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The Boys Season 2: Why Did Homelander Leave Butcher Alive?

This article contains spoilers for season 2 of The Boys

The Boys season 1 ending left us bewildered on the front lawn in suburbia right alongside Butcher. Homelander had saved him from imminent death and laid him gently on the grass next to a peaceful sprinkler. There was a moment of tranquility before he rolled onto his side, looked toward the nearby house, and had his entire reality shattered. In the ensuing moments, Butcher sees the wife he thought dead and the child of Homelander that she has been raising. It's a lot to take in all at once, but why is he even alive to do that taking in? Why didn't Homelander dispatch his nemesis — or simply leave him to die in the flames of his own explosion? Is he simply trying to torture Butcher?

Instead of doing the deed, Homelander flies off with Butcher and plops him down in a random parking lot in the midwest with no way to determine where Becca's house might be located. Don't forget, Butcher has been wreaking havoc on The Seven. He has already killed one of them, maimed another, and turned their newest addition into a sort of double agent. It stands to reason that Homelander would want that sort of nuisance out of the equation for good. The psycho Supe's act of mercy was certainly a head-scratcher — until revelations in season 2 episode 4 helped paint a clearer picture.

Homelander left Butcher alive because he finally has something to care about

When we first learned about how Butcher resurfaced in a random parking lot, most everyone had the same thought — Homelander is a huge jerk. It is not at all inconceivable that the mean-spirited Supe simply enjoyed tormenting Butcher. That move would certainly be right up his alley. Nothing's going to burn Butcher more than knowing his beloved wife is still alive — somewhere — raising Homelander's kid. 

Season 2's Episode 4 of The Boys painted a different picture, however. In his meeting with Becca, Butcher was informed that she forced Homelander's hand. Butcher flexes his ego and states that he made it out of the last scrape with the Supe and he can do it again. As it turns out, surviving that ordeal was actually all thanks to Becca. She informed Homelander that if he harmed Butcher she would commit suicide in front of their son and tell him "Your father did this to me." Yikes.

It's likely that the psychological pain he gets to inflict on Butcher remains a nice little bonus for Homelander, though. With all the man's power, it stands to reason that he would become bored with causing physical pain and death. The next step is torture, and mental anguish can certainly be torture of the highest form. For Butcher's sake, let's hope Becca manages to hold on to her one piece of leverage.