Soldier Boy Returns
Leading up to the season three premiere, the big story was the addition of Soldier Boy, a Captain America riff who once served as the leader of Payback. For as much hype as the character received, he didn’t appear until relatively late into the season. During the first episodes, Butcher and the others searched for a Russian weapon that supposedly killed Soldier Boy in the 80s. While investigating a secret lab, they discovered not a weapon, but Soldier Boy himself, frozen and experimented upon by Russians. The Boys freed Soldier Boy, who made his way back to the states. Confused by the period and wracked with PTSD, the confused and abusive Soldier Boy killed a crowd of civilians with his energy blasts.
Realizing the asset they could have, Butcher and Hughie traced Soldier Boy via The Legend, an entertainment mogul with a history of working with Vought. Over the objections of M.M., Hughie and Butcher agreed to help Soldier Boy find and kill members of Payback, who gave him to the Russians, as long as he’d fight Homelander for them. However, the situation seemingly evolved in Homelander’s favor when Soldier Boy found out that Vought had made Homelander with his sperm, making Soldier Boy Homelander’s biological dad!
More Power, More Problems
Unlike the comic book source material, the Boys of the TV show have been staunchly against using Compound V, the chemical that gives Supes their abilities. Of the group, only Kimiko has powers, and those were forced upon her in childhood. But after the death of his wife Becca, Butcher had grown desperate. When his new ally Queen Maeve offered him V24, a version of Compound V that grants its user temporary powers, Butcher could not resist the temptation to indulge.
We first see Butcher use V24 to kill Soldier Boy’s former sidekick Gunpowder, intoxicated by the power it gave him. But soon, he was using it regularly to fight off Russian soldiers and to help Soldier Boy against Homelander. Worse, Hughie started using V24 as well, gaining the ability to teleport his body (but not his clothes) across short distances. According to Starlight’s research, if Butcher and Hughie continue to use V24, they will die. Butcher has kept this key knowledge from Hughie, despite feeling deep guilt over similar mistakes in the past.
On the other hand, when Kimiko blocked a deadly energy blast from Soldier Boy, she awakened to learn that her own powers were gone. Thrilled by the revelation, Kimiko imagined a new life with her humanity restored, complete with a fantastic musical number. However, when she was nearly beaten to death by enforcers working for Russian mobster Little Nina, Kimiko began to understand that her powers might be integral after all, and she chose to take Compound V and restore them.
Homelander Courts the Right Wing
The opening of season three found Homelander at his lowest point. With his girlfriend Stormfront revealed to be a Nazi, and Starlight’s popularity outpacing his, the nigh-invulnerable Supe finally showed weakness. That is, until an outburst at his televised birthday bash. His likable hero façade was finally gone, and Homelander ranted about his power and demanded praise from the world. The rant tanked his popularity with every demographic but one – rural white males.