“The Boys” Enters A New Era of Explosive Existentialism

Frenchie and Kimiko in tuxes entering a hotel room.

In the massive glut of superhero properties, one show stands head and shoulders above the rest. The Boys is a unique twist on the genre that interrogates the real life consequences of superhuman powers. Adapted from the cult favorite comics, Eric Kripke’s Amazon Prime series specializes in the audacious, the irreverent, the unbelievable, and the gross with exploding bodies and splattering gore. Since premiering in 2019 we’ve watched supes behave badly in every conceivable way with no one but a ragtag team of delinquents pushing back. Season 3 concluded with a high-profile assassination, a public murder, and Vought Tower in flames. With the Seven in shambles, and Homelander (Antony Starr) on trial, the stage is set for more super mayhem. Season 4 pulls from reality with the outsized show’s most overt social commentary yet. With new targets, new powers, and a new cast of villains, Season 4 is poised to be the superhero world’s most explosive and introspective new chapter. 

When last we saw the Boys they were recovering from a brutal showdown at Vought HQ. Butcher (Karl Urban) had just missed a chance to take out his mortal enemy and learned that Temp V may have caused irreparable damage to his brain. On a more positive note, Kimiko’s (Karen Fukuhara) powers were restored, MM (Laz Alonso) had a heart to heart with his daughter, and Annie (Erin Moriarty) formally became one of the Boys. The season premier joins friends and foes on election night as Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) prepares to become Vice President Elect. Homelander is currently on trial for murder and building a relationship with his son Ryan (Cameron Crovetti). Annie has officially rejected her Starlight persona and discovered she’s lost some of her influence. The Boys may be operating out of a fancy building with government support, but without Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) as an ace in the hole, they appear to be back to square one. 

True to form, the season kicks off with a bang. Kimiko is back to full power and Annie is perfecting the ability to fly. Though Neuman is still masquerading as human, her enemies are all fully aware of her deadly talents. Recent appearances on the spinoff series Gen V added layers to her character and Kripke still seems hesitant to push her into full villainy. We also meet her daughter Zoe (Olivia Morandin) and see her newfound powers in action. The same age as Ryan, these pre-teen supes are watching their parents and preparing to step up to the plate. Now a mentor and father, Homelander is teetering on the edge of an existential crisis and finds there’s essentially no one left to challenge his power. The premier also gives us smaller wtf moments including Homelander’s street clothes and a new lease on life for Black Noire (Nathan Mitchell). The voice of Ambrosius is a delightful surprise and a few long-lost mothers have found their way back.

With two open spots in the Seven, the stage is now set for additional characters. Sister Sage (Susan Heyward) makes waves as the world’s smartest person and aligns herself with Homelander to stir the pot. Firecracker (Valorie Curry) seems poised to add fuel to the flames and these three new allies may compliment each other in the worst possible ways. On the human side, Frenchie (Tomer Capone) is newly sober and spending time with a new friend working for Starlight. But the most notable new face is Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a mysterious agent with ties to Butcher’s renegade past.

Set in an election year, this season is steeped in politics. No longer pulling any punches, connections to real political figures have become painfully clear. Homelander constantly diminishes his legitimate trial and scoffs at the criminal justice system while his supporters brand anyone who dares to dissent as thugs or pedophiles. The Deep (Chace Crawford) is now publicly trashing his former wife and accuses her of pooping in his bed – directly referencing another infamous trial. They exist in a polarized media environment just waiting for someone to strike the match and Homelander seems to have found the way in. Adding terror to these familiar scenarios, Kripke explores the natural consequences of a divided country when a fraction of the population could fry their enemies in a blink of an eye. The season four premier fires on all cylinders and signals the dawn of a new era in The Boys explosive world.