Episode 3 of The Boys Season 3 starts 17 years back with Annie doing her pageant shows. She smiles through the pain and tries to keep doing what her mum wants. Behind her back though, she digs her nails painfully into her palm. Keep this little tick in mind, it sandwiches the entire episode together in a beautifully harmonious way.
Anyway, this brings us back to the present, as Homelander learns that he’s shot up with the public by 21 points. They loved his speech and how he’s not afraid to be himself. He’s on a rating of 98% too, which is higher than anyone else has ever achieved. Even higher than Soldier Boy!
Meanwhile, the boys join together once more as Butcher roasts Hughie over Neuman. However, Hughie is worried about Ryan, but apparently he’s run off with the Colonel. So naturally, Butcher is going to track him down.
Hughie wants to join Butcher, and the only way to confirm that is for Hughie to have his arm broken so he can phone in sick with Neuman for real. So Kimiko literally breaks his forearm in half. Jesus Christ. Anyway, in the wake of all this carnage, Frenchie can’t go, given he has a prior engagement.
So off the rest of the boys go, catching up with the Colonel and filling her in on what’s happening. Butcher speaks to Mallory and demands to know what happened in Nicaragua.
Apparently this was all part of Operation Charlie, Reagan’s pet project off the books. In exchange for smuggling coke into the US, they used the profits to buy more guns to take out Russia. All of this tied into selling the coke to minority neighborhoods, contributing to the issues facing them today.
Unfortunately, Supes were thrown into the battle zone, with Grace admitting that each were “more ridiculous than the last.” Grace is not happy about this develop but a young Stan informs her that these guys are on a trial run for Supes in the military to fight back against the communists.
However, the Supes’ recklessness brings the enemies right to their gate, with Russian special forces raining down on them. It’s a bloodbath and even Black Noir – who happens to be part of the group – is a bloody, broken mess as a result.
Crimson Countess shows and claims Soldier Boy was killed, and that his body was taken away in a helicopter. Vought were granted full immunity off the back of this while she lost 116 men. This also explains why she wants to get back at Vought.
Elsewhere, A-Train catches up with his brother, who offers him a chance to head back to the crib and do away with The Seven. Given his prior heart problems, A-Train can’t use his super speed anymore and admits that this is akin to playing Russian roulette.
Over with Vought HQ, Starlight and Homelander clash (verbally) about the direction of The Seven. He wants to put The Deep back in the group as a surprise twist to the reality TV gig.
When Starlight brings up the video from the flight again, Homelander bites back. In fact, he promises to completely destroy America from the inside out if she releases it, including wiping New York off the map.
Starlight wants to run for the hills but Hughie encourages her to stick it out, given they’re trying to find a weapon to kill Homelander. For now, she needs to strap in and grin and bear the abuse.
Back with Mallory and the boys, Butcher decides to leave but Ryan tries to stop him. Butcher loses control, telling him he doesn’t want to look at the child after killing Becca. “I hate you.” Ryan bitterly rasps, running back in the house.
Over at Vought HQ, The Deep is back in the big leagues but he’s forced to eat his pet octopus, Timothy. Given the Deep can hear the poor cephalopod begging for his life, it’s a really difficult and uncomfortable scene to watch. Honestly, I was eating while watching this episode and I instantly put my food down for the rest of the chapter. Good luck to anyone eating seafood after watching this episode.
In the wake of this madness, Supersonic decides to join The Seven, but he’s mostly doing this out of loyalty for Starlight, telling her that someone needs to have her back.
While all this is going on, an old Russian by the name of Nina gives Frenchie a proposition. When Butcher finds out, he sees this as a golden opportunity to get closer to the Russians and finding the weapon that killed Soldier Boy. He’s all in, even if it means putting Frenchie in a difficult position.
As the episode closes out, the big American Hero finale comes to a close and Homelander improvises, claiming that he and Starlight are in love. Homelander forces Starlight to play ball, grabbing her and kissing her on camera. Starlight is shocked and digs her nails into her palm as a result.
The Episode Review
The Boys returns with its third episode this week and a harsh reminder of how Homelander is still calling the shots. The opening with the pageant is a great way of framing Starlight in this uncomfortable light, and how she’s always had to grin and force her way through uncomfortable situations
This works so well for her character, and that of course extends out to the other players as well.
That scene with The Deep eating octopus was, honestly, one of the toughest to watch this season and I’d argue actually worse than Termite’s inside-out destruction.
Away from the squeamish, another memorable scene comes from Kimiko and Ryan’s chat outside, bonding over neither of them really wanting their powers. This is a really nice inclusion and although there’s barely any dialogue, it actually frames both of these gentle souls in a really believable light. It reminds me of Android 16 from Dragon Ball Z; a man (robot) of few words but with a big heart all the same.
With the gloves off and Homelander flying completely off the handle, it’s anyone’s guess where this one is likely to go next. Regardless, this season is shaping up to be just as mental as the previous two. Roll on next week’s episode!