‘The Boys’ Season 4 Review: The Best Satire On TV Is Back

The Boys Season 4 review

The Boys has never been one to shy away from controversy. And even with the fourth season of the series shooting well over a year ago, it seemed pretty clear they would be diving right into the fray with an election-themed season dividing the uber-conservative/fascist Homelander (Antony Starr) supporters and the liberal faction supporting Annie January, aka Starlight (Erin Moriarty). While that still happens, the series immediately swerves away from expectations in the premiere — and beyond — to deliver another surprising season of television that puts the characters through the wringer. And that’s all of the characters, including the villains.

When we pick up, it’s election day and Victoria Neumann (Claudia Doumit) and Dakota Bob (Jim Beaver) are the expected winners. Homelander is on trial for the shocking, in-broad-daylight murder he committed in the closing moments of Season 3. And Butcher (Karl Urban) is very much on the outs with The Boys — who are now led by an insanely stressed-out MM (Laz Alonso).

What follows is about what you’d expect from The Boys: insanity, blood, and some of the sharpest comedy on TV. I’m being vague because basically every major plotline and reveal from the season is hidden behind Prime Video‘s DNR (Do Not Reveal) language, making the whole thing difficult or impossible to talk about except in the broadest possible ways. But suffice it to say that while the election is quickly pushed to the back burner, this season is still very much about the ideological divides in our country. And with a real-world election rapidly approaching in November, the show doesn’t need a literal election to mirror our world.

That said? That real-world discussion around The Boys has very much spilled back into the show. As the series has continued, “fans” have taken the curious tact of idealizing Homelander, a character who is 1) the villain of the series, and 2) unrepetently bad and evil. This season does even more to break him down into his component parts, and stops just short of creator Eric Kripke addressing fans directly on screen to say “Hey if you idolize this guy, you are bad, too.” And all credit to Starr who goes for it with his usual gusto in the role. There is nobody as good at playing bad on TV as him, and the show is better for it.

The Boys Season 4

Homelander gets an extra level of complication with the addition of Ryan (Cameron Crovetti), his biological son who he is grooming in his own image. For the first time, the narcissistic Supe has someone else to take care of; and the only way he can figure out how to do that is to turn Ryan into himself — something Ryan struggles with.

Ryan is also very much the fulcrum in the power struggle between Butcher and Homelander. With Butcher left with six months to live after abusing Temp V in the previous season, he’s torn between saving Ryan and turning him against Homelander as a weapon. Not helping things is Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character who enters the fray and… I’m not supposed to tell you about his relationship with Butcher, so I won’t, but the point is he does what Morgan always does: acts like a bomb in the middle of the season’s plot.

The rest of the team also gets a lot of nuance to play with this season. Jack Quaid’s Hughie is wrestling with a sudden illness for his father, played by Simon Pegg, and the surprising return of his mother, played by Rosemarie DeWitt. While this plotline almost seems like a sidequest at times, it’s dramatically one of the strongest plotlines of the season, leading to some shockingly heartbreaking turns, and hilarious moments as well. Hughie’s relationship with Annie also continues to be a strong thread through the season, and Moriarty takes Annie to the edge as she’s pushed by multiple forces conspiring against her.

Frenchie (Tomer Capone) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) remain one of the best duos on TV. Fukuhara can elicit laughs with a bright smile, while Capone gets a dramatic arc that goes in some extremely dark directions. And when it comes to our “heroes” one of the smartest moves of the season is centering MM as the head of the team. Alonso works so well as the exasperated, put-upon boss trying to hold this ragtag team of miscreants together; he’s got his own drama to deal with, but every sigh and moan of annoyance from Alonso is a killer joke in its own right.

The Boys Season 4

While the show is called The Boys, it’s The Seven where the show gets wildest and broadest with its humor. Chace Crawford turns in the most vapid and hilarious depiction of toxic masculinity on screen today with The Deep. Nathan Mitchell’s surprise return as Black Noir is also DNRed to heck (he died last season, but is back in classic superhero form), and is easily one of the funniest running jokes in the season. But it’s A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) who makes the most dramatic impact this season, with an arc that continues to tackle the deep conflict the character has felt since the series began. Hughie was our original window into the show, but it’s easy to forget that A-Train was there from the very beginning, too.

The new Supes this season also do a bang-up job of slipping right into the ensemble. Sage (Susan Heyward), the smartest person alive, makes a big impact as the Karl Rove behind Homelander’s George W. Bush. Firecracker (Valorie Curry) is a much broader and funnier satire of conspiracy theory vloggers like Alex Jones and allows the show to delve into those areas; while delivering some pointed commentary that will almost make you feel bad for her. Almost.

There are also plenty of cameos, wild surprises, and at least one moment per episode that is so over-the-top, and insanely gross that you won’t believe they were able to get away with it on TV. On that note, beyond the biting satire the show is known for, particularly in the early going this season feels closest to the spirit of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic book, which the show is based on. While that’s always been present, in the first three episodes some of the bits feel a little like the show trying to top what it’s done before, rather than organically allowing the horrifying, bloody bits to emerge from the plot and characters. It eventually settles down — Episode 4 might be the bloodiest thing the show has ever done, but it comes from a different place than the first three episodes — but you’ll still be screaming with laughter into your barf bag as it goes.

Thankfully, despite not being able to say much about the specific plot, Amazon did provide the full season for critics to review. So I can say that not only is this an excellent, complicated, and provocative season of television that pushes the characters farther than it ever has before and leaves no character safe, but it ties up the season’s plotlines while setting up yet another killer hook for Season 5. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another two years for that to hit Prime, because we need The Boys, now more than ever, to help save America. Or burn it down.

The Boys Season 4 Premiere Dates And Episode Guide:

The Boys season 4 will officially premiere on Prime Video on Thursday, June 13 at 3 am ET / 12 am PT. The season will be eight episodes long, with three dropping on premiere day.

Here’s the full list of episodes in The Boys Season 4, with expected premiere dates:

  • Thursday, June 13, 2024: The Boys, Season 4, Episode 1 – “Department of Dirty Tricks”
  • Thursday, June 13, 2024: The Boys, Season 4, Episode 2 – “Life Among the Septics”
  • Thursday, June 13, 2024: The Boys, Season 4, Episode 3 – “We’ll Keep the Red Flag Flying Here”
  • Thursday, June 20, 2024: The Boys, Season 4, Episode 4 – “Wisdom of the Ages”
  • Thursday, June 27, 2024: The Boys, Season 4, Episode 5 – “Beware the Jabberwock, My Son”
  • Thursday, July 4, 2024: The Boys, Season 4, Episode 6 – “Dirty Business”
  • Thursday, July 11, 2024: The Boys, Season 4, Episode 7 – “The Insider”
  • Thursday, July 18, 2024: The Boys, Season 4, Episode 8 – “Assassination Run” *Season Finale*

Listen to Let’s Hear It For The Boys:

Looking for a lot more on The Boys and Gen V? Then check out our podcast, which breaks down episodes of both series.


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