The Boys Season 4 Review: Everything Is Awful

The latest season of The Boys tackles the current political climate in a depressingly realistic batch of episodes.

Everything is awful and the world is falling apart, both in the real world and in the world of The Boys. The breakout Prime Video hit has never been one to shy away from tackling real-world issues, a notion that combusts beyond belief throughout the eight episodes of The Boys Season 4. Though the show has been a bit on the nose with its previous jabs at the political landscape, Season 4 is hardly satire; instead, it simply replicates the rhetoric seen on social media and fringe outlets consumed by the far right.

The show picks up just a few months after the ending of The Boys Season 3, with the titular group now led by MM (Laz Alonso) as Butcher (Karl Urban) lives out his remaining days due to his brain cancer destroying his body. By this point in time, Homelander (Antony Starr) finds himself on trial for murdering the "Starlighter" at the end of Season 3, causing tensions to be at an all-time high between the Hometeamers and Starlighters.

From the leap, the eponymous group of vigilantes faces an uphill battle, and it's one isn't easily resolved by the time the season airs its final episode. The show is, after all, already renewed for a fifth season as Prime Video turns it into a bonafide franchise. It's here that this season falls into its biggest faults of the year: the show's characters, from Butcher to Homelander (Antony Starr) and anyone in between, takes one step forward only to get blasted five steps back. It's been a recurring theme throughout the previous three seasons and it's one that's found ad nauseam through this summer's eight episodes.

Luckily, that's the biggest mark against Season 4. In showrunner Eric Kripke's typical fashion, The Boys refuses to pull any punches and the end result is something that punches you in the gut repeatedly. Though it will leave you battered, beaten, and broken, it will make you feel terror. It will make experience furor, and if you scour the utter darkness of the show, you may even fight a little corner of light that will inject you with just the tiniest sliver of hope. No matter what the case, The Boys Season 4 makes you feel intense emotions within most of its scenes, a true testament to the storytelling strength of this cast and crew.

While he's made his presence felt plenty of times before, Alonso is Season 4's breakout star, with his MM taking over the reins of The Boys because of Butcher's ailing health. Alonso excels as a leader, and the development seen on screen will have fans arguing the case he's the most important character of the season. On the opposite side, Starr's Homelander is a double-edged sword — as has been the case for the better part of 30 episodes now. The show finally dives deeper into the character's backstory, taking fans on a dangerously sympathetic journey into why he is doing what he does. It's a difficult story only Starr could handle, and the actor's performance cements Homelander's rightful place in the Pantheon of Film Villains.

Also taking center stage is Susan Heyward's Sister Sage, a character that might be the most dangerous of them all, even though she has a vastly different skillset than what we've already seen on the show. Sage goes to great lengths to provide an interesting dynamic between the others in The Seven, and it goes a long way to keep the villains fresh and three-dimensional.

The Boys Season 4 is nothing short of frustrating, but not because of the writers or actors associated with the show; it's frustrating because the show does an impeccable job of examining the world we live in, putting a light on just how dangerous and alarming the rhetoric used by some of those in positions of power really is. It's far from a feel-good television show, but that's the point of it all: if it leaves you fuming, maybe you'll be inspired to do something about it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The first three episodes of The Boys Season 4 start streaming on Prime Video Thursday, June 13th while the remaining five episodes of the season will be released weekly through July 18th.