Spoiler Alert

Episode four of The Boys season four is certainly one for the books. Annie completely loses it after Firecracker takes her Starlight bashing antics a step too far. Hughie and Kimiko go on a wild mission while he tries to save his father’s life. And poor Frenchie finally has to admit to Colin that he killed his parents. But Homelander absolutely dominates this episode with a trip back to his place of birth as he “confronts” his past in the only way he knows how to anything: with unhinged violence

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At the end of episode three, the many voices existing in Homelander’s head agree that he must confront his past. So, this episode starts with Homelander arriving back at the lab where he was born and raised as a child. The workers there seem both surprised and scared to see him for obvious reasons. He singles out a couple of old faces he remembers, specifically Marty and Frank. Marty even refers to him as John before he quickly tells him to use Homelander instead.

Homelander comes with a fudge whale cake and tells everyone to eat some of the cake. He also asks for a woman named Barbara, who is off-site at the moment, and instructs them that she needs to come back for the reunion. His sinister smile and narrowed eyes indicate that he’s not just there to have a homecoming party. 

Homelander invites Frank over for a game of wastepaper basketball (which most of us just call “trashketball”), saying the best out of three will win. He reminds Frank that he taught him about that game because he watched Frank play it while he was in a nearby oven. Frank was the person who ran tests on kid Homelander, turning up the temperature to see if it would burn his skin. It’s a small glimpse into Homelander’s inhumane treatment that certainly contributes to why he is such an awful supe.

It begins to dawn on Frank and the others that this visit will spiral into violence. Frank says that he was just doing his job and, well, Homelander responds by making Frank get in the oven. Frank apologizes to Homelander but he’s not trying to hear it. Homelander turns the oven up high and cooks Frank to melted bits in front of everyone. Yikes.

Prime Video

Later on, Homelander looks at marks on the wall of his growth and we discover that he got his Homelander moniker at 16 years old. He calls Marty over and says that he is sorry for what he did to Frank. (A lie, obviously.) Homelander says Marty was one of the kinder ones, but notes that Marty used to call him Squirt. He tells the story about why Marty gave him that name. Homelander said he would be left in an isolation room for hours while Marty and cameras watched him. As he got into puberty, Homelander would masturbate at night between Marty’s nightly rounds to feel something good. This explains why Homelander is always getting someone to satisfy him in that way now, if he’s not doing it himself.

Marty caught him doing it one night and laughed at him, calling him Squirt. Homelander decides to get revenge by making Marty masturbate in front of the entire room of people. Marty is having a hard time, uh, getting hard, and Homelander says he will do it or lose his penis to laser eyes. Marty can’t do it and Homelander lasers right at his crotch. He later steps on his head and crushes it. 

At this point, Barbara shows up and, unlike most others, she talks to Homelander without fear. He takes her into a room that he called “the bad room.” She calls him out for his behavior and says they were just people following Dr. Vogelbaum and Stan Edgar’s orders. He refutes this by saying he was a child and someone should have stood up for him. For the first time, Homelander has a point. Barbara says the day he was born he lasered out of his mom’s stomach, killing her and three others that same day. She notes that he could have broken out of there at any time, but his need for approval and love and to not disappoint them took over.

She says they brought in psychologists and helped to engineer and instill that in him so he’d be obedient. And, until this point, it has mostly kept him in check. But that’s over now, it seems. We last see Barbara in that room looking horrified at the remains of her co-worker’s dismembered bodies strewn everywhere. Homelander gets into an elevator with blood all over his face to do god knows what next. 

Between this and a season one vault video posted by The Boys social media team (seen above), there’s a chance that we could get a Homelander prequel series. We know that The Boys is ending in season five and that there are other planned spinoffs on the way. And there’s certainly a lot of diabolical things to explore with the creation and eventual rise of the show’s greatest villain. Until then, we will see how Homelander’s return to his birth place will affect his future.