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The Ending Of The Boys Season 3 Episode 3 Explained

Season 3 of "The Boys" is finally here, and the plot is action packed with more murder and mayhem than ever before. After being cleared of all charges at the end of last season, Butcher (Karl Urban), Mother's Milk (Laz Alonso), Frenchie (Tomer Kapon), and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) have been working covertly with Congresswoman Victoria Neuman's (Claudia Doumit) hero monitoring task force. However, once Hughie (Jack Quaid) discovers the huge twist that Neuman is actually a supe working for Vought CEO Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito), the boys reunite, determined to destroy the corporation and its assets. It's full speed ahead for our favorite anti-heroes, who realize the only way to win will be to fight fire with fire.

Now that the first three episodes of the season are available, viewers have gotten their first glimpse at Soldier Boy, a Captain America-like figure played by "Supernatural" star Jensen Ackles. Episode 3 includes some important revelations and a few answers regarding the season's biggest mystery, as well as some personal conflicts that pushes the characters to their limits. Without further ado, let's dive in. 

What happened to Soldier Boy?

Episode 3 delves further into what happened to Soldier Boy. Soldier Boy, the superhero who massacred MM's family, is the key to taking down Homelander. Since both men have similar powers of invulnerability, Billy Butcher believes that whatever incapacitated Soldier Boy will be capable of killing Homelander. After learning from Gunpowder (Sean Patrick Flanery) that Soldier Boy disappeared during a CIA sanctioned mission in Nicaragua that was led by Grace Mallory (Laila Robbins), the group decides to pay her a visit.

Under duress, Mallory finally admits what happened. In the 1980s, she was stationed in Nicaragua, where the American government hoped to destabilize the Russian-supported Sandinista authority by funneling money and weapons to the rebel Contras (via History). The operation is put in jeopardy when a young Stan Edgar (Justiin Davis) arrives with Soldier Boy and the rest of the Payback team. Edgar explains that the military wants to introduce superheroes into the armed forces, much to Mallory's chagrin. 

However, when the enemy attacks, the Payback team cracks under pressure. Amid the carnage, Mallory is knocked out, and she awakens to discover the camp in ruins. A distraught Crimson Countess (Laurie Holden) informs Mallory that the Russian forces used a special weapon to kill Soldier Boy. They watch in horror as his body is taken away in a helicopter and in the present, Butcher berates Mallory for hiding information that could have stopped Homelander years ago.

Butcher pushes Ryan away

After the death of Becca (Shantel VanSanten), Butcher has been keeping an eye on her son, Ryan (Cameron Crovetti), who is living in a safe house with Mallory in order to protect him from Homelander. Since the end of Season 2, Ryan and Butcher have developed a sweet, family-like bond ... or as close to one as Butcher is capable of. Butcher does his best to look after Ryan, even giving up alcohol and leading a more sanitized operation under Hughie's direction. However, Butcher can't help himself when Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) offers him the chance to level the playing field with a version of Compound V that gives the user powers for 24 hours.

It's at this point that Butcher starts to lose grip of his moral compass. Seduced by the power Compound V gives him, he recoils when Ryan uses his own superhuman senses to point out that something's wrong. The discovery that Mallory's been withholding intel about Soldier Boy is the final nail in the coffin. Overwhelmed by grief and his desperation to kill Homelander, Butcher lashes out and Ryan suffers the consequences. Butcher tells the boy he can never see him again and blames Ryan for Becca's death. 

It's a gut-wrenching moment for both characters, who've had so much stolen from them. Heartbroken, Ryan narrowly avoids unleashing his laser vision on the group. At the end of the day, Butcher just wants to protect Ryan, but the boy is left more isolated than ever before.

Frenchie and Kimiko want a fresh start

While Butcher, Hughie, Mother's Milk, and Kimiko visit Mallory, Frenchie has other business to attend to. He meets his old friend Cherie (Jordana Lajoie) in the park, where she tells him that she's run afoul of Little Nina (Katia Winter), a Russian crime boss and Frenchie's former employer. After helping Cherie escape, Frenchie is quickly apprehended by Little Nina's enforcers. She taunts Frenchie, telling him that his only real loyalty is to whoever's giving him orders. It's a low blow, but Frenchie stands up for himself and makes it clear that he's not the same man who once worked for her. He leaves unscathed, and although the interaction makes him rethink his priorities, it's clear we haven't seen the last of Little Nina.

Meanwhile, Kimiko has grown disillusioned with her superhuman abilities and Butcher's erratic attitude. She implores Frenchie to run away with her, but that plan quickly goes out the window when Frenchie tells Butcher about his chat with Little Nina. Now that they know Soldier Boy was taken by Russian forces, Butcher thinks this is a perfect opportunity to call in a favor. He forces Frenchie to set up a meeting with Little Nina, who they hope will lead them to Soldier Boy and the weapon that disarmed him.

Homelander backs Starlight into a corner

The beginning of Episode 3 touches on Starlight's past. As a little girl, her mother forced her to perform at superhero pageants, encouraging her to push through her pain no matter what. Starlight hasn't had an easy go of it this season, either. Forced to co-captain the Seven alongside Homelander, she's in more danger than ever. Upset that she has higher approval ratings, Homelander begins pushing Starlight's boundaries in increasingly aggressive attempts to take back control. When Starlight threatens to leak the video of Homelander abandoning passengers on an ill-fated flight, he tells her that if he can't be loved, he'll settle for being feared. If Starlight exposes his true nature, he'll systematically dismantle infrastructure and cause mass panic.

It all comes to a head during a taping of "American Hero," a superhero reality competition that Starlight is hosting. Her old flame Supersonic (Miles Gaston Villanueva) is chosen as one of the winners, while Homelander strong-arms Starlight into letting The Deep (Chase Crawford) back into the Seven. Just when you think it can't get any worse, Homelander announces to everyone that he and Starlight are in love. Even though she's clearly upset, Starlight plays along. As the unlikely pair share a kiss, Starlight resorts to the same coping mechanisms that helped her power through as a child. 

Even as an adult, it's clear that Starlight is willing to push through the pain if it means getting a chance to destroy Homelander once and for all.