Soldier Boy and Payback in THE BOYS Season Three, Explained - Nerdist
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Soldier Boy and Payback in THE BOYS Season Three, Explained

Spoiler Alert

Soldier Boy is here and he’s definitely no Captain America. The Boys introduces this highly anticipated character (played by Jensen Ackles) through a few interesting flashbacks and videos. We don’t get to meet Soldier Boy just yet but we do know a lot more about who he is and his collective of fellow heroes known as Payback. Let’s dive into all things Soldier Boy, Payback, and why they are going to play a huge role in The Boys season three. 

What We Know About Soldier Boy, Payback, and Their Vought Connection on The Boys
Captain America Meme and Soldier Boy PSA for The Boys season three
Marvel Studios/Prime Video

We uncover our first bits of information about the TV version of Soldier Boy in The Boys first episode of season three. Maeve brings Butcher a file about Soldier Boy, saying that a weapon used to kill the supe might be strong enough to take out Homelander. Butcher knows who Soldier Boy is immediately, recalling that he died in a “nuclear meltdown” back in 1983 or 1984. It’s a fact that he doesn’t quite believe. Maeve encourages him to keep reading Soldier Boy’s confidential file, revealing that he was killed by BCL Red, some kind of advanced weapon.

She surmises that if they can find this weapon, then they can kill Homelander. He also uncovers a photo of Payback, a Vought supe collective he that he calls a bunch of “f***ing wankers.” Maeve tells him that the Seven passed them as the superior crew and that Crimson Countess, Soldier Boy’s girlfriend, would know what really happened to him. So Payback and Soldier Boy are essentially the older version of Seven and Homelander. As with all these heroes, Crimson Countess does borrow from Marvel/DC with some Scarlet Witch-esque powers. 

jensen ackles as soldier boy on the boys season three
Prime Video

The plot thickens in episode two when Frenchie and Kimiko head to VoughtLand, where they find Crimson Countess at a Soldier Boy exhibit. But, before things go awry, they watch a quick history video about him. Soldier Boy was born poor in South Philly and allegedly became a war hero (thanks to Compound V) against the Red Menace. He is Vought’s very first superhero (using that word loosely here). Soldier Boy is super strong, fast, can fight hand to hand, and has a shield in addition to his powers. A very Cap type of story, indeed. He gets all the props for being an all-American hero and saving us from a nuclear holocaust. Riiighhhttt. In the comics, he’s more of a bumbling weirdo who wishes he could be more like Homelander. We get the feeling this guy is much more confident.

Gunpowder, another Payback member, is a “rights to bear arms” dude who ends up tussling with Butcher after the latter says he would tell people that Soldier Boy allegedly abused him. So yeah, neither one of them are doing really great in life right now. There’s not much more to learn from Gunpowder after Butcher lasers his head in half. Sigh. 

Jensen Ackles Soldier Boy with a long beard and no shirt exits a deep freeze
Prime Video

The bulk of the backstory comes in episode three when they visit Grace Mallory and Ryan. Grace tells them the story of her short yet critical time with Soldier Boy and the Payback collective. (Butcher blackmails her into honesty.) She was into some shady drug trafficking business in Nicaragua during Operation Charlie. The “higher ups” decided to bring a crew of supes into an active war zone. The chosen supes were Payback, including Crimson Countess, Gunpowder, Soldier Boy, Noir, Mindstorm, the TNT Twins, and Swatto.

This somewhat lines up with the Payback collective from the comics, except that one includes Stormfront and Eagle the Archer, whom we met last season via Deep’s storyline. They are quite the tough villains who are dead set on killing our Boys crew. But, while Stormfront ultimately runs the comic Payback show, Soldier Boy is in charge in the TV lineup. He grossly “flirts” with Grace, who is disgusted with the group’s cocky, brash nature. Things quickly go awry when Swatto buzzes in the air and attracts enemy attention. Nearly everyone dies and Soldier Boy’s body is flown away with the enemy to parts unknown. Hmmm. What did the Russians do to Soldier Boy? Is he dead? We will have to wait and see. 

Where Is the Rest of Payback? Is Soldier Boy Still Alive?

Well, we know where Noir is because he’s in the Seven. And Swatto died during that battle where 160 men died and Vought wasn’t held responsible. Grace says she doesn’t know where the supe gun is nor does she know where the others are. If they are still alive, that is. Crimson Countess is on the run, so they have to catch up with her once again to nab more information, right? And maybe we can meet more of the Payback in the future.

We don’t get confirmation if Soldier Boy is still alive in present time. But we are pretty certain that he stays alive past that war zone from peeks in the trailer. The bushy beard and wandering strongly suggest something more to his story. One thing is sure: time is of the essence. Homelander is losing his mind and putting others in danger. It’s time to uncover what happened to Soldier Boy, where the Payback is, and if this supe weapon really exists.

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