Amazon aggressively touted the return of its hit super hero satire. I can see why they felt it needed the help.
Given that one of the few originals Amazon put out in August was a featurette on The Boys, Season 2, I assumed that they were really looking to cement its status as a hit. I certainly thought the show did great the first time out, and was excited by all of the hype for the second outing. Turns out Amazon was trying to put lipstick on a pig and pass it off as a beauty queen.
The Boys, Season 2 (Amazon Prime)
After their efforts to take down Vought Corporations army of weaponized super heroes goes sideways, The Boys are left scrambling. Team leader Bill Butcher (Karl Urban) wakes up in a parking lot after the failed attempt to kill Homelander. The rest of the team holes up with a group of black market dealers while Hughie (Jack Quaid) tries to repair his relationship with Starlight/Annie (Erin Moriarty.)
Hunted by both Vought and law enforcement, The Boys are forced to reach out to uncomfortable sources to clear their names and expose the secret behind Vought’s super heroes.
Episode 1: The Big Ride.
Hughie and Starlight try to obtain a sample of compound V, in order to expose Vought. Starlight’s plan is made more dangerous due to a freshly recovered A-Train (Jessie Usher) and the addition of the newest member of The Seven, Stormfront (Aya Cash).
Amazon gives me more of The Boys…and I hate it! Despite really enjoying season 1, the first episode of season 2 completely poisons the well for me.
The Boys pull one of the laziest, infuriating stunts in the TV series arsenal: gas-lighting the cliffhanger ending. At the end of the last season, big things happened. Hughie and Starlight were in a weird spot. The Female (actual character name) seemed to be breaking out of her trauma induced shell. The Boys had law enforcement just moments from nabbing them. Butcher was at the mercy of Homelander, who revealed that he hadn’t killed Butcher’s wife, he’d put her in witness relocation. Because she was carrying Homelander’s baby.
All of these big plot points. All of it causing big character changes. All of it ignored as the writer’s furiously press the reset button.
Instead of getting resolution, we get a large time-skip where The Boys don’t have Butcher with them…but seem to know he’s alive and easily reachable. Nothing is addressed about the Butcher/Homelander cliffhanger. Hughie and Annie have pretty much reverted to their situation from midway through the first season. The Female/Kimiko is back to being an object. Vought doesn’t seem materially changed by their chief executive having been blown to smithereens. It’s a cheap punt that lets the show get away with ignoring character development, while cock-teasing any answers to the cliffhanger.
Episode 2: Proper Preparation and Planning.
With Butcher back in charge, The Boys finally get a break: a super-terrorist is detected being smuggled into the US. If they can secure him for the government, law enforcement will clear their names. The only problem is that he’s a super-powered terrorist…and he’s Kimiko’s brother.
Emboldened by Stormfront’s confrontational attitude to Vought, Starlight executes her plan to steal compound V, despite A-Train looking to trip her up.
Yeah. Not getting much better. We get another non-answer as to how Butcher didn’t wind up dead. Butcher himself starts to become a major liability to the show, despite how much I like Karl Urban. He’s being written as even more of an asshole this season, yet also is trying to be redeemed via “he’s only doing it because he’s desperate to save his wife.” Everything he does endangers the life and loved-ones of his team, so fuck him, I do not have the least sympathy for him.
On a related note, the show is also working overtime to rehabilitate The Deep…and likewise, fuck that noise, I do not give a flying fuck what insecurity made him into a rapist loser; I really really don’t care at all about his character.
Meanwhile, in rare good news, both Kimiko and Queen Maeve finally get some time to develop, and each gets a scene that shows some real humanity for each character. So that’s nice. I guess.
Episode 3: Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men.
Butcher and company get their hands on the super-terrorist and arrange to hand him off to the CIA. The plan has nearly everyone on the team suspicious and resentful of Butcher’s tactics.
Starlight succeeds in cowing A-Train and getting the compound V to the press, prompting crisis at Vought. To buy some media goodwill, The Seven go after the super-terrorist, setting up another confrontation with The Boys.
So. Much. Frustration.
Kimiko and her brother’s plight gets hijacked so it can be about Frenchie’s romantic intentions towards Kimiko. Hughie, who seemed to be about to do something desperate to stop Butcher, goes back to whiny “I need you Starlight” mode, despite having demonstrated he can actually succeed on his own. Homelander pulls a bloodless coup on Vought, and I don’t care. The Deep gets over his issues and returns to The Seven, and I don’t care. Stormfront, who was shaping up to be a fun, take-no-shit character…turns out to be a Neo-Nazi. (Yeah, a bit obvious in retrospect with the name…but damn, I hadn’t internalized how completely juvenile the show has become.)
Binge or Purge?: The Boys, S2.
Well, at least Amazon made this an easy call. Too bad that they pissed all over a fun show in the process. None of the build-up and growth from season one has panned out so far, and most of the characters have either reverted to default or become entirely repellent.
It becomes more infuriating because it is blatantly obvious that they are milking the answers to the cliffhanger to keep you strung along…AND they are dribbling out the content one episode a week instead of releasing a whole season. It’s not like this is Disney+ where you might cancel at any time, so they need to string out The Mandalorian to hook trial members. This is Amazon Prime. It’s practically a utility these days, like electricity or broadband. There’s zero reason to make the product actively worse. Which they’ve done.
Verdict: Purge, Purge, PURGE!