Right out of the gate, let me address the elephant in the room: this is the first write-up I’ve done for The Boys. Unfortunately, it arrives for your viewing pleasure (or pain) near the tail end of Season 3. What can I say? I’m late to the party. Also, I should point out that I only became a fan of the show last summer when my brother ordered me to watch the first episode — I binged the rest in less than a week, then immediately regretted not dragging out the experience a little longer.
So, yeah, I’m a fan. Though, admittedly, I couldn’t recall much of the first few seasons from memory heading into Season 3. Either old age has finally caught up to me, or the show didn’t leave a lasting imprint on my brain outside of a few brazenly shocking moments. At any rate, once I finished the first two seasons, The Boys more or less drifted from memory. In other words: these kinds of weekly recaps are designed for guys like me. Sorry.
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Thoughts on The Boys Season 3 So Far
Okay, so we’re on Episode 6 of the current season and I gotta say, so far the junior year has been a little rocky. I still mostly like the characters and the overall design of the show, and Homelander remains one of the more fascinating villains ever created, but I guess I’m not seeing the big picture here. This season drags audiences through the mud to point out everything wrong with society — no, really, everything! — without giving us much to root for. To what end? I’m all for dark, satirical comedy, but this is starting to feel like the equivalent of watching CNN on a Friday night. (Though, admittedly, that bit involving Termite was hilarious — awful, but hilarious.)
The Boys‘ first two seasons were certainly bleak and relished taking not-so-subtle jabs at politics left and right, but the plot occasionally veered away from the Nazis, white supremacists, misogynists, corrupt political leaders, evil corporations, and over-the-top violence to focus on Hughie (Jack Quaid) and Annie/Starlight’s (Erin Moriarty) budding relationship, and Butcher’s (Karl Urban) lingering grief over his wife’s disappearance. We cared for these people and sincerely wanted them to succeed in their quest to bring down Homelander (though, based on these first five episodes, he might be the least of their worries) and the evil Vought corporation.
This season, the showrunners have turned Hughie into a power-driven asshole who suddenly hates that he has to ask Starlight to open a tightly sealed jar and made Butcher take a nose dive into the deep end of the psycho pool the moment he developed (injected?) superpowers. Our only glimpse at humanity lies in Laz Alonso’s MM, Tomer Capone’s Frenchie, and Karen Fukuhara’s Kimiko Miyashiro, who all continue to provide strong support in smaller, pivotal roles.
As for Homelander, aside from his big speech at the end of Episode 2, am I the only one who thinks he’s becoming a little redundant — nay, even cartoonish in a Ramsay Bolton sort of way? At one point, he incinerates one of Starlight’s friends and the moment falls flat because the cruel act doesn’t tell us anything new about the character. We know Homelander is a psycho who thinks he is above the law (and humanity in general). Now what? The first episode teased a showdown between him and Butcher, and subsequent episodes have awkwardly spun their wheels attempting to reach that inevitable destination.
I suppose that’s why Episode 6, titled “Herogasm,” was advertised as the most graphic depiction of sex on TV ever! Hey, they have to keep the masses entertained before the big finale, right? Though, it must be asked: is The Boys a little too over-reliant on shock value? Is that really what audiences come to see?
Anyways, that’s my takeaway from the first five episodes. Don’t let the negativity fool you. This is still a really good show. I just need a little more heart to go with my exploding heads.
What Happened in The Boys Season 3, Episode 6
Hilariously, the episode begins with a mocking homage to that silly “Imagine” celebrity music video that, er, graced social media back during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Except, instead of Gal Gadot and Natalie Portman, The Boys’ version features the likes of Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, along with a host of other celebrities who weren’t asked/were cut from/were smart enough to turn down the chance to participate in that media misfire. (The Boys previously poked fun at that silly Kendall Jenner ad from a few years back, albeit using A-Train’s soda brand in place of Pepsi. See, people, Hollywood can make fun of itself.)
The video cuts to the security footage of Soldier Boy leaving Chimp Country after murdering Crimson Countess. Homelander, Ashley, and the Deep watch said footage in shock. After all, Soldier Boy is supposed to be dead.
“Maybe it’s CGI,” the Deep says, causing Ashley to roll her eyes.
“You don’t even know what CGI means,” she says.
“It means blow me,” he snaps back. (Dying!)
Ashley can’t fathom why Soldier Boy would kill Crimson Countess. “They were like Kurt and Goldie,” she exclaims before word vomiting a series of media instructions. Homelander quickly cuts her off and calmly explains they can’t tell the world Soldier Boy is alive and murdering people. He’s the hero of heroes, see? And also the former face of Vought. This news could ruin the company — and also fulfill Stan Edgar’s (Giancarlo Esposito) prophecy from a few episodes back in which he stated Homelander would come crawling back once the shit hit the fan.
Naturally, Homelander decides he needs to kill Soldier Boy real quick-like.
To confirm his decision, he heads out to speak with Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell), who served under Soldier Boy some years back. Upon hearing the news of his former leader’s survival, Black Noir calmly removes a tracker from his arm, hands it to a nearby woman, and runs away. Crazy that he’s more afraid of Soldier Boy than his current boss.
(Is The Boys doing that thing where they introduce an even more powerful bad guy than the main bad guy, giving a reason for the main bad guy to team up with the main good guy?)
We cut to Hughie, Butcher, and Soldier Boy chilling in an apartment. The former “hero” talks about how he was “wired to the fucking gills” on D-Day before Butcher steps in and tries to figure out the dynamics of this new team. (Hughie attempts to lift Soldier Boy’s shield with no visible result.) After some back and forth, Soldier Boy agrees to help take down Homelander — but only after Butcher helps him find and eliminate the rest of his traitorous Payback squad. He then leans down to snort some “bennies,” just in case you didn’t already peg the man as psychotic. The Boys ain’t subtle.
Meanwhile, Kimiko, still recovering from wounds sustained during her confrontation with Soldier Boy, wanders around the hospital sucking down popsicles. Suddenly, she’s attacked by a big guy and dragged away kicking and screaming.
Elsewhere, Starlight and MM discuss Soldier Boy’s intentions. MM brandishes a gun.
“I think Soldier Boy is bulletproof,” Starlight says before advising the vengeance-seeking man to stand down.
This draws some frustration from MM. “Why do I always have to take the high road? You know, when white folks get mad, y’all motherfuckers go berserk, but I got to turn the other cheek?” This show is anything but subtle.
Speaking of which, we get an extremely cringey promo advertising A-Train’s trip to Africa. Ashley groans — the ad is terrible — but then A-Train arrives. “Hey,” she says, immediately plastering a phony smile on her face. “It looks great. Man, there’s so much strength in dignity.” A-Train is pissed about Blue Hawk for paralyzing his brother and wants justice. Ashley tries to remain “diplomatic,” but this enrages A-Train.
“You know, whatever,” A-Train says. “I don’t need you.”
Ashley finally blows a gasket and reminds A-Train about all of his prior misdeeds (including the several murders he committed throughout the series), which she had to cover for. “You did not give a shit about all the collateral you caused then. Now, all of a sudden, you care because it happened to you?” I mean, she’s not wrong. Though, considering everything she’s done throughout the show, her standing up to A-Train is a little hypocritical, no? None of these people are good.
We cut to the Deep telling Homelander that Black Noir has vanished. Homelander is shocked. “He wouldn’t run,” he says, suddenly noticing that his list of allies has grown very thin. Deep correctly opines Soldier Boy is offing his former crew and thinks he’ll hit the “TNT twins” next; and offers to head to Vermont to survey the scene. Homelander gives his approval, but urges him to call should Soldier Boy turn up.
There’s a great bit in which Homelander speaks with himself in a mirror Gollum style and confesses his fear of Soldier Boy. He then, surprisingly, becomes emotional and declares his desire for people to love him. “We’ve got to cut that part of you out like a cancer,” evil Homelander says to evil (crying) Homelander. “Then you can be what you were always meant to be.” We know Homelander will go nuclear at some point, it’s just a matter of when and why. Maybe his kid gets killed? Just a hunch.
Back with Soldier Boy, the former star watches his own A-Team-like TV show and criticizes the twins for their inability to hit a mark. A Starlight Diapers commercial featuring a dad walking with a toddler draws his attention. “Do men really walk around like that,” he asks.
“Yeah,” Hughie says. “I mean, dads do.”
Soldier Boy scoffs. “Bill Cosby is America’s dad, and, tell you one thing, he wouldn’t be caught dead in that pussy gear.”
“Lot to unpack there,” Hughie quips.
“The Cos, now that’s a real man,” Soldier Boy continues. “Holy shit, did he make some strong drinks.” You know, because Bill Cosby … never mind. Soldier Boy goes on a tangent about his version of the real man (this show really wants us to know toxic masculinity is bad) before exclaiming how much he gave to this country (as Hughie nervously checks the Geiger counter to make sure Soldier Boy isn’t about to go nuclear). “And what did I get for it?” He admits to once desiring kids with Countess. For all their despicable acts, these superheroes are always given a chance to display a human side. As is the case with Homelander, Soldier Boy was given this special gift, but human frailties mixed with the pressure of fame and duty ultimately sapped him of his humanity.
Hughie uses the intimate moment to ask the truth about Midtown. Soldier Boy casts a sideways glance in his direction, but claims he doesn’t know. “I blacked out. About ten minutes. When I came to the damage was done. I didn’t mean to hurt those people. I’m not a bad guy,” he says before noting it might happen again, “Only if they got it coming.” Great scene.
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Butcher comes in and whisks them off to an address in Vermont, but not before he and Hughie do a little superhero heroine.
The Deep has already found the twins — Tessa is wrapped in tight black leather, while Tommy boasts a cape, gold underwear, and not much else. Friendly chit-chat about how the Deep got railroaded by Starlight (what?) eventually leads to the sea hero heading inside the TNT home to check out their party. We hear music, moans, and see the look on Deep’s face. “This is Herogasm,” he says in awe. The camera zooms into his eye —
Cut to, Homelander on the set of a news program. He twitches as the reporter gets her makeup done. Starlight appears and takes the seat next to her evil co-captain. Surprisingly, he takes her hand and states, “I’m really glad you’re here. I missed you.” Starlight throws up in her mouth a little, but (like us) can’t quite decide if he’s being genuine. Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) arrives unexpectedly to sit in on the interview. Uh oh.
Things go well until the reporter dares to veer off script and discuss the fear Americans are facing due to the 19 dead left in Soldier Boy’s wake (though, I don’t think anyone knows it’s Soldier Boy just yet). Homelander snaps, cuts off Neuman’s retort, and proclaims, “There is no problem. It is safe to go out. Period.” He then stomps off the set, leaving the host to awkwardly promote making empanadas with Rachel Ray.
Neuman invites Starlight for a drink. Once alone, she basically comes clean as the head popper. Starlight’s eyes glow … “Oh come on Annie,” Neuman says. “Put them away. I’m not going to hurt you, or Hughie or your families. Besides, you’d lose.” She then implores Starlight to team up with her. Neuman can protect her from Homelander, and Starlight can boost Neuman’s numbers enough to get her education reform bill passed. “We can make things better, Annie,” she says. “For my daughter. For a lot of daughters.”
Starlight throws the offer back in Neuman’s face. She’s tired of this “whatever it takes” crap. “You’re just going to end up sitting on top of a steaming pile of shit that you built … I’m done.” Neuman says she won’t be able to do anything if Homelander kills her. “Yeah, maybe,” Starlight snaps back. “But then I’ll know I’m not working with a fucking nut job.” As always, Starlight remains the lone voice of reason on this show.
We find Kimiko tied to a chair next to Cherie. Nina arrives with a bruised and bloodied Frenchie in tow. The mobster demeans Frenchie and then tells him he must choose between the two women. No need. Kimiko breaks from her handcuffs and beats the living snot out of her captors. Brutal.
Meanwhile, Starlight and MM head to Vermont (I think?) and the latter discusses what happened to his grandfather. Apparently, Soldier Boy tried to stop some kids from stealing a Benz. The situation got out of hand and Soldier Boy ended up chucking that Benz through MM’s house, effectively killing his granddad. MM feels like it was his fault for waking his granddad up; and reveals the moment (justifiably) left him emotionally scarred. He has to wake up several times a night just to make sure Soldier Boy isn’t outside.
The dynamic duo arrive at the TNT mansion and are greeted by Love Sausage and his, um, really long pal. He implores Starlight to join in on the 70th Anniversary of Herogasm. Reluctantly, the pair head inside to see the C-list superstar love fest, and poor MM … he, ah, takes a huge one for the team. Starlight’s reactions in this entire sequence killed me. At least she has the wherewithal to realize the massacre that will occur if they don’t move these people out of the mansion before Soldier Boy arrives.
Too late. Butcher, Hughie, and Soldier Boy survey the scene from just outside the mansion. Fun tidbit: we learn Soldier Boy and Liberty, aka Stormfront, founded Herogasm in 1952. So, uh, there’s that.
Anyways, Soldier Boy wants to head inside, but Hughie manages to convince him to wait for three minutes while he teleports inside to find the twins. I love that Hughie’s powers leave him naked. So damned funny. Even as a superhero, the show still finds ways to humble the poor guy.
Inside, Starlight talks to a very nude Blue Hawk, who refuses to believe Soldier Boy is still alive. Blue Hawk notes that Homelander said everything is good, and that the mainstream media just wants her to live in fear. “Do your research,” he says. Hey, that’s like the whole Covid thing!
Starlight continues to wander about the house and eventually bumps into the Deep having sex with an octopus. Remember when Jason Biggs screwed an apple pie? Yeah, it’s kinda like that. “Why are you here,” Starlight asks. When Deep refuses to answer, Starlight pulls out a phone and snaps a photo. “Homelander’s gonna love this,” she says. Panicked, Deep explains that he is there because of Homelander.
Elsewhere, Hughie finds the twins arguing over bathroom cameras. Gross. He also happens to run into (a fully clothed) A-Train. Empowered with his superhero venom, Hughie takes the opportunity to confront the man who killed Robin, his former love. “You never said you were sorry,” he says.
Surprisingly, A-Train stops, removes his glasses, and genuinely states, “I’m sorry. It’s fucked up, seeing somebody that you love get hurt like that.” Hughie punches him anyway. A-Train is shocked by his strength and speed. “How did you do that,” he screams. Starlight intervenes before the fight escalates.
Once alone, Starlight asks Hughie if Soldier Boy is near. “He’s only here for the twins,” Hughie says. “No one else has to get hurt.”
“You don’t get to decide who to serve up on a platter,” Starlight says, clearly having missed the whole hidden cameras conversation between the TNT twins. “These are real people. We need to clear the house now.” Hughie says he made Soldier Boy promise not to kill anyone besides TNT. “Hughie, stop it,” Starlight says. “Homelander is coming.”
The pair spot Soldier Boy and when Starlight goes to stop him, Hughie teleports them out of the mansion. Now, fully exposed, the couple fully expose their emotions. Hughie just wants to save her every now and again. “You don’t need to save me,” Starlight says.
“Right,” Hughie shoots back. “God forbid I help you because I always have to be the weak one, the one you have to rescue.”
“I thought you didn’t care about that,” Starlight says, reminding him of their conversation on their first date.
“It does. Sometimes. A little,” Hughie says.
A lot to digest there. I can’t tell if this show is self aware or preachy.
Anyways, back inside the mansion, MM conveniently bumps into Soldier Boy in a secluded hallway. MM prepares to exact revenge, but Butcher arrives and tells Soldier Boy to go and get the twins. (Honestly, would it kill this show to have a superhero who isn’t a colossal dick? These guys are all so horrible and completely free of nuisance it’s borderline cartoonish.) Angered, MM grabs a bat. “So, you get to kill Homelander, but I can’t get Soldier Boy,” he says. “You’re a hypocrite.” He then proceeds to wail on Butcher, who seems to only want to protect his friend from certain death.
Soldier Boy confronts the twins who claim Noir was responsible for his incarceration. Before Soldier Boy can make a move, he hears a familiar song playing nearby which triggers a flashback and causes him to detonate.
Starlight hears the commotion and tries to leap into action. Hughie stops her. “I’m not gonna let you go,” he says. So toxic. She punches him across the pavement.
Back at the mansion, the party has clearly died. Bloodied guests poor out of the wreckage. Deep runs away with his octopus. A-Train spots Blue Hawk and says they need to talk. Instead, he grabs the psycho’s boot and speeds off. Blue Hawk’s corpse is torn to bits as its dragged behind A-Train at supersonic speed. A-Train stops, his heart pounding the way doctors said it would if he went too fast. He collapses in the street and (maybe) dies.
We then see Termite back at the mansion, crawling helplessly on the ground. He’s in his tiny form so no one can hear him. Homelander (who can probably hear him) arrives and crushes him without remorse. Shit’s about to go down!
Inside, Butcher bumps into Soldier Boy, who is once again oblivious to his actions. Then, Homelander appears and is shocked to see Butcher. “It really is all about me,” he says with a little smile. “William, we made a deal to fight to death, you and me. This is cheating. Deal’s off.” He blasts Butcher with his laser beams.
Soldier Boy stares down Homelander. They exchange insults. I’m not sure who to root for here. “You’re just a cheap knockoff,” Soldier Boy says.
“Oh no, I’m the upgrade,” Homelander says, probably wishing someone was recording the event.
The fight starts, and both supermen are continually stunned by the other’s strengths.
Nearby, MM attempts to seize the opportunity to take down Soldier Boy. Starlight stops him and implores our lone hero to help the wounded instead. “He doesn’t control you,” she reasons. Reluctantly, he agrees. Also, he should know he doesn’t stand a chance against Soldier Boy or Homelander.
Nearby, Homelander gets the upper hand and makes to destroy Soldier Boy but Butcher jumps in with an “Oi!” He then blasts Homelander with his own lasers.
“What have you done,” Homelander says, bemused, but also a little in awe.
More fighting. Soldier Boy recovers and joins in, followed by a very naked Hughie. The three eventually pin Homelander to the ground and Soldier Boy makes to eradicate the bastard, but our evil antagonist manages to slip away just in the nick of time. Good stuff.
Outside, MM and Starlight help the wounded. They catch a glimpse of Soldier Boy, Hughie, and Butcher leaving the wreckage; and clearly, the team is divided. So am I. War is hell, but they can’t keep living in fear of Homelander — but they can’t lose sight of who they are, either. What to do?
Meanwhile, Frenchie tends to Kimiko. The young warrior worries she’s just a monster; and in a tender moment, tells Frenchie that nothing Nina said was true.
We then cut to Homelander looking in the same mirror he spoke to himself in before. Except, this time, he’s alone. Perhaps, he’s finally ready to be what he truly wants to be…
Finally, back with MM and Starlight, the pair decide to film the carnage and reveal Soldier Boy’s identity and Homelander’s corruption live on social media. She explains that she’s no longer Starlight, but Annie; and that she “fucking quits.”
All in all, a good episode with some solid action, a lot of gross-out sex, and plenty of very on-the-nose politics. The Boys is mostly rough and ragged fun — a little preachy, but still fun.