I reviewed the first episode of Diabolical earlier this week, with a teaser about what the new animated series is all about and how it kicks off. Today all eight episodes are available to watch on Prime Video, so here are some thoughts on the other seven episodes of this innovative show. They’re ‘fun sized’ episodes so you can watch as many as you’re up for – and it’s a welcome fix of The Boys universe for fans waiting impatiently for Season 3 to finally release in June.
Episode 2 Introduces Supes with some Weird Powers
Weird is actually an understatement. Again switching the perspective from “the boys” who are fighting against Vought to the supes themselves, this episode is all about some of the children whose parents sold their chance at a normal life for money in exchange for doping them with Compound V and making them into lab rats. When the parents find out that their kids didn’t get any of the really cool powers and won’t be joining The Seven any time soon, they returned them to Vought instead of dealing with the challenges. That in itself is incredibly disturbing – I can’t even deal with the thought of ‘returning’ a pet adopted from the SPCA let alone a child!
Vought houses the kids at an orphanage of sorts for kids with “shit powers.”
The emotional punch of this episode is in the sense of betrayal that the kids feel when they learn that their parents adopted them for a chance to get rich and then abandoned them, complaining that they wanted their lives back. The fun of the episode is that the writers got to go totally off the rails and create the most outrageous super powers they could think of. I can imagine them sitting in the writers’ room just giggling as they try to outdo each other.
Sometimes the humor makes me eyeroll even as I snicker. There’s Picante Balls, who can melt anything with his testicles and walks around with more bowlegs than Jensen Ackles.
There’s Boobie Face, with giant swinging boobs in place of eyes. Some of the failed supes are funny only until you think about it, like the supe that turns into various animals but his cognitive ability transforms too, or Ghost, who can’t touch anything or be touched by anything and stares forlornly at the food she can’t eat.
The abandoned supes, now adolescents mostly, decide to take revenge on their parents, all set to Hootie and the Blowfish’s ‘I Only Wanna Be With You’. Have to admit, I loved the poetic justice of some of the (bloody gory disgusting) ways the supe kids went after their parents. (I mean, you can imagine what Picante Balls does, right?)
Favorite part of this episode? It’s a meta episode! Narrated by one of the failed supes, whose power is that he always tells people what’s going on.
Supe: That’s right, I’m the Narrator.
Title card 3 minutes in: Shrug, we can do whatever we want.
As a long time Supernatural fan, I love the little bits of fourth wall breaking that executive producer Eric Kripke made an integral part of that show too. That is literally a big part of the point of The Boys and Diabolical – doing whatever the hell they want!
Episode 3 ‘I’m Your Pusher’ – Written by Garth Ennis!
Episode 3 of opens with another bit of meta. A comic book is grabbed from the racks – ‘The Boys’ written by Garth Ennis! This episode is also written by Ennis, ripped from the pages of the original comic and featuring Billy Butcher and Hughie – voiced by Simon Pegg! Simon was how the character of Hughie was originally conceived, but wasn’t right to play him in the live series by the time it aired – but he gets to here. There’s also some original cover art by Darick Robertson. This episode is more directly tied to the canon of the original series, and also to the truly original comics.
Butcher confronts the pusher for information about a supe he supplies known as the Great Wide Wonder. Not only do we get to hear about his heroin enemas, we get to see some of that too. Yay? Butcher intimidates the pusher into adding a substance Frenchie has mixed up to the next treatment. He does, so when Homelander and Queen Maeve host a rally to recognize the Great Wide Wonder, he arrives looking totally tweaked out after his special treatment. His super power is that he flies fast, like around the world, but this time he goes so fast he starts running into buildings and destroying things on his way.
Homelander (who clearly doesn’t like him and with purposeful irony): How high he has flown…
Antony Starr voices Homelander here too and made me laugh out loud at that delivery.
Great Wide Wonder is supposed to fly through a flaming ring in the middle of the river in front of the gathered crowd, but instead he flies right into the hapless supe holding the ring, emerging with entrails around his neck as he lands in the water in a pool of blood.
Homelander: Oh Jesus Fucking Christ
Queen Maeve wearily spins the narrative, echoing what we’ve seen in the original series, and Homelander goes along, swearing to avenge the Great Wide Way. Butcher is triumphant, but Hughie looks around at the destruction and bystanders throwing up and isn’t so sure.
It’s an interesting addition to the canon of The Boys universe, with some nice treats for the comics fans too.
Episode 4 – Social Media On Steroids
Episode 4 is titled “Boyd in 3D” and it’s tragic – and one of my favorites. The original series has commented a great deal on the impact of social media on all of us and the way that we’re manipulated through it. While that focus has usually been on its use by an evil corporation like Vought, this episode is at its core more about its everyday impact on all of us.
Boyd, who lives in Apartment 3D (haha), is a relatable everyman, scrolling Instagram and walking dogs for a living, almost getting run over by a truck in the process. He’s got a crush on his attractive neighbor Cherry, who has an asshole boyfriend and an inferiority complex because she hates her freckles. (Every Jensen Ackles fan who’s now watching The Boys just scratched their head at that).
When Boyd gets a piece of her mail, he very much wants to give it to her, but is sure she won’t give him the time of day.