For all of its over-the-top topical references and ripped-from-the-headlines plot points, The Boys’ new season feels the most relevant during one understated moment from episode three. “We have to be as mean and as fucked up as they are,” says Hughie (Jack Quaid) in one of those defeated-but-somehow-still-fired-up speeches he delivers so well. “I’m tired of losing.”
It’s a fitting line for a TV show anchored in U.S. politics, a practically bottomless cesspool that in 2022 has reached chilling new depths. Like viewers who may have entered this so-called “post-pandemic” year with high expectations, the titular Boys begin season three on an upswing. After discovering that Stormfront (Aya Cash), the newest member of tentpole supersquad The Seven, was really a remnant of the Third Reich, The Boys helped vanquish her Nazi ass in the season-two finale. One year later, they’ve settled into a semi-peaceful new normal. With The Homelander (Antony Starr) under control thanks to Maeve (Dominique McElligott) and some damning footage from Flight 37, Hughie and Starlight (Erin Morariarty) are seemingly free to start fresh. Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara), Frenchie (Tomer Kapon), and even Butcher (Karl Urban) try to do the same.
Unfortunately, as plenty of real Americans can attest, disavowing bigots is only step one in the journey to saving the soul of this capitalistic hellhole. Plus, Homelander’s big “I can do whatever I want” jack-off speech at the end of last season always spelled trouble. So, in a painful action-packed dramedy of errors that never lets up, The Boys season three takes aim at a daunting question: What do the good guys do when the bad guys just keep winning?