By Juan Calvillo
The jam-packed eight episodes of mayhem, fighting and story make Amazon’s “The Boys” season two a hell of a good sophomore outing. Season two of the superhero-gone-bad-themed show made some very awesome moves right out of the gate. The show brought along new villainous characters in the form of Stormfront, played by Aya Cash, and Stan Edgar, played by Giancarlo Esposito. It also did exactly what fans wanted and paid off the truly jarring ending of season one by showing more of Becca Butcher, played by Shantel VanSanten.
The storyline for season two centers on Stormfront and her ties to the villainous corporation Vought. It also deals with the ramifications of the role Vought has played in creating super-powered people over the years. These two storylines interweave and ultimately combine at the very end of the season.
At the end of season one, Billy Butcher, played by Karl Urban, found out some interesting news concerning his wife Becca. Urban is truly fantastic to watch on screen. In season one, Butcher was after superheroes because one of them raped and killed his wife. Season two has Butcher realize he was wrong about what had happened all along.
Seeing Urban go from disbelief to anger and then finally to rage is a thing of beauty. Every emotion is masked by Urban’s ability to seem like a teenager with a devil-may-care attitude. But it’s in the show’s interaction between Urban and VanSanten that a true tenderness is seen. It’s this same change that might leave audiences awed by the insanity and hatred Urban can manifest when needed throughout the show.
Season two’s introduction of Stormfront had been played out via social media weeks before the season’s release. It shows Stormfront as a social media savant who used the platform to promote herself and her agenda. As the show’s season unfolds, much of Stormfront’s actions are shown to have hidden racist qualities and goes from a simple agenda to more of an ideology.
Having the focus on social media as her biggest weapon in the war of ideas is like holding a mirror to the audience’s face and asking if they have seen anyone do things as she does before. It’s always fun to see artistic mediums critique our society because often they are a direct reflection of it. Her connection to the hero Homelander, played by Anthony Starr, is interesting and definitely shows more of the darker moments of heroes at play.
If there is one fly in the ointment, it’s the underuse of Esposito as Edgar. Esposito is a marvelous actor who doesn’t really get all that much screen time. In the scenes he is in, Esposito commands the viewer’s attention, but it would have been much more impressive to see what exactly the “face” of Vought was capable of doing rather than see him sit and say a handful of lines menacingly.
“The Boys” is envisioned as an ultra-violent show. This season, it seems that the show has gone up a notch, showing some very heinous events during its eight episodes. The trailers show whales being harpooned by speed boats and head-popping super villains. It is safe to say that those scenes are only the beginning of what the show is capable of accomplishing.