Right when you think The Boys can’t raise the stakes any further, season 3 went out of its way to shut us all up. Once again we are served eight fantastic and well-paced episodes that leave you feeling satisfied at the end. I am thrilled knowing the show plans to begin shooting in a month for the fourth season. If you haven’t started the new season yet, prime yourself with Tucker’s review of the season 3 premiere – especially if you’re not yet sold on what may be the best comic book show of 2022.
[Warning: The entirety of this review will be full of spoilers for The Boys season 3]
Payback’s a bitch in The Boys season 3
May I first say bravo to them for finding a fantastic young version (Justiin Davis) of Stan Edgar, who is consistently played to perfection by the brilliant Giancarlo Esposito. One thing I was most excited about was Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles), and it was even better when we see Edgar overtake command of a mission in Nicaragua. Edgar uses this as a grand opportunity to dispose of Soldier Boy.
I expected to go back in time to see more of Soldier Boy’s history, and the episode “Barbary Coast ” delivered it curtly. Seeing the history of Black Noir’s silence and the compliance from the Crimson Countess (Laurie Holden) really sold how bad of a Supe Soldier Boy really was.
While it took a few episodes to formally introduce Soldier Boy, every scene in the present up against Antony Starr’s Homelander or Karl Urban’s Butcher were the ones I enjoyed the most this season. His screen time was great in giving him the time to get back up to speed on how the world has changed (rather poorly in his eyes). His immediate determination to get all the revenge was unsurprising, however, Butcher’s (Karl Urban) manipulation to further The Boys’ cause was commendable.
The finale “The Instant White-Hot Wild” revealed the year-at-best diagnosis for Butcher, which felt like a huge blow. Pair that with also learning of the failure to eliminate Homelander plus losing Ryan – the finale left Butcher in rough shape. You know these setbacks will keep his revenge quest ongoing to the last day with major collateral as he did throughout this season, like killing Gunpowder (Sean Patrick Flanery).
Starlight, star bright
Erin Moriarty as Starlight has become just as much of the face for The Boys as she was for The Seven within the show. Seeing the season end with her joining The Boys after flipping every proverbial table on her exit of Vought felt like a great bridging moment of accepting her responsibility. On the surface, she cares about them all, bar Butcher (but we get it), and her acceptance of Kimiko’s (Karen Fukuhara) choice to regain her powers from a dose of V proved that.
Meanwhile, she’s having to deal with her boyfriend Hughie (Jack Quaid) following in Butcher’s footsteps and juicing himself with the Temp V. The clash over Hughie’s inability to protect her and her not needing his “protection” had a great twist when he provided her the best support against Soldier Boy in the final battle at Vought Tower. Rather than taking another dose, he pushes all the control dials and brightens Vought Studio which provides her more charge to let her get a good blast at Soldier Boy.
Simultaneously, Dominique McElligott’s Maeve steps up to assist The Boys, as she had been doing through the season as Butcher’s source and provider of Temp V. Her faceoff against Homelander was probably my second favorite fight after seeing the three-way tussle in “Herogasm” with Butcher, Homelander and Soldier Boy fighting in the mansion. The ending with her losing her powers and getting away with Elena was a bit of a shock since this show doesn’t really do “happy endings” for anyone.
Getting off the A-Train and going to the Deep end
As always, The Deep (Chace Crawford) and A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) continue being the detestable cowards we’ve known since the first season. With Neuman (Claudia Doumit) back-stabbing Stan Edgar on live television, Homelander’s ascension of total “control” over Vought is made quite easy. Wielding full power and now responsibility, his patience for their petty concerns allows them to operate stupidly in the background.
Firstly, A-Train’s thirst for cultural significance is hilariously parodied in his A-Train to Africa pitch and also yields horrible results when he tries to enact actual change. In an attempt to get justice for his neighborhood, he instead helps create a bad environment that ends with his brother becoming paralyzed from the waist down.
The Deep has not changed at all, he never sees himself at fault for his past transgressions against women. His “desires” only get creepier, which remain in line with the character. Reporting to every request from Homelander were some of the tensest scenes, and his uselessness at Herogasm really sold how he doesn’t belong on The Seven in the first place. Chace Crawford is fantastic at giving us someone we love to hate. That being said, The Deep amazingly made a massive move in propping up Neuman for Vice President.
Fading to black (RIP Noir)
One constant in the show is the great utilization of both time and episode counts that made every storyline have weight. The 3 episode premiere release structure worked great once again. Leaving us hanging at the end of “Barbary Coast” as they head off to Russia to retrieve Soldier Boy left the fans eager for the weekly releases throughout the summer.
Even if it’s a little tiring seeing Frenchie (Tomer Capone) go back to his drug-addled states, his love for Kimiko was a bright light amongst a grim outlook for all parties considered. Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) constant self-struggles and strength to rise above his self-doubt show how he is hands-down one of the best characters of the show. Colby Minifie’s Ashley was fabulous as she has been from the beginning. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her assume her new role and dish out what she has been served from the beginning.
Final Thoughts on The Boys season 3
While at times considered a bit much for television, the effects this season were definitely something. That bit with Termite from the premiere is never going to get scrubbed from my brain. Minus Black Noir’s insides, everything looked pretty solid, and knowing they were finishing some of these effects recently made it that much more impressive. The one that stuck with me was Kimiko’s bedroom rampage with the Silent Screamer against the Russians.
The threads left at the end have me anticipating a great ending for this show. It’s encouraging to get a tv show that knows how to pace itself and accomplishes its goals from the get-go. Having a truly terrifying antagonist who can get away with what they want hopefully plays out into something truly interesting. With Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) now on Homelander’s side, this could become a frightening concept with hints of Brightburn and Invincible’s Omni-Man side-by-side. Prime Video has admirably outdone themselves twice in a row now in surpassing previous entries.
The Boys season 3 is now streaming all episodes on Prime Video, drop us a line on Twitter if you enjoyed the season as much as I did!