The Ending Of The Boys Season 3 Episode 8 Explained

Contains spoilers for "The Boys" Season 3, Episode 8

With a bevy of new characters, the notorious "Herogasm" storyline, and animated dream sequences, it's an understatement to say that Season 3 of "The Boys" was a wild ride from start to finish. It wrapped up loose ends from the previous season while also moving the plot forward in a manner both entertaining and realistic (well, as realistic as a show about narcissistic superheroes with god complexes can be).

Although the third season starts off with the titular team attempting to adjust to a more sanitized operation, Hughie (Jack Quaid) uncovers a shocking twist that forces the characters to resume their old habits. The show's satire is sharper than ever before, and the stakes have never been higher. Thankfully, "The Boys" has been renewed, so fans can look forward to even more debauchery in Season 4 (via Variety).

Even though there are some thoroughly satisfying moments throughout Episode 8, our heroes wind up pretty much back at square one with a host of new threats to contend with. Let's take a look at what happened in the dramatic finale, and what it might mean for the characters moving forward.

Soldier Boy goes back on ice

The mission to find a weapon strong enough to kill Homelander (Antony Starr) doesn't exactly yield the desired results. Instead, the group locates Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles), alive but not quite well after years of being brutally experimented on. The Supe came out of the ordeal with newfound powers that negate the effects of Compound V, but Soldier Boy's untreated trauma and constant drug use make him unpredictable. The world has changed drastically since Soldier Boy was last around, and he struggles to find his place in it, killing a host of innocent people along the way. It's ultimately revealed that Soldier Boy is actually Homelander's biological father, which is why their powers are so similar.

While Homelander is hoping for a sweet family reunion, Soldier Boy is disgusted by the former's weak display of affection. It's easy to see the family resemblance here, with Soldier Boy doling out some of the coldhearted apathy that Homelander frequently employs. The tense exchange not only sets up the final fight of the season but also demonstrates what could happen if Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) takes after Homelander. When Soldier Boy's explosive powers threaten to kill everyone, Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) sacrifices herself. Unbeknown to Homelander, Maeve secretly survives, with Ashley (Colby Minifie) deleting the evidence, and Soldier Boy is put back under sedation. This leaves room for Soldier Boy to return in Season 4, though it's anyone's guess as to whom he'll ally himself with if he ever wakes up.

Butcher is living on borrowed time

After spending the entirety of Season 3 injecting an experimental version of Compound V that gives the user temporary powers, Butcher has to face the music. As it turns out, the drug causes brain damage and death if used in excess, but he continues to take it even after finding out the drug's fatal side effects because he knows that they only have one shot to defeat Soldier Boy and Homelander. Although they succeed in conquering Soldier Boy, Homelander gets away with barely a scratch, as per usual.

After facing one loss after another, Butcher's reckless choices are finally catching up with him. He collapses after the final battle, and a doctor later reveals that he has only months to live. Instead of telling his friends the bad news, Butcher keeps the diagnosis a secret and doubles down on his determination to take out Homelander. Now that he has nothing left to lose, this self-destructive line of thinking makes sense for Butcher, especially because it was his callousness that drove Ryan into Homelander's clutches.

Viewers will have to wait and see how these health issues manifest next season and whether or not the other characters will realize that something's wrong. After all, Hughie found out about Butcher using Compound V easily enough. Hopefully, Butcher will get the help he needs before it's too late. It was Vought's experimental technology that caused the problem, so maybe the corporation also holds the key to his recovery.

Secret Supe Neuman is headed for the White House

After the Season 2 finale revealed that Congresswoman Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) is the Supe with the head-exploding powers, she manages to fly under the radar for a while in Season 3, mostly because Hughie is too scared to confront her. However, viewers do discover the story behind her powers and political influence. She is the adopted daughter of Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito), who gave her a mostly normal life while teaching her the finer details of power dynamics and manipulation along the way. Even though Neuman is all grown up with a daughter of her own now, Edgar still uses her to prop up Vought's political interests.

However, it seems that Neuman has finally had enough of Edgar's machinations. After years of being his pawn, she's keen to take center stage, and he has given her all the power to do so. She exposes Edgar's crimes in front of the press, effectively clearing the path for Homelander to take full control of the Seven. Meanwhile, it's easy to forget that there's a presidential election going on amid all the other chaos. When Secretary of Defense Robert A. Singer's (Jim Beaver) presumptive running mate mysteriously drowns, Neuman conveniently takes his place on the campaign. She's currently set to run as his vice president, but with her secret head-exploding powers, the presidency is practically a blink away. Especially now that she's aligned herself with Homelander, Neuman is more dangerous than ever.

Homelander shows his true colors

Despite the Boys' attempts to defeat Homelander, the sadistic Supe winds up more powerful than ever by the season finale. After becoming wary of his powers, Ryan feels validated when Homelander explains how difficult it was for him to master his own abilities. Taking advantage of Ryan's isolation and guilt, Homelander persuades him to leave the safety of Grace Mallory's (Laila Robins) care.

Butcher and Becca (Shantel VanSanten) certainly had their reasons for discouraging the development of Ryan's superpowers, but Homelander wants to teach his son how to use his abilities, and it's entirely possible that Ryan could inherit his biological father's apathy toward humanity. Since Ryan possesses Homelander's invulnerability, adding him to the mix could be a recipe for disaster.

But in his own twisted way, Homelander wants what's best for Ryan and seems to genuinely care for his son. When a lone Starlight supporter among his sea of adoring fans attacks Ryan, Homelander doesn't hesitate to laser the man's head off. Much to the hero's delight, the gathered crowd erupts in applause, making it clear that Homelander is done pulling his punches. With Stan Edgar on a forced leave of absence and Soldier Boy back under sedation, there's no one left to stand in his way. It's a good thing that Starlight has abandoned Vought since it seems like the Boys will need all the help they can get next season.