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Is This Homelander's Only Redeeming Moment On The Boys?

The Boys' Homelander (Antony Starr) makes every single one of his scenes tense and uncomfortable, like he's about to commit some heinous act. Every single scene — except one. It's taken two seasons, but in the season 2 finale, Homelander actually shows a little bit of heart when he flies his son Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) away from a stressful situation.

Season 2 largely focuses on family, especially the uncomfortable family ties between Homelander, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), Becca (Shantel VanSanten), and her son Ryan (who was recast this season). At the beginning, Homelander meets his son for the first time and insists on having a relationship with him. While the desire to be involved with Ryan is certainly driven by his narcissism — the kid is an extension of himself — it's also inspired by a surprising amount of empathy. When Homelander looks at Ryan, he remembers his own miserable childhood and wants something different for his son.

Finally, Homelander has found someone he can actually relate to, which leads to him acting like a decent dad for one hot second.

Homelander's backstory makes way for one semi-sweet moment

While we've seen Homelander brutally kill people in a completely unforgiving way, the series gives him an ounce of sympathy when it reveals his backstory: Homelander grew up without parents in a cold, sterile lab where the doctors raising him were afraid of him. They kept their distance and he became a psychopath. This is something he does not want for Ryan.

However, up until this point in the story, Homelander's insistence that Ryan showcase his superpowers has put pressure on the boy. Like one might push a kid down a hill on a bicycle, Homelander hilariously, but horribly, pushes Ryan off a roof to fall smack on his face. Ryan doesn't exactly trust him.

But when Ryan learns just how much Becca is hiding from him — the whole world — he submits to being kidnapped by his dad. However, the young boy has spent his entire eight years secluded in a house with no one but his mom. So when Homelander and Stormfront (Aya Cash) bring him to the Seven themed restaurant Planet Vought, he gets understandably freaked out by the fans surrounding the table. Cue Homelander's heroic moment: As Ryan begins panicking, Homelander notices his discomfort and flies him away immediately.

Of course, this "tender" scene is undermined by the Supes' original motive to distract Ryan from the fact that they won't let him call his mom. And when he's freaking out, the kid is asking for his mom, but Homelander shuttles him to a remote cabin, instead. There, they have a moment of bonding before things turn sour.

Homelander cares for Ryan only as long as it suits him

At the cabin, Ryan curls up on a couch and recites U.S. state names for comfort (it's weirdly reminiscent of Soldier Boy from the comics). Here, Homelander displays a rare moment of vulnerability as he tells Ryan about his own experience with crowds. "I should have known better," he says. "I remember the first time I was in a crowd. I was terrified ... I felt like I was drowning." He admits to flying away and crying. He finishes by saying, "I love you," and for a moment, if you look past the toxic masculinity, it's sweet.

But then, at the end of the episode, Ryan laser-eyes Stormfront, nearly killing her in an effort to keep her from choking out his mom. Homelander arrives, covered in blood and gore, clearly upset over Stormfront's injuries. Like a disappointed parent finding a broken vase, he says "Ryan? Did you do this?" He beckons Ryan to come leave with him. But, from Ryan's perspective, this bloody man is crying over the woman who just attacked his mom, so he sides with Butcher. Homelander turns nasty, telling Butcher, "He's mine!" and then calling him a "little s**t" in the next breath. When Maeve shows up to blackmail him, he retreats without Ryan.

For one very brief moment, Homelander was sort of a good dad, but it really didn't last long. His actions toward Ryan were always fueled by his narcissism and desire to be loved. Right now, that desire is the only thing keeping him in check, but next season we may see him devolve completely.