THE BOYS Season 3 Review; "[It] Remains The Most Depraved And Delightfully Unhinged Series On TV"

The first three episodes of The Boys arrives on Prime Video tomorrow, and we're weighing in with our verdict on all eight instalments of this deliciously depraved adaptation of the hit comic book series!

"With great power comes the absolute certainty that you'll turn into a right c**t."

That’s what Billy Butcher says about Supes at one point in this eight-part third season of The Boys, though if this latest batch of episodes proves anything, it’s that there’s a lot more to many of these characters than meets the eye. Putting a greater emphasis on further exploring its leads, season 3 doesn’t move the overarching story along too far by the time all is said and done, but still delivers a satisfying, suitably f***ed up ride for fans who have been eagerly anticipating a return to this twisted world. With Billy more intent than ever to put an end to the world’s Supes, Homelander’s emotional state worsening to the point where he’s a powder keg waiting to explode, and the introduction of Soldier Boy, it’s good that the show decides to zero in on its characters because there are a lot of them, and The Boys occasionally struggles under their weight.

Giancarlo Esposito and Claudia Doumit end up being sidelined for the most part, a disappointment after season 2 set the stage for them to be so important to the show. That’s not to say they’re total non-factors, but The Boys fails to capitalise on their potential, something we can't help but wonder might be down to setting the story a year after that big cliffhanger. Still, with so much focus on Billy’s mission, Hughie’s relationship with Starlight, Mother’s Milk’s hatred of Supes, Frenchie and The Female’s budding romance, and the weird inner workings of The Seven, there’s only so much story to go around. That’s good and bad, with some subplots (The Deep’s weird romance) feeling like an annoying distraction and others not serviced in the way they deserve (A-Train’s run-in with a blatantly racist vigilante).

Overall, though, The Boys delivers a mostly satisfying experience over the course of its eight episodes, and while a more definitive creative direction is needed for season 4, this year at least sets the stage for that and does so by delivering its fair share of delightfully messed up moments that serve as a reminder of why this is still one of the most gloriously inventive TV shows you could hope to find.
 


It’s that which makes any flaws that much easier to forgive because The Boys is, as per usual, endlessly entertaining. Its cast deserves much of the credit for that, and this year sees standout performances from Karl Urban, Antony Starr, Dominique McElligott, and Karen Fukuhara. However, the writers of this show are clearly going all-out at this point, and while the series has veered from the source material just like Preacher did once upon a time, it’s all the better for it at this stage. It’s gross at times, but never for the shock value alone, something that’s evident this year from some of The Deep’s interactions with his fishy friends. Herogasm, meanwhile, is every bit as depraved as it’s been billed, and we honestly have no idea how Eric Kripke and company come up with some of the deliriously bonkers ideas on offer. Despite that, there are some strong messages at The Boys’ core and this season gets particularly political. Right-wing beliefs, the media, gun control, and racism are all addressed in different ways, all of which are impactful (even when, as noted, there’s occasionally not enough time for them to be fully explored).

Of course, the biggest addition to The Boys season 3 is Jensen Ackles. You may remember him for his brief stint in Smallville, fifteen years of Supernatural, or his voiceover performances as Batman and Red Hood, but this is the performance, we hope, that finally puts him on the map in a big way. The actor is nothing short of extraordinary as Soldier Boy, a twisted Captain America-type Supe who is pretty much what you’d expect to see from a crotchety World War II veteran pulled into the present day. Ackles delivers some pretty heinous lines at times, though he does so in a way that’s believable and makes this character legitimately feel like he’s a relic from another age and a true man out of time. We’d have liked to see quite a bit more of Soldier Boy throughout the season as he enters the fray at a surprisingly late stage, and a greater amount of backstory (or at least backstory told in a more concise fashion) would have been welcomed to flesh him out a little more before he’s thrown into the midst of Butcher's battle with Voight.

Despite ending at a point that leaves these characters very much still on the same mission they have been for a while now and really not too much further along, there’s enough character development in The Boys to ensure that the leads are altered enough to make season 4 an incredibly exciting prospect. Ultimately, it’s a blast spending time in this warped world of superheroes who are more akin to supervillains, and it feels like the next batch of episodes will be a true breath of fresh air. For now, though, this series remains appointment viewing and if you’re hoping for a take on the superhero genre unlike any other, then this remains the best possible place for it.

The Boys remains the most depraved and delightfully unhinged series on TV, and while it tries to cram a little too much in, season 3 is a must-see and a great platform for the phenomenal Jensen Ackles to steal the show as Soldier Boy.
 

IF

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