‘The Boys’ Season 4, Episodes 1-3, Recap & Review: A Mixed Bag of a Premiere

The Boys Season 4 Episodes 1-3 Recap
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Spoilers for ‘The Boys’ Season 4, Episodes 1-3

After two years away, our favorite collection of sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists, and just plain violent humans and supes are back. The Boys season 4 has returned, and with it, showrunner Eric Kripke’s vision of a nightmare-fueled world presided over by a group of “superheroes,” led by Homelander, intent on controlling everything, no matter the cost to the human race.

If this sounds like familiar territory, it is, as the first three episodes are pretty much everything you’d expect from this show. However, there is a different tone and approach in the first three episodes that, for better or worse, makes me wonder how the rest of the season is going to play out. 

Leading the way are Butcher (Karl Urban) and Homelander (Antony Starr), both going through crises that, unfortunately, have ramifications for everyone. Butcher struggles with the black cloud that hangs over his head, as most would when dealing with a terminal disease. He wavers more than once from the old do-whatever-it-takes Butcher to a different, more compassionate, and introspective Butcher. This gives Urban a bit more character to chew on, and he takes advantage. Butcher is equal parts angry and sad, focused and confused.

Conversely, Homlander is struggling with a mid-life crisis, as gray (pubic) hairs send him spiraling all over the place, even more so than normal. (I mean, who wouldn’t collect their graying pubic hairs in a jar to seethe over?) Starr is wonderfully maniacal as always but this sense of mortality, getting older, is pushing him to new and more chaotic heights.

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To make matters worse, Homelander is completely obsessed with making his son Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) into a copy of himself. He has the patience of a child, so this is not a good fit for him, and poor Ryan is constantly tugged in the direction of either Homelander or Butcher.

Of course, the rest of The Boys have issues of their own to deal with. Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) is now in charge, and he couldn’t have picked a worse time to take the reins. Annie January (Erin Moriarty) is trying her best to be her own thing but is constantly feeling the pressure from the Starlight House to be a symbol again. Frenchie (Tomer Capone) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) take turns swapping past traumas, and Hughie (Jack Quaid) finds out his dad is in the hospital after a stroke. They’re not exactly in the best frame of mind to bring down Homelander and his group of Supes, but here we are.

Luckily for them, The Seven and Vought International have their own problems. While Homelander is trying to deal with his issues and be the face of the company, his fellow supes are making things very difficult. A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) is leaning towards helping the other side, as we see numerous times, while The Deep (Chace Crawford) and the new Black Noir (still Nathan Mitchell) are confused and emotional train wrecks. There are new additions to the team as well.

Sister Sage (Susan Heyward) is dubbed the smartest person on the planet. She shows off her skills by dealing with Homelander and spinning multiple schemes at the same time, not all to serve the greater good (or, in this case, bad). Firecracker (Valorie Curry) is the other new member, mostly due to what Sage has in store for her. She’s a conspiracy nut and hates Annie, so it’s a combo that works well for them, at least for now.

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Showrunner Kripke seems to be all in with the conspiracy angle so far this season. The first three episodes feel like we’ve walked face-first into the world of QAnon. The show has always made it clear that politics is deeply tied to its storylines, but in the first three seasons, it was put out there in a way that, while not so subtle at times, felt like part of some other plot arc or story. Now, the subtly, and I use the word loosely here as the show is far from subtle, is right out the window, and the comparisons to real-time, recent, and upcoming political events are hitting the viewer like a chainsaw. So, too, is the tone, which is full-on bleak, dark, and depressing, with very little in the way of uplifting storylines. It’s quite a tonal shift and while a show like this can absorb it better than others, it was still very noticeable and left me wondering if this is the theme for the next five episodes.

To be fair, there is plenty of dark humor and ridiculous violence in the first three episodes that will make many fans smile and laugh for all the wrong reasons. This includes beatings with baseball bats, a crashed party that includes lots of full-frontal male nudity and gunfire like the Wild West, and a Disney on Ice knockoff, brought to you by Vought, with bodies dropping and limbs lost. And special mention goes to a recreation of The Human Centipede that leaves very little to the imagination.

The Boys season 4 came out swinging in the first three episodes, although it left me conflicted. The dark, dour tone and rinse and repeat of too many scenes have me wondering if there is much left in the tank. It was recently announced that season five will be the last season, so maybe that’s a good thing.

Still, it was great to see everyone again, with Butcher and Homelander leading the charge, even if they are doing it in a different way. The premiere is a solid start, but it remains to be seen if the dreary atmosphere and embrace of the QAnon culture can sustain the whole season.

The Boys Season 4, Episodes 1-3
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Jeff is a horror and sci-fi movie buff, and has had the pleasure of interviewing many fan-favorite actors, actresses, and filmmakers from both genres over the years.
the-boys-season-4-episodes-1-3-recap-review-a-mixed-bag-of-a-premiereThe Boys season 4 came out swinging in the first three episodes, although it left me conflicted. The dark, dour tone and rinse and repeat of too many scenes have me wondering if there is much left in the tank. It was recently announced that season five will be the last season, so maybe that’s a good thing.


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