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The One Detail In The Boys Season 1 That Changed Everything

The most horrifying moment on The Boys season one could have been avoided if only Vought had better intel, according to a Reddit theory from user YouKnowABitJonSnow. 

As fans vividly remember, the whole fiasco begins when Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) tells Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) and Homelander (Antony Starr) that there are three suspected terrorists on the doomed Flight 37. This leads Homelander and Maeve to prematurely believe the plane is safe, after they take out the three terrorists in the cabin — leaving them unprepared to find a fourth threat in the cockpit with the captain. From here, things quickly spiral out of control: When the terrorist shoots the pilot, Homelander reacts by lasering him and destroying the plane's controls. He then shoots down all of Maeve's suggestions on how they could potentially save some, if not all, of the people onboard, before convincing her they have to abandon all 123 passengers in order to save themselves and preserve their reputations. The plane crash ultimately furthers Homelander's agenda, when he spins the situation to make it seem like he and Maeve didn't reach the plane in time due to superheroes not being allowed to be part of the military.

Here's the key point that YouKnowABitJonSnow points out, though: if Stillwell had known about the fourth terrorist to begin with, the crash could have been avoided entirely, and changed the course of season one.

Homelander and Queen Maeve saving the plane would have still accomplished Vought's goal

The whole reason Stillwell sends Homelander and Maeve to stop the terrorists is because the plane is over international waters, giving the supes a chance to prove how valuable they could be if they're allowed into the military. Had the rescue mission been a success, the public would have tangible proof that the Seven is capable of successfully intervening in dangerous situations faster and more effectively than the military is acting on their own. Vought would also have had 123 grateful survivors to testify to that fact.

Instead, Homelander capitalizes on the emotions surrounding the tragedy to convincingly lie about missing the plane entirely, due to not being in the loop. His passionate speech helps Vought gain the support they need to push their military agenda. But that doesn't change the fact that grateful survivors would have been a better indicator of the supes' ability to assist the army during tricky missions than a crashed plane.

The crash leaves Homelander vulnerable

Homelander's public image is fragile thanks to his volatile nature. He hasn't slipped up in front of the world just yet, but with Stormfront threatening his position as leader of the Seven in season two it's only a matter of time. The crash feels like an incident that could come back to haunt him. As far as the world knows, he and Maeve were never on that plane, and Vought surely found a way to bury evidence to the contrary.

Still, nothing stays buried forever, and if the right politician or journalist (or the Boys) ever realizes that there's laser-inflicted damage to the controls, Homelander's lie could easily be exposed. His situation could become even worse if video footage or audio from the crash surfaced due to a passenger sending one last message to a loved one. Given Vought's ability to successfully silence so many victims of supe negligence, it's possible that the truth about the crash will never come out. But that doesn't change the larger issue, which is that superheroes like Homelander aren't equipped to be soldiers.

Homelander's lack of strategic thinking dooms the plane even more than Stillwell's bad intel

Yes, it would have been nice for Homelander and Maeve to know the correct number of terrorists on the plane before attempting a rescue mission. However, if they were equipped to be in the military they would have been better prepared for the unexpected. The crash not only highlights Homelander's disregard for human life, it also illustrates that he isn't a strategic thinker.

Vought has engineered all of the supes to be celebrities and money makers first, and heroes second. When supes are sent out on missions they tend to react, rather than to think. Soldiers are trained to anticipate the unexpected, minimize casualties, and come up with plans of action. By contrast, Homelander's reaction to seeing the plane's pilot shot is to use his laser powers to slice the terrorist in half. It's an extreme move for someone who doesn't have to worry about actual bullets.

Ultimately, The Boys season one plane crash could have had a happier ending if Homelander and Maeve had gone into the situation knowing exactly how many terrorists they were dealing with. Unfortunately, that happy ending wouldn't have changed the fact that letting supes into the military when they're trained to be movie stars, instead of soldiers, is still a terrible idea.