‘The Boys’ Turns Back the Clock to Introduce Soldier Boy (RECAP)
[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Boys Season 3 Episode 3, “Barbary Coast.”]
Hello, Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles)!
Supernatural fans might be happy to see Ackles team up with Eric Kripke again, but Dean Winchester, this character ain’t. As we see through Grace Mallory’s (Laila Robins) recollections to Butcher (Karl Urban) and the team about the time she spent working with the “hero,” there’s not much of anything to love about Soldier Boy. He’s arrogant, misogynistic, and straight-up stupid as he nearly blows up the CIA camp in an attempt to look cool. In fact, the best thing about him might be his death, if it means taking down Homelander (Antony Starr) is possible.
Speaking of Homelander, if that speech at the end of the last episode had you thinking he was done for… nope. As Ashley (Colby Minifie) excitedly tells him, he’s up in a major, major way with his base. That influence gives him a boost to be even more horrible to Annie (Erin Moriarty), who’s working on finalizing her choices for the winners of her and Homelander’s “Who Wants to Join The Seven?” reality show. She says it’s in her contract that she doesn’t need to consult Homelander before she makes her decision.
Oh, but Homelander will be consulted — in fact, he chose the second winner without telling her. In a stomach-churning sequence, he reveals that he’s picked The Deep (Chace Crawford). Starlight’s enraged and confronts Homelander about it, saying she still has the video of Flight 37 and if he doesn’t agree to keep The Deep off the team, she’ll release it to the world. Then, Homelander does something truly horrifying: He tells her she should do it.
In excruciating detail, he lays out a plan for how he’d destroy the country and everyone she cares about if he suddenly has nothing to lose. “You see, Starlight,” he says, “I’d prefer to be loved. I would. But if you take that away from me, well, being feared is A-one, okie-doke by me.”
Panicked, Starlight calls Hughie (Jack Quaid) — who has gone to Grace Mallory with the rest of the Boys to hear what she has to say about Soldier Boy — and says she wants to stop being co-captain. Normally, Hughie says, he’d tell her to get out of there like a house on fire… but he needs her to “stick it out.” He tells her about the weapon that could kill Homelander and says she needs to buy them some time so they can finally win against him. Reluctantly, she agrees.
Before Annie called, Grace had been telling the Boys (after a bit of threatening from Butcher) about what happened with Soldier Boy. In ’84, she was stationed in Nicaragua as part of a cocaine-trafficking operation to fund Operation Charlie. When they were gearing up for a “major offensive,” the government decided to bring in Payback. Obviously, Payback wasn’t prepared to be in a place where the enemy could fire at any second, and “Swatto,” a supe with fly wings, gave away their position by, well, flying. Chaos unfolded, and Grace was knocked out. When she came to, Crimson Countess (Laurie Holden) was sobbing that the Russians had killed Soldier Boy. “And they took his body!” she wailed.
Grace doesn’t know where the Russians put the gun, but Butcher, still suffering side effects from V-24, including uncontrollable laser vision and headaches, is angry she never told him a Homelander-killing weapon existed when it could’ve saved Becca’s life. Realizing he can’t provide Ryan with any stability, he pushes the kid away by callously reminding him that he caused his own mother’s death. It’s cold, and it’s possibly unforgivable. But it does the trick.
There are a few other side plots wound through the episode that seem to be gearing up for larger storylines. One revolves around A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), who, if you remember, can’t run anymore because of his heart condition. He’s struggling to find a way to stay in the limelight without the thing that put him there, and his brother suggests he advocate — in earnest — and speak out about issues like racial profiling and police brutality. It remains to be seen if A-Train takes his advice.
Frenchie (Tomer Capone) also has a run-in with a woman named “Little Nina” (Katia Winter). He has a past with her, and Cherie gets on her bad side for losing a drug shipment. Frenchie’s pulled into a car and taken to her, and she asks him to give up Cherie. He won’t do it and leaves, but as he walks away, she tells him to think about it. When he gets back to Butcher, he tells him to set up a meeting with Little Nina and says they’re going to Russia.
The episode ends with a catastrophe of epic proportions for Annie. She’d told Supersonic (Miles Gaston Villanueva) to refuse to join The Seven because of Homelander, but as he tells her, that’s exactly why he’s going to do it: “Someone’s got to have your back,” he says. (So, when do we think Homelander’s going to kill this guy? I give it two episodes.) And she needs someone to have her back, because things are only getting worse. As they film the end of their reality show, The Deep returns and Supersonic is inducted… and then Homelander proudly announces that he and Starlight are a couple. What?! Left with no choice but to go along with it, on the next take, she makes it believable by kissing him… and behind her back, out of the view of the cameras, she clenches her fist.
The Boys, Fridays, Prime Video