The Boys season 3 ending explained: answering your biggest questions

Billy Butcher and Soldier Boy stare at Homelander standing off screen in The Boys season 3 episode 6
Billy and Soldier Boy play big roles in The Boy season 3's final episode. (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Full spoilers follow for The Boys season 3. You've been warned.

The Boys season 3's final episode has landed on Prime Video – and it was as pulsating, surprising, and emotional as we expected it to be.

As the credits rolled on the hit Prime Video show's latest season, though, we imagine you have plenty of questions about events that played out during the season 3 finale. Not only that, but we suspect you'll want to know how The Boys' most recent entry sets up its already commissioned fourth season. It's a good job, then, that we're here to answer your most burning questions surrounding The Boys season 3.

Below, we'll break down what happened during the Boys season 3's finale, with each of the relevant sections covering the biggest and most shocking moments from the show's latest installment. We're nice like that, you see.

It goes without saying, but major spoilers follow for The Boys season 3's finale. If you're not caught up with the R-rated superhero series' most recent episode, turn back now. Otherwise, you'll have everything ruined for you before you stream it.

The Boys season 3 ending explained: three tribes go to war

Starlight stands in Vought Tower with one hand on her hip in The Boys season 3

Starlight is the real MVP of The Boys season 3's final episode. (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Season 3 episode 8 opens with Homelander visiting his superpowered son Ryan. The maniacal superhero's offspring had been living in a secret location with ex-CIA deputy director Grace Mallory. But, after Victoria Neuman passed on the duo's address to Homelander in episode 7, he's finally reunited with Ryan.

Initially wary of Homelander's arrival, Ryan soon softens his stance when Homelander forgives him for severely injuring Stormfront in the season 2 finale. The pair embrace as a worried Grace, who tried and failed to notify Billy Butcher upon Homelander's appearance, looks on.

Over at Vought Tower, Starlight's livestream – where she secretly filmed Homelander to get a confession out of him over his crimes – goes viral, forcing Vought International into moving the imprisoned Queen Maeve out of the Seven's headquarters. Maeve is seemingly sedated before she's transferred to a different location but, on route to the new safehouse, she wakes up, dispatching the armed guards accompanying before escaping the armored vehicle she was transported in.

Maeve rendezvous with Mother's Milk, Kimiko, and Frenchie at a safehouse. Before she does, the latter of the trio returns with the only dose of Novichok – a nerve agent powerful enough to sedate Soldier Boy – on the eastern seaboard. Meanwhile, Starlight heads off to pick up Hughie from a gas station outside of New York; Hughie having been left there by Soldier Boy and Butcher after the latter knocked him unconscious. 

Hughie opens a glass door at the Bureau for Superhuman Affairs in The Boys season 3

Hughie and company have a major fight on their hands in the season 3 finale. (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Why did Butcher do so? It was his way of stopping Hughie from taking any more Temp-V, the experimental serum that causes severe brain damage to its users after five doses. Hughie had only taken four thus far, so Butcher was saving Hughie's life by leaving him behind.

Anyway, Hughie and Starlight reconcile on the drive home before they reunite with the Maeve and company. The group make a plan to travel to Vought Tower, i.e. the Seven's headquarters, incapacitate Soldier Boy after he kills Homelander, and rescue as many innocent Vought employees (so they aren't caught in the Supe-d up crossfire) in the process. Oh, and also rescue Butcher, who Hughie says deserves saving.

At The Boys' main hideout, Butcher and Soldier Boy prepare for their confrontation with Homelander. Soldier Boy tells Butcher about how he became a Supe – long story short, his dad's former army colleagues help Soldier Boy enroll into Vought's superhero program after his father called him "weak". When Soldier Boy reunited with his dad to show up him powerful he was, his father disowned him, telling his son that "a real man wouldn't have cheated" in a bid to acquire true strength. Ouch.

It's a conversation that causes Soldier Boy to have second thoughts about killing Homelander – aka Soldier Boy's son, as we found out in episode 7's final scene. Butcher, though, appears to win him back round.

The Boys season 3 ending explained: is Black Noir dead?

Black Noir sharpens one of his blades in The Boys season 3

Black Noir may not return for future seasons of The Boys... (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

It would appear so – but let's back up a little first to see why Homelander murdered him.

Throughout season 3, we learned how fearful Black Noir was of Soldier Boy. The latter have treated the former extremely harshly during their days together as part of the superhero group called Payback. Eventually, Black Noir and the rest of Payback had enough of Soldier Boy's tyrannical ways, concocting and successfully implementing the plan that saw Soldier Boy kidnapped by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Anyway, with Soldier Boy on the warpath and wanting to kill every member of Payback in retaliation, Black Noir reunites with Homelander at Vought Tower. Fearful for his life, Noir apparently convinces Homelander to help him kill Soldier Boy.

But that's not the case. Later, when Homelander asks Noir if he knew Soldier Boy was Homelander's father, Noir admits he did. Feeling betrayed, a furious Homelander murders Noir in shocking fashion, punching his fist through Noir's body and ripping out his intestines. Homelander leaves Noir to bleed out and die in the Seven's meeting room; the latter's imaginary cartoon friends surrounding him as he passes away.

Of course, it's possible that Noir has survived. We don't actually see him die on screen, which usually allows a character to surprisingly return from the dead. Given Noir's extensive injuries, and the fact that Homelander presents his helmet and visor to a shocked A-Train, The Deep, and Ashley later on, though, we're pretty confident that Noir has taken his last breath.

The Boys season 3 ending explained: are Soldier Boy and Maeve alive?

Queen Maeve looks over her shoulder while holding her mobile phone in The Boys season 3

Did Queen Maeve perish in the battle with Soldier Boy? (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

At The Boys' headquarters, Hughie and company try to convince Butcher to call off his attack on Vought Tower. However, after Soldier Boy reappears (he'd stepped outside to get some air) and Maeve turns on The Boys, that plan falls apart. Butcher, Maeve, and Soldier Boy lock the other five in a safe before leaving to stop Homelander once and for all.

Homelander, who chastises A-Train, The Deep, and Ashley for failing to be the family he needed in the interim period, waits for Soldier Boy's arrival. When he shows up with Maeve and Butcher in tow, Homelander tries to reason with Soldier Boy, even presenting Ryan – much to Butcher's surprise – as Soldier Boy's grandson in a bid to win him around.

However, Soldier Boy isn't having it. He calls Homelander a "f*****g disappointment" – a comment that mirrors Soldier Boy's own father's thoughts from earlier – and attacks Homelander alongside Butcher and Maeve. Ryan intervenes, using his lazer eyes to knock Soldier Boy back. Retaliating, Soldier Boy throws Ryan into a book case, enraging Homelander and Butcher, the latter of whom turns on Soldier Boy for hurting his dead wife's son. A stunned Soldier Boy lambasts Butcher, but the latter says he "made a promise" to protect Ryan. The pair duke it out, while Maeve and Homelander engage in their own skirmish despite Homelander's protestations.

Soldier Boy gains the upper hand over Butcher and, after incapacitating him, goes to behead him with his shield. Before delivering the fatal blow, though, Starlight and Mother's Milk appear and help Butcher fight Soldier Boy. The duo (as well as Hughie, Kimiko, and Frenchie) escaped their temporary prison and raced to Vought Tower to enact a new plan. Starlight and Mother's Milk will keep Soldier Boy occupied, while Hughie finds Vought's intercom room to broadcast a message to evacuate the tower. In the meantime, Kimiko and Frenchie find a Vought lab to make a new neurotoxin after Maeve destroyed the dose of Novichok back at The Boys' headquarters.

Soldier Boy turns up at the TNT Twins' house during Herogasm in The Boys season 3

Soldier Boy is back where he doesn't want to be. (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

A fierce battle ensues that sees Soldier Boy defeat Starlight, Butcher, and Kimiko; the latter arriving late to the party to deliver the nerve agent that Frenchie – injured by Vought guards as he made the neurotoxin – had developed. As Starlight makes a last stand against Soldier Boy, Hughie (watching the action unfold on a monitor) increases the brightness of the lights surrounding the duo, superpowering Starlight who delivers a knock out blow on Soldier Boy. Starlight, Mother's Milk, and Kimiko hold Soldier Boy back as they administer the neurotoxin, but Soldier Boy wrestles free and prepares to detonate his nuclear blast ability, which would kill everyone inside Vought Tower.

Maeve, who defeats Homelander despite losing an eye, realizes that she's the only one who can stop Soldier Boy. She barrels into Soldier Boy, smashing them through the top-floor window. Soldier Boy's blast detonates, causing a nuclear explosion across the New York skyline – and seemingly killing the pair.

Flash forward to a scene a few minutes later, a TV report suggests that Maeve perished in the nuclear blast. However, it turns out that she's alive – Starlight reunites with Maeve, and the latter's lover Elena, in Starlight's apartment. Maeve, though, appears with the scars from her battle with Soldier Boy, revealing that his blast caused her to lose her powers. With Maeve previously revealing her desire to be a normal person devoid of powers, though, she's got what she wanted. And, after a heartwarming goodbye with Starlight, she leaves with Elena.

Soldier Boy isn't dead either. As the season 3 finale draws to a close, we see a sedated Soldier Boy put back into cryostasis by Grace Mallory and her armed personnel in an undisclosed location. We bet this isn't the last we've seen of him, though...

The Boys season 3 ending explained: is Billy dying?

Billy Butcher stands by his car in a parking lot in The Boys season 3

Butcher has nothing left to lose after his diagnosis. (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Yes, he is. Butcher, who has taken too much Temp-V by this point, collapses once the battle with Soldier Boy and Homelander ends.

Skipping ahead to the next scene, we see Butcher in hospital as he's told there's nothing that can be done to save him. Asking his doctor how long he has left, Butcher is told between 12 to 18 months; the Temp-V doses having caused irreparable damage to his brain. 

It's a sad moment, but now Butcher has nothing to lose in his quest to kill Homelander once and for all. Expect him to go all-out to do in The Boys' fourth and potentially fifth seasons. You know, if there will be a season 5.

Victoria Neuman claps with the crowd on the campaign trail in The Boys season 3

What is Victoria Neuman's endgame in The Boys? (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Still, Butcher has a wider remit when it comes to stopping other Supes before his inevitable demise. Just after Hughie, Frenchie, Kimiko, and Mother's Milk have voted to add Starlight to their ranks following her defection from the Seven, Butcher rocks up as a new report plays out on the group's TV set. 

Presidential candidate Bob Singer has revealed his new running mate after Senator Bishop "accidentally" drowned in his own swimming pool (yeah, we all know The Deep murdered him at Homelander's request). To the group's shock, Victoria Neuman – Hughie's old boss and another Supe – has been selected by Singer. "Well, that b***h has definitely got to go," Butcher says, raising a wry smile as he does so. It looks like The Boys has two big Supes to eradicate before they can officially disband, then.

The Boys season 3 ending explained: what will Homelander and Ryan do now?

Homelander stands proud with his hands on his hips in Vought's main conference room in The Boys season 3

Homelander has been reunited with Ryan – and that's not a good sign. (Image credit: Amazon Studios)

After Soldier Boy and Maeve are seemingly killed, Homelander and Butcher prepare to throw down. However, Ryan stops Homelander, with Ryan saying he wants to leave with Homelander. A forlorn Butcher watches on as the duo leave; a scene that reverses the roles from the season 2 finale when Ryan left with Butcher instead of Homelander.

In the season 3 finale's final scene, Homelander appears at a fan rally and introduces the crowd to Ryan. Everyone applauds except one random Starlight fan, who hurts Ryan by throwing a plastic cup at his head. Incensed, Homelander uses his lazer eyes to blow the guy's head off. Janine's step-dad – you know, the one who was beaten up by Mother's Milk in episode 7 – screams with joy after Homelander murders the Starlight fan before the rest of the crowd joins in. Homelander smiles and, as the camera pans down, a smile starts to spread across Ryan's face, too. That's not good. Not good at all...

There are a number of other talking points from The Boys season 3 finale, but we'll cover those in our upcoming season 4 hub. With The Boys' fourth season set to begin filming in August (according to star Karl Urban, who told Collider as much), here's hoping we'll learn more about season 4's plot soon.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

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