Review: The Boys Season 3, Episode 8 – “The Instant White-Hot Wild”

There are massive spoilers ahead for this finale review of The Boys. Before continuing any further, catch up with Flickluster’s review for Episode 7. It’s that time again. The season finale – and it’s arrived too soon. To round off the season – it’s all about daddy issues – as events set in motion long ago come to a head – in a big way. 

Soldier Boy’s revenge mission against Payback, the supe team that betrayed him – reaches its conclusion. The final member of his original team – Black Noir – sharpens a blade in preparation for the fight. As Homelander says, he could sharpen the blade for a thousand hours – and it’d still not be enough to break Soldier Boy’s skin. The finale gears us up for the fight as Noir walks the halls of Vought Tower accompanied by Buster Beaver and his animated entourage for morale and support.

As we know, Noir was the one to betray Soldier Boy and turn Payback against him – and the Russians subsequently abduct and experiment on him. Homelander learns that Noir also knows about his parentage to Soldier Boy – and astonishingly, slams a fist through his waist and kills him. As Black Noir bleeds out on the floors of Level 99, Buster Beaver and his animated friends comfort him in his final moments before he dies. I’m not crying…, but bring me the tissues. 

Black Noir - The Boys.
Black Noir – The Boys. (Pic: Amazon Prime).

Noir’s unexpected death, premature and surprising as it is, denies any chance of a final fight between Noir and Soldier Boy. With Noir dead, the numbers within the Seven dwindle with only the Deep, hopeless, and lost without Cassandra, facing an expose revealing a different side to him and no skills as the head of Crime Analytics. Meanwhile, A-Train’s paralysed brother hates him, and the speedster is kept alive by the swapped-out heart of a racially violent dead supe he murdered in cold blood. Other than that – the speedster hasn’t done much else. Then there’s Ashley, whose combined fear, stress, and commitment to the job has led her to lose almost all of her hair – and wear wigs as an alternative. 

Homelander stuns the others with the news that Noir is dead with his helmet on a table, coldly affirming that he doesn’t consider them his family, celebrating Noir in death for his role within the Seven – a feat none of the others can match. He has the Deep kill Vice Presidential candidate Lamar Bishop by drowning him in his house pool. As for Homelander’s reasoning, it’s not made clear, but we’ll come back to this later. As he clings to the prospect of a future with a father figure, Soldier Boy dismisses Homelander as a disappointment, deeming him weak and snivelling. 

His remarks echo a story Soldier Boy tells Butcher about his father. Soldier Boy undergoes tests as a trial subject and becomes a supe to win his father’s approval – and still nothing. At the same time, Homelander brings Ryan into Vought Tower to meet Soldier Boy –  officially his grandfather – despite the lack of an age difference. You’ve got Butcher, Soldier Boy, and Homelander in one room – and predictably, it’s all about to kick off. The fight can be considered the second half of the epic showdown from Episode 6. Soldier Boy makes the first move – and his attack against Homelander scarily proves that Soldier Boy could be more powerful than America’s beloved Vought hero.

Homelander - The Boys.
Homelander – The Boys. (Pic: Amazon Prime).

Soldier Boy attacks Ryan as both Homelander and Butcher team up to defend the boy. There’s a bitter look of acknowledgment between them that suggests that despite their history, Ryan needs to be protected. As Butcher and Soldier Boy go at it, Maeve gets even with Homelander and lands a series of punches to make him bleed. Maeve loses an eye, and she stabs Homelander in the ear with a length of metal. 

Hughie evacuates the tower as Frenchie and Kimiko, in a Vought laboratory on another floor, prepare a Russian neurotoxin strong enough to subdue Soldier Boy. With Hughie ramping up the lighting systems in the Vought studio for Starlight to unleash a full blast of her powers, Butcher lands a punch hard enough to shatter Soldier Boy’s shield. The group makes an attempt to subdue the Payback leader with the neurotoxin. However, Soldier Boy is moments away from projecting an energy blast that’ll decimate the tower and kill thousands.

Queen Maeve has been largely absent throughout the season and severely underutilised as a character. She sets up Butcher with Temp V at the start of the season, and at her best, as the finale effectively demonstrates, Queen Maeve is a highlight. That is until they pull the rug from under our feet and hurl a second twist after the big twist. Maeve pushes Soldier Boy from the windows of Vought Tower as he detonates. After three seasons – Maeve makes the ultimate sacrifice and saves everyone by killing herself. 

Butcher - The Boys.
Butcher – The Boys. (Pic: Amazon Prime).

That’s until the finale reveals a few scenes later that Maeve survives – with one less eye – and disappears off the grid to start a new life with Elena. Suddenly, her magnificent act of heroism feels hollow and a bit of a cop-out. In The Walking Dead a few years ago, Rick Grimes appears to blow himself up on a bridge to save the communities from a horde of zombies. He’s found a few minutes later and taken away in a helicopter to a new place. 

This scene echoes Maeve’s epic demise – only for the writers to follow it up with a disappointing twist that voids the previous. Sometimes, it’s best to quit while you’re ahead. So Maeve fights on for another day – despite the finale giving her a perfectly satisfying character redemption arc and closure to her story. As for Butcher – he’s seen better days. Ryan abandons him and chooses Homelander – the opposite of what happened one season finale ago. Plus, there’s a revelation that he has less than two years left to live as the effects of temp V catch up with him. 

Despite the fear that Hughie would keel over and Butcher would save him at the last second from dying to temp V’s deadly side effects, nothing else comes of the story. He opts to assist Starlight with the lights within the studio instead of taking a vial of the superpower drug. It feels like an anti-climax, and as we stick to the subject – the finale presents various narrative problems to address. Victoria Neuman’s head-popping supe story dwindles to nothing interesting (save for the reveal that she’s now the Vice President) and replaces Lamar Bishop, a VP candidate who drowns in a swimming pool. It’s written off as an accident – despite the Deep’s involvement.

Queen Maeve - The Boys.
Queen Maeve – The Boys. (Pic: Amazon Prime).

Neuman will play a more prominent role come Season 4 as Butcher lines her up as their next target. Still, after the setup of her character in Season 2, Neuman sadly fizzles into the background. A-Train’s potential redemption arc, a story the writers emphasise best in Episode 6, leads nowhere meaningful. No updates on Stan Edgar or Little Nina. Plus, M.M fails to exact revenge on Soldier Boy, who Grace Mallory contains in a facility. However, none of this will suggest that this was not a good finale. It was a fantastic finale. The Vought studio showdown was a spectacle worth the wait. 

Highlights include Starlight and Hughie’s reunion, Maeve’s act of heroism, M.M and his daughter’s conversation about his fight against the Supes, the Victoria Neuman twist, the big fight, and Frenchie’s defiant speech about his cakehole. Frenchie swears he’ll no longer take orders from Butcher. He’s his own man – and Kimiko’s proud of him. Then we reach the final scene as Homelander reveals Ryan’s existence to the world. Homelander brazenly kills a protestor opposed to him, and the devotees, including Todd, Monique’s ex-boyfriend, begin to cheer as the applause gains volume. Ryan looks oddly pleased – and likely set to take after his father. Yikes.

Seasons 1-3 of The Boys are available to stream on Amazon Prime. What did you think of The Boys Season 3? Please give us your thoughts in the comment section below!

Matt Bailey

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