The Boys (2019) s03e08 – The Instant White-Hot Wild

So, before getting started with the episode itself, I just want to say it’s a very good episode, with excellent direction from Sarah Boyd, a great script (credited to David Reed and Logan Ritchey), and fine performances from most of the cast.

There aren’t any bad performances. Well, maybe Cameron Crovetti as Antony Starr’s superpowered son, but we won’t know until next season if he’s hitting his limit or if it’s part of the role.

But the end of the episode, setting up season four, goes on forever. It goes on so long, it becomes clear lots of season three was just very slowly moving the pieces in position for next season. Or, worse, the action and the arcs were all for nothing. With some of the character development, it’s too soon to tell; they’re pushing off having to address it until next time.

The episode leaves many unanswered questions, even about the ground situation after the big blowout. The episode only runs an hour but could use at least another five minutes to make the epilogue not feel so tacked on. It sets up each epilogue beat as an ending—even when they’re clearly not—then drums on and on. The longer it goes, the more it cuts into the show’s effectiveness.

Most of the season’s stakes get wiped out or reverted this episode to one degree or another. The characters have more history between them now, but their pieces are in more or less the exact same spots (with some exceptions).

Things kick off with Karl Urban ditching Jack Quaid at a gas station so Quaid won’t get killed when Urban and Jensen Ackles go to take on Starr. They’re planning on directly attacking the skyscraper where the superheroes hang out, which will have massive civilian casualties.

Quaid rejoins the Boys, who’ve teamed up with Erin Moriarty and an escaped Dominique McElligott to stop Urban and Ackles. Except since Ackles is Starr’s biological father, all sorts of loyalties are getting confused and questioned, and everyone’s got additional hurdles before reaching the objective.

Eventually, there’s a big superhero fight, lots of wanton destruction, lots of lasers, lots of fisticuffs. It’s a reasonably good fight sequence, though the editors let it run long between checking on the various fronts. Sometimes it’s for emphasis; sometimes, it just runs long. It’d be fine if the big finale weren’t so lackluster.

So maybe the episode needs another five minutes during the first and second acts, then another five during the epilogue. Given where it takes certain characters, it’s rushed.

Lots of good acting from Urban, Starr, Ackles, Quaid, Moriarty, McElligott, and Laz Alonso. The episode gives Tomer Capone and Karen Fukuhara very little compared to how much they’ve been getting lately, but it’s okay.

Jessie T. Usher and Chace Crawford get their arcs pushed until next season (presumably, they could run them as C plots forever, I suppose). Though it certainly seems like they’re setting up season four to be the finish, but since everyone spent season three acting like it was going to all resolve—which makes sense for the characters anyway—it’s too soon to tell.

But other than the visuals of the big fight literal finish, some of the editing, and the epilogue ad nauseam, it’s an excellent episode.

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