The Boys (Season 3, 2022) on Prime Video
The Boys is officially back after a season that may have made a few heads explode – both literally and figuratively – following the revelation that rising star Congresswoman Victoria Neumann (and Hughie’s new boss) massacred a number of congressional reps and key witnesses who were able to testify against Homelander. The new series picks up about a year after that particularly horrific scene and the takedown of Stormfront – the centenarian Nazi villain who is still alive despite some particularly grotesque injuries that have left her bedridden.
Homelander – the antagonist of the show that audiences have loved to hate from the beginning, is still every bit as murderous and scheming as he was when we first met him, but now even the everyday citizens of the world are starting to hate him too – largely deciding there’s no way he couldn’t have known about Stormfront’s decades old-past – her unshakable faith in the Third Reich and the desire to carry out the Final Solution – which explains her crush on Homelander in the first place.
With the powers of Superman (who he’s largely a deranged doppelganger of), it would seem like Homelander would be able to crush all of his enemies without a second thought. That’s what you’d believe after seeing him kill multiple times – his iconic laser vision – without remorse, through seasons one and two. There is a line, however, that even he cannot cross when it comes to the shareholders at Vought – those who determine how he gets the Compound V that gives him superstrength.
After the incident at the hearing which was clearly beyond his control, the general public is beginning to change its mind about the supes – deciding there needs to be federal oversight of who they are and what they do – less covert and with a bigger budget. While Homelander’s superpowers are all still intact, his ability to actually get things done on his own terms is considerably diminished, with the board deciding that The Seven need a co-captain leading their team. It’s even worse that they chose Starlight – the overnight sensation who does heroic things even when the cameras aren’t rolling, as Homelander still perceives her as the meddlesome little girl who’s not only foiled his plans repeatedly, but put Stormfront on life support.
There have been a number of landmark shows that romanticize their villains. The Sopranos, and its flawed but honest portrayal of Tony Soprano comes immediately to mind – or Walter White from Breaking Bad, who the audience is fooled into empathizing with for five seasons. The premiere of Season 3 finally gives us a perspective of the world as Homelander sees it – and rather than sympathy, it makes things even more terrifying. He’s nearly lost the only human he’s appeared to have genuine feelings for, and he’s lost his son. The latter has always been a material possession of his, as his hollow lines emphasize – hunting down the people who are keeping Ryan in protective custody would just be a fun game for him. There’s no adulterating his evil – and when Billy Butcher and Mallory foment a plan that will effectively kill Homelander – perhaps before the confrontation he proposes with Butcher – you hope to hell that it works.