The Boys season 3 recap: arguing against fandom

It’s hard to imagine that decades from now it will look like all of the superhero franchise fiction that has dominated our pop culture consumption Well. This is coming from someone who likes this stuff: It’s cool when metaphors are given a human form to fight or find clever solutions to larger-than-life problems, and it’s even cooler when they’re given the space to be weird cosmic tapestries that aspire to be both from each other to be dependent as well as unique. Yet these stories don’t dominate our streaming services and cinema out of artistic goodwill — they’re an act of corporate dominance, a consolidated effort to ensure that no matter who you are, you have a corporate mascot to relate to to spend time and money.

The young, Amazon’s adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic book of the same name, does its best to piss in the superhero Kool-Aid we’re all chugging while cashing a big corporate check at the same time. It’s a compromised work, but that doesn’t mean its creators aren’t interested in swinging for the fences. After all, the show, which kicks off its third season this Friday with three episodes, isn’t best read as a superhero takedown — or as a heavy-hitting satire of current events, even as the show attacks celebrity culture and right-wing media, and yes, those Trump Presidency. The young is about the rot that took place before all of this clogged our newsfeed, from a time before newsfeeds even existed. It’s about how many things can go wrong if we get carried away with the idea that a hero will save us – and so the main direction of The youngThe third season has a sprawling cast that revolves around the past.

The season begins with a new status quo, following the bloody season two finale in which both Homelander (Antony Starr) and the Seven and Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and his boys find themselves in a state of relaxation. Disgraced after his formidable ex-girlfriend Stormfront (Aya Cash) came out as a stone-cold Nazi, Homelander begins the season by following the line set by his handlers at Vought Corporation to end the PR crisis overcome. Meanwhile, the Boys are scattered to the four winds as Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) tries to put his vigilante days behind Billy behind him and teams up with Congresswoman Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) to find systemic solutions to rampant supes, while Butcher tries to bring them in literally.

A group shot of the Boys in front of a private jet in Season 3 of The Boys

Photo: Amazon Studios

It doesn’t take long – The young has a lot of lewd violence, and that can’t happen when everyone is on their best behavior. Complications pile up: Neuman, the anti-Vought Senator, could be a pro-Vought assassin. A weapon that could kill Homelander involves the Boys’ quest to find long-missing war hero Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles), Vought’s first success story and ultimate superman, a quest that will bring the Boys back together but at great moral cost. And Homelander begins to discover that if he pushes back the boundaries around him, no one will resist.

Using the legend of the Captain America-like Soldier Boy as a narrative backbone, The young gets his cake and eats it too: The show’s writers can lambasting a very popular Marvel character, and they can make a powerful argument about the dangers of hero worship and fandom. The first thing heroes lose, they say The youngis accountability, and when it comes to those in power, trust is no substitute.

This straight through line makes the season’s highs tougher and its lows easier to ride—especially when The young picks up on current events that, in our incredibly fast news cycle, will feel stale by the time they air. In the first two seasons The young was a sneering and sinfully sharp work of Trump-era catharsis, one that loved to strip away all the polite pretense that protects the hateful ideologies of those in power, to portray them for the fanatics they are — to better satisfy themselves violent ones dreaming up endings for them .

Homelander stands in a heroic pose in the Seven's briefing room in Season 3 of The Boys.

Photo: Amazon Studios

But in 2022, our disasters are more diffuse and our leaders less prone to endlessly pushing through the same arguments. The Trump administration’s catalyzing presence is no longer a predictable real-world foil for The young ricochet, and their comfort as a scapegoat means satire has to work harder to connect with the zeitgeist and its audience.

To his credit, showrunner Eric Kripke knew this and told Polygon in 2020 that this season could end up differently depending on who was in the White House. That’s true — it’s harrowing to see direct references to things Trump said or did when he was no longer president. Happily, The young feels like the work of people who have plenty of ammunition for both sides of the aisle, as no ideology has a monopoly on the pursuit of power – or worshiping those who amass it.

The young Season 3 has its first three episodes on Amazon Prime with three episodes on June 3rd and new episodes weekly. The Boys season 3 recap: arguing against fandom

Charles Jones

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