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The Boys Season 3 Ending is the TV Equivalent of a Mic-Drop

The Boys‘ cathartic “The Instant White-Hot Wild” is the TV equivalent of a mic-drop

It was a bold, brash, and superbly inventive road to the season finale, but we’re finally here, and, oh boy, did it deliver. This season was full of unforgettable moments. There was the delightfully lewd “Herogasm”, Black Noir’s delectably odd cartoon critters, and who could forget Kimiko’s lavish musical number? Over the course of eight hours, this show threw everything at the audience, and virtually all of it stuck. This season was, by far, the most inventive and playful iteration of the show, but also the one that elevated its commentary on America and the hypocrisy of superheroism.

Besides having a wildly appealing title, “The Instant White-Hot Wild” is the perfect encapsulation of the entire season, as it continued to emphasize a character-driven story over bombastic action. While “White-Hot Wild” did deliver bonkers action in spades, it thankfully made sure to ground its set-pieces with thematic weight, ensuring that each shocking moment made narrative sense.

This being The Boys, it would be foolhardy to expect a tidy conclusion. Nevertheless, the show still perfectly wraps up every character arc it established this season. MM’s struggle to shelter his daughter from his broken past underpins every decision he makes in this episode, and it results in a deeply human portrait of a man clinging to a better future for his family. Once he finally faces down Soldier Boy, the sequence is utterly absorbing. In addition, Hughie’s insecurity regarding Starlight’s powers culminates in a clever commentary on the nature of strength and the power inherent in being a shoulder for others to lean on.

Soldier Boy
(Amazon)

Moreover, Butcher’s family trauma continually manifested in his quest to kill Homelander all season and it results in powerful moments where he is forced to come to terms with his reckless actions. Other smaller storylines such as A-Train selling out his African American heritage to the corporate machine and Kimiko and Frenchie’s relationship to her violent abilities were all rewardingly wrapped up as well. Every narrative strand, no matter how insignificant, was perfectly integrated into this finale, ensuring no minute of this season was wasted on something arbitrary or irrelevant. With seemingly every TV show getting a super-sized finale, it’s remarkable how this hour-long episode maintains both efficiency and detail.

The overarching narrative involving Soldier Boy and Homelander (and their surprise blood relation) is the main draw, and it’s handled impeccably well. Homelander is the unabashed MVP of the show, and this season did some very thought-provoking things with him while pushing him into much darker territory. Homelander went from being secretly evil to unashamedly evil, relishing the power he truly has over Vought and every other superhero on the planet. Yet in this finale, Homelander becomes surprisingly sympathetic and more nuanced than ever. His evil tendencies take on a greyer shade once Ryan accepts him as his father. When Ryan is hurt in the climactic battle, Homelander unexpectedly comforts him instead of jumping right back into the fray. Without Antony Starr’s layered performance this transition would have been undeniably rougher, instead, it’s expertly realized and entirely in line with his character’s trajectory.

Soldier Boy’s existence is a direct threat to Homelander. And while his bigoted sensibilities are far from heroic, he was positioned as the only “hero” who could defeat the “big bad”. The final duel remarkably flips the table, revealing Soldier Boy as the season’s prominent antagonist. Soldier Boy’s virulently hateful persona reaches its peak when he calls Homelander a “pussy” in response to his proposed family unit, skillfully continuing the show’s exploration of terrible fathers and their damaging influence. It’s these moments of clever subversion that highlight the best of what The Boys has to offer, and it’s cathartically realized in this season finale. Once most of the cast turns on Solider Boy, it makes for truly absorbing television.

The Boys
(Amazon)

This episode ushers in an era where “The Seven”, as a concept, is virtually non-existent. From the ashes, comes only Homelander’s vision of America, with his son by his side and a growing part of the public buying into his dream. Having installed the head-popping Victoria as the future VP, the world has really become Homelander’s oyster. With The Deep’s reputation back in the gutter, A-Train possibly on a path to redemption, and Starlight having joined “The Boys’” officially, the famed supergroup is as dead as Homelander’s sense of morality.

In the vein of this inventive, character-driven, and thematically rich season, this closing episode got just about everything right, never compromising its rewarding arcs for a cheap cliff-hanger. It gives us everything we wished for and then some, while still allowing room for the next season to grow and build on all that was cemented here. It would be an understatement to say the wait will be grueling for the next installment, but everyone will be eagerly waiting regardless.

The Boys Season 3 finale
(Amazon)

Stray Observations:

  • Maeve saves the day, and everyone believes she died a hero, It seriously couldn’t have gone better for her
  • It’s sad to bid farewell to Noir’s cartoon critters, but alas, good things are not meant to last
  • Kimiko brutally dispatching thugs to Flashdance’s “Maniac” is one of the best things to happen to television all year
  • Butcher’s “Temp V” abuse has reached its inevitable conclusion, ensuring we get a more unhinged version of him next season
  • The cherry on top of this fantastic episode was seeing The Deep get cancelled-Again!
  • Ashley’s bald head reveal was equal parts hilarious and unsettling
  • This is the only episode of the entire series where a gun has actively helped in a fight against Supes-it sure took a while, but we got there
  • Frenchie finally standing up to Butcher felt utterly amazing, but Kimiko’s charming reaction was even better!
  • Homelander being cheered on for lasering off a protestor’s face is one the most terrifyingly accurate depictions of America’s political polarization.
  • Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” was the perfect closing track, as it cleverly alludes to the hellish path that is clearly in store for next season
  • There is no excuse why Antony Starr has not been nominated for an Emmy yet, it’s honestly getting ridiculous at this point
Written By

Prabhjot Bains is a Toronto-based film writer and critic who has structured his love of the medium around three indisputable truths- the 1970s were the best decade for American cinema, Tom Cruise is the greatest sprinter of all time, and you better not talk about fight club. His first and only love is cinema and he will jump at the chance to argue why his movie opinion is much better than yours. His film interests are diverse, as his love of Hollywood is only matched by his affinity for international cinema. You can reach Prabhjot on Instagram and Twitter @prabhjotbains96

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