‘The Boys’ Ruminates on Fathers & Sons—and Drops the Grandaddy of All Plot Twists (RECAP)

the boys season 3, jensen ackles as soldier boy, karl urban as butcher
Spoiler Alert
Courtesy of Prime Video

[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Boys Season 3 Episode 7, “Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed.”]

Holy moly.

Although some saw it coming, the major reveal involving Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) at the end of “Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed” is one of the biggest in The Boys’ history: a jaw-dropper that changes everything heading into Season 3’s final hour. Plus, Butcher (Karl Urban) relives his darkest recollections of his father, Hughie (Jack Quaid) teams up with Soldier Boy, and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) makes a shocking decision. Here’s how it happens.

the boys, karl urban, jack quaid

Courtesy of Prime Video

Hughie, Butcher, and Soldier Boy go after Mindstorm, another member of Payback that Soldier Boy’s after. They track him to a cabin, where a self-medicated Soldier Boy (accidentally) sets off a land mine. Mindstorm then uses his powers on Butcher, which incapacitates him. With Butcher down, Hughie and Soldier Boy keep working to take down Mindstorm.

As they do, Butcher’s trapped in a loop of his worst memories. Over and over again he re-lives moments with his abusive father and his kindhearted younger brother, Lenny. After years of torment at his father’s hands, Butcher decided to go into the military to get away from him. Lenny begged him not to go, and as Butcher watches, he begs his younger self not to walk out the door. “Please, don’t go!” he yells. Heartbreakingly, his next memory is something he never saw, but certainly imagined: his brother pulling out a gun and shooting himself in the head. Before he does it, his brother tells the grown Butcher that he’s a monster, and he gets everyone who cares about him killed.

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After a diversion involving a Mindstorm-possessed nun and priest that ends with plenty of blood spilled, they do find Mindstorm at his cabin. Hughie teleports the guy away instead of letting Soldier Boy kill him, asking him to free Butcher. After that, he says, he’ll take him wherever he wants to go. Mindstorm does, indeed, free Butcher… but he doesn’t live long enough to see Hughie’s promised reward. Soldier Boy gets to him and beats him, demanding to know why Vought wanted him gone. What he’s told isn’t revealed, but the supe reacts with rageful shock. “That’s impossible!” he exclaims. Then he brings the corner of his shield down on Mindstorm’s skull, over and over and over again.

the boys season 3

Courtesy of Prime Video

Meanwhile, we discover what happened to Maeve (Dominique McElligott) — Homelander’s (Antony Starr) keeping her underground in Vought Tower. After some back and forth about Soldier Boy, the Boys, and “needing to be a supe” (Maeve can’t wait until it’s over), she asks why Homelander’s letting her live. Homelander explains he has a plan to harvest her eggs, thus ensuring the “best of her” lives on. “I’m not letting you live,” he tells her, “I’m keeping you alive.”

Later, Homelander falls apart at a Robert Singer rally. After ranting about Starlight a la the “Hillary pizza parlor” conspiracy and fake news, he sees a cow, and… yeah, you know where this is going. Neuman (Claudia Doumit) walks in on the supe chugging the white stuff straight from a bucket. She makes the mistake of telling him to “button [his] s**t up,” which almost gets her killed. Thankfully, she has a mysterious piece of paper she hands Homelander, just in time to save her own life. A deal is struck: He helps her with “one small favor,” and she helps him.

the boys, tomer capon, karen fukuhara

Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Frenchie (Tomer Capone) and Kimiko go to MM (Laz Alonso) and Annie (Erin Moriarty), where Annie takes care of the now-powerless former supe. Things might not stay that way for long, though; Kimiko writes to Annie that she needs Compound V, and she wants Annie to get it. “You could get yourself killed!” Annie exclaims, noting how dangerous that would be for both of them. But Kimiko’s determined. She realized during their confrontation with Little Nina that if she’d had her powers, she would’ve been able to help… and without them, she almost lost Frenchie. With that, Annie agrees to help and goes back to the tower.

She gets the V without incident, but on her way out she runs into Homelander. (He knew she was there the whole time.) He threatens her, demanding she recant everything she said. Annie refuses and tells Homelander she’s not scared of him anymore: “I saw how small you are.” Homelander snarls that he’ll kill Hughie if she walks, and as Annie steps into the elevator, she reveals she’s been livestreaming their entire conversation. If it looked like things couldn’t get much worse for Homelander, they just did!

Meanwhile, Frenchie has figured out how to take down Soldier Boy, temporarily: a Russian nerve agent. Just as he’s made the discovery, MM gets a notification that his daughter’s stepfather, Todd, took her to the Singer rally where Homelander spoke, and he storms away. He confronts Todd at their home and when words and desperate attempts to appeal to the guy’s sanity don’t work, he ends up knocking Todd out.

the boys season 3

Amazon Studios

On the “way out there” side of things, The Deep (Chace Crawford) and his wife have split because she discovered he’s been screwing a mollusk behind her back. A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) is alive and able to run again thanks to a transplant of Blue Hawk’s heart (Vought has, of course, put a PR spin on what really happened). And, Black Noir’s absolutely vital story involves cartoons. Yes, cartoons.

He goes to what looks to be one of his favorite restaurants from when he was young, now crumbled and dilapidated, and the animals on the walls come to life and start talking to him. They say they have something to show him, and they re-enact a scene where Soldier Boy viciously beat and nearly killed Noir for role in an action movie. “I see you getting out of line again, trying to ‘move on up,’ and I’ll put you in the f**king ground,” an eagle with Soldier Boy’s voice says. That hatred is, at least partly, what caused Soldier Boy’s demise in Nicaragua. As the cartoons show, Stan Edgar made Noir an offer to turn Soldier Boy over to the Russians so that his replacement — Homelander, eventually — could take his place. As the battle raged, Payback turned on him and they were able to bring him down… but Soldier Boy was the one who dealt Noir his traumatic brain injury.

As the episode ends, Annie contacts Butcher and tells him that Temp V is fatal. Hughie, who was gone during that conversation, comes back to a contemplative Butcher. “It’s the Temp V,” he tells him, and then pauses. When Hughie asks, “What about it?”, Butcher responds, “We’ve gotta swing by the office and get some more.” Butcher… you were so close! So! Close!

Kimiko takes the Compound V, which, presumably, gives her her powers back. But the real shocker in the episode’s final minutes arrives when Homelander gets a call from Soldier Boy. “The situation’s changed,” he says, “and I thought we should have a conversation.” He tells Homelander that he remembers being called into Vogelbaum’s lab for a genetic experiment, and… yep. Soldier Boy is Homelander’s biological father. “You know what the bitch of it is?” Soldier Boy muses. “If they would’ve kept me around, I would’ve let you take the spotlight. What father wouldn’t want that for his son?”

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