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Friday, August 28, 2020

[Review] “The Boys” Season Two Gets Bigger, Bloodier, and Even Better

The inaugural season of Amazon’s hyper-violent series The Boys ended with some major reveals and open-ended questions. Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) discovered his wife Becca (Shantel VanSanten) was alive and well, raising her son, fathered by Homelander (Antony Starr). The discovery was news to the villainous supe, too. Starlight (Erin Moriarity) saved Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) and the rest of the Boys from A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), putting herself at risk, and Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) met a grisly end prompting a changing of the guard at Vought. Across the board, the players were left in a significant state of upheaval. Season two hits the ground running, expanding the violent world of heroes and vigilantes even wider to deliver a densely packed eight episodes of gory, irreverent, and delightful brutality. 

After the events of season one, Hughie, Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Frenchie (Tomer Capon), and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) struggle to take on the Seven in Butcher’s absence. Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) takes charge of Vought with more callous cunning than his predecessor, and the Seven undergoes a lineup change thanks to the events of the previous season. That includes new addition Stormfront (Aya Cash), a formidable supe uninterested in playing nice or by the rules. Her chaotic energy puts her at odds with Homelander’s need for control. It makes her suspicious of Starlight- who’s still desperately trying to maintain her cover in an increasingly precarious situation.

That’s just the barest tip of the iceberg for what showrunner Eric Kripke has in store. To say that season two is dense in story would be a vast understatement. Amazon’s new release schedule for the season has the first three episodes dropping on September 4th, followed by a new episode every Friday until the season finale on October 9th. That’s a good thing here because trying to consume all eight episodes in one sitting would induce sensory overload. Somehow, Kripke and his team of writers manage to seamlessly juggle an insane number of character arcs and storylines, weaving together an ever-growing universe of politics, personal traumas, and new larger-than-life players on the board. The exposition can be a lot to process, and yet this team keeps it easily digestible nonetheless.

Much of that has to do with how The Boys simplifies its well-defined good guys and bad guys. Even if the show likes to perverse the idea of a hero and a villain, it’s clear who to root for and who’s irredeemable. Homelander, no matter how well both Starr and the writing humanizes him, will always be the worst. Hughie and Starlight remain at the opposite end of the moral spectrum. It’s the characters caught in the grey area that are the most interesting- the ones seeking redemption or a way to work through their trauma. On that end, Kimiko’s narrative provides one of the most tender, heartbreaking, and satisfying arcs of the season.

While season two leans heavily into character-driven storylines, it also ups the ante on exciting set pieces and visceral, gory action. Remember that insane moment from season one, involving the Deep (Chace Crawford), a dolphin, and a van? Look for that to get topped in the most excessive, gratuitous way. If there’s one constant, and frankly, there’s many, it’s that poor Deep cannot catch a break. That’s only one of countless jaw-dropping, fist-pumping moments that make you fall that much harder for this series. It’s a season that tops just about every aspect of the previous one, and there’s no exception to be found in the gore department.

There’s absolutely nothing subtle about The Boys. Kripke uses superheroes and villains as overt metaphors for real world applications, and though it’s heavy-handed, it’s far more accessible this way. For season two, he leans even harder into that. It helps that Kripke knows how to pace out this type of story and use levity at key moments – and boy is there a lot of irreverent fun here. His biggest strength is his ability to find the humanity in everything, no matter how outlandish. As in the world of superpowered humans, the light complements the dark well. You fall that much harder for the protagonists and wish for Butcher to unleash bloody hell upon the antagonists. It’s hard to improve something that was already so well-constructed and thoroughly entertaining, but The Boys season two might have done just that.

The first three episodes of The Boys season two premieres on September 4, followed by a new episode every Friday on Amazon Prime Video.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3629041/review-boys-season-two-gets-bigger-bloodier-delightfully-savage/

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