The Boys Season 4 Review: Carry Over For An Epic Final Season

It may have some cracks, but Season 4 coasts off its likeable characters and the promise of an explosive final season.

When The Boys debuted on Prime Video in 2019, it certainly wasn’t an overnight success. However, over time, it built up a steady fanbase before cementing itself as an undeniable part of pop culture. Season 3 premiered two years ago – something sadly indicative of the current streaming television release model – which makes it even harder to swallow that Season 4, which began last week, isn’t exactly a home run. That being said, if there’s one thing The Boys never is, it’s boring, and this season plants fascinating seeds for the fifth, which Showrunner Eric Kripke confirmed would be the last.

Back in the good old days of television, when shows had 22 episodes per season per year, there was wiggle room for episodes that were just okay. Nowadays, with an average of 8 episodes released every two years, TV shows can’t afford mediocre retreads of story beats that the audience has already seen. It’s difficult to ignore that behind the distraction of exploding bodies and vomit-inducing kink play, Season 4 is all set-up and no follow-through – that is until Kripke and co. throw in an unexpected curve ball towards the end of the season, completely changing the game. 

Anyone who watches The Boys knows that its commentary on political extremism and MAGA is part of its biological makeup, but Season 4 dials its satire up to the point where it overshadows everything else. At times, the show makes some insightful observations about the state of our society, uniquely capturing the divided anger currently surging through the population. Other moments, however, are certifiably cringe-inducing. Furthermore, while the violence and nudity felt purposeful in the past, it comes across as gratuitous this season. One graphic sequence at a private party during Episode 6, in particular, is best viewed alone. 

Where Season 4 shines, like in previous seasons, is through its characters. What continues to be wildly impressive about The Boys is how the series successfully juggles character arcs, both old and new, giving each of them equal depth and screen time. The two latest additions to The Seven are Sister Sage (Susan Heyward), a supergenius that Homelander (Antony Starr) recruits to help him execute his master plan, and Firecracker (Valorie Curry), a superstrong fanatic with a personal disdain for Starlight (Erin Moriarty). Both characters feel at home in The Boys, but Heyward’s Sage is a particular scene stealer along with Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit), and, of course, Homelander.

One of the biggest and best developments of Season 4 is Homelander’s relationship with his son, Ryan (Cameron Crovetti), now that his surrogate father, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), is out of the picture. Last season ended with the Trump-like Superman lasering a man’s head off in the middle of a crowded street after he threw a can at Ryan’s head. As Ryan witnesses more of his father’s sinister nature, it becomes increasingly compelling watching him struggle between choosing which path to go down: that of Billy Butcher, that of Homelander, or that of his own. Crovetti, who has been on the show since Season 1, has much more to do this season and it’s impressive watching him step up to the challenge.

After Homelander’s public debacle, people have split into two factions: the Homelanders and the Starlighters, representing the extreme right and left. In the middle of this, a presidential power struggle that would see head-popping Neuman in the Oval Office is quickly escalating. The Boys uses this timely storyline as the overarching narrative for Season 4, but because it’s building up to a grand finale, it seems all the juicy payoff will come in Season 5.

While undeniably sad, there’s something cathartic about going into a show’s final season knowing it’s the end. This means that all bets are off, and anything can happen. Season 4 might be The Boys‘ weakest, but it’s easy to hold on to good favour with everything it promises to deliver in the next and last installment. Plus, there’s still plenty happening throughout these new eight episodes, including enough surprises to leave fans on the edge of their seat every week.

New episodes of The Boys Season 4 premiere every Thursday exclusively on Prime Video.

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