REVIEW: The Boys Season 2

The Boys Season 2 continues the Season 1 story of Billy Butcher and his crew taking on the mighty ‘Supes’ in The Seven and attempting to knock them from their perch. More violence. More profanity. More laughter. Those who enjoyed the first season will find that the dial has been turned up on all their favourite things from the show based on the comic book series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. But is it as good as that memorable first season?

Now the origin tale of The Boys getting together is out of the way, The Boys Season 2 allows the series to take more risks and explore the characters that viewers are now familiar with whilst introducing a few more interesting ones to be loved and hated. There are a lot of storylines and development across the eight episodes as Karl Urban’s Billy Butcher deals with the revelation that his wife, Becca, is alive and living in fear. Her death was the fuel that drove him forward on his vengeful mission against the superheroes abusing their power and enjoying the adoration of the public. Karl Urban once again shines in his role as a man hardened by grief but The Boys Season 2 allows for moments where the cracks begin to show in his tough exterior. His older brother/younger brother dynamic with Hughie is great to watch and the time spent with Butcher’s family allows an insight into his past that helps explain what shaped him and made him into the man we see today. Scenes with fellow Lord of the Rings cast member John Noble were especially poignant and a highlight of the series.

Stories laced with grimdark often succeed when they have well-developed villains that the audience love to hate and The Boys Season 2 not only has the despicable, arrogant, over-powered character of Homelander; it also introduced Stormfront – a new female member of The Seven with enough cunning and trickery that she is seemingly able to stay one step ahead of Homelander and even offer him advice on improving his image. In a theme that runs through The Boys Season 2, we see the cracks in Homelander’s image. The series shows that there are strengths and weaknesses in all the characters on display – a human side to the superheroes and threads of the nature versus nurture debate run through the show. It would have been interesting to have a few more episodes for the show to explore these themes and look at what it means stand up against hatred in this century but instead we get a super-powered Nazi blasting Emperor Palpatine-like electricity so I can’t complain.

The Boys Season 2 offers a look at many of the lives of the expanding cast of characters and though interesting, some of the plotlines push aside others so that this season doesn’t feel as tight as the first. The Deep has some wonderful comedic moments as he attempts to find a way back into The Seven and Frenchie’s bond with Kimiko is further developed and given extra context. Unfortunately these threads push Hughie and Starlight, two of the main characters from the first season, to the side. They feel like the least interesting characters in The Boys Season 2 which instead focuses on the brilliant Billy Butcher and Homelander, but hopefully they will have more to do in the next season.

All the gore, violence and laughter from the first season – The Boys Season 2 continues to be great TV that stands out from other superhero shows. It has some incredibly dark moments that most shows shy away from and though it is not as tight as the first season, The Boys Season 2 is an enjoyable feast of filth with excellent actors and some cracking fight scenes. And following that reveal at the end, bring on the next season!

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Aaron Jones

Aaron S. Jones is the author of Flames of Rebellion, the first part of The Broken Gods trilogy. He is Head of English at a school in Kent, UK and when he is not tearing his hair out at students struggling with their, they're and there, he is tearing his hair out as he dies for the thousandth time on Demon's Souls. You can find him on Twitter @HereticASjones where he is most likely procrastinating for hours at a time instead of focusing on his Orc murder mystery.