Pitch Black: Our Review of ‘The Boys Season 4’

Posted in Amazon Prime, What's Streaming? by - June 13, 2024
Pitch Black: Our Review of ‘The Boys Season 4’

Debuting with three episodes this week on Prime Video, The Boys returns with its darkest and  downright bleak season yet. That’s certainly saying something after three seasons of violence and debauchery. And since the series is set to conclude with a supersized season five, season four leaves audiences desperate for what will hopefully be a happier series conclusion.

Picking up after the events of season three, a now noticeably ill and getting worse Bill Butcher (Karl Urban) has been usurped as the leader of The Boys by Marvin aka Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso). Annie/Starlight (Erin Moriarty) has officially joined the group after leaving The Seven and also serves as a figurehead for the anti-Vought resistance group known as The Starlighters. Hughie (Jack Quaid) has to deal with some personal issues after hisfather Hugh Sr (Simon Pegg) ends up is hospital, while Frenchie (Tomer Capone) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) must  directly deal with figures associated with their bloody pasts.

Meanwhile in Vought tower, after having his numbers chopped in half last season, Homelander (Antony Starr) sets out to recruit new members of The Seven that will specifically back his vision of the future. This includes Sister Sage (Susan Heyward), the “smartest woman in the world”, whom he entrusts with strategy. And there’s Firecracker (Valorie Curry), a wildly left conspiracy theorist and social commentator who makes Fox News seem credible, and who has a personal vendetta against Starlight. 

Homelander starts the season on trial for his actions at the end of season three while still developing his son Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) into his replacement, trying to drive out his love of humans to make him ruthless. Meanwhile, A-Train (Jesse T. Usher) is going through a full-blown crisis of consciousness. The Deep (Chace Crawford) and Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell), who has been replaced in the suit after season three’s disembowelment, are mainly try to stay on Homelander’s good side. But the real threat comes in the form of Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumet), now Vice-President-elect and her hidden agenda with Homelander to help secure the White House.

The season also includes the arrivals of Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a role I won’t spoil here, and Rosemarie DeWitt as Hughie’s long-departed mother. We also get crossovers from the other series in The Boys universe, Gen V. Through this corssover, Maddie Phillips and Asa Germann play into their anointed titles of the Guardians of Goldolkin. That’s a huge cast, but after three seasons, showrunner Eric Kripke and his writing team have grown adept at managing multiple storylines clearly and concisely. Season Four is no exception as The Boys are struggling all season long with more individual issues than ever. The fact that after three seasons we can get a new season with as much new character development and nuance as we get from both Frenchie and Kimiko this season is a testament to the writer’s room.

Getting into the performances of our series regulars in depth isn’t really needed here as they are all as excellent as they have been before. Season four is just a well-oiled machine. I will take a second to highlight some of the newcomers though as they quickly become standouts. Firecracker is played with malicious glee by Valorie Curry – it’s a truly despicable performance from one of the more singularly focused characters in Boys history. Having her as a direct rival for Moriarty’s Starlight and using Firecracker to place some levels of tarnish on the would-be wholesome hero just makes Annie feel even more of a fit in the misfit squad that is The Boys. And Susan Heyward’s Sister Sage is fascinating to watch as her manipulations are never fully revealed until the very end. Sage sees Homelander’s shortcomings more clearly than anyone else and as such can’t even trust him with everything she has planned.

And all the standards that you’ve come to expect from a season of The Boys are here too as the fourth season remains just as bloody, lecherous, and horny as the three seasons that preceded it. Much like last year’s departure of Dominique McElligott’s Queen Maeve, this year will see some more familiar faces won’t surpass the final episode, as The Boys have never strayed from putting anyone in peril. Homelander’s descent into madness continues, now unabated or hampered by anyone, until we see him arrive in a surprising place come the series’ final moments. Without spoiling a single thing here, I will say that the end of the series sees The Boys as a group in a very different situation. They face hurdles more challenging than anything they have faced previously, and that may not necessarily be for the better. But as a lead-in for the final season, it’s downright exciting.

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"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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