Movies / Home Theatre

The Boys Season 3 Review


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By Philip Schweier
July 14, 2022 - 12:30

I’ve never read The Boys comic book by Garth Ennis and Darrick Robertson, so I’m not qualified to make any comparisons between the comic and the TV show. But I do appreciate the TV show, as it presents what I expect would the actual environment if super-powered heroes existed.

No doubt there would be a corporate entity involved, managing the heroes and their public images. They would be featured in TV news, offering authoritative commentary on events, as well as starring in reality TV programs (a remarkably accurate depiction, in my opinion), and shilling on behalf of their lesser-known corporate siblings.

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Don't you just wanna wipe the smile off this smug SOB?
And because power corrupts, no doubt these “heroes” would be significantly flawed, as they are depicted in the show – substance abuse, emotional manipulation, narcissism, illicit behavior, and petty rivalries taken to global proportions.

But for all the egotistical posturing and psychopathic behavior, there would no doubt be legitimate heroes committed to doing good and serving mankind. Hamstrung by the hierarchy of super-powered beings, their effectiveness would be limited, sometimes compromised in the interest of public perception.

And naturally, all this corruption would draw the resentment of so-called “normal” people. People whose loved one weren’t saved in a plane crash, or were collateral damage in the battle between two super-beings trying to decide who gets the last slice of pizza. How do humans fight such demi-gods?

It’s all interesting theory, and exploring it has been (mostly) entertaining. I say “mostly” because as streaming services are not beholden to broadcast standards, there is literally NO LIMIT to what can be portrayed.

The gore I have no issue with. Since the bloody slasher movies of the 1980s, I’ve recognized that regardless of how many gallons of blood is spilled, it’s all fake; Karo syrup and food coloring. Sexual content is of greater concern, mostly when it travels beyond simple exposed flesh into pansexual orgies.

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You’d think that would be enough, but Season 3 of The Boys opened with a combination of extreme sexual deviancy and gruesome, bloody death. It was a reminder to me that there are no boundaries on this show. Should there be? Homelander’s egomaniacal dysfunction has no limits, why should anything else portrayed on the show have any?

Over the course of the season, such displays became more common, the only difference being the degree to which they rose – or sank, depending on your point of view.

Yet despite all the gruesome violence and hedonistic abandon the characters exhibited, there is one scene that remains (in my opinion) so much more distasteful. Not because of effective digital graphics or mechanical effects, but because of how the scene is written and the actors’ abilities to pull it off. It’s one of psychological manipulation, emotional slavery, and selfish ambition.

Sadly, those are not super-powers, they’re common mental traumas that thousands of people around the world experience every day. Authority figures lie to us, if for no other reason than because they can. Audiences accept their lies because it’s the lesser of two inconveniences.

The Boys, season 3, is not what I consider “entertainment” in the usual sense. But it is thought provoking, and there are likeable, complex characters to root for. But they are few and far between, and lack the screen time given to such stars as Karl Urban, Jack Quaid and Antony Starr. (Though the musical number in episode 5 was a rare treat.)
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A fourth season is coming, hopefully offering a substantive story without resorting to the shock value we’ve seen so far. I believe toning down the spectacle in favor of a quality narrative is a worthwhile strategy.


Last Updated: July 15, 2022 - 11:03

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