TL;DR – Just when I thought I had worked everything out, The Boys was like, you know nothing while pulling the rug out from under my feet and maintaining eye contact as I fell to the floor.
What I Know Review –
After an exciting and long season, we have drawn to the final episode for their sophomore season. This is a season where back in episode three, we exploded through the guts of a whale in its entire gory spectacle, and even that was not the most bonkers moment. With that in mind, in today’s review, we are going to look first at how the final episode came together. Then we will explore an overview of the season as a whole.
So to set the scene, in last week’s episode Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker, we thought everything was coming to ahead … until the head’s started popping. Throughout this episode, there were several essential plotlines. The first was getting a good look at Butcher’s (Karl Urban) life and the world that formed him as to who he is today. Homelander (Antony Starr) and Stormfront (Aya Cash) manipulated Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) and turned him against his mother Becca (Shantel VanSanten). Meanwhile, after Vought captures starlight (Erin Moriarty), Hughie (Jack Quaid) goes on a rescue mission with Lamplighter (Shawn Ashmore) to save her, and it goes … mostly okay. Finally, after everything they have done up until this point, there is a congressional inquiry led by Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) into Vought and what they did. Finally some progress, or not, as heads start exploding on live TV. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
In all respects, this both a much more tame episode than we have seen this year but it also led to a full-on audible gasp at one point, and I stood there in shock at what I had just seen. It is one that lulls you into a false sense of security and them bam hits you in the face. I had suspected two things were going to go down. The first is that there would be a reckoning for Stormfront and tick. The second is that Butcher and Rebecca would get some closure before tragedy and also tick, but then goodness. You have respect a show that said we are going to kill a whale in full bloody gore, and then it can still sock you.
As the final episode, all the critical story points were going to lead to here, Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) witnessing her brother’s death, Butcher trying and failing to save his wife, and reconciling he feeling for her son. We have Homelander starting to take the chains off and having to work out if he wants power or love, he chose love, but for how long … also that final image is going to live rent-free in my brain for a while, so … thank you for that show. The growing political rebuffing of Vaught, and the question of if the government would go full Compound V or not, everything gets tied into a nice bow.
I had thought this would be anticlimactic, but it is not, because everyone in the cast if here for it. I have to give made respects to Aya Cash in nailing what must have been a ridiculously difficult role to pull off. Because the ‘well girls do actually get it done’ ending would not have worked if Stormfront had not been as menacing as she was. To add to this, for most of the show Karl Urban has oscillated from anger to jocularity with Butcher. Still, today we got to see him go through the full emotional range in a moment, and it was powerful because I did not know what he was about to do next at that moment.
Now let’s take a moment to talk about that last second reveal that the show added in just when you thought it was all safe. The big quest from last week was who was exploding heads? Was it Vaught? Was it Church of the Collective? Well today, moments after finding out that there is no real answer to the Fresca question, we got our response as Congresswomen Victoria Neuman assassinates Alastair Adana (Goran Višnjić) the leader of the Church of the Collective. In one moment we get our answer, and then immediately a flood of questions. This means that Neuman has been playing the long game, and probably not for Vaught. She is also a ruthless murderer that straight up killed her chief of staff to provide cover. In one moment I went from being interested in a third season, to desperately wanting one right now.
The Boys Season 2 Review –
When we explore the season as a whole, the first thing that stood out for me was The Boys’ distribution model. There is a lot of discussions around is weekly distribution a good idea in the age of binging where Netflix dumps whole seasons at once. This season with The Boys, I think they found a right middle way between the two extremes. When the season started, they dropped the first three episodes all at once, giving you that binge feel. They also picked the perfect moment to end that binge in with an exploded whale and Stormfront revealing her true colours. After that big moment, we then got each of the episodes week by week. This gives you the joy of binging and the weekly build. I think this was such a successful distribution model for Amazon, which I wouldn’t be surprised if they repeat it and if others follow along. Something we have already seen with this morning’s announcement of The Expanse.
One thing I liked from the season is how Hughie has come into his own as a character. In Season One, he spent most of the season reacting and working through the trauma of losing the love of his life, and then the guilt of moving on to a new relationship with the spectre of the last one hanging over him. Here we get all that, but we also get a Hughie who is finding his feet and standing up for himself, and for the first time in his life taking charge. Hughie is brought to life by Jack Quaid who brings such warmth and care to the role, that I think it is the highlight of the season for me. There were a lot of ebbs and flows this season, and nothing felt like wasted time.
In the end, do we recommend What I Know & Season 2? Absolutely. Each episode was firm in its own right but also helped the flow of the show, making me want to come back each week. There was a lot of wanton blood and gore, but it was (mostly) done in a way that fit the context. It also concluded with an episode that tied things up but also propelled it forward, and that is a hard act to pull off right.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you seen The Boys yet ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Boys
Directed by – Alex Graves
Written by – Rebecca Sonnenshine
Created by – Eric Kripke
Based on – The Boys by Garth Ennis & Darick Robertson
Production/Distribution Companies – Sony Pictures Television & Amazon Studios
Starring In Season 2 – Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominique McElligott, Jessie T. Usher, Laz Alonso, Chace Crawford, Tomer Capon, Karen Fukuhara, Nathan Mitchell, Colby Minifie & Aya Cash with Giancarlo Esposito, Shawn Ashmore, Shantel VanSanten, Cameron Crovetti, Claudia Doumit, Ann Cusack, Nicola Correia-Damude, Laila Robins, Langston Kerman, Jessica Hecht, Dan Darin-Zanco, John Doman, Mishka Thébaud, Abraham Lim, Goran Višnjić, Barbara Gordon, John Noble, Ess Hödlmoser & Lesley Nicol