Editor’s note: This article contains spoilers for Season 3 of The Boys.
The third season of Amazon’s The Boys has been a violent rollercoaster filled with musical numbers, animated imaginary friends, and an explosive Herogasm. Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) reteams with Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and the Boys to take out Homelander (Antony Starr) once and for all by harnessing the energy blasts from Payback leader Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles). Butcher and Homelander promised each other a scorched earth battle, and that’s exactly where we’re left at the end of the Season 3 finale. While we wait for Season 4 (which can’t come soon enough), here’s where The Seven and the Boys stand currently.
Soldier Boy Back on Ice
Matters complicate when it’s revealed that Soldier Boy’s DNA was used to create Homelander, making Homelander his son. After learning this, Billy Butcher still drives Soldier Boy to New York in order to fulfill their deal. Soldier Boy feels the tension between standing firm on his promise versus a duty to his son; in fact, he confides in Butcher and reveals his own turbulent relationship with his own father. Though he always dreamed of being a better father than his own, history repeats itself as he eviscerates Homelander the same way his father did. When Homelander introduces his father to his grandson, Soldier Boy laments that he wished he could have raised him so Homelander could actually be better. Soldier Boy, Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), and Butcher hold down Homelander before Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) knocks his grandfather off his father.
When Soldier Boy retaliates against Ryan, Butcher switches his allegiance, fighting off Soldier Boy in order to protect Ryan. The Boys arrive at the scene and attempt to take him out with the nerve gas that Frenchie (Tomer Capone) concocts in the Vought laboratory; even Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) has his chance to take revenge for the damage Soldier Boy caused his family. In the end, when Soldier Boy attempts to blow the building with a blast of energy, it’s Queen Maeve who throws herself and Soldier Boy out the tower, saving thousands of lives. Now incapacitated by the nerve gas, Grace Mallory (Laila Robins) takes an unconscious Soldier Boy off to an undisclosed location.
Queen Maeve Finds Her Escape
Like Butcher, all season long Maeve has had her focus set on one thing– killing Homelander and freeing herself from his control. For months, she’s secretly provided information to Butcher on ways to finish Homelander. When Homelander discovers this, he locks her away in a cell in Vought Tower. After she escapes and meets up with Annie and the Boys at M.M.’s apartment, she joins them in finding Butcher. Maeve then throws out the nerve agent Frenchie originally procured so that they could stick to Butcher’s original plan.
As Butcher begins to fight Soldier Boy for attacking Ryan, Maeve finally faces off against her ex-boyfriend. Though she’s able to throw in some blows, Homelander crushes in one of her eyes. She, along with everyone in the building, is about to be killed from Soldier Boy’s blast until she throws herself and Soldier Boy out the building. To the world, it appears Queen Maeve died in her sacrifice to save New York. In reality, the Boys retrieve her after she’s knocked unconscious and loses her powers. While the world mourns her loss, Ashley Barrett (Colby Minifie) finds the security footage of her survival. Though she has acted as Homelander’s puppet for the past two seasons, she permanently deletes the footage, finally protecting Maeve from Homelander. With her secret identity intact and reconciled with Elena (Nicola Correia-Damude), Maggie leaves New York to start a new and normal life on a farm, far away from Homelander and The Seven.
The Boys’ New Roster
Throughout the season, Kimiko Miyashiro (Karen Fukuhara), Frenchie, and M.M. have debated whether they’d stay or leave the Boys. M.M. was only brought back when he saw an opportunity to finally finish his father’s mission to kill Soldier Boy. He tried to keep his daughter, Janine (Liyou Abere), separate from the brutal nature of Supes; after his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, Todd (Matthew Gorman), took his daughter to a Homelander rally, M.M. lashed out against him in front of Janine. Once his business with Soldier Boy is finished, M.M. tells Janine the truth about his line of work and how not all Supes are heroes. Though he originally feared this would push his daughter away, Janine hugs her father and tells him that he is her hero. With her support, M.M. chooses to remain part of the Boys.
Likewise, Frenchie and Kimiko debated whether they’d stay or leave the group in order to start a new life together in Marseilles. After Soldier Boy removes her powers, Kimiko was given the freedom to decide what she could do with her life. When she and Frenchie are taken by Little Nina (Katia Winter), she realizes that she wants to be injected with Compound V in order to protect the people she loves. Kimiko no longer sees herself as different and embraces the maniac from within. Together, she and Frenchie also choose to stay with the Boys, with Frenchie standing up for himself against Butcher and his orders.
With the help of M.M., Starlight (Erin Moriarty) livestreamed her exit from The Seven, revealing her secret identity and calling out Homelander’s true demeanor in the process. She works with the Boys to fight off Soldier Boy in Vought Tower. Annie and Hughie had been on the rocks, especially after Hughie admits that it does bother him that he can’t save his superpowered girlfriend. However, when given the option to take more Temp V when Starlight is in trouble against Soldier Boy, he supports her by turning on all the lights to help supercharge her. After the battle, Annie officially retires Starlight by throwing her costume away. Now that she’s free from The Seven, the Boys offer her a position on their team. Though Butcher might not like it, the rest of the team assert their authority stating the Boys is a democracy. Now that she and Hughie are back together, and she has a new team, things are finally looking up for Annie.
Butcher Against The Clock
Annie warns Butcher that Temp V is going to kill him and Hughie since they used it a considerable amount throughout the season – the random bleeding is symptomatic of their brain’s atrophy from Temp V. Instead of directly telling Hughie, Butcher knocks him out and leaves him in a gas station bathroom to save him from using more Temp V against Homelander. Butcher initially goes with Soldier Boy alone to face Homelander, but Queen Maeve joins him after she and the Boys confront him in their office in the Flatiron Building. Butcher promised Homelander a scorched earth battle to the death; though initially he makes good on that promise by bringing in Soldier Boy, he reluctantly sides with Homelander when Ryan’s life is on the line.
After Soldier Boy is defeated by Maeve, Butcher tries to comfort Ryan. However, in a complete reversal of the Season 2 finale, Ryan rejects Butcher and leaves with Homelander. To make matters worse, he collapses and wakes up in a hospital. A doctor tells him that Temp V has caused so much damage to his brain that any further treatment would affect his livelihood. Butcher is given a time frame of a year to 18 months at most before he’s a goner. So what does he plan to do with his remaining time? In true Butcher fashion, he opts not to tell the Boys his diagnosis. Perhaps in his remaining time, he could attempt to make things right with Ryan or kill Homelander for good, but no matter what, Butcher intends to use his remaining time to go out guns blazing.
For now, Butcher’s sole focus is to continue the work of the Boys by going after Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit), who’s still on the loose. In exchange for giving Homelander Ryan’s location, he orders The Deep (Chace Crawford) to murder her political opponent; now as the new Vice Presidential candidate to Secretary of Defense Robert Singer (Jim Beaver) she’s put in a position to gain even more power. Since the Boys know Victoria’s Supe secret, and she knows that they know, we can expect them to clash in Season 4.
Homelander With Zero Accountability
Despite knowing the truth that Soldier Boy is his father, Homelander looks for the chance to finally have the family he never had. So much so, that when Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) returns to Vought Tower and communicates that they need to kill Soldier Boy, Homelander kills Black Noir to prevent that; plus, Homelander was equally upset that Black Noir knew the truth about his parentage and never told him. With Black Noir gone and Starlight out of The Seven, Homelander regains total control over Vought and The Seven. He uses fear to keep Ashley, The Deep, and A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) solely loyal to him. It certainly didn’t help that The Deep’s ex-wife, Cassandra (Katy Breier), writes a tell-all memoir about her relationship to him; also, A-Train loses the respect of his brother, Nathan (Christian Keyes) after he kills Blue Hawk (Nick Wechsler) instead of letting Blue Hawk face justice for his attack. The Deep and A-Train have no one but Homelander.
Even with Homelander’s power, it wasn’t enough for Soldier Boy to give him the love that he craved; however, now he’s able to gain that through Ryan and his supporters. Homelander introduces Ryan to a crowd of his supporters. When an anti-Homelander protester accidentally hits Ryan with a can, Homelander kills the protester in front of the crowd. Though the crowd is initially stunned, they quickly applaud him for it. In Season 2, Homelander imagined killing an entire crowd of protesters, including Victoria Neuman; now he’s acted on his dark fantasy and not reprimanded for it. This validation fulfills his deep desires to be loved by his fans for who he really is, completing his destruction and rebirth arc that began in Season 2.
Not only does this final scene impact Homelander, but Ryan as well. Early in the finale, Ryan leaves Grace to be with Homelander; he does this after his father reminds him that Becca’s (Shantel VanSanten) death wasn’t his fault. This was something Becca made Butcher promise her as she lay dying in order to keep Ryan’s goodness alive. Even though Butcher protects Ryan from Soldier Boy at Vought Tower, Ryan is still hurt by Butcher when he blames Becca’s death on him. Once again, Ryan chooses to stay with his father. Now that Ryan has seen the acceptance he receives from Homelander’s fans, even after Homelander kills a man in front of them, the wheels begin to turn for Ryan and his path toward the dark side. Could he become a more evil version of Homelander, or is there still time for Butcher to save Ryan? Guess we’ll have to wait and see when Season 4 comes around.