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'The Boys' S3 Ep. 4 Recap: I Learned It by Watching You!

By Nate Parker | TV | June 16, 2022 |

By Nate Parker | TV | June 16, 2022 |


I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to write about only one episode of The Boys this time rather than three. I’m sure I still missed some details but it’s so much less material to work with. And perhaps it’s an effect of only being a single episode, but this one felt surprisingly short on material by comparison to the previous ones. So let’s get to it!

First off, Hughie’s not happy to get Butcher’s vomit all over his face and even less so to learn Butcher’s screwing around with V. The rest of the lads have no idea, and it’s clear the side effects are messing with Butcher’s system. But Hughie promises to keep his mouth shut in exchange for keeping all his teeth.

Meanwhile, Homelander goes on The Cameron Coleman Hour and is treated to a tongue bath by their universe’s less tuberlike version of Tucker Carlson. They spend a little time working the MAGA playbook by discussing the “fake news” at the Times and the rest of the mainstream media rather than the actual issues. Stan Edgar, unhappy with Homelander testing boundaries, pushes Congresswoman Neuman to tighten the superhero’s reins by slapping him with FCC fines. Victoria sees a few flaws in her nominal father’s plan, namely that Homelander can reach down her throat, pull out her spine, and use it to beat her young daughter to death without so much as breaking a sweat.

Against his wishes and better judgment, Frenchie takes Butcher to see the murderous Russian druglord called Little Nina. The two lunatics bond over Frenchie being their mutual sub, and Nina promises transport behind the Iron Curtain in exchange for either Cherie’s life or a favor. It’s the only place they’ll find out how the Reds took down Soldier Boy. Frenchie tries to make Butcher see reason but fails as thoroughly as ever, and it’s off to chilly Moscow.


Before the Boys leave, however, Homelander drops by to sign Hughie’s cast and emasculate him in front of Starlight, who has to defend her boyfriend’s honor once again. A-Train, back on the Seven but absolutely useless as anything other than a Black face in a very white group, tries to get Ashley and through her, Vought to do something about racist hero Blue Hawk. He’s shown the same disregard for Black lives as Stormfront and A-Train wants him pulled. Ashley reminds him of his lack of leverage by making him star in a perfect, cringe-tastic parody of the infamous Kylie Jenner Pepsi ad. Yikes.

Starlight tries to get old flame Supersonic to either leave the Seven or, failing that, stand with her against Homelander. She hopes if they can build a team around her and Maeve, they might stand a shot at slowing down Homelander long enough for Butcher to pull the trigger on whatever weapon he finds in Russia. This is a great idea, except that after the Deep makes A-Train look weak in front of the team, Supersonic thinks the speedster would be a good addition to the team. Supersonic doesn’t know A-Train like the rest of us do, and so this is what we call a “mistake.”


After a heart-to-heart with MM where it seems he might have learned something, Butcher sends Kimiko off to pose as an escort and assassinate a human trafficking P.O.S. with a penchant for superhero-themed sex toys. The violence and fear of the other women show her is a heartbreaking reminder that Kimiko is just as much a monster as those she kills in the eyes of the public.

Violence of another kind is in the D.C. air as Victoria Neuman’s press conference takes a surprise turn. Rather than slapping Homelander’s wrist with FCC fines, she announces a new investigation into Vought International and particularly Stan Edgar. Victoria’s sick at first, but the news that Edgar already had plans in place to deal with her helps ease the sting. Homelander does his creepy “lurk outside the windows” bit and gives Neuman enough V to juice her daughter and turn her into a super, ostensibly for her own security. The process is agonizing with no real promise of success, and we’re left with Zoe’s screams and the painful cracking sounds of her metamorphosis ringing in our ears as Victoria waits to see the results.


Left frustrated and upset by her recent violence, Kimiko pleads with and convinces Frenchie to abandon Butcher and the team at the end of this mission. It’s time for our lovebirds to spend some time on their own, preferably in Marseille. Before they can get there, Hughie catches Butcher juicing and begs for his own dose of Temp-V, tired of constantly being saved by everyone around him, mostly Starlight. Toxic masculinity isn’t a great look for Hughie and Butcher rebuffs him, knowing the drug’s addictive and mind-altering nature. Butcher hopes to save Hughie from his own irredeemable fate and leads the team into the facility where, according to Little Nina, everything about Soldier Boy can be found.

One failed stealth check later, a superpowered hamster breaks their cover and all hell breaks loose as guards come in shooting. The team - and hamster - hold their own for a while but are quickly outgunned. Butcher outs himself as a super and lays waste to the enemy. Moments later Hughie does the same to save MM, teleporting out of his clothes and jamming a fist through an enemy soldier much to everyone’s shock. Butcher is furious with Hughie, MM is furious with Butcher, and hopped-up Hughie is confused why everyone is upset. But the emotional turmoil soon takes a backseat to pants-wetting terror as Soldier Boy, in a scene ripped from Bucky Barnes’ backstory, emerges from a metal cocoon and hits Kimiko with a red energy blast from his chest that hurtles her through a wall and somehow cancels out her healing factor. Butcher’s lack of empathy for the dying teammate appalls even MM, while Hughie’s so high he barely knows what’s going on.

But even that’s not the worst of it, as a giddy Homelander takes Starlight for a flight that ends on a city rooftop, romantic under the night’s sky, just the two of them and the ruined body of Supersonic. A-Train proved he’s as much a little quisling as ever by blabbing to Homelander, as we all knew he would. Homelander turned Supersonic into gristle and meat as a final warning to Starlight; mess up one more time and no matter how small the offense, Hughie will end up the same way. Starlight, it seems, takes his warning to heart.

For an episode packed with twists, reveals, and graphic violence it felt remarkably short on content. Perhaps halfway through the season, a small lull is necessary before we get down to the bone (phrasing?) with Soldier Boy. I feel certain Kimiko will pull through, at least this time — it would be a mistake for Kripke to kill off one of the main female characters. But Hughie’s emotional disconnect after only a single dose of V promises some dark turns for the character. Driven by his disillusionment at Neuman’s betrayal and the constant reminder of his physical frailty in the face of godlike power, he’s decided to emulate Butcher’s take-no-prisoners attitude. That doesn’t bode well for the people around him, and I expect the body count to mount this week, as the Boys hunt down Soldier Boy in a search for answers. This new gift of his, no doubt either called B.C.L. Red or a product of it, offers a way to turn off Homelander’s powers as easily as flipping a switch. Whether Soldier Boy can or will stand up to his replacement remains to be seen.