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‘The Boys’ chooses thoughtful writing over wild fighting

‘The Boys’ chooses thoughtful writing over wild fighting

‘The Boys’ chooses thoughtful writing over wild fighting
July 22
14:00 2022

Content Warning: The following story contains language related to sexual assault which may be triggering to some readers.

With all of its gore-filled glory, the third season of “The Boys” digs into its own complexity while trying out new ideas. Through it all, the show continues to prove how great ideas can be improved in the hands of the right production team.

The show picks up a year after the season two finale. The trope-heavy time jump helps move the characters into a new set of problems without ignoring the resolutions they came into last season. While the time-jump trope is a classic with mixed results, in this instance the writing team made the safest choice work.

“The Boys” cast shines in all the ways they have before. You can’t help but flinch at the sinister nature of the characters that exude all-too-familiar evil, while still providing necessary dark humor for some levity. Newcomer Jensen Ackles constantly steals the spotlight as Soldier Boy. He’s a Captain America spoof that reeks of hypermasculinity in a critical way that other alpha male-esque characters, such as Homelander and Butcher, have yet to address. 

Not all of the season’s character arcs pull through, though. Chace Crawford’s character, The Deep, is given absolutely too much screen time for very little payout. While the character retains his status as a pitiful loser used for comedic relief, this season fails to take his sexual assault against fellow superhero Starlight as seriously as the show once did. 

Season three leaves The Deep’s previous arcs floundering beyond a few jokes but more egregiously forgets that his character is a rapist. The show uses what is a grossly traumatic experience for Starlight as a simple plot point to illustrate her frustration with being a superhero. However, the show is an ever-present commentary on the current sociopolitical sphere. Perhaps The Deep’s off-the-hook re-entry is an apt allegory for real-world public figures.

Season three digs into the political aspect of the show’s content by constantly taking shots at corporate woke culture and mob mentality. No superhero is free from taking a side. Even the radicalization of Todd, a minor character, is an amazing slow-burning window into how easily someone can be pulled into cult-like fervor.

Action elements of “The Boys” fall a bit flat this season, as the superhero-killing team doesn’t do a whole lot of superhero killing. There are no shortages of deaths but most are execution-style killings at the hands of Soldier Boy, an act that quickly becomes stale. The finale’s fight scene makes up for it with an all-out bout between the show’s heaviest hitters but ekes out with disappointment due to a laughably anticlimactic finisher from Starlight. 

Despite some of its shortcomings, the third season of “The Boys” still shows off its impressive writing and natural dialogue. The twists throughout the show, whether major plot developments or shocking gags are never expected. Every character has some sort of reveal, and the audience can hardly guess who is next.

Anyone familiar with “The Boys” knows that the Emmy-nominated show was inspired by a series of comics released through the 2000s. Beyond the names and faces of some characters, the comic is vastly different from the Amazon exclusive. The show writers continue to stray from the original ideas with the third season in a way that proves they know what they are doing. This is an excellent move, as the comic is grossly homophobic, has major pacing issues and chooses graphic sex over plot development in every panel. 

The writers display precise control in taking characters from the source material and morphing them into what the story needs them to be. Most of the characters have alternate origins, motivations, genders, ethnicities and sexualities. The decisions transform “The Boys” from a mediocre comic series to a TV masterpiece that is diverse and poignantly aware of its character’s dynamics.

If you can stomach the sex and blood that “The Boys” throws at you, then it’s definitely a show worth watching, especially after the release of the new season. With a fourth season already in the works, now is the perfect time to pick up on this dark superhero series.

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Ayden Runnels

Ayden Runnels

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