This article contains major spoilers for The Boys Season 3
Even before the third season of The Boys hit Amazon Prime, showrunner Eric Kripke promised more superhero carnage than we’ve ever seen. Given all the gory depravity of seasons one and two, it would be understandable if viewers dismissed Kripke’s statements as nothing but hype. But within five minutes of the season premiere, all doubters were silenced. Things only got more intense from there, from the super-heroic hedonism of Herogasm to the increasing stakes of Butcher’s battle against Homelander.
How will the show cap off its craziest season? Only time will tell, but the previous seven episodes have done plenty of setup for what promises to be an explosive finale. Here’s what you need to know before watching episode eight, “The Instant White-Hot Wild.”
The Boys Season 3 Recap
If you’ve just been following the show through its fantastic social media campaign and missed the actual episodes, then you might be unprepared for the finale. In addition to the more talked about moments, The Boys continues to be surprisingly thoughtful and character-driven. Here are the major developments over the past seven episodes.
Soldier Boy Returns
Leading up to the season three premiere, the big story was the addition of Soldier Boy, a Captain America riff who once served as the leader of Payback. For as much hype as the character received, he didn’t appear until relatively late into the season. During the first episodes, Butcher and the others searched for a Russian weapon that supposedly killed Soldier Boy in the 80s. While investigating a secret lab, they discovered not a weapon, but Soldier Boy himself, frozen and experimented upon by Russians. The Boys freed Soldier Boy, who made his way back to the states. Confused by the period and wracked with PTSD, the confused and abusive Soldier Boy killed a crowd of civilians with his energy blasts.
Realizing the asset they could have, Butcher and Hughie traced Soldier Boy via The Legend, an entertainment mogul with a history of working with Vought. Over the objections of M.M., Hughie and Butcher agreed to help Soldier Boy find and kill members of Payback, who gave him to the Russians, as long as he’d fight Homelander for them. However, the situation seemingly evolved in Homelander’s favor when Soldier Boy found out that Vought had made Homelander with his sperm, making Soldier Boy Homelander’s biological dad!
More Power, More Problems
Unlike the comic book source material, the Boys of the TV show have been staunchly against using Compound V, the chemical that gives Supes their abilities. Of the group, only Kimiko has powers, and those were forced upon her in childhood. But after the death of his wife Becca, Butcher had grown desperate. When his new ally Queen Maeve offered him V24, a version of Compound V that grants its user temporary powers, Butcher could not resist the temptation to indulge.
We first see Butcher use V24 to kill Soldier Boy’s former sidekick Gunpowder, intoxicated by the power it gave him. But soon, he was using it regularly to fight off Russian soldiers and to help Soldier Boy against Homelander. Worse, Hughie started using V24 as well, gaining the ability to teleport his body (but not his clothes) across short distances. According to Starlight’s research, if Butcher and Hughie continue to use V24, they will die. Butcher has kept this key knowledge from Hughie, despite feeling deep guilt over similar mistakes in the past.
On the other hand, when Kimiko blocked a deadly energy blast from Soldier Boy, she awakened to learn that her own powers were gone. Thrilled by the revelation, Kimiko imagined a new life with her humanity restored, complete with a fantastic musical number. However, when she was nearly beaten to death by enforcers working for Russian mobster Little Nina, Kimiko began to understand that her powers might be integral after all, and she chose to take Compound V and restore them.
Homelander Courts the Right Wing
The opening of season three found Homelander at his lowest point. With his girlfriend Stormfront revealed to be a Nazi, and Starlight’s popularity outpacing his, the nigh-invulnerable Supe finally showed weakness. That is, until an outburst at his televised birthday bash. His likable hero façade was finally gone, and Homelander ranted about his power and demanded praise from the world. The rant tanked his popularity with every demographic but one – rural white males.
Encouraged by the extremely vocal minority, Homelander broke free of his Vought handlers and exerted even more control over the Seven, including declaring that he and co-leader Starlight were in love. Stoked by the right-wing media, Homelander grew only more maniacal and paranoid, especially when he learned that Soldier Boy was back and working with Butcher. Homelander and Starlight also began a public war of their own.
Starlight Goes Rogue
For a moment, things were actually going well for Starlight. With her popularity rising, Starlight had more pull with Vought and Homelander’s handlers, even earning a co-leader role in the Seven. Her boyfriend Hughie had left the Boys and had started working with a government agency run by Victoria Neuman. It seemed like she could finally start being the superhero she always dreamed of.
But between Homelander’s renewed popularity and the revelation that Neuman was herself a Supe, Starlight started taking new measures to fight against Homelander. At first, that plan included recruiting other Supes, such as Supersonic, a former boyfriend who won a reality-show competition to join the Seven. When a boot-licking A-Train informed him about the coup, Homelander brutally murdered Supersonic and kidnapped Queen Maeve, locking her in a secret prison. Every avenue exhausted and mistrusting of Hughie’s addiction to Temporary V, Starlight went live on social media to reveal her real identity, condemn Homelander and Vought, and renounce her membership in the Seven.
Butcher may be the closest he’s ever been to finally killing Homelander, but he’s losing his team in the process, even after M.M. rejoined the team at the start of season three. Butcher and Hughie’s use of V24 drove him away again, especially as they worked with Soldier Boy, who killed M.M.’s family years ago. Butcher also lost Frenchie by forcing him to contact his former employer, Little Nina, for entry into Russia. Now owed a favor, Nina demanded that Frenchie do another assassination job for her, leading him back down a destructive path.
For all the dissolution in the Boys, the Seven aren’t fairing much better. Before completely quitting the team, Starlight leveraged her power against Homelander, eventually leading him to discover betrayals by Supersonic and Queen Maeve. Homelander slaughtered Supersonic as a warning to Starlight, but he captured Maeve to harvest her eggs.
Homelander learned of the revolt through A-Train, who had been busy trying to endear himself to the Black community by dealing with Blue Hawk, a white police-endorsed Supe who brutalized Black neighborhoods. After his brother was injured in an ill-fated town hall meeting involving Blue Hawk, A-Train smeared the law-enforcement Supe across the concrete, causing his heart to shut down. As always, Ashley had a plan, blaming the death on Soldier Boy and arranging to have Blue Hawk’s heart transplanted to A-Train, making him healthy enough to run again.
More than even Homelander, the return of Soldier Boy terrified the Seven’s most enigmatic member, Black Noir. As he hallucinated a show put on by cartoon animals, Black Noir relived his time in Payback dealing with constant physical abuse from Soldier Boy. With Stan Edgar’s approval, Black Noir had once led the team against Soldier Boy, suffering severe physical damage in the process. Realizing that Soldier Boy has now killed all of his former teammates, Black Noir prepares for his reckoning.
How will these story threads come together? We’ll find out soon enough.
When Does The Boys Season 3 Finale Release?
The Boys season 3, episode 9 will be released on Friday, July 8 at 3:01 am ET/12:01 am PT on Amazon Prime Video.