This The Boys article contains spoilers for season 3 episode 8.
According to The Boys showrunner Eric Kripke, it’s no big secret what the show’s ultimate plan is.
“By the time we get to the end of the series, whenever that is, (Homelander) needs to be ready to destroy the planet,” Kripke tells Den of Geek. “I think it’s obvious that we’re building to that being the core problem. It would be weird if we didn’t. It would be weird if we built to ‘oh no, turns out the whole time it was Termite.'”
Though it might have already been readily apparent to anyone who has watched the show thus far or read Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic of the same name, everything on The Boys comes down to Homelander. As long as there is a nearly invulnerable superman out there testing the limits of what he’s able to get away with, nobody in the world that Vought made can truly live in peace.
We see how true that is in The Boys season 3 episode 8 “The Instant White-Hot Wild.” Butcher (Karl Urban) makes a deal with the devil, Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles), to take down the red, white, and blue super fascist. The thing about deals with the devil, however, is that the devil is bad, you see. Butcher realizes his scorched Earth plan has gone too far when Soldier Boy carelessly tosses Butcher and Homelander’s shared son, Ryan (Cameron Crovetti), aside, bloodying the young lad’s face.
Still, it’s hard to blame Butcher for trying. Homelander quite simply has to go. And while the audience knows he likely won’t die in this finale because there is still at least one more season to come on Prime Video (and probably several more after that), Butcher isn’t privy to that information. Therefore he and the rest of The Boys season 3 finale attempts to do what every Boys season finale attempts to do: kill Homelander.
Naturally, Butcher fails. But he fails in a new, interesting way that signals that The Boys just might be ready to enter its endgame…however far away that might be. Here is what you need to know about the ending of The Boys season 3.
What’s Next for Homelander?
If the series-long arc of The Boys is all about preparing Homelander to become the world-destroying monster that we all know he can be, then how do the events of this episode play into that mission? Well, according to Kripke, turning Homelander into an extinction-level threat isn’t about adding evil layers to his persona but rather taking the human ones away.
“You could really track the entire mythology of the series as the slow unraveling of Homelander,” Kripke says. “He has these guardrails that keep him from destroying the planet. He’s a sociopath, but he still needs love. He still loves Ryan. He still needs approval from the audience. There’s all these things that keep him from being an apocalyptic problem.”
Simply put: The Boys season 3 takes a lot of guardrails away for Homelander. This finale alone removes all the complications surrounding his various relationships. His son, Ryan, definitively decides to love him. His father, Soldier Boy, definitively decides to hate him. And most importantly: his fans decide that no amount of violence will keep them from supporting their American god.
It’s that last bit that’s the most disquieting and spells the most trouble for The Boys in seasons to come. There’s a reason why The Boys season 3 choose to conclude with a scene of Homelander killing a protestor, much to the delight of his many supporters (from the Nazi-glorifying Stormchasers to just the garden variety chuds like Todd), as it might be the most consequential scene from the whole season.
Much like our own world, the Vought universe is…well, it’s bad. Superheroes operate with virtual impunity and the subsequent worship of them contributes to the democratic backsliding of the American experiment. Still, for as bad as Voughtworld has been up to this point, it could have always been worse. Everyone at least agreed in theory that violence was bad, even if they would frequently overlook it. Homelander accidentally killing a whole village of innocent people would require a cover-up, not a celebration.
By killing that protestor in broad daylight in front of his son, fans, and the world at large, Homelander is indicating that the guardrail of “literally pretending to care about human life even a little bit” is now effectively gone. Expect the exploration of that reality to be a major thematic sticking point for The Boys season 4.
Is Black Noir Dead in The Boys Season 3 Finale?
For a finale that culminates in a shocking and game-changing death of a random, unnamed character, there aren’t too many other notable deaths to speak of in “The Instant White-Hot Wild.” Maeve (Dominique McElligott) pushes Soldier Boy out of a Vought Tower window and absorbs his power-ruining psychic blast. Somehow, however, she survives that whole ordeal – though that’s a fact that the world at large will never be privy to due to Ashley (Colby Minifie) deleting the security footage revealing Frenchie (Tomer Capone) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) rescuing Maeve.
There is, of course, a whole host of nameless Vought goons who are killed by Kimiko as well. But the only notable death in this finale belongs to Irving a.k.a. Black Noir. Upon finding out that Soldier Boy is his father (and confirming that revelation with a Vought records search), Homelander asks Black Noir if he knew. The silent Noir only nods, at which point Homelander punches a hole in his stomach and tears out his guts. Noir dies in a bloody mess on the floor with only his fictional cartoon critter friends to keep him company.
Homelander’s murder of Black Noir may seem surprising but there are two important things to consider. One is that Homelander is utterly insane. The other is that Homelander truly trusted Noir and his betrayal cuts deep. Prior to the season, Kripke made a note to tell viewers that he considered three episodes of The Boys: Diabolical anthology to be canon, including the finale “One Plus One Equals Two.” That episode in particular features Homelander getting inducted into The Seven and Black Noir helping to cover up a major screw up. From that moment on, Black Noir had the implicit trust of Homelander and to have betrayed it is a big deal.
Is Solider Boy Still Alive?
Yes, he is! Throughout The Boys season 3, the show made it clear that no one actually knows how to kill Soldier Boy or Homelander. Even the plan to have them duke it out was only theoretical in nature. Still, Soldier Boy being tossed out of a skyscraper window and then exploding seems like it should be fatal. Alas, it was not.
The U.S. government, led by Grace Mallory (Laila Robins) recovers a presumably unconscious Soldier Boy from the wreckage he caused and makes sure he stays unconscious via the vaporized nerve agent that the Soviets pioneered. Soldier Boy is placed back into a tank, similar to the one the Russians had him in. Bad news for the world but great news for Jensen Ackles fans (which is basically the world as well, so it’s a confusing time for us all).
Are The Seven Done?
One aspect of The Boys season 3 finale that may be easy to overlook amid all the chaos is that Vought’s premier superhero team, The Seven, may be effectively done. Just this season alone three Seven members die: Supersonic (who is killed by Homelander but is believed to have died via overdose), Queen Maeve (who is really alive but presumed dead), and Black Noir (who knows how Vought will spin this one?).
Additionally, Starlight (Erin Moriarty) finally quits the team, choosing to throw away her costume and work with The Boys as good ol’ Annie January. That leaves only Homelander, A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), and The Deep (Chace Crawford) as members. So will season 4 open with a supersized installment of American Hero to fill four spots on the team? Honestly, probably not.
Homelander seems pretty done with this whole “having teammates” nonsense. He even says as much to both A-Train and Deep, informing them “You’re not my family. I don’t need any of you. Remember that.”
Duly noted, sir! We would guess that the Seven is no more and the big threat of season 4 will be Homelander, Homelander, and more Homelander.
When Will Butcher Die?
Note that this headline tag doesn’t say “Will Butcher Die” but “When.” As has been previously established by Kripke basically giving away the series finale earlier in this piece, there aren’t many plot secrets on The Boys. Starlight finds out that 3-5 doses of the temporary V-24 will eventually kill you. Butcher takes 3-5 doses and wouldn’t you know it – it will eventually kill him.
This is confirmed when Butcher visits the hospital and a doctor tells him that he has 12-18 months to live. Now it’s always possible that The Boys will come up with some sort of last second deus ex machina to save Butcher’s live. We doubt that though. 12-18 months is a relatively lengthy period of time. Lengthy enough to say…last 2-3 more seasons, perhaps?
Prime Video has gotten what it’s always wanted out of The Boys in that the show is now being franchised. The “Boys University” spinoff is on the way and will likely soon be followed by many more concepts. That frees up the series itself to start thinking about when it might want to wrap this whole thing up. We think it may start to do just that in season 4 with Butcher’s mortality as the ticking clock to the end.
All eight episodes of The Boys season 3 are available to stream on Prime Video now.