Review: Season 2 of ‘The Boys’ Is a Hit, and It Refuses to Flinch

Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

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Amazon Prime Video’s The Boys premiered in 2019, and the series was met with praise and support as it garnered an enthusiastic fan base thanks to its killer cast, witty writing, and unapologetically in-your-face nature.

Based on the comic book series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, The Boys is set in a world where superheroes exist. Corruption runs deep among the Supes, especially those that reign supreme in The Seven, who are essentially Vought International’s own twisted version of the Justice League (except far less heroic and a little bit more on the murderous side). Despite the celebrity status of these “beloved” Supes, not everyone is fooled by the act that they put on for the cameras — especially the Boys. These wayward vigilantes are fighting to bring down Vought and The Seven, but not without consequence. The odds aren’t in their favor, after all.

After the first season’s success, anticipation steadily built up over the following year for season 2. More and more fans flocked to the series thanks to eager word of mouth and a fantastic social media and marketing team. The cast and crew provided regular updates throughout filming, full of excitement and eager for fans to see what else they had come up with. And so, the question remained, would season 2 of The Boys be able to live up to the endlessly entertaining insanity of season 1? In short — yes, it did.

WARNING: Spoilers for season 2 of The Boys beyond this point. 

Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

Irony has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it. Despite the fact that season 2 of The Boys was filmed in 2019, the current relevancy of the show’s underlying commentary as it airs now in 2020 is startling. Season 2 found the Boys on the run from Vought, The Seven, and the law, having drawn far too much attention to themselves throughout the course of the first season — Butcher in particular. Meanwhile, The Seven had their own problems with the arrival of the newest member, Stormfront — the undercover Nazi.

Similar to season 1, this season was once again eight episodes long. The Boys takes power in its short run by telling a tight-knit and cohesive story that very much feels like an 8-hour long movie. Network television shows, in comparison, often end up stretching themselves too thin across a long season, ending up with disjointed storytelling and wayward plot lines in the process. The Boys doesn’t fall into this trap, as every line, every scene, every eye roll, and every drop of blood spilled is deliberate. Even the show’s smaller details are all placed with such care, like the background conversations, the news headlines, and even the products on shelves within the show’s universe. It’s easy to waste time getting lost in the details of a show with nothing but a tangled web to show for it, but dig deeper into The Boys and scooping every last morsel from the bottom of the container consistently proves to be a rewarding way to watch.

This season introduced several new characters, the most notable being Aya Cash’s Stormfront, the latest corrupt member of The Seven. For those that weren’t already aware of Stormfront’s comic counterpart’s history, the way that her character was introduced in the show was a stroke of genius. Without even realizing it was happening, we, the audience became just like the general public within the universe of The Boys — we were introduced to a new celebrity Supe and lulled into a false sense of security. Cash’s character touted a no-shits-given attitude, making it clear that her participation as a member of The Seven and an employee of Vought would be strictly on her own terms. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, be her own advocate, and call out others in the process. For a moment, the audience wondered if perhaps Stormfront would be the key to taking down Homelander and Vought from the inside. She turned out to be an evil Nazi bitch, so that plan was off the table. But Cash’s delivery of the character from start to finish was impeccable — on part with that of Antony Starr’s wicked portrayal of Homelander.

Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

A looming question lingered upon heading into the second season — would it live up to the sheer insanity that made the first season so unique, bingeable, and unforgettable? Would it shoot too far and end up a mockery of itself for the sake of shock value? If you take some of the events out of context, they may sound too outrageous to fathom. A boat obliterating a whale, heads exploding like fireworks in a courtroom, and Homelander on the verge of sucking his own– … you get the point. Yet, somehow, the team responsible for bringing these wild ideas from the pages to the screen made it all happen seamlessly; they outdid themselves in the best way possible. The Boys has created a universe where we actively expect to see our main characters covered from head to toe in blood, and where we won’t even bat an eye over the absurdity of poor, wee Hughie staging a protest from within the depths of a rank whale carcass. It also certainly helps that the show has an incredibly talented special effects team that brings all of these diabolical scenes to life in the most realistic ways possible. A testament to how deeply this show has nestled itself into a category of believable chaos is the scene where Homelander fantasizes taking down the entire protest crowd with his laser vision — it may have been a product of his twisted imagination, but if the scene had turned out to be real? It wouldn’t have surprised me one bit.

One of the very few weak areas in season 2 was the nature of Becca’s untimely demise. Her character was mainly an idea; we only knew her through Butcher’s experiences and pain. This season, we were given a chance to get to know her for the strong and resilient character that she is. Becca’s story is tragic; she’s been through hell and lost everything and everyone she once knew and loved, all while fighting to protect her son’s future. The Boys doesn’t lack strong female characters, that’s for certain, but the issue lies in the fact that one of the most deserving of them all went out with a whimper rather than a bang. Understandably, from a writer’s perspective, Becca’s survival would have potentially compromised whatever the future plans for Butcher and Ryan’s characters may be. So was her death the right narrative choice? Possibly. However, it would have been far more vindicating to see her character given a chance to take back the power that was stolen from her time and time again before taking her final breath, a la some form of revenge on Homelander and/or Stormfront.

Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

The strength of The Boys as a series lies in its refusal to flinch. The show isn’t afraid to tackle uncomfortable topics and shove bitter truths in your face in the form of major plotlines, reoccurring themes, and passing comments made by characters throughout. Rather than cutting corners and softening the sharp edges, therefore losing its bite in order to cater to a wider audience, The Boys is here to tell a dark and blunt story that doesn’t shy away from the realities of racism, sexism, violence, and dirty politics. The cast’s talents further accentuate the power of these heavy themes, as they carry us through the story (both from the side of our somewhat morally grey vigilante “heroes” and those despicable Supes) in a way that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

Overall, the second season of The Boys was diabolically fantastic from start to finish. Whatever my expectations may have been going in this time around, they were all promptly blown out of the water. The Boys is a show that’s inherently confident in just how damn cool it is, and it’s an attitude that it has rightfully earned over the course of two seasons.

Check out our recaps for the entire second season of The Boys here. Season 3 of The Boys is currently in pre-production and will hopefully begin filming in early 2021. A spin-off series about a Supe college run by Vought is also in the works.

Lindsey

Written by

Lindsey joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2018. She has spent a large portion of her life dedicated to her first love, photography. When she's not behind the camera, you can find her reading books and comics and dabbling in creative writing. Lindsey’s favourite fandoms are Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Marvel. You can find her on Twitter at @lindyysolo. Contact: directors@nerdsandbeyond.com

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