The Boys: What the Season 3 Premiere Means Homelander - IGN

The Boys: What the Season 3 Premiere Means Homelander – IGN

This post contains spoilers for boys. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our spoiler-free program Boys premiere review.

Superhero buildups have been around even further back than Watchmen, and in fact the origins of the genre hinge on the idea that heroism is morally complex and not always magical. However, a few characteristics have explored the depths of self-involvement, greed, and hatred that we might see if superheroes exist on IRL the way Prime Video’s The Boys have. Homelander tops the list of questionable ethics.

Fully prepared to engage in racism, misogyny, and violence on his best days, Season 3 showcases Homelander at his worst. With the relative calm bought into at the end of season two that was the calm before the storm, we see a more dangerous side to most of the cast. Nowhere is that more true than Homelander, whose rage encouraged his “subjugation” to more daring actions beyond cruelty to outright fascism.

Homelander’s increasingly public disclosure of his depraved core has increased his ratings, putting the rest of The Seven and The Boys in similar situations in an effort to get over his ever-escalating bad behavior. Homelander has made it clear several times this season that he’s willing to take on a full-blown attack on humanity if he’s pushed a bit, which means the boys can either prepare for battle or accept a life of trying to appease a man who’s constantly changing the rules of the game. The butcher had already begun to immerse himself in the great powers under the chemical management, so it seemed inevitable that he was preparing to fight the battle of his life.

As Homelander continues to search for his son, Ryan, Butcher alienates the boy, leaving us wondering what will happen when Homelander inevitably finds the child. Since Ryan has been left fairly untied as of Episode 3, Homelander could easily have recruited his child into a fight against The Boys. This begs the question of how the team will respond to a match between the two most powerful beings on Earth, both with the shared emotional maturity of a child.

Even the moral foundation of the show with Hughie and Starlight is starting to shake. Hughie encourages Starlight to simply smile and endure the Homelander’s constant acts of unrestrained aggression, while Starlight is on a slippery slope to try to manage the Homelander on terms he set. Stemming from Hughie’s embrace of Butcher’s tough stance in Episode 3, he and the rest of the team plan a major change of situation in how they operate. Season two saw the team win by taking a moral high ground and beating the Nazi nicely, but since they’ve become individually frustrated with the long-term effectiveness of this approach, we’re sure to see an increase in the attempt to fight the Homelander with his shady tactics.

As for the effect this will have on the rest of The Seven, we’ve already seen Homelander’s episodic cruelty on the rise, as well as his disproportionate self-image. Having already gone to great lengths to make an enemy of Queen Maeve, he turns to trying to break Starlight while continuing to bully others. As he continues to isolate the rest of the team, it is likely that they will play a large role in eventually helping to bring him down, although betting on characters like A-Train and The Deep to do the right thing under any context is a suspicious possibility.

When Homelander suddenly announces he’s having an affair with Starlight in the movie, she takes Hughie’s advice seriously and admits it with a passionate kiss despite her disgust. This is annoyingly reminiscent of his interactions with Queen Maeve in the first two seasons, and as with Maeve, he maintains a starlight balance in order to maintain the upper hand. Maeve and Starlight teamed up in Season 2 to more or less subdue the Homelander, but we see now that it was only a temporary fix. Together, they seem to stand a better chance than anyone else to make it out, but Maeve has made it clear that she has a priority life, which means Starlight will need to keep her horizons open to the possibilities of teamwork.

Other options might include many other precarious things found in a secret government hideout, but perhaps the most likely chance of partnering with Soldier Boy, the “first superhero.” Referred to as the “Homelander before there was a Homelander,” it should be obvious that his politics are shady and he’s not exactly a team player, but his well-earned animosity toward Vought may necessitate an alliance with The Boys. At this rate, it looks like they’re going to need all the help they can get. The question of how far the boys are willing to go in order to eliminate the Homelander threat is a major theme in the season’s opening episodes, and alliances with those who might otherwise be enemies may be a key factor moving forward.

The Boys: A History of the Boy Soldier and Redemption