Amazon’s 'The Boys' Is Surprisingly Feminist

Published on December 1, 2020

One of Amazon streaming’s best original shows is ‘The Boys.’ The superhero satire’s premise is an exploration of a world where superheroes are celebrated but they’re not as good as everyone thinks. Their entire facade is in danger of cracking when a normal guy’s girlfriend is killed by one of “The Seven.” The Seven are the top dogs of the superhero world. Everyone wants to be them, everyone looks up to them, but nobody really knows them.

Season One Synopsis/Review

When Hugh Campbell’s (Jack Quaid) girlfriend is killed horrifically in an accident by one of the members of The Seven, Hugh is left feeling despondent. Little does he know that he isn’t the only one who’s lost a loved one to the superhero group. Hugh finds himself joining ‘The Boys,’ a vigilante group led by Billy Butcher (Karl Urban). The Boys aim to expose The Seven to the world for who they truly are: money hungry villains who aren’t afraid to commit murder to get what they want. What really gives the show a great feminist angle is the story of Annie January (Erin Moriarty). Annie is accepted into The Seven as Starlight but quickly discovers that her heroes aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. She struggles with sexual harassment and also being forced to wear outfits and say things she isn’t comfortable with. Her struggle with wanting to keep her dream job and to do what’s right is further complicated by her relationship with Hugh.

The Arc

Starlight’s story arc is one of the most compelling parts of the first season.
In the first episode alone Starlight encounters a terrible case of sexual harassment in the workplace. Her innocent revelation to one of her new superhero coworkers that she used to have a crush on him turns into something far darker that unfortunately too many women can relate to. Without spoiling it the incident in question does fuel Starlight’s fire as she continues to work on trusting herself and standing up for her needs.
What’s great is that she unintentionally ends up being a true superhero by ultimately being herself.

Her relationship with Hugh is interesting too. His vigilante group doesn’t trust her due to their anti superhero bias, and Hugh ends up not only falling for Annie/Starlight but also using her for information to get to The Seven. When she finds out his ulterior motives once again she has to decide what’s most important to her. One thing that does feel wrong is the treatment of Hugh’s first girlfriend Robin. One of the show’s only POC women is not only killed in the first episode, but treated as Hugh’s sole motivation for revenge. We never get to hear more about her hopes and dreams, beyond her ghost standing angrily in the shadows as Hugh’s relationship with Annie deepens.
Ultimately the show is a fascinating slice of real life where superheroes reign but aren’t working in the public’s interest. At eight episodes, the show is definitely binge worthy and leaves you wanting more.

Season Two TBA

With the first season ending on an excellent cliffhanger, fans were left wondering what could happen next. The show was already picked up for a second season and reportedly has been renewed for a third. What remains yet to be seen is when season two airs, but the first season is worth the watch while Coronavirus quarantine continues.

Katherine Stinson is an award-winning journalist and Staff Reporter at Grit Daily News, where she covers Texas and Southern states' startup and entrepreneurship news. Based in San Antonio, Texas, she also contributes to ScreenRant, Outlander TV News, and San Antonio Magazine.

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