Prime Video’s The Boys (Season 3): Season Premiere Episodes Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
I don’t know how it happens or how they do it, but The Boys always manages to be pretty perfect in nearly every aspect when it returns for a new season and season three is no different, but its start is vastly different than past seasons.
After Stormfront (Aya Cash) and Homelander (Anthony Starr) clashed with The Boys in a brutal fight at the end of season 2, it was unclear what the exact result would be for not only everyone involved, but also the world. This season catches fans up a year after the conflict and things are surprisingly calm as The Boys kind of won. Not in Butcher’s mindset where Supes are no longer on this Earth, but the power dynamics have heavily shifted in a way that has made Homelander a weaker force at the start.
Homelander’s reputation is tarnished from the fallout of Stormfront being publicly revealed to be a Nazi and he’s been reduced to being co-captain of The Seven alongside Starlight (Erin Moriarty). The Boys no longer have to work in the shadows and have taken a stronger turn for the good in working with Victoria Neuman’s (Claudia Doumit) new federal bureau that holds Supes accountable. Honestly, it’s a surprisingly comforting return that also shows certain character relationships and standings in a more positive light. Marvin (Laz Alonso) gets to retire out of this line of work, Hughie and Starlight’s relationship is able to be publicized in a positive light, and even Billy (Karl Urban) has some more positive parts to his life with his growing relationship with Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) and his change in not killing every Supe he comes across.
However, it ends up being a perfectly well laid trap for viewers as the third episode features some of the most jaw-dropping and terrifying turns in the series, especially when it comes to Homelander. Initially, Homelander is stuck at the bottom facing constant scrutiny and seeing his power at Vought stripped, but one realization changes everything. In episode three, Stormfront’s suicide allows Homelander to truly snap and realize his complete power over everyone around him. With no one really able to stop him, Homelander utilizes that dominance to truly take control and any time someone tries to have leverage over him, he reminds them of the destruction he can cause. Homelander has been the villain throughout the series, but he’s never been this sinister or cruel.
The way he makes The Deep (Chace Crawford) eat one of his friendly sea creatures to be a part of The Seven again was absolutely vile and the ultimate trick he pulls in making Starlight act like they’re in a relationship is sickening. Seriously, the series completely pulls the rug out from everyone with the whole making Starlight his girlfriend twist because Hughie and Starlight’s relationship was in such a good, loving place. Also, it seemed like maybe the series was going to have a love triangle with a new member of The Seven and past fling of Starlight, Supersonic (Miles Gaston Villanueva), but instead it delivers a gut-wrenching twist that showcases some of the excellently subversive writing this series has. Also, Starr is continuing to deliver the performance of a lifetime and it’s a damn shame that he hasn’t been recognized as much for it because it’s truly award worthy.
Honestly, all the performances continue to display underrated excellence and Homelander’s table-turning power trip establishes a great reason for the season’s main goal, find something that can kill Homelander. It seems like the time as finally come for The Boys to deal with its Homelander problem and things are already in a crazy place with The Boys trying to figure out even where to start. Eventually they get a lead that takes them through the past a bit as the series expands it lore by touching on a formerly prominent superhero team known as Payback. At the moment, there still isn’t much known about them or their Captain America-like leader Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles), but some glimpses to the past and conflicts in the present are interesting to say the least.
The look at Payback actually sheds some light on Black Noir’s (Nathan Mitchell) backstory and shows why he’s become a silent killer and is incredibly burned under the mask. There’s great conspiracy story forming around the whereabouts of Soldier Boy that could lead to an intriguing answer about how to take out Homelander. However, the most prevailing answer seems like the shots of an experimental drug that lets the user become a Supe for 24 hours given what happens when Billy takes a vial. The temptation was clearly too much for Billy and now he’s tasted the power of what he’s tried to destroy and it’s tough to say how it will affect him going forward. He’s definitely able to amplify his power with how he decimates Soldier Boy’s old sidekick Gunpowder (Sean Patrick Flanery), but the toll it takes on his morality and possibly his health is more intriguing. If the group doesn’t end up finding much during their trip to Russia, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Billy just go toe-to-toe with Homelander with a super-powered edge.
There’s honestly so much that happens in these premiere episodes, it’s tough to cover it all and makes you wonder if the series can handle having so much happen at once. Even though one of the biggest reveals at the end of last season of Neuman being a head-popping Supe gets touched on and is a big reason that Hughie joins back up with The Boys, it’s a storyline that already feels secondary with the stronger focus on Homelander. The series has handled a lot of ongoing plot threads and characters well before so there isn’t too much worry and it’s established an interesting theme about change that connects it all. Between A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) looking to get back into his community and talks about creating change with Hughie and others, there’s a compelling story about what’s important when making being a force for change in society and culture unfolding that’ll be interesting to see play out throughout the season.
What else can we say at this point other than that The Boys is back and better, bloodier, and more bonkers than ever. It’s treatment of Homelander’s power trip makes the stakes higher than ever and there’s just something really special about seeing this small, dysfunctional band of fighters back in action.