Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
When The Boys dropped on Amazon Prime last year, it completely changed the superhero game. The satirical tone complimented the comics well and the abundance of violence, gore and strong character-writing made for one of the more memorable shows in recent history. Given the cliffhanger ending, fans eagerly awaiting season 2 can rest assured that Amazon’s superhero show isn’t about to slow down any time soon.
In fact, The Boys bursts back on the scene with a bloody good opener, one that embraces all the elements that made the first season so compelling and builds on that across the season. Not only that, it cranks up the tension and drama ten-fold with some excellent new inclusions to the cast.
Giancarlo Esposito (who’s severely under-utilized this season) channels his inner-Gus Fring for the icy-cold performance of Stan Edgar. Aya Cash meanwhile is not under-utilized. In fact, her sadistically charismatic showing as Stormfront is one of the big highlights for season 2.
That’s just as well too because the story here wastes absolutely no time picking up where we left off from before. The boys are on the run, labeled as America’s most wanted after Butcher’s stunt with Madelyn. Homelander is a national treasure (of course) but he’s much more interested in grooming his son Ryan to becoming a mini-psychopath. With one eye on the prize, Stormfront presents herself as a potential replacement – and a big threat to Homelander’s reign.
Meanwhile, trouble brews inside Vought. Starlight is disenfranchised with the entire project and turns to Hughie for help in taking The Seven down. While the duo try to smuggle a sample of Compound V out, Stormfront joins the ranks as the newest member of the Seven (again, another blow to Homelander’s leadership). Several returning faces from the past also return, playing havoc with the balance of power, while The Deep experiences mental health issues and turns to a religious cult as a means of sneaking back into The Seven.
These brewing issues are felt on both sides of the conflict as Hughie finds his relationship with Butcher tested across the 8 episodes. The first half of this season essentially sees the group chasing after a Super-Terrorist (or Super Villain given Homelander hates that expression) who happens to have ties with The Seven, fronted by Kimiko who has a much bigger part to play in the story this time around.
The second half meanwhile focuses more on the simmering tensions between characters. All of this capitulates into a wonderful finale that reveals the true face of everyone involved while including some deliciously satirical moments along the way. The girl power segments are a particular highlight here.
While the story is bigger and badder than ever, the action sequences and violence are more than up to the task of matching that. The blood-spattered action is incredibly gory and one scene during the end of episode 3 is actually quite difficult to watch. However, fans of the first season will almost certainly be in their element here.
What’s particularly fascinating with The Boys though is the way it leans into big themes and adds a satirical spin to proceedings. Vendors capitalize from Translucent’s death through T-Shirts. Stormfront uses memes and social media to push her extreme agenda while The Seven’s new advisor Ashley excitedly chirps at the possibility of a feminist angle in the team.
And that’s before even mentioning the teasing placards, posters and advertising billboards that show the extent to which advertising has changed the world around us.
All of this works as well as it does because of the characters. At the end of the day, a show is only as strong as its ensemble and The Boys absolutely nails everyone on its team. Away from the new players, Antony Starr’s deliciously sinister Homelander is an absolute scene-stealer while Hughie and Butcher are given much more interesting arcs to play with this season.
This wild ride doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon. Given the show has already been renewed for a third season, Amazon have literal gold on their hands with this show, justifying the Prime membership alone.
The second season is just as – if not better – than the first and the various story arcs have been developed in such a concise and gripping manner to make for some great TV. While a few of the sub-plots could have been fleshed out better, this is a minor gripe in what’s otherwise a very good season of TV.
The action is well-shot, the characters beautifully written and this volatile cocktail looks set to explode at any moment. In the ensuing carnage we could be looking at a major contender for one of the best shows of 2020.
Verdict - 9/10