Written by Jack Ransom
Arriving just under 2 years after Season 2’s phenomenal finale, The Boys season 3 begins on a relatively optimistic note for the crew. Hughie is taking down rogue “Supes” for Vought officials and he’s even got Butcher, Frenchie and Kimiko taking the (slightly) less bloody road in helping him out and MM is now on the straight and narrow attempting to build back a relationship with his daughter. However, this somewhat peaceful blip is quickly ended when public and company pressure due to his revealed romance with Nazi Supe Stormfront get too much for Homelander and he snaps back at his higher ups and doubles down on the - “I can do whatever the fuck I want.” quote. As well as Homelander growing even more unhinged, past Vought poster child Soldier Boy is back on the scene with a quest for revenge.
This third season carries on the excellent precedent set by the previous two seasons when it comes to balancing a cavalcade of characters and giving each of them the appropriate amount of screentime and personal arcs/stories. Hughie’s acceptance and headfirst dive into Butcher’s ‘do what’s necessary no matter the cost’ is a great change of pace from his usual awkward self, and Butcher’s already fractured morality is pushed further when he begins shooting up experimental temporary Compound-V to level the playing field. Homelander’s maniacal yet unsteady takeover of Vought is frequently intense and uneasy to witness and it’s always interesting to see those cracks of vulnerability in him. Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy looms over the plot, but doesn’t fully come into play (outside of flashbacks) until episodes 5 & 6, still, digging deeper into Vought’s past and his notorious reputation is one of the series strongest elements. A-Train’s subplot takes a poignant turn into the Black Lives Matter movement, The Deep’s return from the cult that he became fully integrated in from Season 2 is welcome and Starlight and Maeve’s anger and leverage on Vought is inevitably going to explode.
Season 3 is as cutthroat as ever in its violence and shocking yet unique sense of humour. The first episode alone has one of the most disturbing, hilariously grim and “WTF!?” moments of the whole three seasons, involving a Supe called Termite. The show runners know just how much they can push the envelope and I cannot wait to see the discourse surrounding episode 6 especially. Gorehounds will not be disappointed and the action beats throughout are thoroughly entertaining and brutal. Poking fun at recasting and cameos, a cackle inducing parody of Gal Gadot’s ill-timed Imagine misfire, a myriad of celebrity and brand piss-takes, as well as the online marketing for their in universe ‘Dawn of the Seven’ movie (and hashtag) is nearly exactly the same as the Snyder Cut.
The performances are great all around as expected. Antony Starr is still the show’s highlight as the utterly terrifying and psychotic Homelander. Once again he brings so much nuance, intimidation and presence to the role even with the smallest expressions or movements. Both Karl Urban and Jack Quaid get to let loose here, as both of them have reached the highest level of desperation in stopping Homelander. Erin Moriarty is the moral centrepiece of the show. She balances her undercover betrayal against Vought, as well being at its forefront when she is moved up to lead the team alongside Homelander. The rest of the returning supporting players are all as great as expected (Giancarlo Esposito especially) and newcomer Jensen Ackles brings a cocky, belligerent and snarky attitude to the instantly notable Soldier Boy.
So far (in its first six episodes) The Boys Season 3 delivers exactly what fans of the series want more of. Blood, guts, shocks, laughs and imagery that will be ingrained in your mind for a while. Aside from a couple of weaker plot threads, the material on display here are some of the best out of the 3 seasons so far. After the final moments of episode 6 I cannot wait for 7 & 8 to drop.