Friday, 11 September 2020

The Boys - Nothing Like It In The World

Love. The feeling of it can be ecstatic, but also brutally painful. Most of the characters this week experience some form of it. From the sweet and tender to the downright messed up and dysfunctional. Nevertheless, the stories all end up the same way for heroes and villains alike: poorly.

The show taking the time to slow down after the shocking events of the previous episode was a wise one. Hell, this episode has a running time of 68 minutes, and the gore was severely down. I mean, every episode in the first season had a messy murder. There is death in this one, but the blood is kept to a minimum here. Even Stormfront is kept in the background this time, while the groundwork is continued to be laid down as we learn more about her and her past, but the focus is on relationships: Hughie and Annie, Billy and Becca, Homelander and his ego, Frenchie and Kimiko, Maeve and Elena.

In the aftermath of last week, with Kenji set up as the murderer of all of Stormfront's victims, she continues to stoke the fires of public outrage with Kimiko steaming, watching her with revenge on her mind. The last thing she wanted to deal with was Frenchie kissing her. Frenchie, wracked with guilt is on a drug fuel bender. Seeing the error of this action as a selfish one when she is grieving, he makes up for it by stopping her from making a move on Stormfront at one of her rallies. There is no way she would walk away from that fight.

Mallory kicks off the other two storylines involving The Boys. Raynor has files involving a hero from the 70s of the name of Liberty. Mother's Milk and Hughie go off on a road trip to follow the lead, but Hughie brings Annie as well, feeling that she shouldn't be alone after Homelander assaulted her back at Vought HQ. This trio pairing was a fun one. Hughie and Annie as having fun singing to Billy Joel annoying MM is a classic road trip scenario. Hughie and Annie even hook up again, as if anyone is surprised, but this brief joy doesn't last long. They discover that Liberty was a racist superhero, who killed a black man for no reason other than he was black. Sound familiar? The timing of a storyline like this after this summer personally effected me as it will affect many other minorities. The icing on the cake? Liberty is actually Stormfront. To recap, Stormfront is the living embodiment of immortal, murderous racism that doesn’t age and has found a way to come back stronger in 2020. Damn. After the trip, Annie ends things with Hughie as the two of them together is too dangerous, and everyone is really just alone.

The other storyline is with Butcher given Becca's location, and he goes after her and sneaks into the compound where she is being held. Becca is a much stronger character than I thought she would be. The feelings between her and Butcher hasn't disappeared after all their time apart, and the two certainly attempt to make up for lost time with car sex. But reality sets in. She knows that Butcher will never accept Ryan, and she couldn't cope if he gets killed due to his vendetta with Homelander so she doesn't go with him. Karl Urban has been performing as a more emotionally vulnerable Butcher, and he is doing some great work here. I am curious how this setback will influence his actions for the second half of the season. Hughie and Frenchie too. Heartbreak all around.

To me, it seems that it will become quickly redundant when I tell you that Anthony Starr is doing excellent work again. His increasingly melting mental state is fascinating to watch. His unresolved mommy issues are fueled with Doppelganger morphing into Stillwell in a secret cabin in the woods for him. He also makes big moves regarding the seven, such as threatening Annie, kicking A-Train off the team, and outing Maeve on television. They tease a confrontation between him and Stormfront. It will be quite conflicting to vote for the winner of that fight.

"Nothing Like It in the World" wisely chooses to focus on the emotional and mental journeys of the ensemble, making it an impactful follow up after the previous episode while continuing to set the stage for the season's upcoming conflict.

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