‘The Boys’ Season 4 Spoiler Free Review

I have been a fan of The Boys since the jump. I love the way that it skewers Hollywood. I love the way that it skewers performative wokeness. I love the way that it skewers right-wing fanaticism. And, yeah, the voyeur in me loves the over-the-top violence and sexual content. 

The first season was great, and the second season was even better. I felt like it dipped a little in season three, primarily because of a lackluster finale that felt like it undid a lot of what happened throughout the season. But even with some disappointments, I’ve still watched the show multiple times and really enjoyed the spinoff, Gen V. Despite my overall love for the show, I admit I was approaching season 4 with a bit of trepidation. After seeing this season, all of my fears have been allayed

There’s a small time-jump between season 3 and season 4 of The Boys

Season four picks up a few months after the events of season three and shortly after Gen V. Homelander is on trial. The Seven consists of only four members, and one is a new Black Noir. Starlight has abandoned her role as Starlight and wants to simply be known as Annie January now. The boys are working directly for Grace Mallory, with Mother’s Milk now the head of the operation. 

There has been some discussion online that the storylines, particularly with Kimiko and Frenchie, are retreads of arcs that we’ve already seen played out in previous seasons. And while that is a fair concern, the payoff at the end is more nuanced and thoughtful than what the show has done so far. There is some similarity to the past, to be sure, but it is different enough to justify its inclusion, particularly for how it rounds out the characters.

The two new supes are absolutely fantastic. There can be some comparison drawn between Stormfront and Firecracker, but they are definitely distinct characters. It’s the same way that there is overlap between neo-nazis and QAnon folks, but they are not the same. If Firecracker was just deeper into conspiracy theories (Jewish space lasers make an appearance), her inclusion might not be warranted, but she brings a level of Christian Nationalism that we haven’t really seen since season one. I found the religious themes throughout season four to be interesting, and that is due primarily to the inclusion of Firecracker.

Sister Sage and Butcher in Season 4 of The Boys

I also absolutely adore Sister Sage. There isn’t a lot to say about her character without spoilers, but while I was initially concerned that she might just be propping up the “angry black woman” trope, her character is much more interesting than that, and I will be writing a lot more about her when the season concludes.

In the negative column, this is a not great season for Butcher. He had a fantastic arc last season, and signs point to greatness in the final season, but the writers seemed a little unsure how to work with him this season. His story feels a bit uneven, and it didn’t entirely work. Karl Urban is delightful, as always, but his story feels a little thin. 

Other negatives in this season

Hughie and Annie both have some great character moments, but overall, the payoffs were lackluster. I don’t dislike their arcs, but they feel a little bit flimsy. Maybe they don’t quite belong in the negative section, but they’re not really positive either. 

Another negative was the Gen V cameos. Again, maybe negative isn’t the right word, but they didn’t serve any major point. There are other supe cameos that are way better than the ones we got from the characters in the spinoff show. 

One final negative before I get back into my effusive praise. There is a character introduced near the end of the series who wasn’t used effectively. Cool as shit powers, but they exist exclusively to move the plot along, and it felt lazy. They’re such a cool character that I hate that they don’t have a more prominent or interesting role.

Ryan and A-Train

Back to the positives, Ryan’s arc this season is phenomenal. He has some legitimate struggles with his feelings about Butcher and Homelander. He obviously loved his mom, so Becca’s memory influences him, but he’s also a 13-year-old, and that influences him as well. The show balances those competing loyalties well, and I’m so excited to see where he is at the end of the show

A-Train has been one of my favorite characters throughout the show. He is by far the most nuanced of everyone, and his arc has been fascinating to watch. He is a complicated character, and that shines through in this season. Again, it’s hard to say much without spoilers, but watch A-Train closely.

Homelander is increasingly unhinged

Finally, I have to talk about Homelander. Every season since the first, I think, “This is as scary as Homelander can be,” and every season, they prove me wrong. Episode four is one of the most terrifying and sadistic moments we’ve had with Homelander, and even that is outdone in one of the final scenes. He continues to become increasingly unhinged, and I cannot wait to see how they ramp it up even more in the final season of The Boys.

Overall, I loved this season. Season four has ramped up the humor in a way that the past two seasons have downplayed a bit. This is also the first season when I noticed more regular cutaways from some violence, which generally helps add tension (granted, it’s The Boys, so there is more than enough violence to sate that need). The end is horrifying, but if Kripke is to be believed, it’s setting up the series finale in a way that should pay off incredibly well.

The Boys Season 4 is now streaming on Prime Video. New episodes are released every Thursday.

Learn more about the show on the Prime Video website. 

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