Yes, ‘The Boys’ Season 4 Still Prioritizes Delivering Depravity, But The Show’s Storytelling Has Never Been Better

Fair warning, this review of Amazon/Prime Video’s The Boys won’t be too “review-ish” for a few reasons: (1) If you are reading this post, then you have probably watched the first three seasons of the show and are 90% going to watch this season no matter what I say (we will talk about that 10%), so I don’t need to explain the show’s unique ability to gleefully dance on the edge of the envelope; (2) In an age when a ton of mandated do-not-reveals from streamers are expected for anticipated shows, the corresponding list for The Boys‘ fourth season is longer than I’ve ever encountered and for damn good reason. It would be tragic if those moments got spoiled for the audience.

So we will stay short and not-so-sweet with random thoughts that I had while absorbing the entire season a few days ago. First, here’s a book-end approach:

– The first thought I had when the premiere-episode credits rolled: “Well, I’ve never seen that body part on a TV show before now.”

– And when the season-finale credits rolled: “I feel utterly destroyed. And invigorated. And destroyed. God, I love TV.”

Showrunner Eric Kripke did it again, and by “it,” I mean that he managed to one-up previous seasons with as much grace as possible while doling out debauchery-filled subject matter. He and the writers know that it’s possible to go too far (especially after the “Heroism” extravaganza), and that it’s risky as hell, storywise, for Homelander to do things that are comparable to a certain convicted-felon ex-president. Yes, I was worried about that issue as well (to my point about you possibly being 10% unsure about this season) because viewers have largely reached a saturation point in tolerating political satire while being entertained. Yet that topic is handled just fine.

Yep, fine. The show pulls off a deft sleight of hand to include Homelander’s trial while bouncing around into several other arcs that matter much more to the season’s trajectory.

What I’m saying is this: do not worry about this season feeling political.

The Boys remains The Boys, after all, and over eight episodes, this season expands several ongoing characters far beyond their previous confines. Additionally, expect some shuffling in The Seven because Annie January has fully joined the vigilantes, and Queen Maeve is secretly hiding away on a farm somewhere. Their Supe replacements, Firecracker and Sister Sage, are as nightmarish as you’d expect, too. The latter happens to be the smartest woman in the world, and the former, well, let’s just say that she’s a rootin’ tootin’ type. Both do their best to win Homelander’s favor (although one of them cares much more than the other) and both succeed with messy results. Both new dynamics also get weird.

Speaking of bizarre, some things will stay the same. For example, Deep is still romancing aquatic life. And it’s no surprise that Homelander grows more evil with every passing season, yet Antony Starr and the writing team find ways to keep him (infuriatingly) irresistible to watch. Butcher is also still growing closer to death after mainlining Compound V, and his Gen V appearance (and that of Homelander) does figure into his goals this season, but I will stay mum on how that happens (as well as on details with regard to Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s role).

Importantly as well, the audience will spend some quiet moments getting to know fan-favorite characters better. That includes MM, who is still my fave and deserves the world, as does Kimiko. Fans will be pleased to see how her story expands. Hughie, however, does not get so lucky. The dude goes through it, and right after you’ll think you’ve seen what I’m talking about, it gets worse. And worse from there. I hope that Jack Quaid (that humble Nepo Baby) had a nice vacation after filming those scenes. He is truly the MVP of the season.

Ultimately, this season of The Boys serves the usual buffet of madness cranked up to another level. The results are glorious, and I’ll now go recover from feeling destroyed to feeling thankful that Season 5 has already been greenlit while also waiting for Gen V‘s second season to arrive.

‘The Boys’ returns on June 13 with three episodes followed by weekly drops until July 18.

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