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The Boys (Prime Video)

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‘The Boys’ season 3 episode 8 ‘The Instant White-Hot Wild’ recap/review

‘The Boys’ concludes its third season with a near-perfect example why it’s the series’ best thus far.

Last week’s penultimate episode of The Boys‘ third season concluded with multiple storylines being escalated further than anyone expected:

  • Annie managed to trick Homelander into revealing his unfettered murderous/narcissistic tendencies to the world.
  • Despite being forced to relive his little brother‘s abuse/abandonment and suicide, Butch appeared to choose to sacrifice Hughie (via letting him take fatal doses of V-24) for the sake of his vengeful mission to kill Homelander.
  • Hughie remains 100% committed to the mission of killing Homelander, blissfully unaware that the next dose of V-24 he takes could kill him.
  • The mission to kill Homelander is also complicated by the fact that the supe knows Soldier Boy is his biological father.
  • Victoria Neuman suggested to Homelander that they form an alliance. He was predictably unreceptive to the idea at first, but changed his mind upon receiving an unseen piece of information from her.
  • A-Train survived getting his revenge on Blue Hawk and received a heart transplant from him. This will eventually allow him to use his powers at full capacity, but also force him to carry the heart of the man who crippled his brother (Nathan).
  • Maeve learned she’s being kept alive to have her eggs harvested, forcing her to help Homelander continue his legacy via her children.
  • Black Noir resolved to finish what he started in Nicaragua and put down Soldier Boy for good.
  • Frenchie and MM may have found a nerve agent that can knock out Soldier Boy. Unfortunately, they have no idea how to get it without going back to Russia.
  • After learning that Todd took Janine to a rally where Homelander spoke (thereby putting her in severe danger), MM punched him out. While this is what all of us likely wanted him to do, it severely traumatized his daughter.
  • Annie has decided to save Hughie even if he doesn’t want her to.
  • Kimiko got her powers back.
  • Ashley is in way over her head as Vought’s CEO.

Got all that? Good. Then let’s dive into what will hopefully be an excellent finish to an incredible season.

Listen to the latest episode of the AIPT Television podcast!

As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers. The sequence of events has also been streamlined a bit for the sake of clarity.

Coming to Terms

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

The episode opens with us learning that the information Neuman gave Homelander was the current location of his son (Ryan).

When he arrives, Ryan fearfully backs away while Colonel Mallory runs out and demands he leave. Homelander assures her he means no harm before telling Ryan he has a real family to look out for him. He also states that his mother (Becca) only wanted the best for him, which is what he wants, as well.

Ryan responds by asking if his father is mad at him for killing Stormfront. Without missing a beat, Homelander assures his son that it wasn’t his fault. He also explains that for people like them, accidents happen — sometimes involving the things they love the most. No one else in the world understands that better than him.

Homelander then tells Ryan that no matter what he does, he’ll always love him and be there for him. The boy responds by running into his father’s arms.

*Side Note: Damn you Antony Starr for using your incredible acting skills to make us feel empathy toward Homelander.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Outside Vought Tower, tensions rise between protest groups supporting and denouncing Starlight following her video leak of Homelander. Things become even more heated when the pro-Starlight leader announces that the Attorney General has managed to obtain a search warrant to look for Maeve.

Inside, the Deep accompanies Ashley to Maeve’s cell. The pair watch as gas fills the room, causing her to fall to the floor. She’s then placed into an armored transport and driven away to another location.

Along the way, Maeve wakes up and kills the guards, allowing her to escape.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Over at the Legend‘s cabin, Hughie stares at a plate of pizza rolls while wiping green slime from his ear. We soon learn that Soldier Boy informed them (offscreen) that he knows about Homelander being his biological son. When Butcher asks where Soldier Boy is now, Hughie reveals that he locked himself in a bathroom with a bottle of alcohol. Butcher assures him that despite his emotional reaction, he’ll ultimately realize that Homelander isn’t truly his son.

Once Soldier Boy emerges, Butcher announces that they need to stop by the office for more V-24 before Hughie teleports them to Black Noir and Homelander’s location. From there, they’ll eliminate both supes and complete the mission.

Butcher pointedly makes the last remark toward Soldier Boy, who doesn’t offer a response.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Meanwhile, Frenchie reveals to MM that he managed to procure the only U.S. sample of the Russian nerve agent to take down Soldier Boy (which is contained inside a bottle of “Wish,” a Starlight-themed perfume).

After noticing his lack of excitement, Frenchie assures him that losing his temper and hitting a man isn’t a big deal. MM responds that he’s always sought to shield Janine from that side of him. Now his daughter will carry an image of him beating up her stepfather for the rest of her life.

Frenchie responds by telling MM that he’s a truly broken/messed up person. That said, he’s also the best man he’s ever known. Perhaps it would be best for Janine to see all of who her father truly is.

Rankled Reunions

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Homelander returns to Vought Tower, where he watches a news report about Starlight’s video causing the company’s largest single-day stock price drop. His mood grows even darker when Ashley and Deep arrive and reveal they had to move Maeve after the Attorney General obtained a search warrant.

Before they can tell him where she’s being moved to (or that she escaped), Black Noir unexpectedly appears in the doorway. Once Ashley and Deep leave, Noir unfurls a misspelled note whose message leaves no room for ambiguity:

Soldier Boy Will Come. We Kill.

Homelander takes Black Noir’s note and embraces his old teammate, declaring that he knew he’d come back. This causes Noir to blissfully hallucinate a stream of animated hearts.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Elsewhere, Butcher & Co. make a pitstop stop at a remote gas station. When Hughie emerges from the bathroom, he’s greeted by Butcher, who wistfully points out how alike he and his little brother are. Hughie barely has time to react before Butcher knocks him unconscious and closes the bathroom door.

After getting back on the road, Soldier Boy awakens in the backseat and asks where Hughie is. Butcher lies and claims he ran off, but assures the supe that he has a new plan.

*Side Note: Much as I love difficult character conflict, this act by Butcher did wonders for my heart.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Back at the gas station, Hughie wakes up and calls Annie, who begrudgingly comes to pick him up.

As they drive down the highway, Hughie awkwardly remarks that Annie likely wants to tear into him. She firmly resolves to not say anything before asking what happened. After Hughie reveals that Butcher punched him out, she asks if he ever passed on the information she provided about V-24 being fatal. When Hughie replies that he didn’t, Annie assumes Butcher was being selfish. Hughie, on the other hand, realizes that Butcher actually saved his life. He then tells Annie a story from his childhood.

After his mom left, Hughie’s father would buy bulk orders of pizza rolls, which they’d eat every night together while watching TV. Hughie initially saw this as his father being weak, content to sit on the couch and eat mass quantities of processed food instead of fighting to get his family back. In reality, he was showing up and taking care of his son despite going through the darkest time of his life. It may not have been outwardly obvious, but his father was stronger than he ever realized.

Hughie then apologizes to Annie, both for his behavior and for putting his hang-ups about feeling weak onto her. When Annie thanks him, Hughie gives her the go-ahead to hit him with a giant/cathartic “I Told You So,” which she does. She then gets a call from Maeve, who’s hiding out at MM’s house.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

When they arrive, Maeve explains that Annie’s #FreeMaeve campaign put everything in motion that allowed her to escape. After getting filled in about Soldier Boy being Homelander’s biological son, she wonders if another confrontation will result in the pair fighting again or hugging each other.

Annie calls Vought Tower and tries to get them to evacuate the building, but is ignored. MM declares that they need to intercept Soldier Boy and take him down before he gets there. When Hughie adds that they also need to save Butcher, MM points out how hypocritical that is after the two of them screwed everyone over. He also expresses his belief that Butcher has no desire to be saved, which Annie agrees with.

Hughie acknowledges this and apologizes, but insists that Butcher’s recent actions (saving him from taking another dose of V-24) prove there’s still good in him. He also points out that they should want to save people regardless of if they deserve it or not.

Meanwhile, Kimiko catches Frenchie snorting cocaine in the bathroom and chastises him. Frenchie angrily replies that Nina was right about him always seeking to be controlled. Kimiko assures him that, much like her, his past doesn’t dictate who he truly is. She also reminds him how he saw something in her beyond how broken she was when they first met.

When Frenchie asks what she sees in him, Kimiko responds that she sees her heart.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Meanwhile, A-Train goes to visit his brother, who’s struggling to adapt to life without the use of his legs. When Nathan sees he’s wearing his old costume, A-Train reveals that he received a new heart, which will allow him to run again. He doesn’t tell him where the heart came from, though (which is probably for the best).

A-Train also declares that getting everything back won’t mean anything without him. He asks Nathan to continue being his coach before promising to spend the rest of his life making up for what happened to him.

Instead of providing an answer, Nathan asks his brother if he killed Blue Hawk. A-Train tries to lie and claim he didn’t, but Nathan sees through it. He furiously explains that he wanted his children to see the racist supe pay for his crimes the right way. Now that opportunity is just another thing his brother took away from him.

A-Train once again promises to make things right, but Nathan won’t hear it. Instead, he points out that his brother’s attempts to do the right thing inevitably make things worse. He then orders him to leave his house and his life.

Betrayed Conscious

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

After arriving at The Boys’ headquarters, Butcher begins planning the attack while ignoring a call from Mallory (and subsequently disabling his phone).

Meanwhile, Soldier Boy regales him of how the Oscar-nominated biopic about his life was completely made up. He also reveals that his father was a terrible person. The abuse he meted out wasn’t physical like what Butcher and Lenny experienced, but still emotionally devastating.

The abuse pushed Soldier Boy to sign himself up for the Compound V trials. Instead of making his wealthy/powerful father proud, however, he belittled his son for taking a shortcut to greatness. He even went so far as to call him a disappointment.

After taking a moment to get his emotions in check, Soldier Boy asks if Butcher has any children, receiving a terse “it’s complicated” in response. The supe then reveals that he’d wanted children, primarily because he thought he could do a better job than his father.

Realizing where the conversation is headed, Butcher reminds Soldier Boy that Homelander isn’t his son. They may share the same DNA, but that’s it. He didn’t name him, he didn’t raise him, and he was grown in a test tube as his replacement (which resulted in him being left to rot in Russia).

Butcher also reminds him that they had a deal. Once again, Soldier Boy refuses to respond or reveal what his intentions are.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Over at Vought Tower, Homelander enters the main conference room to find Black Noir sharpening one of his swords. He reminds him that no amount of sharpening will make the weapon able to cut through the supe’s skin.

As Noir continues sharpening, Homelander asks what Soldier Boy was like during his time with Payback. The question finally gets him to stop and write the word “BAD” on a piece of paper. When Homelander says that no one is all bad, Noir underlines the word repeatedly.

Homelander then declares that Soldier Boy is his father — a revelation he confirmed by looking through the company archives. He also expresses disgust over Vought lying for so long while also preventing him from having the thing he needed most as a child.

When Black Noir responds with a note insisting they still have to kill Soldier Boy, Homelander admits he isn’t sure he wants to. He then talks about how his superhuman abilities allow him to know things about Black Noir that others don’t — including if he’s telling the truth or not. After asking his longtime teammate if he knew about his and Soldier Boy’s connection, Black Noir hesitantly nods his head.

Homelander begins to cry before pulling himself together and asking why he never told him. Before Black Noir can answer, Homelander slams his fist through the supe’s stomach, twisting it as far as he can before ripping his insides out. After Noir falls to the floor, Homelander tearfully declares that he should have told him and departs.

As Black Noir bleeds out, Buster and the rest of the gang appear to mourn his passing. Buster tells the dying supe that they’re still proud of him for facing his greatest fear. He also assures him that he’ll soon be in Jesus’ sweet embrace (which is debatable at best).

Although we can’t see the light in Noir’s eyes go out, we do see the image of Buster slowly fade away.

Wrong Type of Teamup

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Just as Butcher is about to inject himself with V-24, he’s interrupted by Maeve and the rest of his former team arriving at The Boys’ headquarters. MM threatens to shoot him to see if he’s already juiced, which Butcher dares/goads him to do.

Hughie gets MM to back off before explaining how allowing Soldier Boy into Vought Tower could result in thousands of deaths. Butcher implies that the people there aren’t exactly innocent, prompting Frenchie to point out that Becca used to work in the tower, as well. When Butcher tells him to keep his mouth shut, Frenchie finally stands up for himself. The speech is much funnier than he intended, but his resolve makes Kimiko smile.

Hughie gets things back on track by expressing his belief that deep down, Butcher wants Hughie to pull him back just like Lenny used to. Just when Butcher appears on the verge of relenting, Maeve takes the nerve agent from Kimiko and hurls it out a window. She then disarms MM before declaring that Homelander needs to die no matter what it takes.

Annie tells Maeve how disappointed she is after thinking she was a real hero. When Maeve responds that there’s no such thing, Annie tells the supe that her plan isn’t happening and begins to power up. Maeve says that she doesn’t want to hurt her, but is spared from having to do so when Soldier Boy appears.

Butcher commands everyone except Maeve to go into the safe room. Once they’re locked inside, he turns off the electricity so Annie can’t use her powers and departs with the two supes.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Over at Vought Tower, A-Train, Ashley, and the Deep listen to a recording of Annie’s call warning everyone to evacuate before Soldier Boy arrives. Deep starts to agree, but is interrupted when Homelander walks in and declares that everyone’s staying.

Deep suggests they use Noir as bait to trap Soldier Boy. Homelander drops the supe’s mask on a table, revealing that he killed him for keeping secrets. He then talks about how excited he was back when Vought told him he was getting his own team. In his mind, it would be the family he never had.

Unfortunately, they provided people like the three currently sitting in front of him.

Deep meekly states that he’s always tried to help. Homelander belittles him before offering an assignment, which he whispers in his ear. We don’t hear what’s said, but it’s enough to make Deep express concern over committing treason before agreeing to help.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Homelander then tells Ashley to take off her wig. She initially tries to play dumb, but relents after he stares her down, revealing just how much being Vought’s CEO has taken.

While Ashley struggles to maintain her composure, Homelander sets his sights on A-Train. Without a hint of irony or awareness, he asks how the speedster could kill one of his own kind in cold blood. Instead of waiting for an answer, he then demands that A-Train help him tell everyone that they are the one and only true justice in the world.

As he departs, Homelander reminds the trio that he’s worth more than all of them put together. He also lets them know that they’re not his family and he doesn’t need any of them.

A short time later, we learn what Homelander asked Deep to do when he murders Bob Price‘s choice to be his Vice President.

The Reckoning

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

MM & Co. are able to break out of the saferoom, but they still have no idea how to incapacitate Soldier Boy without the nerve gas. Frenchie reveals that he could cook up a new batch if they buy him some time inside one of Vaught’s labs. MM is skeptical, but the rest of the group agrees to the plan and gears up for battle.

As they’re leaving, Hughie finds a bottle of V-24 on the ground and takes it with him.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Over at Vought Tower, Butcher & Co. arrive to find Homelander watching old propaganda videos of Soldier Boy during World War II. When they ask where Black Noir is, Homelander reveals that he killed his teammate for hiding his connection to Soldier Boy all these years.

Homelander then explains that he knows what it’s like to have his team betray him. If he and Soldier Boy worked together, though, then no one would be able to stand in their way. As for Butcher, there’s no reason to honor a deal made with an insignificant human. When Butcher points out that he’s not Soldier Boy’s child, Homelander angrily counters that their blood connection is all that matters.

He then walks over to another room and returns with Ryan, who he introduces to Soldier Boy as his grandson.

As you might imagine, this completely freaks Butcher out. It also has a major effect on Soldier Boy, who walks toward the boy while Homelander explains how they can be a family together. Soldier Boy initially seems like he’s going to turn, expressing his sadness over not being able to raise Homelander as a son. He then declares his anger over what a sniveling attention seeker the supe is while echoing his father’s label of him as a disappointment.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Before Homelander can recover from that emotional haymaker, Soldier Boy grabs his jaw while Butcher and Maeve restrain his arms. As Soldier Boy begins to power up. Butcher yells at Ryan to get out of the building, but he refuses. Instead, the boy uses his laser vision to blast Soldier Boy out of the room and into the hallway.

The first thing Homelander does once he’s free is tell Ryan to run upstairs to a safe location. Seconds later, Soldier Boy recovers and slams Ryan into a wall, knocking him unconscious. Homelander immediately runs to check on the boy, showing no awareness/concern for his own well-being while Soldier Boy begins powering up behind him.

Butcher looks at Maeve, who returns his desperate glance with one of her own. Homelander is finally vulnerable, but only because of Ryan.

Butcher makes his decision and fires an eye blast at Soldier Boy, who has to stop charging to block it. The commotion finally grabs Homelander’s attention, who joins Butcher’s blast with one of his own. Their combined force manages to hurl Soldier Boy through a nearby window into the VNN studios. The two men power down before regarding each other with a millisecond of fatherly respect/appreciation.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Homelander goes back to tend to Ryan while Butcher confronts Soldier Boy, who’s all types of pissed/confused about what just happened. When Butcher explains that Ryan is his deceased wife’s son (who he promised to protect), the supe becomes even angrier, declaring him to be even weaker than Homelander. Butcher responds with a wry smile before charging in for a brawl.

Butcher is able to hold his own for a bit, but is eventually slammed to the ground. Just when it appears Soldier Boy is about to kill him, Starlight shows up and blasts him followed by MM with a high-powered assault rifle. Soldier Boy is momentarily stunned, but quickly recovers and begins beating them back.

Meanwhile, Homelander is relieved to see Ryan has awakened. After comforting the boy, he stands up and gets slugged in the face by Maeve. He tries to sidestep her to join in fighting Soldier Boy, but she refuses, starting yet another epic supe brawl just a few feet away.

Despite being outmatched, Maeve still gets in some good licks. She also refuses to back down even after Homelander pops one of her eyes.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

While all that awesomeness is going on, Hughie sneaks into a communications room and announces that everyone needs to evacuate due to an imminent terrorist threat. Ashley heads up to the executive helipad, but forces her loyal assistant (also named Ashley) to flee with everyone else.

In another part of the building, Kimiko helps Frenchie break into Vought’s lab so he can begin making the nerve agent. While he’s working, armed guards show up and storm the room. Kimiko puts on Michael Sembello’s “Maniac” (from the movie Flashdance) and easily takes care of them, but not before one manages to shoot Frenchie in the leg.

Thankfully, Frenchie was able to complete the nerve agent, which he gives to Kimiko in a mask delivery system before telling her to join the fight.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Back in the VNN Studios, Soldier Boy is able to put down Starlight and Butcher. When Kimiko runs in and attempts to gas him, he grabs her by the throat and hurls her across the room.

As Starlight struggles to get up and face him without any supe support, Hughie sees what’s happening from the communication room and begins to panic. He considers taking the V-24 before jacking up all the studio’s lights, instead. The surge in electricity causes Starlight to glow and levitate off the ground. When Soldier Boy charges her, she knocks him back with a massive blast.

As he struggles to get back up, she and Kimiko race over to restrain him while MM grabs the gas mask and pops it on his face. Soldier Boys begins to go down, but still has enough fight left to charge up a blast. Butcher sees what’s about to happen and throws himself on top of Ryan, who’s just gotten up and walked into the studio.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Meanwhile, a badly beaten Queen Maeve continues her battle with Homelander. After getting knocked to the floor, she spots a metal straw and grabs it. When Homelander picks her up for a killing blow, she stabs the straw through his ear and into his brain, temporarily incapacitating him.

Despite this being her best chance to kill Homelander, Maeve’s attention is drawn to Soldier Boy’s impending blast. She looks at Ryan and Starlight, then punches Homelander back before charging toward the radioactive supe. She leaps into the air, hurling him and herself out an exterior window into the night. Seconds later, the night is lit up by a massive explosion. The blast shatters nearly every glass surface on Vought Tower, but everyone inside is spared.

As the blare of emergency sirens fills the air, Butcher stands up and prepares to defend Ryan from Homelander, who’s stalking toward them. Before another battle can begin, however, Ryan calls Homelander “Dad” and says he wants to leave.

Both men are stunned, but for completely different reasons.

Butcher pleads with the boy to reconsider. Instead, he grabs Homelander’s hand while glaring back at the man who selfishly gave up on him. As Butcher and Ryan walk out together, Butcher notices a green substance dripping from his nose before collapsing to the floor.

Terminal Timeline

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Sometime later, Butcher sits in a hospital bed watching a VNN memorial praising Maeve for her heroic sacrifice. There’s also a doctor speaking, but he isn’t listening.

After a while, Butcher asks him to cut to the chase and reveal how long he’s got to live. The doctor replies that 12 months is most likely with 18 being a stretch. Butcher takes the news in bitter stride before calmly commanding the doctor to leave.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Elsewhere, MM talks with his daughter about their family’s painful history with superheroes and the effect it had on him. It’s a difficult conversation, but it also provides him an opportunity to show her what a truly good and heroic man her grandfather was.

Janine responds by helping MM stop one of his OCD ticks before declaring that he’s her hero.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Meanwhile, Annie arrives at MM’s place to find that Maeve is finally starting to recover from her injuries. She may have survived Soldier Boy’s blast, but it also took away her healing powers, forcing her into a slow and mortal recovery process.

After the two banter for a bit, they’re joined by Elena, who’s happy to be reunited and on the cusp of living a normal life with the person she loves. Maeve then reveals that Annie’s presence in her life is what truly ended up saving her. The de-powered supe also reminds her that Starlight doesn’t need help from someone who can leap great distances when she can fly.

Annie responds with a hug, which Meave is totally not ready for, but still appreciates.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Over at Vought Tower, Ashley and Anika (from Crime Analytics) find surveillance video of The Boys helping a badly injured Maeve into their van after the blast. Instead of acting on it, Ashley securely deletes the file.

Meanwhile, the Deep tearfully watches Cassandra promote her new tell-all book about what an awful husband he was. A painting of him standing by Homelander serves as a not-at-all subtle reminder of who’s approval he still ultimately craves.

Elsewhere, Colonel Mallory watches a drugged and unconscious Soldier Boy get placed inside a secure containment unit.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Over at The Boys HQ, Annie tosses her Starlight uniform in the garbage before being welcomed as a new member of the team. She worries that Butcher won’t be on board, but Frenchie says his lone opinion doesn’t matter — especially since all of them want her there.

The good vibes come to a grinding halt when Butcher unexpectedly walks in, sipping a soda and smirking at everyone.

Before things can get too awkward, everyone’s attention is drawn to the television, where a news report announces that Victoria Neuman has been selected to replace Bob Singer’s deceased running mate. As the group struggles to process just how horrifying that is, Butcher wryly declares her to be their next target.

Back at Vought Tower, supporters of Homelander and Stormfront topple the statue of Soldier Boy, who is now assumed to have been a Russian agent. They also physically assault the media who are present before breaking out into a vulgar chant against Starlight.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

The crowd becomes even more excited when Homelander floats down to thank everyone for their support. He then introduces them to Ryan, eliciting an adoring cheer. As everyone claps for the boy, a lone Starlight supporter calls Homelander a fascist before hurling a full can of A-Train’s energy drink at him, hitting Ryan in the face, instead.

Homelander spots the man and dissects his head with a blast from his eyes.

At first, the crowd and Ryan appear unsure of how to react. Then Todd lets out a triumphant whoop, prompting the rest to join in. As the cheering intensifies, so does Homelander’s joy at seeing people love him for indulging in his violent instincts.

The crowd’s reaction also has an effect on Ryan, who shows the first hints of his own evil grin.

The Verdict

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Just when you think things can’t get any more thrilling and/or terrifying, The Boys manages to raise the stakes again. It’s been a consistent strength of the series series’ run, but especially this season.

Like the seven episodes preceding it, The Boys‘ third season finale is narratively relentless. Even the epilogue is exciting — a noteworthy accomplishment considering that incredible final battle. In the ashes of Soldier Boy’s explosion, a multitude of new plot threads emerged that will make the wait for Season 4 feel interminable.

Unlike many other prestige streaming series, however, The Boys also provides some wonderfully satisfying payoffs to its current storylines. Powerful resolutions were bolstered by shocking and consequential events, all while the series’ deeper themes of nature vs. nurture and self-worth were explored from vastly different angles.

And as always, structure and concept were never more important than the characters driving the story.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

Although it’s been said a million times before, Antony Starr has unequivocally earned an Emmy this year.

The award has historically been unkind to actors playing villainous roles. It was also blatantly dismissive of genre television until recently. In Starr’s case, however, he went far beyond the gleeful scenery-chewing that can often happen in roles like his. Instead, the actor imbued an irredeemable sociopath with layers, depth, and even moments of genuine sympathy — all without ever betraying the character’s core and unquestionable evil.

Meanwhile, the rest of the cast capped things off with yet another round of For Your Consideration moments. Karl Urban once again gave us a version of Butcher who’s more wounded and broken than we’ve ever seen. Maeve was a total badass in her fight with Homelander, but it was her final interaction with Annie that really brought it home. The moment nearly veered into cheesiness, but Dominique McElligott made sure her character’s trademark disposition kept everything in check.

And then you have Laz Alonso, who could’ve easily let Mother’s Milk slip into one-note territory. Thankfully, he took full advantage of the best script his character has had to work with. MM’s arc was heartbreaking, but more importantly, it was uncompromising. There was no magic bullet to cure him of his pain and the resulting effects on his mental health. Instead, Alonso deftly led us through the all-too-believable hills and valleys of learning to deal with trauma.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

I could honestly go on about this cast forever, but that would turn this article into a series. You won’t find many shows with high-caliber actors like Jensen Ackles and Erin Moriarty who aren’t at the very top of the accolade list — especially when they turn in brilliant performances each week.

Hell, Hughie is the heart and soul of the series, but I haven’t individually praised Jack Quaid’s work (which has been fantastic) at all this season until now.

A big reason for this is how deftly the show’s writers handle so many characters and plotlines. Unlike other series with large and talented casts, The Boys gives substantial weight to every narrative. Aside from a rare misfire here or there, each storyline grabs the viewer’s attention and squeezes their heart. There are no C plots that draw our mouse/controller toward the forward button. A-Train’s personal struggle/tragedy feels just as important and powerful as Homelander taking over Vought.

Even the Kimiko/Frenchie plotline kept things mostly interesting despite its frustrating genesis.

The Boys (Prime Video)

The Boys (Prime Video)

I don’t blame the actors for that, by the way. Karen Fukuhara and Tomer Kapon are great. But after how engrossing their Season 2 stories were, saddling them with a trope-filled “Am I the Monster?” storyline was a huge letdown — especially when the rest of the series explored the nature vs. nurture question so much better.

That complaint aside, The Boys concluded its third season with a near-perfect example of why it’s the best thus far. While successfully evolving storylines from Seasons 1 and 2, Season 3 explored even more complex themes via an emotional, action-packed narrative. The season was so good, in fact, that the show’s writers will have their hands full escalating the story without simply replaying its strongest beats — a pattern that has been the downfall of many other great series.

Thankfully, the onscreen and offscreen talent have repeatedly proven themselves up to the challenge. I’d bet the combined medical, legal, and property damage bills generated by Homelander that they can do it again.

The Boys (Prime Video)
'The Boys' season 3 episode 8 'The Instant White-Hot Wild' recap/review
'The Boys' concludes its third season with a near-perfect example why it's the series' best thus far.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
For the third season in a row, layered and complex plots are explored via character driven, action-packed stories.
The Season 3 finale provides a bevy of satisfying resolutions while also setting the table for an even more exciting Season 4.
While the acting is great across the board, there is no question that Antony Starr deserves an Emmy for this season.
After how great Kimiko and Frenchie's Season 2 stories were, saddling them with a trope-filled "Am I the Monster?" storyline was a huge letdown -- especially when the rest of the series explored the nature vs. nurture question so much better.
9.5
Great

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