We come to it, at last, the finale of The Boys Season 3. To be quite honest, I think this season of The Boys has been good, not great, but still entertaining. With that said, I’m always bummed when a beloved show ends, thus summoning that long period of darkness where I scramble to find something just as engaging to watch.
This week’s episode, “The Instant White-Hot Wild,” comes hot on the heels of last week’s surprising revelation that Soldier Boy was actually Homelander’s biological father (cue dramatic music). Well, insomuch that beating off into a cup is enough to qualify one as a dad, but we’ll just look past that for now.
Our main gang has splintered off into three groups. Annie and MM are trying to take down Homelander via logical means — social media, public perception, etc. — while Hughie and Butcher are using the whole “fight fire with fire” concept to achieve the same goal. (Frenchie and Kimiko are kind of just … around.) Problem is, the compound they’re using to attain superpowers is slowly killing them, something Annie discovers all too late.
In other words, the board is set and the pieces are moving. Let’s do this!
What Took Place During The Boys Season 3 Episode 8
The episode opens with Homelander confronting his own son, Ryan. Grace quickly rushes outside and Homelander assures her he’s not there to cause trouble. (His reaction to Ryan calling her “Aunt Grace” is hilarious.) She tries to text for help, but our antagonist hears her “clumpy fingers” and tells her to get rid of the phone immediately.
Homelander tells Ryan that he has a real family and needs to be with them. The young man is surprised. “Aren’t you mad at me for what I did,” he asks, referring to accidentally killing his mother, Becca. Homelander is shocked. “You know it wasn’t your fault, right?” Uh oh. Ryan clearly feels guilt for what he did and Butcher hasn’t helped in that regard. Homelander may be the boy’s only source of love, no matter how misguided it might be. Homelander says all the right words — and he actually appears genuine, I think — and earns a hug. Ryan just wants someone other than Grace to care about him, and Homelander is playing right into his needs.
Outside of Vought, two groups of protestors have emerged — those with Starlight (#starlightarmy and #metoo) and those who believe Homelander. It’s scary how on point this is.
After a brief bit with Ashley and Deep gassing Maeve, we jump back to Butcher, Hughie, and Soldier Boy. Butcher outlines the rest of the mission — first Noir, then Homelander, “and then we’re finished.” Soldier Boy looks a little uncertain. Can he really kill his own son?
Back with Maeve, we see our resident Wonder Woman stuck in a transport vehicle. Naturally, she breaks free, decimates the guards, and steps outside to freedom. Cue title card.
Frenchie hands MM a package containing the “world’s most deadliest nerve agent in a $10 bottle of Starlight’s Wish.” Now, they effectively take down Soldier Boy, or, at the very least, knock him out. Of course, MM still feels guilt for knocking Todd out cold in last week’s episode. “So, you lost your cool and hit a man, this is nothing,” Frenchie says. “You know, I once took a Spaniard’s ear for jabbering during a screening of 27 Dresses.” I have so many questions.
MM counters by saying it’s his responsibility to keep his problems away from his daughter, Janine. Frenchie notes that the entire team is more or less fucked up, including MM, but says he’s still the best man he’s ever known. Awwwwwww. MM cries just to tug at our hearts a little more.
Back at Vought, Homelander watches the news, and the media have a field day with his recorded outburst at Starlight. Ashley and Deep enter and begin telling him the bad news about Maeve just as an empowered Noir (surrounded by his cartoon mates, no less) steps off the elevator and heads to Homelander’s office. He reveals a piece of paper with the words: “Soldier Boy will come, must kill,” which earns him a hug. “I knew you’d come back,” Homelander says. (The animated hearts are a nice touch.)
We cut to Butcher standing outside a restroom. Hughie opens the door and is shocked to see his friend standing so close. “You really are splitting image of my little brother,” Butcher says before knocking Hughie out and locking him in the bathroom. That’s Butcher’s way of hugging someone, in case you didn’t know. Clearly, our main man isn’t about to risk Hughie’s life for his foolhardy mission.
Moments later, Soldier Boy awakens in the back of Butcher’s car and notices a complete lack of Hughie, the, um, “cum guzzler.” Butcher lies and says Hughie chickened out and ran off — he couldn’t think of a more noble story for the poor guy? — which doesn’t seem to bother Soldier Boy all that much.
Elsewhere, A-Train meets with his paralyzed brother and tells him the semi-good news about his new ticker — which means endorsements, commercials, films, etc. “Did you kill Blue Hawk,” Nathan asks, although he already knows the answer. “I didn’t want that,” he continues. “I wanted my kids to see his mug shot on the TV and now …”
“I stopped him,” for you, A-Train says pointedly.
Nathan says that A-Train has only ever been about himself. When A-Train promises to make it right, Nathan screams, “How? Anytime you try to make it right you just make it worse!” He orders his brother to leave and begins hitting him. “I don’t want a murderer in the same house as my kids!” A-Train reactively knocks him over and when he goes to help his brother, Nathan screams, “Don’t ever come back here.”
Back at the gas station, Annie picks up Hughie and the two immediately begin going over their problems. When Annie explains the deadly side effects of Compound V, Hughie realizes Butcher saved his life. He then goes into a monologue about pizza rolls and his father — who was always there for him. “He wasn’t weak,” Hughie says. He then apologizes to Annie and even implores her to say what she’s wanted to say all along: “Oh my gosh, I fucking told you so!”
The conversation ends abruptly with a phone call from Maeve, who is now at the safe house with MM. Moments later, Annie arrives and converses with the wonder woman, who notes that Starlight’s hashtags sent every member of the LGBTQ community searching for her.
— THE BOYS (@TheBoysTV) July 8, 2022
In another room, Frenchie does some cocaine, which earns him a slap rather than a hug from Kimiko. He still feels worthless following the whole Nina encounter. Kimiko signs, “Our past is not who we are,” and explains that she sees a lot more in him.
Hughie tells Maeve the news about Homelander and Soldier Boy’s relationship. “Ok,” she says,” if we put them in a room are they going to fight or fucking hug?”
Annie tries to get Vought to evacuate the building before Soldier Boy arrives, but is promptly hung up on. MM suggests taking down Soldier Boy before he gets to Homelander. “And save Butcher,” Hughie adds, prompting glares from everyone in the room. “He could’ve dragged me down with him, but he didn’t,” Hughie continues. “There’s still something good deep, deep, deep inside … We save everyone, especially if they don’t deserve it.” Nice to see Hughie back in line.
Speaking of which, we cut to Butcher and Soldier Boy having their own slightly revealing conversation. Soldier Boy asks if Butcher had ever seen “The Soldier Boy Story,” which lost Best Picture to American in Paris, but at least he got to … oh, never mind. Apparently, the film tells a much different tale to Soldier Boy’s origins than actually transpired. In the movie, he’s a street kid whose great power is equaled only by his immense heart. In reality, Soldier Boy’s father was a wealthy businessman who sent his son to boarding school. Unfortunately, Soldier Boy was a screw-up — a fact driven home by his verbally abusive father. So, he went to Vought and got himself some power, which still wasn’t enough for his father. “He said I took a short cut. A real man wouldn’t have cheated.” Jensen Ackles is awesome.
The conversation turns to Homelander. “He’s not yours,” Butcher says. “You didn’t name him, you didn’t raise him. Vought grew him in a fucking test tube to take your place.” Soldier Boy finishes his latest drink and heads outside for some air without saying another word.
At Vought, Homelander finds Noir sharpening his sword. “You were on his team,” Homelander says, “what was he like?” Noir scribbles the word “BAD” on a piece of paper and underlines it multiple times for good measure. Homelander starts waxing poetic about Soldier Boy, which prompts Noir to write, “Must kill him,” to which Homelander responds, “I don’t know if I want to.” Our evil superman then starts laying into Noir and mentions that he can tell when the silent ninja is lying. “Did you know I had a father out there this whole time?” Reluctantly, Noir nods and Homelander rips out his intestines. Well. so much for that.
Luckily, Noir doesn’t die alone. His animated friends appear to tell him how proud they are of his actions. Small consolation.
Elsewhere, Butcher is surprised to see MM, Hughie, Annie, Maeve, Frenchie, and Kimiko barge through the front door. At one point, Butcher tells Frenchie to shut his cake hole; and the Frenchman finally breaks from his rut and implores his (former?) boss to show him respect — he also adds that they deserve paid vacations and such.
Hughie thinks Butcher wants to be pulled back to the light, an action usually handled by Lenny; and just when you think we’re gonna get another hug, Maeve suddenly grabs the vial of nerve agent and chucks it out the window. “Butcher’s right, Homelander needs to be killed,” she says.
Annie is disappointed. “You know, I really thought deep down you were a hero.”
“Well, you were wrong.”
Before the two ladies can start trading blows, Soldier Boy arrives to break up the party. Butcher tells everyone to get in the safe and the new threesome — Butcher, Maeve, and Soldier Boy — head to Vought.
At the superhero headquarters, Homelander shares the news of Noir’s death with Ashley, Deep, and A-Train. Everyone is shocked. Homelander then calls Deep over and says, “You really want to help?” He then whispers something to the aqua man that spurs the squid-fucker into action. “It’s worth treason,” Deep says, before adding, “Whatever you need Homelander.”
Homelander then turns his gaze to his prized PR stooge. “Ashley, take off that wig,” he says, clearly relishing the power he has over his victims. Hesitantly, she removes her hair and reveals a near bald head underneath. Homelander smiles. The man is tired of lies, masks, and masquerades. He wants everyone to be truthful, but refuses to remove his own disguise. That’s what we call hypocritical, kids.
As if to enunciate that thought, he asks A-Train, “How could you kill one of your own?” (A-Train glances at Noir’s mask.) Homelander instructs the speedster to tell the world they are the only true brand of justice and then adds the zinger: “I’m worth more than all of you put together. You’re not my family. I don’t need any of you. Remember that.” Ouch.
We cut to a massive mansion where an older gentleman speaks on a cell phone whilst heading to his pool. Apparently, he’s close to accepting the role as VP Vice President of the United States. Except, moments later, Deep drowns the man … perhaps paving the way for an alternate VP, if you catch my drift. And yeah, that’s likely considered a treasonous act.
Our heroes finally break out of their vault prison and begin formulating a plan. Frenchie volunteers to head to a secret New York lab in order to mock up the nerve agent while Annie and MM will go to Vought and attempt to slow down Soldier Boy and Homelander. Yikes. Everyone is all about Frenchie’s plan, but MM still sees him as little more than “coked out Euro trash.” As they gather supplies, Hughie finds a small batch of Compound V. Uh oh.
At Vought, Homelander watches tapes of his old man in WWII when, low and behold, Butcher, Soldier Boy and Maeve show up. Homelander just wants to talk. Why do we need to fight, he asks, because Butcher says so? He’s human. He’s nothing. Butcher jumps in. “He ain’t your kid,” he says.
“Yes I am,” Homelander snarls. “I am your son. I’m you blood. That’s all that matters.”
“Maybe,” Soldier Boy says.
Then, Homelander produces Ryan and introduces him to his grandpa. “You see, we’re a family,” Homelander says. Well played.
“It’s a shame that I’ve missed so much. I wish I could’ve raised you and taught you father to son,” Soldier Boy says. “Maybe if I raised you, I could’ve made you better. And not some weak, sniveling pussy, starved for attention … you’re a fucking disappointment.”
— THE BOYS (@TheBoysTV) July 8, 2022
The fight commences. Maeve and Butcher hold Homelander down, but Ryan intervenes and blasts good ole grandad to the side. He retaliates by knocking the kid head first into the wall. Butcher doesn’t like this. He turns his laser eyes on Soldier Boy. Homelander joins in. (I think everyone saw this coming, right?) There’s a great bit where Butcher and Homelander glance at each other, clearly uncomfortable with their uneasy alliance.
Butcher confronts Soldier Boy who is justifiably confused. “Not the boy,” Butcher says. “He’s my wife’s son.”
“So, Homelander fucked your wife and you want to save the brat,” Soldier Boy says, genuinely perplexed. “The hell’s wrong with you?”
“I made a promise,” Butcher says.
Maeve seizes the moment to attack Homelander, who reluctantly fights back. He just wants Soldier Boy.
Butcher and Soldier Boy fight and just before the former hero uses his decapitation by shield move, Annie and MM enter and blast him back.
Meanwhile, Frenchie and Kimiko break into the aforementioned lab and prepare to hold off some guards while Hughie gets on a loud speaker and advises everyone at Vought to evacuate the building. (Ashley hilariously bails on her assistant Ashley, stating that the helicopter on the roof is reserved for VIPs. She’s a terrible person.) Kimiko throws down some Flashdance tunes and takes out a batch of guards.
Maeve hits Homelander hard enough to cause his nose to bleed, which surprises them both. Homelander then goes for the eye gouge tactic, which sends Maeve reeling in agony.
Kimiko continues her fight, but one of the soldiers hits Frenchie in the leg with a bullet. Kimiko takes the nerve agent and heads upstairs where she happens upon Soldier Boy. The man easily grabs her by the throat and tosses her aside. Then he turns his sights on Annie. Watching all of this, Hughie contemplates using the vial of superhero formula, but opts to give Annie the spotlight instead. He turns up the lights, thus allowing her energy to spike; and she promptly blasts Soldier Boy away. The rest of the gang tries to pump Soldier Boy full of nerve agent, but he kick starts his nuclear self combustion. Maeve, who has fought quite the fight with Homelander — she even stabs him in the ear — sees what’s about to happen and leaps at Soldier Boy. The pair crash out a window and explode. So, she was a hero.
Homelander and Butcher then try to get Ryan to come with them, and the angry lad chooses evil Superman just as Butcher passes out. After a series of tributes to Maeve, we see Butcher awaken in a hospital where he’s told he has months to live.
Elsewhere, MM tells the truth about Soldier Boy to his daughter. He then points out her grandpa and tells her, “He’s a real hero,” to which the young child responds, “You’re my hero, dad.” Awwwwww. Another hug.
Annie arrives at her home and we see that Maeve is somehow still alive. “Thank you for everything,” Annie says.
“Truth is, you don’t need me anymore,” Maeve says.
The pair of Ashleys see that Maeve is still alive on security footage. Ashley promptly deletes the file. Hey, she did something good! We then see Soldier Boy placed in carbonite, while Deep watches his ex-wife rise to fame with her book, “In too Deep.” Deep scarfs down a ding dong … I’m all for Fat Deep in the next season.
Annie then stuffs her suit into the garbage. The gang are all in on her being one of The Boys, even Butcher who enters drinking soda from a Homelander-themed cup. Before they can exchange any words, the news reports that Neuman, the Head Popper, is running for Vice President alongside Robert Singer. I assume this is the reason Homelander had Deep kill the other VP guy.
“Well,” Butcher says, “the bitch has definitely gotta go.”
Before the credits role, Homelander swoops into a rally (where they are busy toppling statues of Soldier Boy) to introduce Ryan to the world. A nearby man chucks a can at the boy and Homelander lasers his face off. Oh, and Todd is in attendance. His reaction to the massacre? “Yeah!” Everyone cheers and even Homelander is surprised. The season closes on Ryan’s mug, which contorts to a wicked smile. Yikes.
Final Thoughts on The Boys Season 3
This was something of a bait-and-switch as we never received the Homelander vs. Butcher scorched earth smackdown we were promised. Instead, the introduction of Soldier Boy all but pushed the storyline into predictable territory, right down to the “Homelander, I am your father” bit we’ve seen a thousand times before. Whenever it ran out of juice, it would hit audiences with a “shocking” gory visual, a giant orgy, or deep screwing an octopus.
Really, though, what has changed since the end of Season 2? Not much. Hughie is still Hughie, having learned there are other ways to demonstrate strength; Annie is still Starlight, even if she says otherwise; Butcher is still Butcher, albeit with just months to live; and Homelander … has a kid. (Why our antagonist doesn’t simply eradicate Butcher’s clan is beyond me.) These are slight changes that probably didn’t require eight episodes to enact.
Also, I really didn’t like where the writers went with Hughie. His sudden obsession with power felt like a really wild detour from previous seasons, all so he and Annie could have relationship problems. It was forced drama that never once felt believable.
On a positive note, the acting remains top-notch. Antony Starr found ways to add even more dimension to Homelander, even while the writers appear hellbound on pushing him into cartoon villain territory, while Jensen Ackles crushed it as Soldier Boy. These are despicable people. The fact that we still kind of care for them is … ah … weird, but also indicative of their astonishing skills. Likewise, Laz Alonso nailed MM’s emotional beats, while Karen Fukuhara was awesome as Kimiko.
This felt at worst a filler season or more kindly the one we needed to watch to get to the next season, which will really ratchet things up. I have no idea where this show is headed, but I am certainly intrigued. I just hope The Boys doesn’t overstay its welcome.