Warning: Spoilers Ahead
This week saw the conclusion of The Boys’ Season 3, putting an end to one of Amazon Prime Video’s best seasons of television yet:
While Billy Butcher and his star-spangled rival have already faced off plenty of times in the show, their clashes have played out quite differently when compared to the DC Comics release by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson — just one of the many big differences between both renditions of Ennis’ brutal, glorious subversion of superhero culture.
The Boys’ comic run was famously gory, grisly, and unapologetic — with the showdowns between Butcher and Homelander serving as some of the series’ greatest highlights.
The first real ‘showdown’ between both parties happens during the first time Homelander and Butcher meet in private. While the two don’t actually fight, they engage in some serious psychological sparring, as Butcher’s dog Terror watches on.
Homelander starts off by taunting Butcher, wanting to discover why he’s so enraged against the world’s most powerful supe. After a bit of poking and prodding, he realizes that Butcher’s wife Becky (Becca in the show) was at the centre of Butcher’s rage. With a sadistic grin on his face, Homelander continues to grind his opponent’s gears — until Butcher smirks and points out that Terror has just marked his ‘territory’ on Homelander.
The supe, enraged, nearly incinerates Terror with his heat-vision, before Butcher calmly escalates the situation… leaving Homelander speechless and confused.
The two don’t directly face off too much until the comic book finale. Butcher finds Homelander in the White House’s Oval Office, toying with a decapitated head while surrounded by the corpses of several government agents.
Right before the two begin to face off, they find themselves interrupted by Black Noir — who happens to be a clone of Homelander in the comic book’s continuity. Revealing himself to be behind many of the worst crimes Homelander is accused of, the two duke it out, forcing Butcher back into the trenches.
Black Noir ends up killing Homelander, while sustaining grave damage himself. After being sprayed by a hail of bullets, Butcher finally gets his revenge in one of the series’ most iconic executions — using a crowbar on Homelander’s doppelganger with grim satisfaction.
Unlike the comics, where Butcher has a bit of compound V to even the score, show-Butcher uses manipulation and strategy to counter Homelander, usually to great effect.
From using his son Ryan as an emotional counterweight to manipulating Homelander’s constant need for validation, Butcher has played a pretty non-physical game against his arch-enemy… until Season 3, that is.
The season greatly explores the relationship between several characters and their powers — whether its Soldier Boy’s ability to cancel-out Compound V, or Hughie and Butcher taking Temp V to get powers in the first place. While Hughie’s teleportation powers are useful, Butcher’s are pretty incredible — allowing him to easily kill scores of supes, take a real beating, and even fire eye-beams just like Homelander.
When fighting a physical battle, Butcher obviously can’t match up to Homelander, even with Soldier Boy’s help. While occasionally on the ropes, Homelander’s superior strength and flight allows him to avoid being taken down too soon, and he manages to escape.
Later, during the season finale, Butcher and Homelander find themselves fighting against Soldier Boy and Queen Maeve respectively. As the episode draws to a close, we find Homelander enjoys the last laugh — taking his son Ryan away from Butcher once more, and importantly, thwarting his attempts to fulfil Becca’s dying wish of caring for Ryan.
With plenty of open threads leading into Season 4, there’s a long way to go before we see the Homelander vs. Butcher war come to a close.
Ryan seems to be the cornerstone for this conflict — hinted by his small smile at the end of the finale. Will Butcher succeed in protecting Becca’s son, or will Homelander mold Ryan into a younger, even-more twisted version of himself?
The season’s just over, and we still can’t wait to find out.
(Featured Image Credits: Amazon Prime Video)