Prime Video’s The Boys (Season 3): The Last Time to Look on this World of Lies (Episode 5) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
The Boys continues its season three hot streak with one of the best episodes in the entire series as it delves deeply into the central thematic question it posed in the premiere.
After this episode, it’s clearer than ever that this season of The Boys is tackling how to effectively create meaningful change. Last season, there were a lot of ties to political turmoil happening in the US that mainly connected Homelander (Anthony Starr) and Stormfront to Donald Trump and the more vocal conservative presence in the US. This episode sees those connections not only continue but also heighten and expand to horrifying extents. There are literally sequences that share exact verbiage, perspectives, and instances that draw from real-life, like Homelander not completely disconnecting himself from the Stormwatchers in the same way Trump didn’t with David Duke or the Jan. 6 capital stormers. These real-life connections are what make The Boys tackling change so important as it could provide some pivotal and groundbreaking takeaways and it certainly sets the stage for that here.
Homelander has clearly needed to be stopped since the first episode, but now it’s more apparent than ever as he solidifies his power even deeper. He puts people that he can easily manipulate in positions of power, like Ashley (Colby Minifie) and The Deep (Chace Crawford), in order to weaken those that could work against him. His confrontation with Maeve (Dominique McElligott), who develops a steamy and sentimental connection with Butcher (Karl Urban), leads to her getting captured by Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell), who’s also under Homelander’s thumb, leaving her fate a mystery. Even with all this power, Homelander is shown to be as inept as Stan (Giancarlo Esposito) said he would be and every instance of him being challenged shows his insecurities. He’s still quite a danger though and Maeve even mentions that she fears of pushing him over the edge.
On a smaller, but still important scale is A-Train’s (Jessie T. Usher) beef with Blue Hawk (Nick Wechsler) due to his continued excessive force in black neighborhoods. It’s really amazing how this sequence captures the essence of police brutality and fake apologies all in one excellently crafted scene. Blue Hawk’s insincerity and the anger over his actions comes together in one of the rawest moments of the series that leaves a thick lump in your throat and will hopefully lead to a significant change for A-Train. A-Train’s been presented with multiple opportunities to change his mindset, but usually takes the coward’s route to safety. But his brother Nathan (Christian Keyes) being severely injured by Blue Hawk’s attack on the community has got to spark change within him to take stronger action. Hopefully too this causes him to take a stand against more than just Blue Hawk and maybe help out when the time comes to take Homelander down. I’m not holding my breath for it, but I’m a much bigger believer now than I was before.
The biggest and most important debate though still deals with finding a way to kill Homelander and the emotions are higher than ever and really expand past just him. In one of Butcher’s best scenes, his discussion with Maeve about his feelings on using the temporary V and really saying that all Supes need to go really drives home how important it is to stop Homelander. After seeing the kind of power that Supes have, Butcher knows that things really need to change and that the worry of another Homelander popping up after he’s gone is a real possibility. It obviously doesn’t stop him from taking the temporary V, but it is nice to see him be more open and Urban’s performance hits new heights. M.M. (Laz Alonso) is also dealing with some emotional turmoil being upset with Butcher and Hughie (Jack Quaid) still and struggling with the idea that Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) is still out there.
Soldier Boy is really the hot topic of the episode as seeing him walk around in modern times gives off big Captain America vibes and he is a pivotal part in the big split we see in this episode about how to deal with Homelander. Throughout the episode, there are constant conflicts between Hughie and Starlight (Erin Moriarty) about Hughie’s use of the temporary V and what they should do about Soldier Boy since he could be the only way for them to kill Homelander. All these debates feel perfectly personal and present some real thoughts and perspectives that are all understandable. M.M. and Starlight feel that they can’t trust Soldier Boy and don’t want to work with him because of his past and see taking the temporary V as crossing a line. They feel that Hughie and Butcher are becoming the thing they’re trying to kill and they’re kind of right. They’re letting their desperation cloud their judgement and while they don’t know it, Soldier Boy does have views that aren’t so different from Homelander and it’s very possible that they could join forces, leading to an even bigger uphill battle.
However, Hughie and Butcher are also kind of right for wanting to work with Soldier Boy and taking the V because, honestly, what other option is there. Homelander is only making himself harder to stop each day and if they’re really going to take him on, they need to even the playing field. It’s nice that Starlight still believes there’s a better way, but she’s not bringing much to the table. All these possibilities and perspectives make this thematic look at enacting change incredibly engaging and creates a lot of thought and discussion. There’s certainly a lot of takeaways viewers can have about this moment and watching some of these characters go their separate ways signifies big changes coming up.
The Boys provides some of the strongest story material in the series yet with how it digs deep into its central theme of achieving change by continuing to connect to real-life, ongoing issues and putting its characters in tough situations that force them to make impactful choices. Hughie and Butcher might have Soldier Boy on their side for now but facing Homelander and killing him once and for all won’t be easy.
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