Friday, September 4, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Boys' - The Boys Are Wanted Fugitives While Homelander Tries to Lead the Seven in 'The Big Ride'

Amazon's The Boys - Episode 2.01 "The Big Ride"

Season 2! New and improved! Now with 50% more explosive decapitations, terrorists, S&M hookers, cults, and a new pine fresh scent! But wait, there's more! 2X MORE blood, guts and gore than the other leading brands!

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of Amazon's The Boys.

"The Big Ride" was written by Eric Kripke and directed by Phil Sgriccia

Power is a corrupting force. That is the underlying thesis of this show. It presents a world where certain people have been gifted with incredible powers. It's not some mystery that can't be understood. It's science. Some people can give others these abilities and then prop them up as deities. They are heroes who demand to be worshiped. They have powers that ordinary people can't fathom. They have to be seen as heroes who protect this world. They need to have empathy though. Homelander just cares about what benefits his own selfish agenda. He looked to Madelyn for comfort and stability. He killed her because he learned just how deceitful she was. It was a heinous action. One that shows he has no control whatsoever. He doesn't care who he hurts. He presents a very nationalistic message. He cares about "American" values. He doesn't want to protect the world from supervillain threats. He simply wants to create adversaries for himself so that his country continues to prop him up as the only hero they have complete admiration for. He believes that he can fill the power vacuum created by Madelyn's death. He can fulfill the same role that she used to have in this organization. He can be the one in charge of the Vought messaging and the actions of the Seven. In reality, he is still a petulant child eager for approval and foolish in his actions. Stan Edgar is a corrupt man as well. He has secured his place at the top of this organization by focusing on the bottom line of the core pharmaceutical. The superheroics may be nothing more than a distraction. A way to give the public a product that allows his drug to soar in value. He doesn't care who is the face of that product. It just has to fulfill a certain duty so that he can perpetually keep filling the stock of Compound-V. He is worried that the secrets of this drug are out for the entire world to exploit. His company was the only one that had the formula previously. Homelander creating his villains creates a more volatile environment. One that no one can control. That's terrifying for the people at the top who wield absolute power. They do so viciously. As such, it's terrifying whenever Homelander lands on Becca's doorstep demanding to be a father. He seeks such validation and praise even though he is a monster who abuses the world constantly. That's the chaos that erupts from the inclusion of these powers in this world. The Boys want to expose Vought as a corrupt company that has been detailing the history of superheroes for the last century. They have been manipulating events to their benefit. Whenever someone gets too close to the truth, they are killed. That happens to Raynor here. Sure, that's a somewhat rushed moment that suggests the FBI knew something the Boys didn't. But it also increases the tension for Hughie, MM and Frenchie. They are wanted fugitives. They had the strength and conviction to go after this corrupt institution. They believe Vought should be exposed for their heinous crimes against humanity. But that has cost them so much as well. They are currently relying on terrorists for safety. Hughie constantly brings Annie into this plan which may be corrupting her as well. She stands as a proud superhero who understands the burden and value of doing what's right. She believes in that cause fiercely. And yet, she is forced to blackmail an old friend here because it's the easiest way to get Compound-V for the Boys. She does it because Hughie asks her to. She knows that he is lying to her. But her pursuit of justice is absolute within her. That is her core motivation. She may not know what to believe with anything else in her life. However, she knows she has to do good as a superhero even though she has to be seen in photo ops with Homelander. It's a delicate balance she has to strike. One that may be too much for her. Hughie can't handle this pressure. Frenchie breaks down and calls Butcher. The team needs their leader even though he abandoned them in pursuit of his own selfish interests. This world is bad. People hope to find some light through all the darkness. That hope may be stomped out at every possible turn though. That could make this a depressing show. It still knows how to have fun with the gore. So, it remains watchable. It should just be curious to see how the core narrative begins to evolve as the main characters are continually tested about their beliefs and motivations.