Nerds contain multitudes. And that applies to your friendly Nerdist crew, too. Our staff doesn’t always agree on everything going on in pop culture. But that doesn’t mean we don’t talk about things, though. Sometimes, us nerds like to debate and argue a bit. Call us “argumentanerds,” if you will. So we are going to doing something unorthodox and let you into one of our discussions about perhaps the wildest show on TV: The Boys. After spending all season attempting to kill Homelander, he survives to the end. Quite the choice, indeed. Let’s dig into what ultimate fate should befall one of TV’s most loathsome characters ever.
Eric Diaz (Nerdist Staff Writer): Homelander is the most hatable character in genre TV. I think only Joffrey on Game of Thrones was on par. (Which is funny, since they are kind of the same character at different ages. But I digress.) Homelander needs a death as horrible and painful as Joffrey’s. Actually, he needs a worse death than Joffrey’s. He’s just too despicable, too irredeemable, and has caused too much harm. The audience needs this catharsis.
I realize Antony Starr is the MVP of this show and one of TV’s best villains ever, but there is only so long he can go without getting his comeuppance before the audience has had enough. Without Homelander, you kind of have no show, though, so we have ourselves a dilemma.
Mikey Walsh (Nerdist Staff Writer): I think you’re actually shortchanging Homelander. He’s the most hatable character on TV period. (I think I hate him more than Joffrey as well, because at least Joffrey was just a kid. But hoo boy, you know you’re genuine garbage when your closest pop culture comp is Joffrey freaking Baratheon.) That’s why dying is too good for Homelander. He fears death, but it might ultimately be a gift to him. In some ways he hates himself as much as we do. His little talk in the mirror highlighted what a scared little boy he is. Why let him off the hook by taking that away from him?
The far better punishment would be to rob him of his powers. Take away everything that makes him both special and beloved. Let that coward rot in prison for all of his crimes, unable and unwilling to defend himself. If you want to see Homelander truly suffer that’s how you do it. That might not be as cathartic as watching a blonde monster choke to death at his own wedding, but it would be a more fitting end for Homelander.
Eric: Yeah, Homelander being robbed of his powers might be the most fitting end for him. And it’s also a way to keep the actor around in some capacity. I suppose in some ways it would be even more satisfying than just him dying. I would still love to see a scene where everyone just kicks the shit out of him, though, like they did to Stormfront. We should at least get that.
But I think you have to rob him of more than his powers. He needs his adoration taken away. Right now, he has the love of a sycophantic cult, one that cheers on his most awful acts. He’s going to see how far he can push that. How long can he go on murdering people who annoy him without any backlash? At some point, he’s going to truly lose it and slaughter a bunch of people like he did in his fantasy in season two. And then he’ll lose all but the most fervent of his cult, and maybe even the love of his son. That’s when the gloves are going to come off. We’ll really want him dead then. Is just taking away his power good enough at that point?
Mikey: You’re right. Taking away his power won’t be enough on its own, because that also leaves open the possibility of him becoming a martyr. He needs to be both powerless and hated by just about everyone. Even getting sent to jail and convicted for crimes won’t be enough for the Storm Chasers, who will just see that as more deep state persecution. We know reality never stops certain people from believing what they want.
He needs to lose his powers the same way he exploited them – publicly. He needs the whole world to see, almost certainly on live television, that he is a scared coward. And hopefully that will happen before he loses his powers so he has no excuse. Let everyone learn exactly who he is at his core. That way he can live out his days in shame, a disgraced fraud hated by everyone and everything.
That would also be a pretty funny ending for a guy that is fermenting civil war. His downfall might be the only thing that saves America. Which is yet another reminder that this is a) definitely a work of fiction and b) showrunnner Eric Kripke was right that the series is strangely hopeful. I’m way more optimistic for the future of The Boys‘ world than I am our own. Hell, the conversation we’re having right now could be outlawed by early 2025.
…Okay, never mind. I just talked myself into wanting to see Homelander die before it’s illegal to kill off fictional fascists on TV. So the question now is “How?” What’s the best way to murder the worst person in the world?
Eric: Well, without getting too spoilery, they are definitely not going to kill off Homelander the same way he went in the comics (Spoilers: in the comics he ultimately does die. But the show veers wildly from the source material more often than not). I feel like it has to be Butcher who does the deed, even if other people help. The character who takes him out in Garth Ennis’ story is no longer even still alive on the show, and wasn’t even really the same character. I don’t think TV audiences would be satisfied with anyone but Butcher getting to kill Homelander. Or at least Butcher having a big part in his death or at least his downfall. It would not satisfy viewers if Homelander goes out like a redshirt or dies taken out by a redshirt.
Mikey: I don’t know, it would also be pretty sweet to see Starlight or Hughie—or Starlight AND Hughie—kill him. And I’d definitely be down for a non-super powered Maeve murdering a non-super powered Homelander. I’d also be fine with the poetic cruelty of Soldier Boy nuking his own needy son…right before Soldier Boy eats it too.
Besides, I think Butcher is likely to suffer the exact same fate as Homelander ultimately. “Two sides of the same coin” and whatnot. However, I promise I do not want to see that. Let our poor little rage monster get his revenge and then maybe find some peace. I want to see that almost (almost) as much as I want to see Homelander slowly bleed to death over the course of seven hours. In real time.
Eric: The Boys has some of the best writing on TV right now, so if anyone can pull off someone other than Butcher getting to be the one to bring down Homelander, I trust them to pull it off. But the heart wants what the heart wants. And my heart wants Butcher to be the one to do it. And yeah, he’ll probably die in the process, too. It’s not like he deserves happiness either, he’s just not as scummy as Homelander. But that would be a good death for both of them.
I just hope the writers don’t nerf Homelander’s fate, whatever it is. We deserve some form of comeuppance for him. It’s not like the people in real life who deserve punishment get any, ya know?
Mikey: Sadly, on that we agree.