That, as anyone who watched the previous two seasons knows, is an understatement. And yet, in the new season, it soon becomes clear from the psychopathic leader of the Seven’s wide, unblinking eyes that we’re about to see Homelander at his most unhinged. And what a treat that is.
The Boys season 3 picks up a year after last season’s finale. The Seven are attending the premiere of their latest movie, The Dawn of the Seven, a satirical nod to the very real movie Justice League (complete with its own hashtag, #ReleaseTheBourkeCut, poking fun at the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut campaign). Vought’s heroes are suited and booted as they walk the red carpet and attempt to rewrite Stormfront and Homelander’s romance as a case of “a man falling in love with the wrong woman”.
The scene is the show at its very best, riffing on the idea of modern superhero movies and the status we give them in society while, at the same time, giving us a glimpse at what the supes are really like. It’s what you expect from creator Eric Kripke and his writing team.
And then there are The Boys themselves. Following a bloodbath of Stormfront’s creation, the remaining members of the eponymous vigilante team are working with the government to keep the supes in check. Hughie (Jack Quaid) is Victoria Neuman’s (Claudia Doumit) coffee boy, and Butcher (Karl Urban), to everyone’s surprise, is toeing the party line. We meet them again on their latest mission hunting down supes and it gets messy – to put it lightly, it’s one of the show’s boldest, erm, openings yet. As you may suspect, it’s not enough for Butcher. He craves more direct action and, after learning of a mysterious Anti-Supe weapon, they find themselves on a mission to work out what happened to Vought’s first superhero, Soldier Boy.
Amazon’s releasing the first three episodes all at once, and they are a great way to be catapulted right back into the world of The Boys, and the show’s shock value has not worn thin. Despite a long break, or perhaps because of it, there’s a whole lot to gasp at during these episodes.
However, there’s still an understanding from Kripke that we’re not just here for blood, guts, and gore. There’s some nice character work, too, with Tomer Capone and Karen Fukuhara’s Frenchie and Kimiko being particular highlights and their relationship giving the show some real heart. Urban’s Butcher is still bloodthirsty, yet he’s still reeling from the death of his wife and has been slightly subdued following the events of season 2.
Speaking of continued great performances, Starr is excellent as Homelander, relishing the unhinged direction the show is taking the character. Chace Crawford, who plays The Deep, has some hilarious moments, bringing most of the laughs in this sometimes somber show.
As the series continues, though, not every member of the growing cast is given much to do. Dominique McElligott’s Queen Maeve is one of the casualties, being very little more than a narrative plot device. The mysterious Black Noir also barely appears, while Giancarlo Esposito could do with being given some more screentime – the same could be said of almost anything the Breaking Bad and Mandalorian actor appears in. And then there’s Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy, who has been hyped as the new season’s big bad. We don’t see a lot of him, and you have to wonder why. So far, there’s been a lot of setup without any real action – three episodes in, you would hope to really be in the thick of it by now.
With five episodes of gory goodness still on their way, there’s every chance the best is yet to come. I get the feeling bringing in Soldier Boy may be a really bad idea for Butcher and the gang. Just call it a hunch…
The Boys season 3 will premiere with the first three episodes on Friday, June 3 on Amazon Prime Video. New episodes will be available each Friday, leading up to the season finale on July 8. Looking for more to stream? Check out our guide to the best shows on Amazon Prime Video to watch right now.
3.5 out of 5
The Boys season 3 episodes 1-3 review: “The show’s boldest opening yet – but when does the action start?”
The Boys season 3 is back doing what it does best – balancing shock and gore with moving character development. Antony Starr’s Homelander steals the show, but he could be about to meet his match in Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy…