Have you ever read a comic book and wondered what those superpowered heroes would do if they weren’t quite so perfect and altruistic? That’s the twist behind Amazon Prime’s The Boys in which a superhero team is run by a corporation and the heroes on its payroll are all terribly flawed. The show’s title seems juvenile, but make no mistake, THE BOYS is strictly for adults with enough cursing, sex, and violence to remove any doubt as to why it is on a streaming platform instead of network TV. Based on a comic book of the same name, season one was filled with interesting characters, from the superheroes to the regular humans who joined forces to bring them down. For a streaming series, THE BOYS displays impressive special effects. The acting performances were great, with Karl Urban and Elisabeth Shue providing some star power. Simon Pegg is also fun in a smaller role. Of the less famous actors, Laz Alonso and Tomer Kapon were excellent as members of Butcher’s team while Antony Starr gave Homelander a perfect balance of heroism and menace.
If a dark show about morally questionable superheroes sounds interesting, stop reading now and catch up on season 1. If you don’t mind spoilers or want a refresher about some of the plot points in the first season, read on…
Season 1 was filled with insane off the rails moments, starting with the pilot, in which Hughie’s (Jack Quaid) girlfriend literally exploded in front of him when the speedster A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) ran through her. Butcher (Karl Urban) hates the superheroes because he believes Homelander (Antony Starr) raped his wife and caused her to disappear. Hughie and Butcher joined forces to get revenge and picked up some of his old colleagues to form a crew of misfits.
From the corporate side of things, Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) was in the process of negotiating a contract with the U.S. Government to send her superheroes overseas with the military. While she was trying to seal that deal, she had to deal with misbehaving superheroes. When things start to look bleak for the company, the formula that gives them their powers ‘mysteriously’ got out and leads to super-powered terrorists. With superheroes needed to fight this new threat, victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat, and the contract was approved.
Our view of the superhero world is seen through newest member of the team, Starlight. Unlike the rest of the gang, she’s a genuinely nice person. Her arc is one of the most poignant of the season, as she learns being part of the team may not be all it is cracked up to be. She also formed a link with the other side of the story, as she started dating Hughie.
Some major plot points to catch you up on heading into season 2. Don’t read any of this if you haven’t seen season one and want to.
- Homelander and Queen Maeve let a jetliner crash, killing everyone on board. This has caused Maeve to start drinking again.
- The Deep (Chase Crawford) has been banished to Sandusky due to his sexual assault on Starlight and his ill fated dolphin rescue attempt. Will his character get a redemption arc?
- The regular folks rescued a Wolverine like ‘supe’ who has joined their team.
- Starlight found out Hughie started dating her to get intel on the superheroes. Of course, he ended up really having feelings for her (as in all shows and movies) but as is the case in most shows, that doesn’t really fix anything. Depending on where things go in season 2, Hughie and Starlight could have some trust issues to resolve.
- Starlight helped Hughie and his crew escape at the end of the season, which will likely have consequences for her in season 2.
- Superheroes are created in a lab as babies using a formula called Compound V.
- Butcher’s wife isn’t dead. She’s been hiding out with Homelander’s kid. How will Butcher react to this revelation? Homelander didn’t take the news so well (see below).
- After a season of cringeworthy sexual/mommy dynamics, Homelander heat visioned Stillwell’s skull into oblivion. Note to manipulative corporate types: Think twice before lying to an all powerful superhero with questionable ethics.
Given the revelation about Butcher’s wife and the emergence of super powered terrorists, Season 2 is set up nicely for some more over the top fireworks. I’m also curious to see if Black Noir is used more in season 2. He was used sparingly in the first batch of episodes. This gave him an air of mystery, but he’s also the only member of the team that didn’t screw anything up (according to Homelander).
Season 1 of THE BOYS is now available on Amazon Prime Video, with Season 2’s first three episodes on September 4th. New episodes will then air once a week until the season finale on October 9th.
Check back later today for my thoughts on the first episode of Season 2.
Have you watched season 1? Are you excited for season 2? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!