Friday, September 11, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Boys' - A Road Trip Allows Hughie and Annie to Reconnect in 'Nothing Like It in the World'

Amazon's The Boys - Episode 2.04 "Nothing Like It in the World"

Road trip! The Boys head to North Carolina to follow a lead on a mysterious Supe named Liberty. And did you know a person's choice of candy bars might tell you if they're a serial killer? Watch and learn the warning signs! This episode could save your life!

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 next episode of Amazon's The Boys.

"Nothing Like It in the World" was written by Michael Saltzman and directed by Fred Toye

Everyone deserves to feel loved and safe. Not everyone gets to live with that privilege though. Some lives are tossed aside as being less than. It's horrifying and discriminatory. Stories have a responsibility to reflect that imbalance and challenge it. Too many innocent lives are being lost. It's important to rally for those who no longer have a voice. The world is cruel and preys on the weakest of us. That has allowed certain individuals to rise to the top. At times, it's easy for some to co-opt that message in their own pursuit of power. Stormfront has risen as a star because she is leading the charge against Vought. She is fighting against corporate entitlement and corruption. She is rallying people behind her cause. She understands that she just needs enough motivated people to truly scare the power structure. She does so even though she is twisted and psychotic as well. She kills people whom she believes to be criminals. She kills people just because they get in her way. Plus, she has the willingness to go up against Homelander. He presents as one version of the superhero story in America. He is the voice that does press events and uses that media coverage to his advantage. Meanwhile, Stormfront is using social media for a much broader reach. It's more specific. But she also preys on Homelander's need to be loved by everyone. He can't fathom how someone would be afraid of him. And yet, that's the same pattern that comes up over and over again. He hurts people constantly. He blames others for making him do those heinous actions. It's a vicious cycle that feeds into itself because he is absolutely delusional. He is hardly the only person making toxic choices though. In fact, this show lives within that toxicity all the time. The audience may have hopes for certain characters to have happy endings or to be together romantically. And yet, none of these characters are really deserving of that at the moment because they are all incredibly broken and damaged. They don't know how to care for themselves. As such, they can't have the responsibility of caring for someone else too. Becca knows that she has to make Ryan a priority. She has chosen to accept an incredibly limiting life because she knows she can guide this young mind. The only way to avoid creating a new Homelander is to treat his son with love and compassion. She can't be selfish in allowing herself to run away with Butcher. That love is still very much passionate. She is overwhelmed to be reunited with him. But she knows he was teetering on the edge long before she disappeared. He needed some place to channel that rage. She sees just how destructive he still is. She can't allow her son to get hit in the crossfire. A life on the run from Vought is too dangerous. Butcher even approaching Becca is a major risk. It's enough for Black Noir to track him down. That's precarious. But this hour is all about giving some relationships a brief moment of delight before they realize they can't embrace those feelings of love for very long. It's selfish of them to do so. That means it's so much fun to watch Hughie and Annie go on a road trip to Raleigh. They reconnect in a way that makes this relationship feel genuine once more. Their banter remains solid. And yet, their lives are constantly in turmoil because of the destruction at the hand of Vought. They hear a story about a woman's life being destroyed because a hero named Liberty killed her brother. It turns out that Stormfront is that same hero. She has already found a way to reinvent herself. She is still relevant and powerful. She won't allow anyone to distort her message. That makes her a more ominous threat than anyone else. Frenchie is right to pull Kimiko away from attacking her in the middle of her rally. In the moment though, that choice feels destructive for the two of them. These broken people don't always have the emotional capacity to heal each other. Instead, it often leads to self-absorbed moments where Homelander is teased with the potential of making love to himself only to violently show just how much he despises that idea. It shows how much hatred is in this world. But again, that's not a relatively new idea for this show. It's more fascinating to spend time with Maeve after she is outed and has no idea how to react to Homelander's moves against her. But it's also incredibly tangential to spend time with the Deep and his growing commitment to a cult. This show has always had too much going on. Sometimes it works thematically. Sometimes it's simply overcrowded and prevents some of the plots from truly hitting their peaks in a rewarding and resonant way.