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The Boys

The Boys: Season 4 - Episodes 1-3

Butcher, Hughie, and the rest of The Boys are back in an attempt to once again take down Vought and cut Homelander down to size.

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While I'm part of the group that absolutely adores The Boys and regards it as one of the more entertaining superhero projects, I'm also very aware that it's treading a dangerous path.

Ever since the first season arrived five years ago, the plot hasn't really gone anywhere of significance. Sure, the characters have experienced massive amounts of development and grown beyond the initial profiles laid out for them, the same of which can be said for the worldbuilding too, however the most core premise of the storyline is the exact same idea that was first presented half a decade ago: a group of regular humans attempting to kill an all-powerful and massively deadly superhero. Homelander is still at large and an overbearing threat on this superhero world, Billy Butcher and The Boys are still attempting to cut him and any other supe that gets into their way down to size, and Vought remains one of the most powerful and corrupt organisations in the world.

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I bring this up because now we're in the fourth season and as much as I love the characters and appreciate the way they are presented and brought to life by the great cast, find the social commentary as refreshing and unrelenting as South Park, and find the show as a whole effortlessly entertaining, it's beginning to feel a bit too familiar. Now that might be because The Boys is no longer the one and only way to indulge in this world, as there are several spinoffs available too, or perhaps it's the lack of a major defining moment, one that takes the overarching story and catapults it forward into a new and refreshing chapter. While Season 4 could deliver that, and it is teasing something of such calibre, the first few episodes don't quite achieve that.

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I won't get into spoiler territory or specifics, but let's just say that some of the unanswered questions from the last season remain apparent in this first batch of episodes. The tension between the Homelanders and Starlighters is at an all-time high, the rebuilding of the Seven causes friction, and the biggest talking point of all remains too; how long does Billy Butcher have left to live? These are all elements that are covered to some degree, but there's never a clear and closed solution to them, at least not yet. Instead of giving the viewer fulfilling and defining narrative moments, this first batch of episodes rather tends towards the typical espionage and twisted storylines that have become commonplace in The Boys. Although granted, it seems like showrunner Eric Kripke has limited some of the unhinged craziness, as while there are still horrifying and unbelievable moments that will make your stomach churn or your jaw drop out of amazement, there are less exploding penises, orgies, or humans being turned into paste by unchecked speedsters. It's strange to say, but the trio of opening episodes feel more rooted and succinct compared to The Boys usual tone, but the final five episodes of the season could see a return to form.

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Otherwise, the typical high production values of the show remain in effect. The costume and set design is excellent, the special effects are well implemented, there are some great and hilarious cameos, the writing and dialogue is fantastic, hilarious and witty, and the performances from the cast are once again on point. Whether it's Anthony Starr's Homelander, Karl Urban's Butcher, Erin Moriarty's Starlight, Jack Quaid's Hughie, Karen Fukuhara's Kimiko, the list goes on. There isn't really a weak point in the cast, as every performance feels fitting and suited to the tone of the situation and that of the show as a whole. And that seems to have translated to the new additions, with Valorie Curry's Firecracker and Susan Heyward's Sister Sage in particular being great new characters that seem to reflect the crazy of the show.

So, while these new episodes of The Boys aren't anything we haven't seen before they are effortlessly entertaining, well paced, and thoroughly enjoyable television. With a few risks taken in the next five episodes this season can be truly great and set a precedent for the future of the series as a whole, but regardless of what happens in the coming weeks, this opening trio is definitely worth a watch.

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The Boys: Season 4 - Episodes 1-3

The Boys: Season 4 - Episodes 1-3

SERIES. Written by Ben Lyons

Butcher, Hughie, and the rest of The Boys are back in an attempt to once again take down Vought and cut Homelander down to size.



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