the corrosive effects of phrases such as “fake news media,” “everyone’s out to get me” and “she’s a woman, so she’s lying for attention.” Some characters take on a rather Trumpian persona.
Of course, the show doesn’t abandon its initial message of how power corrupts and imperfect idols while expertly showcasing the toxicity of parasocial relationships. It remarks on the hollowness of performative acts for the public. Real heroes follow through with their actions, and we get examples of true heroism and empty heroics.
We also get to see what happens when gods fall from grace post-power corruption, and it’s a thing of beauty.
Kripke and the Powers That Be are aficionados of displaying moral ambiguity. We see more shades of gray this season than ever, as characters we thought were resolutely on the good side of morality make questionable decisions. It shows us that humans are inherently “gray,” residing in the in-between spaces of goodness. The Boys is adept at humanizing seemingly irredeemable characters except for blatant Nazi Stormfront. F*ck her.
It’s deep (not unlike The Deep) as sh*t.
Performance-wise, everyone fires on all cylinders. However, there’s an abundantly clear MVP — Laz Alonso. He steals the show with a visceral, heartbreaking performance as we dive into Mother’s Milk’s familial trauma and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Alonso injects Mother’s Milk with searing vulnerability and tenderness.
Antony Starr, Karen Fukuhara, Karl Urban and Claudia Doumit churn out fully-embodied, top-tier work. Jensen Ackles makes his debut in The Boys as Soldier Boy, effectively scrubbing away any remnants of Dean Winchester. Ackles puts his versatility on display and seamlessly blends in with this universe.
Fukuhara, in particular, mines the depths of Kimiko, unearthing new and intriguing facets of the character. Her ability to say so much without uttering a word is unparalleled.
Without getting spoiler-y, Kimiko and Frenchie’s (Tomer Capon) relationship is too pure for this world. It’s wholesome and sweet, and we see how they connect soulfully, almost on a molecular level. It’s something we seldom see on TV.
What to Expect
Brace yourselves for internal strife among the titular Boys as they navigate Season 3. In addition, gird your loins for the depravity and debauchery of the highly anticipated “Herogasm” plotline. If you’re a fan of The Boys‘ trademark inventiveness regarding onscreen deaths, you won’t be disappointed this season. There’s a Kimiko scene wherein she uses a unique fighting implement. You’ll know it when you see it.
The action sequences are top-notch, and there are twists and turns aplenty to keep viewers sated. There are quite a few character and dialogue parallels in Season 3 and interesting mirror moments we haven’t seen in previous seasons. Oh, and that musical bit from the trailer? It’s brilliantly choreographed and utterly adorable.
The Boys Season 3 balances gore and irreverent, dark humor with surprising poignancy and depth. Said gore and boundary-pushing scenes never feel forced or gratuitous; they fit the show’s tone.
It’s bold, bloody and wholeheartedly diabolical. Season 3 gets the Butcher (and my) stamp of approval.
The Boys will premiere episodes 1-3 on June 3, with weekly releases every Friday on Prime Video.
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