[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Boys Season 3 episode 8, “The Instant White-Hot Wild.”]
Instead of letting him shoot up V-24 one more time, when the moment comes, Butcher locks Hughie in a gas station bathroom… and saves his life. See? Butcher is a good person. Deep, deep, deep down.
Naturally, everything else devolves into madness in The Boys’ final hour of its third season as Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) and Homelander (Antony Starr) come face-to-face for the first time. Will father and son hug? Cry? Try to murder each other? (Someone definitely gets murdered — it’s the finale, after all.) Here’s how it happens.
The episode starts with a kidnapping, of sorts. Homelander shows up at Ryan’s (Cameron Crovetti) and takes advantage of the kid’s anger at Butcher, playing the part of a caring father to convince him to come along.
And while Hughie’s stuck in the bathroom, everything’s going bad at Vought Tower. Upn his return, Homelander discovers that Maeve’s (Dominique McElligot) broken free, and Noir comes back to — as his animated friends put it — “f**k up Soldier Boy!” He won’t get the chance. Homelander comes to see him just before the battle, and he disembowels him for not telling him his father was alive. He then goes to Ashley (Colby Minifie), The Deep (Chace Crawford) and A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) and humiliates each of them in turn, telling A-Train he’s making him tell the people that “[supes] are the one true justice”; making Deep kill Singer’s prospective VP pick, even though as Deep eloquently puts it, “that’s sort of treason,” and making Ashley remove her wig to reveal her scalp, almost entirely ripped clean of hair. “I don’t need any of you,” Homelander snarls. “Remember that.”
Hughie calls Annie (Erin Moriarty) to pick him up, thus becoming part of the plan anyway. Maeve joins the fun, and the group uses her to get into Butcher’s place. There, they try to get Butcher to call off the attack, saying innocent people will die in the tower… and Maeve switches sides. “Homelander needs to die,” she says. “Whatever it takes.” She throws the Soldier-Boy-incapacitating nerve agent that Frenchie (Tomer Capone) concocted last episode out the window, and Team Butcher locks everyone else in a safe. They break out, but they realize they have to head to the tower anyway. If they’re going to stop Soldier Boy, they have to make new knockout gas, and the only place that has all the components is — you guessed it — Vought Tower.
Team Butcher goes to the tower, where they find Homelander. For a brief moment, it seems like Soldier Boy and him might reconcile. Homelander even brings out Ryan to prove that Soldier Boy has a true family now. “Maybe if I’d raised you, I could’ve made you better,” Soldier Boy says, Homelander’s hand on his arm, “and not some weak, sniveling p***y starved for attention. But there’s no fixing that now.” Soldier Boy almost kills Homelander, but Ryan steps in and uses his powers to save him — and then, it’s total chaos.
Butcher fights against Soldier Boy to save Ryan. Maeve fights Homelander (and loses an eye). Team Hughie arrives at the tower and while Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) and Frenchie go to the labs, Annie and MM (Laz Alonso) go upstairs to join the fight. Eventually Kimiko joins in, too, but they’re all beaten.
Hughie, monitoring the situation in the cameras, eventually comes up with a save that neatly closes off his season arc; by turning up the lights in the room, he’s able to amplify Annie’s powers to the point where she can stun Soldier Boy. They get Frenchie’s new concoction and start to gas him, but he begins to use his powers. Realizing he’ll kill everyone in the building if he explodes again, Maeve tackles him and plummets with him outside Vought Tower, where Soldier Boy detonates… and both appear to die. After the fight, Ryan tells Homelander he wants to leave, and despite Butcher’s protests, they depart Vought Tower together. Everything continues to go wrong for Butcher after that. He discovers after going to the hospital that he has just over a year to live after taking so much V-24. As if losing Ryan wasn’t bad enough.
On a happier note — Maeve is, in fact, not dead! She survived the blast, but lost her powers in the process. That’s not such a bad thing for her, considering she didn’t want to be a supe. As she explains to Annie, she and Elena plan to go somewhere that Homelander can’t find them. “The first time your prissy ass showed up in that tower, crying in the bathroom, you saved me,” Maeve tells her. “I could jump. You can fly.” It seems likely McElligot is done with the series at least for the time being, but this is a fitting, and surprisingly upbeat, end for Maeve’s character.
Soldier Boy survives and is placed in cryostasis (wanna bet how long that lasts? I’m betting a few episodes, at most), Ashley discovers that Maeve survived and deletes the security footage, Annie goes to join the Boys, and Butcher appears in the office. As they all watch the news report, they discover that Neuman (Claudia Doumit) is joining the Singer campaign as VP. “Well,” Butcher says, “that b***h has definitely got to go.”
The episode’s final sequence again holds up a mirror to real-life events, as The Boys has been doing all season — and in particular, a former president’s quote about being able to “shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters.” Homelander shows up at a rally, where he’s greeted as a king; he brings out Ryan and has the crowd applaud for him. One protestor throws a can, which hits Ryan. Homelander lasers the man in the head, splattering his blood and guts over the crowd. For a few seconds, a stunned, hushed silence falls. Then, Todd — yes, MM’s daughter’s stepfather — begins to cheer. “Yeah!” he shouts. The rest of the crowd joins in, and a disbelieving-yet-elated Homelander smiles his crazy smile. At his side, Ryan smiles, too.
The Boys Season 4, 2023, Amazon Prime Studios