HomeTelevision'The Boys' Kicks Off Season 3 With a Gory Premiere

‘The Boys’ Kicks Off Season 3 With a Gory Premiere

[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Boys Season 3 premiere, “Payback.”]

Of course, of course the third season of The Boys would open with someone getting ripped gorily in half. (If you require context, this involves a supe with shrinking powers who’s high as a kite, a sex thing, and an unfortunately timed sneeze.)

the boys season 3

Amazon Studios

The ensuing chaotic sequence in which Frenchie (Tomer Capon) tries to capture the guy while preventing the ant-sized supe from crawling under his clothes reads a lot like that ol’ pre-pandemic joke about how Ant-Man could’ve maybe defeated Thanos, a raunchy, debauched middle finger to Marvel. And hey, it’s The Boys. If there’s one thing this show’s not afraid of, it’s going there.

When the premiere kicks off, shockingly, things are actually pretty OK for Hughie (Jack Quaid). He has no clue his boss at the Bureau of Superhuman Affairs is a head-exploding supe, he and Annie, a.k.a. Starlight (Erin Moriarty), have gone public, and he’s committed to taking down bad guys the right way. Things are also pretty okay for MM (Laz Alonso) who has left Butcher (Karl Urban) and the rest of the crew to be a father to his daughter. Even Butcher’s found some level of stability, as he maintains a father-like role in young Ryan’s life after his mother’s death last season.

Do you know who things very much aren’t OK for? Homelander (Antony Starr). He’s way down in the polls after the whole “Stormfront is a Nazi” thing, and his already meager mental stability is one dirty look or pointed barb from Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) from crumbling like a Nature Valley bar. And when psychopathic Superman’s not happy, nobody’s happy. Not for long, anyway.

the boys season 3

Amazon Studios

But first, Hughie and Starlight. “Payback” introduces them as a happy couple only to immediately throw several wrenches in that dynamic. The first? Much to Hughie’s chagrin, a former flame from Annie’s past, Supersonic (Miles Gaston Villanueva), winds up as a contestant on her and Homelander’s reality TV show. The second? With Starlight shining bright for Vought, she’s offered a place as co-captain of The Seven. Hughie advises her against it, knowing how dangerous close proximity to Homelander — who’s none too thrilled about the whole co-captaining thing — might be. Annie, seeing potential to be a role model and to fill The Seven with good supes, chooses to take the gig anyway.

Elsewhere, Vought is working on a new super-soldier serum, so to speak. Stan pitches it to a presidential candidate as “V-24,” a temporary Compound V: It gives soldiers powers to complete a mission, and then it wears off after a day. That comes into play with a surprising twist, as Maeve (Dominique McElligott) meets with Butcher. It’s implied she’s been giving him leads on corrupt supes to take down for the Bureau, but now she gives him information about a Captain America-type supe named Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles). Officially, he sacrificed himself in a melting nuclear reactor. Unofficially, that’s probably not what happened, and something killed him. If Butcher can find out what it was, he can use it to, as Maeve puts it, “blow his brains out.” She also hands him three vials of V-24, and leaves after telling him not to “f**k up” their one chance to kill Homelander.

And speaking of the violent, unstable supe, he shows up at Butcher’s place just after he’s hidden the serum. After they trade a few threats, Butcher asks Homelander what he’s doing there. Turns out, he’s there for a pep talk… of sorts. (Only for Homelander is a pep talk a promise of spilled blood.)

“What if it doesn’t have to be that way?” Homelander muses, lamenting how he feels like a forgotten toy by Vought and the rest. “What if you and I share a different destiny? Something a little more… scorched Earth? Shock and awe? Blood and bone? And in the end, only one of us is left standing. Isn’t that what you want?” Butcher says that is what he wants, more than anything. “I look forward to it,” Homelander says, and then he vanishes.

the boys season 3

Amazon Studios

Thankfully, The Boys doesn’t stretch out the Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) mystery for the whole season — or even past the first installment. A man shows up at Neuman’s office demanding to talk to “Nadia,” and while Hughie doesn’t think much of it at first, it’s a massive clue as to Neuman’s true identity. Later the guy shows up again, and Hughie secretly watches as he and Neuman talk in an alleyway. It’s obvious they know each other — she calls him Tony, and he wants to tell everyone about a place called “Red River,” which she’s familiar with. When Neuman kills him by exploding his head, it’s obvious she’s hiding not only the fact that she’s a supe, but that she was the head-exploding killer from last season. Hughie, understandably, is shocked and horrified… and as Neuman walks away, the premiere ends.

The Boys, Fridays, Prime Video

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