The Boys Season 4 TV Review

Karl Urban and Antony Starr lead the best season yet of Prime Video’s dark superhero series.

The Boys

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PLOT: The world is on the brink. Victoria Neuman is closer than ever to the Oval Office and under the muscly thumb of Homelander, who is consolidating his power. Butcher, with only months to live, has lost Becca’s son as well as his job as The Boys’ leader. The rest of the team are fed up with his lies. With the stakes higher than ever, they have to find a way to work together and save the world before it’s too late.

REVIEW: While most viewers have loved The Boys since it debuted, I was lukewarm on the first season. With improvements in the second and third years, I have become a big fan of the Prime Video series and its bleakly hilarious take on the superhero genre with each successive season. For the long-anticipated fourth season, Eric Kripke has upped the ante significantly after the shocking third season finale changed the dynamic for Homelander and The Seven just as much as for Butcher and The Boys Still, chock full of pitch-black humor, extreme violence, and timely satire, The Boys is better than ever, with a run of episodes that brings together long-running plots, brand-new characters, and some of the trademark shocks that fans have come to love from this series. No one is safe as The Boys brings us the most political and pertinent narrative this series has ever had, along with many surprises I did not see coming.

Season four picks up after the events of the spin-off series Gen V and finds a public divide has formed between those in support of Homelander (Antony Starr) and those in favor of Annie “Starlight” January (Erin Moriarty). The first episode finds Homelander in the middle of his trial for the very public murder of a civilian. At the same time, Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) continues her run for the White House as Vice President to Robert Singer (Jim Beaver). Still, Butcher is suffering the side effects of using Compound V as Huey (Jack Quaid), and the team keeps the pressure on stopping Neuman and Homelander. Things quickly go awry in the premiere with some shocking moments, but nothing compared to what unfolds throughout the season. The Boys has always raised the bar with how far it is willing to go to surprise audiences with sexual or violent content. Still, the most shocking part of the fourth season is how much the satirical elements of this story have aligned so closely with reality.

The divide between those who support Homelander and those who hate and fear him, The Seven, and Vought have shifted into a parallel with the split between liberal and conservative extremes in the global political landscape. The mocking look at the alt-right is no longer shrouded or subtle as showrunner Eric Kripke’s messages have evolved from Garth Ennis’ source material into something prescient, disturbing, and more entertaining than ever. While The Boys began as a comedic satire on comic book superheroes, it has evolved into a powerful dramatic series that is still very funny but humorous in stride with tense and anxious storytelling of the highest caliber. Last season featured The Deep (Chace Crawford) having sex with an octopus and the death of Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell), two subplots that factor into this season. We also have the introduction of new characters Firecracker (Valorie Curry), an alt-right social media influencer, and Sister Sage (Susan Heyward), who may be the only character who can go toe-to-toe with Homelander but not in the way you might expect. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is also added as someone with a past connected to Butcher. The nature of Morgan’s character in the plot has been one of the season’s biggest questions, and the answer won’t be spoiled here, but trust me, it is well worth the wait.

The Boys review

Throughout this season, many things shift for the main cast, including the perpetually underutilized Tomer Capone as Frenchie and fan favorite Colby Minifie as Ashley Barrett. While Antony Starr plays with Homelander’s mortality a bit differently than Karl Urban’s terminally ill Billy Butcher, Jack Quaid gets a substantial subplot concerning Huey’s relationship with his dad (Simon Pegg). Erin Moriarty gets to have a lot of fun with a late-season arc involving Annie January’s personality, as does Karen Fukuhara’s eternally dying Kimiko. Of all the returning characters, Victoria Neuman remains the character I love to hate almost as much as Homelander, which is due immeasurably to the great Claudia Doumit. This season is full of romances, break-ups, deaths, and new allegiances, culminating with a season finale that not only sets the table for a huge change in the fifth season but also a potential sign of where the eventual end of The Boys may be headed.

Showrunner Eric Kripke directs the stellar finale of season four, his first time in the director’s chair on The Boys since the first season. He is joined by helmers Catriona McKenzie, Karen Gaviola, Shana Stein, Philip Sgriccia, and Frederick E.O. Toye. Toye and Sgriccia are the sole returning directors in that bunch and the only male directors this season. The Boys has always balanced criticism of alpha male machismo in the form of most of The Seven, but there is an increased focus on balancing the female characters who have long been key to this series. While this does not undermine any arcs for the men in the cast, the depth and development of the female characters are handled better here than in any other major series currently on the air. There is a clear power disparity between men and women on both sides of the divide in The Boys, which Kripke and his writing team exploit to have a dramatic and comedic impact.

Each season of The Boys has built on what came before it, and I cannot think of anything before this run of episodes that compares. Season four is the best-developed, most nuanced, funniest, and equally scariest run of The Boys yet. The repercussions of this season will be felt for the remainder of the series, however long The Boys remains on the air. Conceptually, the fourth season of The Boys is the best structured and most holistically successful run of storytelling this series has presented and shows no signs of running out of steam. Karl Urban and Antony Starr are as great as ever without carrying the series since everyone else is doing their best work. I have nothing but positive things to say about every plot path or character decision which is unheard of for a series four seasons in. The Boys is still not for everyone and will make or break some fans this season, but for those who appreciate great storytelling, this is one of the best shows out there.

The Boys

AMAZING

9

Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.