For those tired of the onslaught of good (and oft-formulaic) superhero tales courtesy of Marvel and DC, Prime Video’s “The Boys” is a much-needed antidote of mayhem, chaos and the understanding that, if superpowered people existed, they would probably, well, suck.
Created by Eric Kripke and executive produced by longtime collaborators Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, the Emmy-nominated series is back and badder than ever in its third season. While the series centers on morally bankrupt superheroes backed by an even more sinister corporation, its scope moves beyond that — offering commentary on institutional issues like racism and the insidious effects of capitalistic, war-driven greed.
The last time we saw the Boys (led by Karl Urban’s Billy Butcher and Jack Quaid’s Hughie Campbell) take on truly awful Supes like Homelander (Antony Starr) was back in the fall of 2020. So, below, TheWrap breaks down the key plot points you need to know before streaming Season 3, which will premiere its first three episodes Friday, June 3.
America’s Most Wanted
The Season 1 finale left off with the revelation that Becca (Shantel VanSanten), Butcher’s wife who was previously thought killed by Homelander, is very much alive. Not only that, but she’s been living in a Vought safehouse with her pre-teen son — the product of Homelander raping her — whose existence Vought had kept secret for their mutual safety. The lie ends up costing Vought executive Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) her life, and now Butcher is the one on the hook for the murder, despite everything about it reading “deranged and murderous supervillain Homelander was here.”
And that’s where Season 2 opens, with the Boys in hiding.
Money makes the world go round
On the Homelander front, his diabolical plan to introduce Compound V — the God-defying serum that builds Supes — to terrorists in order to force superpowered individuals into the U.S. military is a success. Sure, Vought CEO Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) is less than thrilled at the fact that his pet project destabilized American democracy in the name of war mongering yet again, but who cares when money’s involved?
Starlight, star bright
Annie, aka Starlight (Erin Moriarty), is still trapped within the Seven, where she’s continuing to work against Vought in secret. Only A-Train (Jessie Usher) knows of her betrayal last season in helping the Boys escape from captivity, but he’s still in a coma after suffering a heart attack. Meanwhile, Starlight and Hughie are — against all odds — goals.
A storm is brewing
Vought, on to housekeeping matters, finally publicly reveals Translucent has died (you remember, when Hughie exploded him via butt plug back in Season 1), and the search is on for a new Supe. Enter Stormfront (Aya Cash), who taps right into the most annoying demographic of people — a girlboss for the younger, stick-it-to-them generation. Miraculously, she’s an even worse person than Homelander (more on that later).
Heads will roll, literally
A new crisis is looming: As if you didn’t think “The Boys” could get any gorier, heads are popping like balloons all over the place. First, a CIA contact who the Boys go to for help with a new Supe terrorist is killed. Next up — a blood bath in Congress.
Homelander tries (and fails) to make a home
As can be expected, Homelander is a horrific excuse for a father figure. While dealing with his unresolved mommy issues (by trying to have sex with a shapeshifting Supe that takes on the form of Stillwell, whom he killed), he terrorizes Becca and his son at their Vought compound. Naturally, the company doesn’t, and can’t really, do anything about it. Having been raised in a lab, he — very disturbingly — attempts to perform the role of dad, which includes pushing his son off of the roof in the hopes that it will spur him to fly. Meanwhile, Billy finds Becca’s location and tries to take her to safety, but she decides to stay for her son, whom Vought will not allow out of its custody.
Hurray for PR cover-ups
The superterrorist from earlier is actually Kimiko’s (Karen Fukuhara) indoctrinated brother, who the Boys have been sheltering. While on a mission at sea, he escapes and Vought commissions the Seven to deal with him. Deep (Chace Crawford) — who’s been recruited by a cult while on a bizarre journey to rehabilitate his image after being exposed as a sexual abuser — rides in on a whale in an attempt to save the day, and what follows is an unforgettable scene in which Butcher fashions their speedboat into the largest spear and … I’m sure you remember what happens next.
In the fight, Starlight is nearly forced to vaporize Hughie to prove she’s not a traitor to Homelander, who is menacingly watching it all unfold, drunk on power. Before she kills him, Kimiko’s brother drops a train on Homelander, giving Hughie time to flee. Eventually, however, Stormfront catches up to him and brutally murders him as Kimiko looks on.
Prior to this, Annie — arriving at a stalemate with a now-awake A-Train about being caught stealing Compound V — leaked news of how Supes are made, not born, to the press. Despite this, the Vought machine keeps churning, with Stormfront’s defeat of a Supe terrorist hailed as a victory.
The worst people you know are in a relationship
Stormfront, now celebrated as an unapologetic Supe who takes no prisoners (most of the time, literally), is more popular than ever, and Homelander — being a spoiled brat and glorified baby — is envious of the attention. A video of him shrugging off killing a civilian makes the rounds, and a congresswoman dedicated to holding institutions accountable, Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit), is on his and Vought’s tail. He momentarily daydreams about lasering a crowd of attendees booing him, which is as terrifying as it sounds.
However, his ennui is short-lived, as Stormfront steps in to help spin the negative press. She advises going full-MAGA, fake news and all. With a liberal, anti-Supe agenda to blame, he’s back on top. To celebrate, he and Stormfront have destructive superhero sex.
It gets worse
Meanwhile, the Boys follow up on a tip about an old superhero named Liberty, who lynched a Black teenager in the 1960s. In a twist, it’s revealed to be Stormfront, who never ages. To make matters worse, she is also discovered to be a literal Nazi, after archival photos resurface. And because when it rains, it storms (pun intended), Annie discovers Stormfront’s hidden operation, Sage Grove, an off-the-books facility of Supes whose powers aren’t quite commercially appealing. Since Compound V works best on babies, the project is an attempt to stabilize it in adults, so Stormfront can ensure only white supremacists get powers.
The Boys attempt to take the facility, but run into Lamplighter (Shawn Ashmore) — a member of the Seven they had previously tried to blackmail into being a double agent, which backfired when he retaliated by killing the original Boys founder and former CIA deputy director Grace Mallory’s (Laila Robins) children. In a scuffle that breaks out, all of Sage Grove’s prisoners escape, forcing the Boys and Lamplighter to work together in hopes of getting out. During this time, he remorsefully reveals that he didn’t know Mallory’s children were in the house and wants to atone by testifying against Vought at the upcoming congressional hearing.
A literally explosive congressional hearing
In the meantime, Homelander brands Starlight as a traitor on national TV and captures her, and Hughie enlists Lamplighter’s help to aid her escape. At Seven Tower, Lamplighter reconsiders and decides to flame himself to death, which inadvertently helps Starlight, who absorbs energy from the subsequent fire alarms to free herself. Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) enters the scene and is taken down by Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) with the help of an Almond Joy, since he’s allergic to nuts.
The congressional hearing begins, and Butcher has pulled through with another star witness: Vought’s former chief science officer. However, things don’t get very far, and in one of the show’s most impressive and “The Boys”-iest scenes, his head explodes, followed by a bunch of people in the courtroom.
Branded as a congressional attack, the government orders loads of adult-safe Compound V to make Supes who can protect officials. With Stormfront and Homelander’s plan progressing, the mass-murdering couple journey to Becca’s house. After a cruel and tense standoff, they kidnap Homelander’s son, leading Becca to seek Butcher’s help.
The final showdown
Behind the scenes, Butcher makes a deal with Edgar to get rid of Homelander so Vought can take his child back. The Boys put a plan in place to distract Homelander as they fight to take Becca’s son back, with Butcher having a change of heart about giving up custody to Vought. Meanwhile, Homelander, now aware of Vought’s double-dealing, angrily lasers the SWAT team sent in to distract him.
Stormfront arrives, and she’s too powerful for Starlight to fight, until Maeve shows up to help, having previously been reticent about joining the Boys. The former escapes to go kill Becca, as her son watches on; seeing his mother in danger, his powers activate and he fries Stormfront’s face, unknowingly hitting Becca in the process. Becca dies in Butcher’s arms and makes him promise he will raise her son away from Vought’s influence.
Homelander forces the child to choose between him and Butcher, and once that doesn’t go his way, he resolves to kill them both. However, Maeve shows up just in time with a hefty bit of blackmail: video evidence of the Season 1 scene in which the two decide not to save a crashing plane full of innocent people. In exchange for not releasing it, Homelander — ever obsessed with his reputation — agrees to leave Butcher and the child alone, as well as Maeve and her now ex-girlfriend Elena (Nicola Correira-Damude). (An earlier plot point saw Homelander out Maeve on TV just to force her to publicize her relationship and hold the fact that he could hurt Elena over her.)
On the bureaucratic side, A-Train has been kicked out from the Seven for seemingly being too slow, but the real reason is due to Stormfront’s white supremacism, so he decides to help the Boys leak her Nazi photos to the press. Despite all of this, Vought evades responsibility, though Compound V is put on hold and Stormfront is stopped.
Now, Maeve and Starlight are trapped in a stalemate with Homelander, whose son has been put into CIA care with Mallory. The Boys’ names are cleared, and Starlight and Hughie are free to continue their relationship as Kimiko and Frenchie (Tomer Kapon) begin theirs. A-Train is restored to the Seven, while Deep is still exiled.
One more head-popping twist
Remember that cult Deep joined — the Church of the Collective, which indoctrinates its members via Fresca? Well, at the tail end of the Season 2 finale, its leader is on the phone with Neuman until — pop! — his head is no more. It was Vicki all along, and now, Hughie — taking the moral high road to fight Supes the “right way” — is working for her office. Dun. Dun. Dun.