The Boys had its ultimate holy sh*t moment, delivering an ending that wasn’t as much big on spectacle as it was on drama. It’s a conclusion that will shock, sadden and incite rage within you, yet beg you coming back for more. The episode does soften up its momentum a bit but it builds so spectacularly toward its finale that all is forgiven. I must admit, I’m going to need to discuss that ending heavily so spoilers beware. In any case, you ought to be reading these reviews after you’ve watched the episode.
Holy cow. The entire sequence at the finale between Billy Butcher, Madelyn Stilwell and Homelander was a terrific stand-off that just kept building tension gradually until it exploded with an earth-shattering reveal. Turns out, Billy’s grand plan is to take Madelyn hostage to lure Homelander just so he can see the superhero hurt. He definitely isn’t prepared to counter this megalomaniacal being who is several steps ahead of everyone’s game. With a small mismatch in details, he figures out the discrepancy between Madelyn’s and the doctor’s story and coerces them both to reveal the shocker of the truth.
That truth has so many ramifications my head is spinning just analyzing them. Does it mean Homelander was telling the truth? That the night he spent with Rebecca was consensual? And what was that entire flashback with baby supe crawling out of Rebecca’s body? Again, is this still the truth, or is this some illusion? Or perhaps Homelander holding Becca hostage in some capacity? And if it is true, where does that leave Billy? His entire life’s mission was sworn to revenge what happened to Becca. And Homelander took that very thing driving Billy all this while away from him. Does Billy even have any more motivation to carry on?
This doesn’t mean the others weren’t shortchanged, even though I will maintain Deep’s storyline as having gone for a toss somewhat. He does realize he’s been duped by having been permanently reassigned to Sandusky where there are no criminals; does he begin his transformation into a villain of sorts? And the entire skirmish between A-Train and Starlight along with the final outcome was tense and unexpected; it was nice to see Hughie still maintain his human side while attending to a collapsed A-Train, despite what the latter did to his girlfriend back in Episode 1.
At this point, undoubtedly, Homelander is the mastermind of it all. Basically an unbeatable Superman gone rogue, he’s orchestrating the proliferation of Compound V among terrorists to create super villains, just so the military volunteers to include him on their side. And considering the pace at which he’s losing his act, it isn’t going to be long before he gets brought down by virtue of the very public image he strove to maintain with Madelyn. Antony Starr has done a phenomenal job portraying Homelander as the mythical hero figure everyone worships on the outside, while letting out his sinister, evil, twisted side on the inside, and yet showcasing just a tinge of emotion to ground it all in some sense. He’s the perfect superhero antagonist the show needs.
There’s still a lot of plot threads left dangling around which gives The Boys plenty of room to pick up the pieces from a Season 2 (which is already confirmed). And hopefully, Amazon will grant the second run an even bigger budget, for it felt like The Boys had exhausted all of its visual effects shots a while back; in fact, if you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve seen them all. But that has a silver lining for it allows the show to avoid getting trapped into superhero spectacle and instead focus on what the characters are going through. It was a lot more fun seeing Maeve and Starlight interact and bounce off their ideas of a superheroic life than it would’ve been to see them fight in combat.
It’s precisely this emphasis on emotion and drama over blind spectacle, even in its final act, is why Amazon’s The Boys works so well. The possibilities of evil superheroes are exploited in the finest sense and pretty much every angle that could have been touched, is impacted in Season 1. Which is why, I’m thrilled to say, The Boys has been an absolute joyride in its short 8-episode run and after that shocking cliffhanger, I can’t wait to see where Seth Rogen and Erik Kripke take the show next.