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Recommended: The Boys Season 3 on Amazon Prime Video

Amazon's dark superhero series returns, more overtly political and stylistically daring than ever.
  • Laz Alonso, Karen Fukuhara, and Jack Quaid in Season 3 of The Boys (Photo: Prime Video)
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    The Boys Season 3 | Amazon Prime Video
    Hourlong Drama (8 Episodes) | TV-MA

    What's new and what's changed?

    • It’s been a year since the world found out Stormfront was a Nazi, and The Boys have gone legit. Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) got sober, and along with Frenchie (Tomer Kapon) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara), he now works for anti-supe Congresswoman Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit), who is secretly a supe herself. They're all committed to bringing in renegade superhumans without resorting to lethal means.
    • Hughie (Jack Quaid) has left active duty to assume an administrative role at the Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs, and M.M. (Laz Alonso) has quit The Boys to dedicate his time to his young daughter.
    • Homelander (Anthony Starr) lost the woman he loved, and he unsurprisingly lacks healthy coping mechanisms. Instead, he’s descended further into sociopathic egomania, becoming an even more unpredictable threat to anyone who stands in his way, friend or foe.
    • A new drug called Temporary Compound V evens the playing field between Butcher and his archnemesis by giving humans a taste of supes’ extraordinary power for a brief period of time, but with this new drug, Butcher risks becoming the very thing he despises.

    Who's new in the cast?

    Along with the returning players, this season introduces Soldier Boy (Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles), a Captain America copycat who challenges Homelander when it comes to proud racism, homophobia, and misogyny. Soldier Boy was Homelander’s predecessor and the leader of his own superhero team. We meet several members of his crew, including his ex-wife Crimson Countess (Laurie Holden) and Gunpowder (Sean Patrick Flannery), his former child sidekick.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    Whereas superhero properties created by Marvel and DC tend to steer away from real-world political discussions, The Boys addresses them with the thinnest of veiled metaphors. Created in the midst of the pandemic, a rise in mass shootings, and an attack on the U.S. capitol, this season highlights how people in leadership often transform crises into talking points that advance their own agendas.

    This is apparent as A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) tries to rebrand as a hero for the Black Lives Matter movement, continuing the series’ exploration of the shallow superficiality of corporate activism. The show doesn’t pull punches as A-Train’s misguided actions ripple out in ways that cause real harm. This storyline is one of several that speaks to the limits of representation, and it's notable that putting diverse superheroes in the spotlight doesn’t change how Vought leadership views those communities.

    The new season also confronts generational trauma from the perspectives of both the traumatizers and the traumatized. There's a particular focus on the way this cycle feeds toxic masculinity, since most of the men in the cast — superpowered or not — have never dealt with the pain of their childhoods. Instead, they take out their anger and frustration on the world around them.

    Alongside these heavy topics, the show continues to poke fun at corporate superhero entertainment, skewering everything from Marvel Studios series on Disney+ to the release of the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League.

    Meanwhile, the show's aesthetics continue to evolve. Earlier this year, The Boys Presents: Diabolical expanded the universe of the series with animated shorts that delivered welcome bursts of stylistic and tonal variety, and that seems to have inspired the creators of the mothership to take even bigger chances. The Boys has always been a mix of superhero action, prestige TV antihero drama, and crass comedy in the vein of other projects produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, but this season ups the narrative ante by incorporating multiple musical numbers and even some animated bits.

    Pairs well with

    • Invincible, Prime Video’s animated superhero series with an all-star cast, over-the-top violence, and a heartbreaking family feud.
    • Watchmen, HBO’s Emmy-winning miniseries that uses superheroes to address major issues like systemic racism, white supremacy, and police brutality.
    • Flesh and Bone (streaming on Hulu), which looks at the insular world of ballet with a similarly skeptical sense of what happens when incredibly talented people get free reign.

  • The Boys (Season 3)
    Premieres on Amazon Prime Video June 3, 2022. New episodes Fridays through July 8.
    Created by: Eric Kripke.
    Starring: Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Anthony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Jessie T. Usher, Laz Alonso, Jensen Ackles, Sean Patrick Flannery, Laurie Holden, and Karen Fukuhara.
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    TOPICS: The Boys, Amazon Prime Video, Anthony Starr, Eric Kripke, Erin Moriarty, Jack Quaid, Jensen Ackles, Jessie T. Usher, Karen Fukuhara, Karl Urban, Laurie Holden, Laz Alonso, Sean Patrick Flannery