Boom! Pow! Splash! The Boys is back with its second season and there is still the accustomed amount of blood on the wall, energy explosions and sea creature casualties. First season had a lot of great moments and it managed to establish a tone right from the first episode but the main overarching things on a TV series, which are character work and the main story from first to last episode, lacked a little edge. Titular characters, ”Boys”, were also the least developed part of it and got overpowered in every sense by the ”Supes”. This second season manages to resolve all of those things; most interesting characters get way deeper exploration, story gets larger from just taking jabs at corporations to actually challenging the system and the ”villains”, while ”Boys” themselves become more of an unit. There was a lot of promise in the first season and now it gets fulfilled.
Biggest revelation this time around is the said character work so let’s just get into it. Butcher (Karl Urban) gets a proper past and a relationship to work on with his wife Becca (Shantel VanSanten), Hughie (Jack Quaid) and Starlight’s (Erin Moriarty) romance gets more complex, Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) becomes into her own and we get to know more about Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to improvements. That is the making of a good show but what makes it great is hands down Antony Starr and his character Homelander. Starr absolutely commands every scene he is in and this season he also gets to flex more muscles regarding technical acting. Fluctuating fame, trying to connect to his son and the character’s insecurity have a major impact and require more of Starr as an actor. Homelander might be the best villain on TV right now so there are no limits to where that character can go.
What’s funny about Homelander and what a terrifying character he is, is that I can’t think of too many recent comparisons and one of them is Gus Fring on ‘Breaking Bad’ played by Giancarlo Esposito, who turns up to The Boys as new Vought boss Stan Edgar. Homelander and Edgar’s scenes together are some of the best which is very much because of the multifaceted acting from Esposito and Starr. Those scenes are perfect examples of both funny and stylish dialogue that the show provides. There are meta-jokes, meta-meta-jokes and commentary that doesn’t shy away from the target. Season’s new hero/villain Stormfront (Aya Cash) is a direct result from it which also proves that the show is learning from mistakes of its first season. One area that the show hasn’t completely captured is the fighting and stunts. Sure it’s a show that deconstructs the superhero-genre but it still is a superhero show so it’s a bit disappointing that the execution is shaky and not athletic compared to rest of the stuff in the genre.
Smileys: Antony Starr, characterisation, dialogue, Giancarlo Esposito
Frowneys: Stunt choreography isn’t quite at the level where it needs to be
Is there a doesthewhaledie.com? Or howmanyheadexplosions.net? Or doesthecharacterhavesexwiththemselves.gov? There’s so much gore and weird stuff in every single episode (at least three in one) that it would be a disservice to joke about just one here.