The Ultimate Ranking of The Boys’ Worst Episodes: A Brutally Honest Review, Know The Details

The Boys, Amazon’s adaptation of Garth Ennis’s comic of the same name, created by Supernatural writer Eric Kripke, has proven to be not only one of the best superhero ventures to not come from either DC or Marvel but also one of the best comics adaptations ever.

Expanding that universe into animation in The Boys Presents: Diabolical, which is similar to the original medium from which it came, seems like a no-brainer. However, as with any undertaking, there will be ups and downs. The Boys Presents: Diabolical’s eight episodes vary in quality while telling their honest (and often brutal) superhero stories.

BFFs

The gross-out can always be humorous, as everyone who has watched animation knows. Toilet humor is a mainstay of modern animation, from Ren & Stimpy’s carefully animated boogers that have all the depth and splendor of a National Geographic photo of a stalagmite to South Park’s Mr. Hankie the Christmas Poo.

That is, however, all “BFFs” has to offer. Sky (Awkafina), a lonely girl wanting to make friends, obtains compound V from a drug dealer in order to become famous in the episode. All the episode does is allow her to turn turds into miniature living people, which leads to a mildly amusing but barely noticeable encounter with The Deep (Chace Crawford). The areola is the name she gives to her own poop, based on the premise that naming a turd after a nipple is funny since it sounds unclean.

It’s the kind of episode that swiftly outstays its welcome and has you wondering why it’s even on the show. “BFFs” may make sense if this was the third or fourth anthology from The Boys, but with a product this new, there’s no rationale for a story that stinks this terrible.

Nubians vs. Nubians vs. Nubians against. Nubian

Both in terms of being about poisonous relationships and in terms of one doing one thing well and the other doing another, the following two episodes are on the verge of being interchangeable in terms of ranking. In terms of total impact, “Boyd in 3D” (as in an apartment number, not the visual effect) and “Nubian against Nubian” are both in the middle of the pack.

Nubian Prince (Don Cheadle) and Nubia, Queen of Thunder (Aisha Tyler)—basically Black Panther and Storm—meet and fall in love while fighting Groundhawk (John DiMaggio) in “Nubian vs Nubian.” They both shed their fake African accents and admit they’re playing characters for Vought’s racially insensitive yahoos in a hilarious scene. A dreadful marriage ensues, complete with screams and recriminations.

Maya (Somali Rose), their daughter, tries to persuade them not to divorce by arranging for them to beat the crap out of Groundhawk once more. Despite the fact that they kill Groundhawk, fighting side by side reignites their libido but not their love, and they fight as usual after a night of passion. Maya forces them to divorce in the aftermath, seeing the benefits of fewer squabbling and two families of guilt-tripped parents.

The critique on African American characters needing to put on straight-out-of-Wakanda accents as part of their personas has some merit, but not much more. The heroes’ fight is a genuine squabble, and audiences have seen unhappy marriages onscreen before. It may have been interesting if the characters used their powers inside their homes during their blowouts, but the show keeps everything for the fight scenes, adding nothing new to an old concept.

In 3D, Boyd

Boyd Doone (Eliot Glazer) gets an experimental cream from a Vought lab and spreads it all over his body in the hopes of becoming a better version of himself in “Boyd in 3D.” He looks like a Hemsworth when he emerges out the other side. Cherry Sinclair (Nasim Pedrad), his next-door neighbor and crush, takes some and transforms into the animal she’s always wanted to be (think Josie and the Pussycats meet Hermione from Chamber of Secrets).

Hot shenanigans—along with social media clout—continue until things go wrong. The kicker is that it’s all in Boyd’s brain because the cream contains a bunch of Compound V, which causes his head to burst.

Because of the runtime, both the relationship and the social media aspects feel underdeveloped—not there’s enough time to dive into a War of the Roses-style couple’s war, and there’s also not enough time to explore how social media affects our lives and relationships. It’s a matter of having a big idea and not having the time to implement it. For sheer complexity of concepts, this almost edges out “Nubian vs Nubian.” It’s always preferable to have too much than not enough.

Sun-Hee and John

“John and Sun-Hee” is a moving narrative about the titular pair, John (Randall Duk Kim) and his dying wife, Sun-Hee (Youn Yuh-jung), an old couple struggling with cancer that is ripping everything down. John is anxious to save his wife and will try everything, including Vought’s Compound V, to do it.

John, a Vought janitor, arrives at work equipped with a taser, which he uses to deter security and gain access to the labs. Sun-Hee wakes up to a jolt of V going into her IV before she even realizes what’s going on. Sun-cancer Hee metastasizes into a kaiju-like monster that murders them, pulling their bodies into itself and growing bigger, when Vought security arrives to deal with John.

When John and Sun-Hee leave to the outskirts of town, cancer rips loose from Sun-body Hee’s and begins causing havoc, a monstrous manifestation of what had been gradually killing the pair. It consumes animals and grows larger and larger, and despite John’s desire to run, Sun-Hee assures him they’re better than that, and she proceeds to confront the creature that was once killing her, knowing she’ll die in the process.

Ironically, the show’s most touching scene occurs shortly before the credits roll, when Sun-Hee urges John to eat and take care of himself, and the episode becomes more specific. Until then, it had been a generically sad notion that lacked the necessary subtleties to give the people depth and the story true weight. Despite the fact that Colossal is a stronger “Kaiju as emotional metaphor” story, this is the anthology’s lone attempt at tragedy, and it mostly succeeds.

Two is equal to one plus one.

“One Plus One Equals Two,” the genesis story of Homelander (Antony Starr) and starring all of the regular series’ actors reprising their roles, is a decent enough story to tie into The Boys canon, but it feels as simplistic as the title in terms of the plot’s profundity.

In a nutshell, Homelander meets the public, Homelander kills the public, and in the end. We’re taken to Homelander’s first public appearance when Madelyn Stillwell (Elizabeth Shue) persuades him to forego following Black Noir’s path and strike off on his own.

Homelander, attempting to stop what he believes are terrorists taking hostages at a chemical plant, uses excessive force and kills everyone in a cloud of awful flashbacks to his Vought upbringing. He then goes on to fight Black Noir in a fight reminiscent of Batman v Superman until Noir convinces him that they aren’t enemies and gives Homelander the spin he needs on the night’s events to appease the press.

It’s to be expected, given that the spectator knows Homelander is a monster. The only new wrinkle is the realization that he was completely messed up from the start and never fell from grace. The animation is lovely, the performance is excellent, and the implementation of a simple notion is flawless, never forget that accomplishing something simple but good isn’t easy.

I’m the one that pushes you.

“I’m Your Pusher” is the Diabolical episode that most clearly returns to Garth Ennis’ original notion, a naughty, sex-and-drug-fueled journey through superhero parodies and the monsters they’d be if they were real. With a beardless Billy Butcher (Jason Isaacs) and Wee Hughie (played by Simon Pegg and made to look like him in the original comics), this comes the closest to his original idea, but with much better-looking art.

A drug seller to the supes meets with Billy and Hughie and is forced to feed Vought’s latest monster, the Great Wide Wonder (Michael Cera), a dose of their own concoction, which he does, and things go horribly wrong. After flying through Ironcast (Kevin Michael Richardson), a sort of Colossus-type character, at a Vought debut of the new superhero, the guy overtaxes his superspeed and flight and dies by shattering all his bones.

This was The Boys comics at their best, tacked onto Kripke’s well-crafted adaptation in a slightly haphazard manner. Funny, startling, with just the right amount of cynical nastiness, this was The Boys comics at their best tacked onto Kripke’s well-fashioned adaptation in a slightly haphazard manner. That is the only criticism I have. I can’t blame Ennis for wanting to see his original vision realized in cinema, but casting Antony Starr as Homelander and Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve from the TV show complicates this comics adaptation crammed into an anthology based on the show.

Pissed-off Supes Kill Their Parents in an Animated Short

This gross-out episode, “An Animated Short Where Pissed-Off Supes Kill Their Parents,” is a Justin Roiland creation about pissed-off reject heroes (the ones who were turned into freaks by the Compound V) whose parents abandoned them at a Vought facility for said rejects, and it keeps stacking on the absurdity like the best “Interdimensional Cable” episodes from Rick and Morty.

From Aqua Agua (a Hispanic water puddle with the colors of the Mexican flag voiced by Xolo Mariduea), through Boobie Face (Kevin Smith), to the main, Ghost, viewers are introduced to a slew of blunders (Ashja Cooper). They unite together, break out, and go against the parents who not only mutated them but then abandoned them when they didn’t turn out to be the Maeves and Homelanders that the selfish people wanted. It’s a wild ride from beginning to end, and it’s all done in Roiland’s trademark Rick and Morty/Solar Opposites style.

While it’s a violent, obnoxious piece of work, it’s also the season’s most amusing episode, doing all that “BFFs” wishes it could. It has an odd sense of heart, and the ridiculousness and nasty sections serve to serve the larger story of people who have been thrown away by their families for not turning out the way their parents hoped they would, getting some of their own back in a world that has taken so much from them. Ghost, an ethereal hero who would be an interesting complement to the live-action universe, is also introduced.

The Day of the Laser Baby

“Laser Baby’s Day Out,” by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (and based on the little tyke used as a human gun by Billy Butcher in season 1 to get past Vought’s guards after Butcher and his boys break into their labs to steal some Compound V and figure out where supes really come from after Butcher and his boys break into their labs to steal some Compound V and figure out where supes really come from after But To complete the effect, the cartoony design opens with a traditional style title card naming the production a Voughtoon.

The premise is simple: Simon (Ben Schwartz), a Vought scientist, is entrusted with evaluating one of the company’s countless kids to see if they have commercial potential. Because the little girl (Jennifer Yokobori) only wants to play, he is forced to fail her last exam. She sneezes shortly after, revealing her laser eyesight. When Simon discovers the child is on the verge of being terminated, he clings to his hope of adopting her, and the two of them escape Vought Tower through a series of false starts and gags.

They continue to flee Vought’s soldiers throughout the episode, and the baby keeps killing them by humorously sneezing at precisely the perfect moment. She eventually masters her abilities and kills their main pursuer, Superbrain (Fred Tatasciore), as well as a large army of Vought warriors. She and Simon go off into the sunset together.

This is the finest simply because it takes a one-off gag from the show and transforms it into something that is simultaneously hilarious, touching, and brutal, all while using minimum language (every character speaks in sighs, grunts, or baby burbles) and in a classic manner. It would be plausible as the type of stuff that Vought would develop if it wasn’t about them getting their butts handed to them.

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