By Ben Glennan, Third Year, Ancient History
In these increasingly uncertain times, the average content consumer may face the dilemma of what to watch as they are confined to their respective hall, house, or hovel. With season two of The Boys, Amazon has hit back hard at competing streaming services, its own (anti) superhero series has quickly risen to the top of the pack of the site’s original offerings.
Based on Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic series of the same name, The Boys season two picks up right where the first series left off, which was a bit of a cliff hanger. After the reveal of Billy Butcher’s (Karl Urban) very much alive wife, the season follows the continuing exploits of the titular team of vigilantes as they individually seek revenge and attempt to collectively bring down the corrupt superhero mega-corporation that is Vought Industries, helmed this time round by Stan Edgar, played by Giancarlo Esposito, who unlike in his Breaking Bad (2008-2013) days, seems here to be under-utilised.
Season two opens strong with typical scenes of extreme violence and tongue-in-cheek humour; it doesn’t slow down for the entire eight episode run. If you were a fan of the first season, then you are very much in luck.
Where season one introduced us to the violent, corrupt, and often allegorical world of ‘The Seven’, season two continues the trend of showing us what superheroes could look like in our current combative civilisation. The show builds upon its reputation of satirising pretty much any aspect of modern society, from clear jabs at Scientology, to political movements as a whole. While it may run the risk of coming off as disingenuous, the show’s self-aware attitude and genuinely funny commentaries do hit the mark, as ‘Eagle the Archer’ would probably say.
Some of the most depraved parts of humanity are depicted and ridiculed in this season with bloody hilarity.
If for whatever reason you weren’t a fan of the female power scene in Avengers: Endgame (2019) for example, there is a scene in this season that is surely empowering, hilarious and pretty bad-ass that genuinely delivers a message without potentially feeling forced whilst also being incredibly entertaining.
The strength of the show certainly lies in its larger than life characters. From the eternally expressionless ‘Black Noir’ (Nathan Mitchell) to the newly born again ‘Deep’ (Chace Crawford), no matter the scene, you are constantly invested in or cracked up by the characters on screen. Homelander (Antony Starr), though side lined somewhat by newcomer Stormfront (Aya Cash), is still spectacularly unstable as a Superman who can snap at any moment. Despite the iffy accent (which somehow adds to delivery and kind of suits the tone of the show), the hard-hitting Billy Butcher, without spoiling anything, is more comical than ever and really delivers some fantastic lines out of the blue.
The show constantly sets up and explores increasingly outrageous and often grotesque situations and narratives. Some of the most depraved parts of humanity are depicted and ridiculed in this season with bloody hilarity. Coupled with the shows wacky and impressively creative use of superpowers, the outlandishness of the characters and the scenarios they find themselves in is constantly intensified. Where dominatrices and neo-Nazis are already fairly colourful areas to explore, they’re admittedly a lot more entertaining and amusing when they are super charged.
‘Expecting a happy ending were we? Well, I’m sorry, it ain’t that kind of massage parlour.’
The show is consciously trying to one up itself in seeing how ridiculous it can go, whether it’s some pretty classic throw away lines: ‘Expecting a happy ending were we? Well, I’m sorry, it ain’t that kind of massage parlour.’ (I know I said I wouldn’t spoil anything, but I couldn’t help myself), to the extremely grisly and satisfying action scenes that are numerous in each episode.
The straightforward plot (compared to competitors such as Netflix’s Umbrella Academy (2019-)) is hard to get lost in. Despite it’s outlandish, well, everything, ‘The Boys’ season two builds upon the first to weave together surprisingly compelling relationships from loveable rogues to despicable villains that you love to hate. Topped off with impressive music choices and compelling production design, season two of The Boys is some of the most fun I’ve had with a show this year, it’s absolutely worth your time whether you’re just picking it up or were a fan of the first offering.
Featured: Jasper Savage, Panagiotis Pantazidis / Amazon Studios
Have you been watching The Boys: Season 2?