Entertainment

'The Boys' Finale Proves the Kids Are Not Alright

'The Boys' might be going in circles, but a chilling Season 3 ending proves there's still some narrative juice left.

Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video

Spoilers ahead for the season finale of Amazon Prime’s The Boys.

The future generation is fucked, according to The Boys. In the last episode of the third season of Amazon’s raucous superhero satire, showrunner Eric Kripke and his team of writers make their bleakest statement yet: The kids are not okay. It’s a chilling vision of what’s to come from a series that keeps doubling down on its real-world allegories.

Antony Starr’s increasingly terrifying warped Captain America, Homelander, has evaded destruction yet again, with the Boys having to make sure his literal sire Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) doesn’t destroy New York through a nuclear combination of rage and PTSD. In the aftermath of the Vought Tower-set showdown, Homelander’s son, Ryan (Cameron Crovetti)-conceived via rape-decides to seek his protection and love rather than use his mother’s husband, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), as a father figure. Homelander’s quest to win over the child, which began in Season 1, is finally complete, and he brings him to a rally where his MAGA-esque supporters are introduced to his spawn. When a counterprotestor challenges him, Homelander blows his head off. Ryan smiles.

It’s a thoroughly haunting image. The quest to save Ryan’s soul has been hanging over The Boys ever since he was introduced. When Season 2 drew to a close, he inadvertently killed his mother while trying to stop the not-so-secret Nazi Stormfront (Aya Cash) from strangling her, and began this year in a retreat where Butcher attempts to keep him grounded despite his guilt and budding violent tendencies. But the allure of the power his biological father wields is too great, and Ryan now seems forever lost.

It’s a conclusion that helps solve a problem that The Boys appeared to be running into as it headed into its fourth batch of episodes: What to do about Homelander? Starr’s performance as the sociopath is magnificent, a deft portrayal of male toxicity mashed up with emotional impotence and simmering rage. And yet Homelander’s unkillable nature has made him start to seem like a narrative hurdle. This year, Kripke made the parallels between Homelander and Donald Trump glaringly obvious, which rang as almost comically unsubtle to viewers who had been paying attention and pissed off dummies who, for some reason, thought he was an antihero and not an outright villain.

Ryan’s allegiance gives the writers a new angle on Homelander, and feeds directly into the themes of generational rot that the season had been teasing out. Homelander was created using the DNA of Soldier Boy, who the Boys accidentally unfroze in time and planned to use as a potential weapon. Soldier Boy’s brand of self-involvement has a Reaganite bent, and one “make America great again” begets another, resulting in Homelander’s specifically 21st century type of horror. But even beyond this legacy of nationalist evil, The Boys has grown increasingly interested in how abuses are passed down. In the penultimate episode, Butcher contends with his father’s mistreatment, while secretly superpowered politician Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) throws her surrogate father, Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito), under the bus to protect her own daughter. Victoria also injects the girl with Compound V, a substance which will give the child abilities but will almost certainly corrupt her in one way or another.

There is the chance that The Boys might be going in circles. Victoria, who can explode people’s heads, still feels like an idea more than a fully fledged character, and the season ends with another tease that she’s up to something in the long term without offering any concrete details. Elsewhere, Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), has essentially been retired as a character, presumed dead by the world and headed out to almost literal pasture, an unceremonious quasi-ending for a character who felt underserved by the narrative. (In the source comics, Homelander kills Maeve.) Her other female teammate and former member of the Seven, Starlight (Erin Moriarty), remains the only morally pure entity on the show, and has joined up with the Boys to take down Vought from the outside in another reset for the plot.

Despite these nagging doubts, Ryan’s unnerving smirk tells us The Boys still has the power to make our skin crawl. Just how screwed we are-both in The Boys and in life-remains to be seen.

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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