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Butcher's Most Memorable The Boys Scenes Ranked By Brutality

Amazon Prime's "The Boys" is filled with incredible characters. Like them or hate them, it's impossible to argue that Homelander, Ashley, MM, Hughie, Maeve, the Deep, A-Train, and Frenchie are boring. One of the hallmarks of the show is moral ambiguity, so few of these people (except maybe Starlight) are what most people would call "good." They might have legitimate grievances and therefore technically be in the right, but almost everyone here has either a shady past (like MM), is remorselessly and violently dangerous (like Homelander), is a nasty creep (like the Deep), or is willing to do things most people would vomit at to accomplish even noble goals (like most members of the titular Boys).

Perhaps the most morally gray character on the show, if not modern TV history, is Billy Butcher. The cockney-accented leader of the Boys is obsessed with bringing down Homelander, the Seven, and Vought International. What he's not particularly interested in is going about this in a respectable manner. And honestly, that — along with Karl Urban's hilarious, knockout performance — is what makes this anti-hero (emphasis on "anti") so much fun to watch. From selfishly manipulating even his friends to violently beating and often outright slaughtering anyone who gets in his way, these are the most memorable Billy Butcher scenes, ranked by sheer brutality.

Butcher demolishes Becca's tombstone

Butcher's entire crusade against supes, and Homelander in particular, stems from the belief that Homelander killed his wife, Becca, and never faced consequences. This turns out not to be the case. Becca is alive and well, although the son she bears is Homelander's child, Ryan (who looks poised to play a frighteningly big role in the show from this point forward). But Butcher doesn't know she's alive until Episode 8, the end of the first season. In Episode 5, he finds her gravestone and ... weeps in front of it? Places flowers? Sits down in an empty graveyard and fills her in on what he's been up to like Forrest Gump and Jenny?

Nope. He just ... smashes it with a hammer until it's broken enough to finish off with his boot. Then, satisfied, he walks off to take a phone call while telling an onlooker to "cool your jets... it's not a hate crime." Okay, that makes it cool, we guess?

Even with everything we now know, it's hard to figure out what was going through Billy's head right here. He didn't know she was still alive just yet, and may have just been lashing out at the pain her loss caused him — as well as all these weird, warm feelings bubbling up inside that he attributes to weaklings and a bunch of other words he likes to toss around that we can't repeat here.

Butcher manipulates Hughie to join the Boys

"Brutality" doesn't necessarily have to involve violence, although Butcher doesn't need an excuse to spill blood if he's in the mood. One of his darker features is his willingness to cruelly manipulate even those closest to him to achieve his goals.

The first thing that happens in the entire show is Hughie Campbell watching his girlfriend get turned into pink mist by Seven speedster A-Train, who wasn't watching the road when he rammed into her at what had to be at least Mach 5. Butcher catches wind of the incident after Hughie's pursuit of Justice yields nothing but an insulting $45,000 offer from Vought without so much as an apology. He offers Hughie more than mere pocket change: The opportunity to join the titular Boys and work to expose and destroy both Vought and the out of control superheroes that sponsor.

Thing is, Butcher is no friend of Hughie, seeing him as nothing more than a means to an end that he can exploit and even endanger for his own purposes. Throughout the show, Butcher subjects Hughie to all manner of manipulation and abuse, knowing the poor kid is too invested in their anti-supe crusade to walk away and can't properly fight back. Whenever Hughie does stick up for himself, Butcher, in textbook abuser fashion, always knows what words to say to either trick Hughie into thinking he deserved the treatment or otherwise get him back in his corner, without ever making amends.

Butcher ropes MM back into the Boys

In Season 1, Butcher reforms the Boys to target Vought International and the Seven (particularly Homelander). And he's not exactly offering 401k matching options to rope them in. Ignoring the fact that membership in the group will put his recruits in extreme danger and shut the door on a normal life forever, he manipulates them one by one with offers of revenge. Hughie — naive, furious and impressionable after Seven speedster A-Train flattens and brutally kills his girlfriend during a run — accepts Butcher's offer to get revenge. After the two kidnap Translucent, Butcher takes Hughie to meet Frenchie, a former acquaintance who's initially reluctant to join them. They eventually find the Female and learn her name is Kimiko.

Mother's Milk ("MM") is the last piece of the puzzle, and arguably the wisest to Butcher's ways out of anyone in the crew. As ugly and manipulative as recruiting Hughie was, the way Butcher seduces MM back into the fold in Episode 3 might be worse. MM is actually enjoying a nice, meaningful life volunteering at a juvenile delinquent center when Butcher visits him. He's reluctant to join at first, having finally found a quiet family life after years of letting the rage of his grandfather's collateral killing at the hands of Soldier Boy consume him. But when Billy announces they've kidnapped Translucent, he's convinced the Boys are close enough to destroying Vought that he signs up. He nearly loses his family. Not like Butcher cares.

Butcher abandons the Boys

First Butcher manipulates Hughie, Frenchie, and Mother's Milk into joining The Boys, fully willing to use whatever tactics he feels are required to twist their arms. Much of the first season involves events that position the Boys as wanted fugitives, thanks to Butcher's damn-the-torpedoes leadership and aggressive provoking of Vought. After all, they bugged the company's headquarters, at least tried to weaponize Hughie's relationship with member of the Seven against them, and even kidnapped, tortured, and ultimately killed Translucent, one of the senior members. The point is, Butcher's led the crew into some deep water.

Then, at the end of the season, he outright abandons his guys to pursue a reckless vendetta against Homelander, whom he believes murdered his wife. (In reality, Becca is in Vought's protective custody, alive and well and having just given birth to Homelander's son). The season-closing blowout is one of the show's most shocking scenes, but it ends with neither Homelander nor Butcher biting the bullet. Both men live to fight another day.

Weeks later, at the start of Season 2, Butcher casually wanders back to the Boys' headquarters as if nothing happened. Hughie gets right in his face and confronts him for abandoning the group. Butcher takes the outburst in stride before dismissing his feelings entirely. He says they all still need him to be their leader, so they might as well look past his absence and pretend nothing ever happened. Pretty textbook manipulative abuser stuff, all things considered.

Butcher uses Hughie's relationship with Starlight to spy on Vought

You might be rooting for Butcher when he first offers Hughie the chance to get revenge against the Seven after one of them killed his girlfriend. But it becomes quickly apparent that he's no friend of this kid. Instead, he's a controlling, verbally abusive, manipulative partner who would gladly exploit even Hughie to get closer to his target.

Despite their attempts to hide it, Butcher soon discovers that Hughie has fallen in love not just with a supe, but with a member of the Seven: newest member Annie January, aka Starlight. Rather than tearing the kid a new one, however, he decides to use him to plant bugs throughout Vought's headquarters.

Strategically, it makes sense. But it's problematic for a number of reasons. First, the plan completely disregard's Hughie's feelings for Starlight and jeopardizes their relationship (although to be fair, Hughie does willingly go along with this and therefore has only himself to blame when she finds out and temporarily dumps him). Second, it's at least a little reckless. Hughie is no Butcher (at least not yet). If he gets caught, Vought or one of their supes would almost certainly be able to torture some information out of him that could be a problem for Butcher.

Even more seriously, he's putting the kid in grave danger. Another thing if Hughie gets caught: He's dead meat. And, this being "The Boys," it probably wouldn't be a quick, painless demise.

Butcher shoots Starlight

By Episode 7 of Season 1, Hughie's relationship with Annie January, aka Starlight, has evolved from an exploitative one — since he and string-puller Billy Butcher believed he could use her to get insider dirt on Vought and the rest of the Seven — to a legitimately romantic one. Starlight finds out she was being used and is understandably outraged, and moves to confront and apprehend Hughie.

As we see in the next episode, Hughie's approach to this issue is to come clean to Starlight and admit everything. But that's not how Butcher likes to play things. And unfortunately, he's just offscreen. When Starlight lands in a field to deal with Hughie, he emerges from the side and fires two rounds at her with a high-caliber rifle. We now know she's bulletproof, but we didn't then. And neither did Butcher. He fully intended to kill her and wouldn't have shed a single tear if he'd succeeded, Hughie's grief be damned. She was a member of the Seven, after all, and therefore — as far as Billy was concerned — an ally of public enemy number one, Homelander. Even if she wasn't, he merely saw her the way he sees almost everyone: as an expendable resource.

It's all just crappy icing on the moldy cake that is his soulless manipulating of Hughie and Annie's relationship. Just because it all worked out doesn't mean he should get off the hook.

Butcher blackmails Popclaw

Popclaw has one of the saddest stories in the series. Her lover A-Train denies her repeated requests to go public with their relationship. The sad reality is that as a member of the Seven, he simply can't be seen with her, since her superpowered ascent was cut short when she was photographed partying a little too hard at a young age. Disgraced and forgotten, every door she tries to open for a better life has gotten slammed in her face ever since.

Then the Boys show up. Realizing he can use her as leverage against A-Train, Butcher first has his guys bug her flat to spy on the super couple. While watching, they discover that A-Train is juicing with a mysterious drug called Compound V. (The reveal that supes were manufactured using the substance, rather than born with organic powers, is a major plot point).

Led by Butcher, the Boys make no attempt to stop her from killing a man because they plan to use the footage to blackmail her into handing over information about A-Train, Vought, and Compound V. She does. Not too much later, A-Train gets the go ahead to go public with their relationship. Overjoyed but wanting to be loyal, she tells him about the deal with the Boys, which leads to her being murdered by A-Train.

There are a lot of villains here, but Butcher's casual, selfless disregard for her safety (and that of the man she killed) is chilling, brutal stuff indeed.

Butcher takes out Gunpowder

Butcher is willing to do anything to achieve his goal of killing Homelander and bringing down Vought. But despite his "ends justify the means" approach, it's still surprising to see him become the very thing he swore to destroy by shooting up V24 (or "Temp V") and thus giving himself temporary powers. Somehow he squared this with his code and used his newfound abilities to commit acts of extreme brutality throughout Season 3.

In the second episode of the season, he tracks down Gunpowder, a washed up firearms fanatic who used to be a member of the superhero group Payback as well as the sidekick of Soldier Boy, who Butcher wants to find. This being Butcher, he doesn't ask nicely for information about Soldier Boy, but instead immediately tries to blackmail Gunpowder by threatening to expose humiliating secrets of his time working with him. Gunpowder does admit his former boss' death was indeed staged (a major plot point for the season), but refuses to cooperate further.

He later ambushes Butcher in a parking garage, but Butcher's Temp V usage makes him invincible. Now, Butcher could've walked away since Gunpowder posed no threat to him in his invulnerable state. But this is Billy we're talking about here. Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to slaughter a supe, Butcher tests out his laser vision on the guy, goring through him (and slicing a car in half in the process) like a scalding knife through butter.

Butcher butchers Mesmer

Butcher has legitimate grievances against several supes, like Homelander and Stormfront. But his justified hatred for them is so intense that it's spilled over into a general prejudice against anyone with powers. He'll work with them if he must, but won't hesitate to turn against them if he feels like it.

In Season 1, a telepathic supe named Mesmerizer (Mesmer for short, played by Hayley Joel Osment), gets roped in with the Boys after Frenchie and MM ask him for help figuring out what's up with the Female. He helps them out by reading her mind and learning her name was Kimiko, and that she'd been kidnapped by a terrorist group known as the Shining Light Liberation Army. But although he lends a hand here, he's never a member of their team. He eventually hands surveillance photos of the Boys over to Homelander, allowing Vought to target their families, in the hopes of securing a job at the company.

It's obvious that although this was a selfish move, Mesmer didn't know how evil Homelander really was. But Butcher couldn't care less about his motivations, and rarely offers second chances. He eventually tracks Mesmer down with a tracking device and reveals he knew all about the little deal with Homelander. Mesmer reads his mind and tries to exchange information about Butcher's supposedly murdered but still very much alive wife for his safety, but Butcher's having none of it. He brutally murders him right then and there.

Butcher kidnaps, tortures, and kills Translucent

The first thing we see Butcher do is approach Hughie with an offer to avenge his girlfriend, who'd been killed by A-Train. But the show doesn't waste time establishing just how twisted this guy was in his crusade against anyone with powers. 

Translucent — a member of the Seven with a penchant for using his invisibility to creep on people — catches Hughie planting bugs throughout Vought's headquarters. However, he never gets a chance to turn the kid in before Butcher and Frenchie burst in out of nowhere and kidnap him.

After stuffing Translucent in a cage at their headquarters, Butcher and Frenchie try to figure out how to kill the guy, since his invulnerable skin renders typical weapons useless. The supe, confident he'll be rescued before the Boys manage to concoct a way to take him out, mocks his captors (especially Hughie, who demands information about A-Train).

But they're craftier than he thinks. With Butcher's help, Frenchie discovers that while Translucent's skin can't be breached, his innards are just as vulnerable as anyone else's. They then use electricity to shock him unconscious before blowing him up by sticking a bomb somewhere we'd rather not discuss.

Between using his invisibility to spy on unsuspecting women and being cruel to Hughie regarding his girlfriend's death, Translucent isn't exactly easy to root for. But seeing Butcher so casually torment and eventually kill someone after stuffing them in a cage like a dog is chilling stuff.

Butcher blows up a baby

It's tragic enough to inflict unnecessary collateral damage when battling a dangerous enemy. It's another thing entirely to willingly harm innocents in the pursuit of even righteous justice. But Billy Butcher isn't out to get a Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, he couldn't care less if people support his crusade against supes, especially Homelander, as long as the job gets done.

At the end of Season 1, Butcher kidnaps Vought International chief Madisyn Stillwell and rigs her with explosives, all in a bid to lure her lover Homelander into an explosive trap. What follows is a brutal competition of "who's more evil." Homelander sends Butcher a message by killing Stillwell himself as if to say "you have no leverage over me."

Shocked but closer than ever to seizing revenge (and not knowing when he'll have a better opportunity), Butcher detonates the explosives anyway, smiling while he does it, despite the presence of Stillwell's baby in the same room. Homelander manages to get himself and Butcher clear of the blast, again to send a message. But the baby doesn't make it, and Butcher doesn't seem to have lost much sleep over the murder. He's done a lot of brutal things, but this is beyond the pale even for him.