The Boys season 3 is here to go full Homelander on your streaming watchlist, blasting eye-beams through your queue. Sure, you might have had plans to stream Obi-Wan, finish Stranger Things 4 volume 1 or (gasp!) go outside, but Prime Video's gang of Supes, Supe-haters and other weirdos is back to make you feel all kinds of squeamish.
I've just binge-watched all eight episodes of The Boys season 3, and while this review will be spoiler-free, I can declare that this is the most shocking season of an already eyebrow-raising show to date. Yes, a show that ended its second season by exploding heads with super-powers has many more tricks up its sleeve, as I'll explain in this The Boys season 3 review.
And The Boys' return is a healthy reminder of why Prime Video is one of the best streaming services. It may not dish out new shows with the sheer volume that Netflix does, but The Boys stays super-strong this season, without any sign up letting up.
Homelander steals The Boys season 3 every chance he gets
Picking up where we left off, The Boys' biggest question is the career rehabilitation for Homelander (Antony Starr), the sick and twisted Supe at the head of the super-team known as The Seven. Last season saw Homelander publicly in a relationship with Stormfront (Aya Cash) who turned out to be Miss Third Reich 1945 in thinly-veiled disguise.
And now that his dirty laundry is public, Homelander has a big PR quest to go on, and it doesn't start well. Throughout the season, though, he learns all about owning his brand, as The Boys gets very topical.
From rage-fueled rallies to cries about the mainstream media, Homelander's story might make some feel a little awkward, but The Boys doesn't seem to care. Discomfort, often, is the point.
From Homelander's relationship with his son to his unnerving on-camera presence when he's interviewed at the premiere of Dawn of The Seven, Starr is given plenty of meat to chew on this season.
The Boys season 3 gets edgier than ever
Throughout just the first episode of The Boys season 3, the series does it best to shock you. I won't spoil any of them here, but, did you ever hear that theory that one way the Avengers could have killed Thanos was by Ant-Man shrinking, going into Thanos' rear and then expanding? Well, it feels like someone at The Boys heard that line and said "not gross enough, let's go wilder."
In that same episode, we get gross deformities and a squishy fatality in a back alley. It's a great way for The Boys to say "and we've only just begun," while making you wonder what happens next.
The Boys almost treads too close to the sun when it comes the the blood and guts, but when they do, the cast's reactions to the viscera always grounds the series away from jumping the Sharknado.
The Boys season 3 makes you care about these characters more than ever
One of the issues I've had with the first two seasons of The Boys is that it often felt like it was leaning too hard on shock value and not enough on character development. But over these eight hours, audiences will gain a stronger connection with many (but not all) of the Supes they've been watching for years.
For me, this came with one character I was hoping would get more time, and many characters I hadn't expected to become more humanized. Some of my favorite work from this season comes from Laz Alonso, who plays Mother's Milk (aka M.M., aka Marvin T. Milk). While we've long seen his tics, this season gives a depth to his character and backstory that is both engaging and necessary. As those around him are tempted to lower their ethical standards, M.M. becomes the heart of The Boys.
Through various means, we also learn a bit more of who Billy Butcher is, why Homelander is so weird and we get a surprising amount of Dark Noir's backstory. The other big twist of the season, though, comes for A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), whose story goes from farce to powerful over the season. It's all told gradually enough for it to be believable and not rushed, thankfully.
Starlight's also got a fantastic story this season, as she's offered more power with The Seven. And, thankfully, The Boys doesn't send her down a predictable plot of being asked to do things and becoming corrupt. If previous seasons did a fair job giving us teases of the power struggle at Vought, The Boys season 3 wins by going full Game of Thrones.
And that's a good thing, especially when it means more of Giancarlo Esposito as Stan Edgar. Esposito is currently enjoying a Supe-level run on some of the best shows on TV (he's also Gus Fring on Better Call Saul and Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian), and each scene of his is a delight.
Oh, and about Jensen Ackles in The Boys season 3
Jensen Ackles, best known for playing good guy Dean Winchester in Supernatural for what felt like an eternity, fits right at home as Soldier Boy, who is basically a satire of Captain America. Again, I'm going spoiler-free here, but it's safe to say that the Soldier Boy you get here is anything but the Dean fans have watched over the last years.
This is some ingenious casting and work on the part of showrunner Eric Kripke, who also created Supernatural. I'm curious how long Kripke had planned for this casting, as it seems like a match made in a very perverted corner of heaven.
Verdict: The Boys keeps Prime Video strong
Just like how Stranger Things 4 arrived on Netflix right when the big red streaming machine needed a win, The Boys arrives in a particularly interesting moment for Prime Video. The streaming service most people get as an Amazon Prime membership perk is a little slower than most to roll out new seasons of its biggest hits.
As I've conveyed in this The Boys season 3 review, this season is so good that it's noteworthy I was able to gush about it without even mentioning another solid performance from Jack Quaid, whose Hughie Campbell goes through a lot this season. Talking about his arc would border too much upon the spoiler-zone, so I thought I'll save that for my next piece on the show.
For now, know that The Boys season 3 is one of the very best shows you can watch right now, and I'm not just saying that because I'm worried Homelander could intimidate me with a single unnerving smile.