The Boys Season 4 Premiere Review

This review contains spoilers for the first three episodes of The Boys Season 4.

The Boys Season 4 premiere hits like anti-superhero déjà vu. Showrunner Eric Kripke reshuffles the series’ deck but deals out eerily similar hands in these three episodes. Billy Butcher’s (Karl Urban) crew hatches schemes to terminate Homelander (Antony Starr). New caped allies fill empty slots in The Seven, aligning themselves with Homelander’s #SupeLivesMatter agenda. If you’re still enamored by The Boys and its “M for Mature” take on spandex-clad commentaries, rest assured – you’ll still savor the same flavors. For those who felt betrayed by Season 3’s finale? Or complain The Boys is losing momentum? Season 4 won’t do anything to assuage your frustrations.

Butcher’s behavior throughout Episodes 1-3 is the only aspect that suggests The Boys can learn new storytelling tricks. Can a terminal diagnosis soften his merciless and bloody-knuckled brash personality? A more compassionate Butcher is a welcome diversion for Urban, who capitalizes on opportunities for his performance to color outside the British brawler’s outlines. Butcher chooses not to betray his teammates, and affectionately converses with Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) over foosball instead of force-feeding him sedative-laced cookies. Butcher’s mortality ushers in a tingle of regret for his past actions, and sees him try empathy on for size. He’s still the same Butcher who barbarically impales a supe henchman’s head on a crowbar, but now with moral fibers that make us believe even the nastiest bastards can change. We’ll see if Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Joe Kessler ruins Butcher’s redemption arc. In this version of the story, Kessler is an old agency ally of Butcher’s, who encourages his meaner, scorched-earth tactics, not his newfound sympathies.