It's funny to call a season of The Boys to be its darkest yet, considering all the gore involved, but it's certainly true here. Homelander is not the only one struggling with their current situation, and you feel it in almost every scene. Butcher is fighting his demons; Mother's Milk is still dealing with family issues; Frenchie and Kimiko's relationship is constantly under pressure; Hughie and Annie's bonds are tested throughout the season too.
One of this season's biggest strengths is its ability not just to skim the surface of these problems but to dive deeper and get to the root of the issues. While seasons past have put Butcher in the spotlight, the other characters, yes even Homelander, are getting more of their backstories fleshed out now.
Many of these stories would be less effective if the acting behind them weren't strong but thankfully, that's not the case with The Boys. You can tell that Karl Urban and Antony Starr remain the show's stars, and they're more than deserving of that. Starr's Homelander is legitimately one of the best villains that television has seen in quite some time, with Urban's Butcher being the perfect counterbalance to him.
They are in a symbiotic, very much a "one cannot exist without the other" scenario that will only end with one or both of their deaths. Any scene they share is among the show's very best, and that trend continues this season.
Jensen Ackles's Soldier Boy is a welcome addition to an already stellar cast. To get an idea of his character, he's basically the evil Captain America, a lot like how Homelander is the twisted version of Superman.
His confusion over the modern day also provides some of the season's best humor. He plays the character brilliantly, being the perfect combination of old-world values and over-the-top machismo, two traits that are his biggest follies.
If you were ever looking to see the show finally crack the shell that is Black Noir, then you're in luck. The silent, masked assassin of The Seven gets his time in the sun too. Nathan Mitchell shows off a masterclass in showing and not telling, giving depth to a character who had long been relegated to the background.
Does he have a dark past? Did he do some pretty awful stuff in the first two seasons? Yes, and yes. This season you'll undoubtedly learn why he is who he is and does what he does.