The Boys Season 3 Finale Review
New factions have formed as Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and Homelander (Antony Starrtroops )’s (and surrogate families) splintered and split. Soldier Boy’s (Jensen Ackles) survival shifted the power structure of The Boy’s universe, giving Homelander an opponent to fear and Butcher a way to kill his adversary. The penultimate episode revealed Homelander was produced from Soldier Boy’s DNA, giving the two titans incentive to bond instead of battle.
The finale episode “The Instant White-Hot Wild” begins with Homelander still processing his phone chat with Soldier Boy, while Vought faces controversy over Starlight (Erin Moriarty) outing Homelander for his deadly mayhem and disclosing that Soldier Boy is still alive. Homelander gets nostalgic after learning that Soldier Boy is essentially his dad, so he uses Victoria Neuman’s (Claudia Doumit) information to find his son Ryan, who Mallory is concealing. This time, Ryan is more receptive to Homelander’s plea about family because he hears it from his father — a role Butcher brutally handed on.
Maeve’s (Dominique McElligott) kidnapping or death by Vought produces a greater split in American society. Ashley (Colby Minifie) and Deep (Chace Crawford) move Maeve off Vought HQ as pro-and anti-Homelander factions struggle. Maeve avoids this dumb miscalculation.
The Boys rally to kill Homelander and Black Noir and bring Butcher and Soldier Boy justice (respectively). The Boys must resolve the team’s personal and interpersonal subplots. Frenchie and MM find peace in one other; Butcher knocks out Hughie (Jack Quaid) and leaves him at a gas station rather than letting him take more Temp-V and die.
The Seven at Vought are having a similar moment. A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) has to face both his crippled brother and Homelander over killing Blue Hawk (Nick Wechsler) in a rage; The Deep and Ashley have to answer to Homelander for losing Maeve, and Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) bravely returns to the team after running from Soldier Boy coming for actual payback. Homelander rips Noir’s guts out for hiding Soldier Boy’s secret, then herds his entire squad (including wig-wearing Ashley) as unimportant lessers. Homelander uses The Deep to kill a US Senator in his own pool, paving the path for Neuman’s ascension.
Butcher and Soldier Boy kill Homelander and Noir (not necessary). Starlight picks up Hughie and rejoins Maeve and the Boys. Hughie is the only one with enough love to save Butcher. Butcher and Soldier Boy bond over their messed-up dads and untrustworthy teams. After The Boys catch up to Butcher, they put aside their differences to complete the objective.
In The Boys Season 3 conclusion, Soldier Boy arrives with The Boys and Maeve for an epic battle at Vought. Soldier Boy perceives Homelander as weak, so they can’t form an alliance. However, Homelander pulls out Ryan, who joins his dad’s side. In the end, everyone is injured and/or maimed; Soldier Boy is put back into stasis; Maeve is assumed dead and retires with her girlfriend; Deep and A-Train suffer personal costs for returning to The Seven, and Butcher learns Temp-V has given him a year to live just as The Boys are reuniting. Ryan witnesses Homelander mercilessly laser a protestor in broad daylight and get praised for it. Ryan’s frightening smile suggests he’ll follow Homelander.
The Boys Season 3 finale had the biggest and finest battle sequence yet, and that’s saying something after the “Herogasm” episode. The number of combatants, stunt work, and use of space (in a news media studio) were all top-notch, as was the VFX.
This season was all about character progression, with Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) and Hughie learning to be okay with power (or not), Butcher and Maeve rediscovering their noble sides (and banging), MM and Frenchie addressing their previous traumas, etc. It was nice for the ensemble to stretch extra acting muscle (which they did wonderfully), but the story was lackluster.
In its third season, The Boys still plays it safe by preserving its core cast ensemble, which gets boring. A doomsday clock hanging over Butcher adds some thrilling stakes for Season 4, but Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy is every bit a scene-stealer as Antony Starr’s Homelander.