The Boys – Season 3 Episode 1 “Payback” Recap & Review


Episode 1 of The Boys Season 3 starts with Vought spinning their PR games once more. This time with Homelander acting out the final fight with Stormfront, only with a generic comic book tinge of good VS evil. Homelander, of course, portrayed as the hero in all this. The Seven join him, they beat the bad guy (or gal in this instance) and all is well. Only…its not.

As we cut across to the movie premiere, there’s some serious unhinged anger behind Homelander’s pearly white smile. It’s not helped that Hughie and Annie (who have made their relationship public) are in the public spotlight. It also means A-Train is  back in the limelight too.

Congressman Neuman is here too, and after  “rooting out bad apples”, someone in the crowd calls out for her, but calling her Nadia instead. Hughie looks on suspiciously, and it’s worth pointing out this is going to be an important plot point going forward.

In the bathroom, Butcher arrives to see Hughie. Hughie gives him the greenlight to gain intel on their latest target. Part of that comes from Frenchie and Kimiko showing up at a big party while Butcher watches from a spy camera on Frenchie’s chest.

Their target here happens to be a Supe with the powers of changing how big or small he is. Basically, The Boys’ version of Antman. The guy’s name is Termite and he literally goes into his date’s penis while really tiny, sneezes and completely obliterates his date from the inside out.

It’s shocking, disgusting and one of the most insane moments of the show so far. In fact, Termite even tries to get inside Fenchie’s ass when he sees him after too.

Thankfully Butcher shows up just in time and manages to stop Termite. Butcher doesn’t kill the Supe though, remembering Hughie’s orders, and instead gets the others to phone the bureau.

This is, of course, where Hughie is working. He’s a pretty big deal at the work too, and between dating Starlight and taking down Stormfront, he’s something of a celebrity. He’s also unaware of Neuman’s ties to all this too, and that she’s a Supe.

Now, Neuman appears to hold a few secrets of her own, with her old name definitely Nadia and the guy who was at the movie premiere showing up at the office. He tells them all his name is Tony.

Butcher keeps up his promise to Becca, visiting her son and spending time with him. He’s been suffering from awful nightmares about Homelander, but Butcher is convinced that he’ll become strong enough to take him out eventually.

Grace Mallory is still watching over him, but Butcher is keeping a distance, believing he’ll just mess everything up if he gets too close. But yet, he’s quit drinking, hasn’t killed anyone in over a year and is even following Hughie’s orders. All progress.

Unfortunately Vought have a lot of influence and Termite is saved. When Butcher finds out he’s livid and bemoans not killing Termite when he had the chance.

Over at Vought HQ, Stan Edgar has concocted a new version of Compound V. This one is only temporary though, with each vial worth 2 million.

As for Edgar though, he’s become a bit disillusioned with the whole superhero shtick. In fact, he wants to be out the business within the next 5 years given his role has turned into something of a babysitter. This temporary Compound V would effectively turn Vought into a pharmaceutical company, and allow them to much more effectively control the heroes.

Speaking of control, Stan gives Starlight the role of Co-captain alongside Homelander. This way it would help raise the popularity of The Seven and kick Stormfront out of public attention. Starlight is the most popular member of The Seven right now but obviously things are incredibly tense right now with Homelander and this is not helping.

The thing is, this position would grant Starlight true power – including choosing the two other members to join The Seven with them. This alone could help swing the balance of power away from Homelander. And what better way to choose than with a reality TV competition.

One of the heroes here, Supersonic, actually happens to be Starlight’s old flame from the past. naturally, Hughie is jealous. Starlight though, decides to go ahead with this reality TV idea, believing they make a real difference.

Homelander though is on edge and ready to snap at any moment. It turns out Stormfront is actually still alive too, hooked up to a life support machine and with burns all over her face. She’s also missing an arm too. he continues to pedal her “master race” stuff, which Homelander is against. Still, he continues to see her, convinced that Stormfront “gets him.”

Now, Maeve actually happens to be the new mole in The Seven, and after seeing Homelander bully A-Train in the hallways, she catches up with Butcher. She has some intel on a guy called Soldier Boy, who happens to be part of an old superhero team before The Seven surpassed them.

Soldier Boy was their hero but he apparently died a while back. His team includes Crimson Countess & Gunpowder. Maeve believes they may have the intel needed to track down the weapon that took them out.

With 3 vials of temporary Compound V, Maeve hands them over as a way of arming himself against these rogue Supes. It’s their one chance to go after Homelander and they could prove to be invaluable going forward.

Butcher stashes them in a jar, while Homelander shows up to pat him a visit that night. Their meeting is tense and cryptic, with the gist of it being that they’re going to team up to take out Vought before going after one another last man standing style. Or a “scorched earth” scenario as we’re told.

Meanwhile, Hughie heads out that night after work and notices Tony skulking about. Neuman is there too and Hughie hides behind a bin while they talk. The pair used to be best friends.

Tony wants the public to know about “Red River” but Neuman refuses. As she holds him close, his nose begins to bleed and just like that, the pair fight. This inevitably ends up with Neuman completely disintegrating poor Tony, leaving a flood of blood in the alleyway… and Hughie shocked and trying to keep everything together as he cowers behind the bins.

The Episode Review

The Boys is back! And what a way to kick things off. The whole drama involving Termite is absolutely shocking and perhaps a tad too far. I dare anyone to watch that scene and not wince and cross their legs!

Beyond that though, the episode sets things up really well for the conflict to come, and a lot of that can be attributed to Antony Starr who is an absolute gem.

Every single scene he’s in is unnerving, nail-biting and completely unpredictable. It’s amazing to see how far his character has come and seeing him on edge in this way, even prepared to team up with those he despises to get with he wants, is a pretty surprising turn of events.

Oh and Stormfront is still alive! I’m sure I’m not alone in expressing surprise at that little turn of events. Either way though, this opening episode sets the scene for what should be a very dramatic season to come.

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You can read our full season review for The Boys Season 3 here!

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