‘The Boys’ Season 4 Premiere Recap & Ending Explained: Is Homelander Going To Root Out His Only Weakness?

At long last, the fourth season of Amazon Studios’ much anticipated superhero series, The Boys, has premiered, and wasting no time on the first three episodes has announced the series’ return with equal parts humor, intrigue, and gleeful ultraviolence. With Vought, Homelander, and Neuman trying to establish absolute domination of supes over the administrative sector of the country, it is up to the titular supe-hating ragtag bunch of baddies to stop them for good. However, it is easier said than done, as aside from the lack of proper countermeasures against the supes, their personal problems have started dragging them down—something upon which the first three episodes of the fourth season of The Boys focus.

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Spoilers Ahead


Neuman’s Political Ambition Is Homelander’s Ticket to Total Control

The fourth season opens with celebration: the alliance of Vice President Victoria Neuman and Presidential candidate Robert Singer has won elections in Colorado and Nevada, which means Neuman is one step closer to becoming a political associate of the most powerful person in the nation if the upcoming presidential election yields a similar result. Through her, Vought will take control of affairs of the state, but there is one other person who is seeking to use this opportunity as well. Homelander swoops into the party with Ryan, and sending him off with Victoria’s daughter, Zoe, he duly reminds the VP of their past deal to ensure her allegiance. Victoria tries to distance herself from getting entangled in Homelander’s affair by asking to let bygones remain bygones, but Homelander easily counters her approach by showing his support for Neuman publicly, which puts the narrative of their cooperation into play, whether the VP likes it or not. On the other hand, the Boys have decided to crash the party by infiltrating it, as Neuman is their primary target, as ordained by Grace Mallory, and Robert Singer himself, who knows Neuman’s identity as the head-popping supe—and being the Secretary of Defense, he knows how much is at stake with her running for the White House. Mother’s Milk is leading the team, as after the climactic battle of the third season, when Billy let Homelander escape despite having a chance to end him just for his responsibilities towards Ryan, the team (except Hughie) has started finding it difficult to trust Billy Butcher. The fact that Butcher is dying due to Temp V overuse is not explicitly known by the rest of the team.

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However, the Boys fail in their attempt big time, as Frenchie and Kimiko unwittingly blow their cover in front of Zoe Neuman, who has turned out to be a vicious, facial tendril-laced murderous supe ever since taking Compound V in the previous season. Butcher meets Ryan in private and tries to reconcile with him, but Homelander steps in and reveals to Ryan that Butcher’s days are numbered, which startles the kid to some extent, as he still has some feelings for his father figure. Later, suddenly stumbling on Neuman while being on the lookout for his team, Hughie tries to injure her using acid, and Butcher shoots her point black—but to their surprise, she turns out to be invulnerable.


New Faces in the Mix

As Mallory and Singer reprimand MM for the Boys’ failure to kill Neuman, Butcher bumps into his former friend and colleague from the CIA, Joe Kessler, who seemingly knows about Butcher getting the silent treatment from his team members. Kessler offers Butcher the option to join the CIA, where he can contribute thanks to his experience with supes. 

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On the other hand, deeply disgusted and irritated by his company of buffoons over at the Seven, Homelander decides to recruit a new supe to the team, and he shows special interest in Sister Sage, allegedly the smartest person on the planet. Homelander is driven to absolute boredom and anger due to the fact that despite taking over Vought, he remains dissatisfied, and after the events of previous seasons like Starlight’s exposé and the killing of the protestor, he has been getting a lot of heat from the public as well. Additionally, Homelander has discovered that he is aging as well, which makes him feel concerned about Ryan’s future. He tests Sage by asking her for a solution to all this, and her diabolical advice is to pit the masses against each other and emerge as the savior when the time is right, like Caesar. Sage shows the validity of her statement through a nefarious example, as she orchestrates a scuffle between Starlight and Homelander’s supporters during Homelander’s hearing and plants bodies of Homelander supporters (who have been killed by the rest of the Seven on Homelander’s orders) amidst the crowd. This inadvertently turns the majority of public opinion in favor of Homelander, much to Starlight/Annie’s dismay. Todd, the infamous Homelander supporter, was one of the victims, following whom MM discovered Sister Sage’s involvement in the scenario. 

Speaking of Starlight, a new supe, Firecracker, is sought out by Sage, as her anti-Starlight rants in online communities have been garnering major support. Later, Firecracker gets recruited into the Seven, and from her conversation with Annie, we learn there is some bad blood between the two, and Annie isn’t as much of a symbol of hope her peers consider her to be. On the other hand, Hughie is surprised and irritated to see his long-estranged mother back at his father’s side.

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Fallout with the Team

Billy decides to meet with Neuman without informing his team and reveals that he knows about the suicide-killing virus created at Godolkin University (during the events of “Gen V”), which is at Neuman’s disposal. However, the virus isn’t effective enough to kill Homelander just yet. Billy also knows that Neuman has been forced by Homelander to maintain an uneasy alliance and offers the Boys’ help with making the virus stronger through DOD connections in exchange for her assistance in taking down Homelander. Neuman states that she can agree to the deal if Billy fetches her the confidential Red River Institute orphanage report on her, currently at Hughie’s disposal, which could jeopardize her political career if released in public. 

Hughie suffers from a personal tragedy as his father survives a stroke. What makes the situation even worse is the fact that he ignored his father’s call moments before the tragedy happened. While consoling him, Butcher sneakily takes the drive that contains Neuman’s classified information, but as his conscience appears in a vision, taking the form of his late wife, Rebecca, Butcher makes the better judgment call by not revealing anything to Neuman. Later, the team learns about Butcher’s condition, and MM is furious enough to be willing to kick Butcher out of his own team. Annie and Hughie unwittingly make an ally out of A-Train, and MM later decides to use him to get intel on the Seven. While tailing Sister Sage, the Boys come across Firecracker and her associate Splinter and get involved in a messy, gnarly beatdown with the duo. On the other hand, Homelander tries to mold Ryan in his own image, which results in Ryan unwittingly killing a person while taking off on a staged rescue mission, and the kid’s conscience starts haunting him. 


Is Homelander going to root out his only weakness?

Meanwhile, Frenchie and Kimiko have a falling out after Frenchie’s sordid past catches up to him, and instead of opening up, he decides to numb his mental agony by once again resorting to substance abuse. Kimiko, who was taking down a terrorist cell human trafficking ring, meets one of her acquaintances from her past life. On the other hand, Joe and Butcher plan to drug and abduct Ryan and try to rehabilitate him. Butcher warns Joe not to even consider weaponizing Ryan against Homelander, as he is aware that the CIA and Grace Mallory are not averse to such options. However, as Ryan accepts his invitation, spends a day with him, and the duo reconciles, Butcher becomes emotionally vulnerable and fails to drug him. Later, Joe lambasts him for his failure. 

On the other hand, Hughie and MM decide to sneak into a Vought event to eavesdrop on the plans Neuman is hatching up with the members of the Seven, and while planting a bug, Hughie almost gets caught by Homelander. Thanks to A-Train’s timely rescue, Hughie somehow evades impending death. Later, Hughie’s resentment for his mother is somewhat lessened after learning that her postpartum depression led her to abandon her family. 

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Later, Homelander confronts Ryan about visiting Butcher, and as his own insecurities as a father creep in, he lashes out at Ryan and ends up scaring him away. In much mental duress, Homelander’s split psyche emerges once again, and much like the previous season, we see the psychopathic superhero speaking with his fractured reflections in an effort to reform his mental state. While each of his alter egos either pities, humiliates, or provides good advice regarding his complications of parenthood, need for validation, and hankering for emotional support, the latent, strongest one calmly advises him to fix things by going back to his roots, back to his home. As the third episode ends, it becomes quite clear that the littlest fragment of humanity that still exists inside the psychotic supe, which his latent alter ego perceives as weakness, will be uprooted as Homelander traces his roots back to his origin. Being a product of experimentation, Homelander was essentially a lab rat, growing up in a controlled environment bereft of human connection. By going back, he will probably reorient his psychological condition, which will allow him to lose the last shred of humanity, shrug off emotional connections, and become truly unstoppable. This spells doom for Butcher and the rest of the boys, and the doomsday clock just might tick faster from here on out. 


Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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