Sunday, September 12, 2021

Emmy Catch-Up: The Boys (Season Finale)

Every year, I watch the six submitted episodes of every series I don’t regularly watch that’s up for one of the Emmy series prizes. Last year, I started watching the entire season of each show to get a better idea of the quality I missed, and I’ve decided to continue that this year.

The Boys: Season 2, Episode 8 “What I Know” (B+)

It’s been a wild, violent ride to get here, but I did appreciate the quality of this episode, which is also nominated for its writing. Opening with the dated-feeling “active supervillain” school safety video set the tone for a bleak dystopia in which the president was set to authorize Compound V for military and law enforcement, which was a bit too reminiscent of the politicization of emergency authorizations of a different nature in our real world. Exposing Stormfront was a move that couldn’t be undone, and it did provoke her into a vicious revenge tour that left Becca dead and would have resulted in Kimiko’s death if she wasn’t able to survive her neck being snapped. Ryan using his powers to ultimately subdue her was an unfortunate and traumatizing event, but at least it compelled Butcher to do the right thing and give him a promising future away from his monster of a father. It feels strange that a video Maeve has on her phone would be enough to keep Homelander under control and get Starlight pardoned and back into the Seven, and it will be interesting to see how Homelander behaves going forward following this blackmail. Seeing Stan meet with both Butcher and Alastair was intriguing, showing how interconnected all of these different factions are (something that I might understand better if I had watched all of season one). That didn’t turn out too well for Alastair after he managed to get A-Train back into the Seven, revealing the most horrifying development of all. Victoria had been one of the few fervent champions for good, and the news that she is actually one of the bad guys with insanely destructive powers is immensely disturbing. What her endgame is isn’t entirely clear, but she likely works for Vought and is keeping everyone in line while manipulating the public by pretending to be against the company. Hughie signing up to work for her is an interesting twist, though it’s really tragic given that her true nature. I think I’ve managed to get past the violence on this show for the sake of the strong characters and performances, and I’ll be happy to tune back in when season three, which just wrapped filming, returns.

Season grade: B
Season MVP: Antony Starr as Homelander, Erin Moriarty as Starlight, and Aya Cash as Stormfront

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