Friday 10 June 2022

The best villain on TV: Homelander

Just kidding, kids, you're all going to die.

Stand aside, Darth Vader. 

Take a powder, Freddie. 

Have a nap, Jason and Alien Queen and Mindflayer. 

Homelander is the best, in the most awful, horrible, nightmarish way possible, villain on TV.

Hands down.

(And yes I know the others are mostly movie villains, but they're streaming now)

They've been building up this malignant narcissist for 2 seasons, and now he's blooming into his full, monstrous self. The training wheels are off, and he's being his best worst self. 

Emperor Palpatine, as great as Ian McDiarmid is at chewing the scenery, is a mere vaudeville villain, a moustache twirling trope by comparison. There's no motivation behind Ol' Palpy's desire to be evil and rule the galaxy.

Homelander? He wants to be admired. He needs it. That's the only thing between him and lasering millions. And you get the character. He comes across as a fully realized monster, his deep rooted insecurities and egomania driving the plot like an Indie 500 pro.

From the chilling scene, back in season one, where he refuses to save even one child passenger from a doomed passenger plane because it'd ruin his f*cking image, to his recent shenanigans to seize power at Vought, his evolution is frighteningly believable. 

Antony Starr's performance has been consistently amazing, across all three seasons. He sells insane rage behind a big, bright and fake smile. You believe this is a guy on the edge, ready to slip into obscene violence at any moment, at the slightest provocation. 

The world of The Boys walks on egg shells around Homelander. He's like that super powered psycho kid in the famous Twilight Zone episode, the one with the powers of a God and the impulses of an angry eight year old. 

Only Homelander is smart. Deranged, but smart.

What's particularly good about Starr's portrayal, and the writing team's material, is that people defend Homelander, and argue he isn't a real villain, just, essentially, misunderstood. 


The Boys continues to mine the superhero metaphor to comment on power structures, society and cynical facades. 

Season 3 wasn't quite doing it for me until Episode 4: Glorious Five Year Plan. That was some seriously disturbing television, and I'm dying to see where the writers take it next. 

I imagine the title pertains to the NEP, the Soviet five year economic plans. The second one, from 1933-37, pushed collectivization and resulted in the deaths of millions of Ukrainians. Perhaps it refers to the Soviet habit of back stabbing; Stalin frequently triangulated against his rivals (a list that dwindled over time as they wound up shot or with an ice pick in their brain). 

I confess I am not sure.

We'll see what next week brings!

What Homelander is frequently thinking of doing

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