Welcome back to another recap of The Boys Season 3. This time, we’re making our way through Episode 7, titled “Here Comes A Candle To Light You To Bed”, which already has me plenty intrigued. Particularly following the explosive battle between Butcher, Soldier Boy, Hughie, and Homelander that occurred at the tail end of Episode 6. (For all its talk about the evils of toxic masculinity and such, The Boys sure does know how to deliver testosterone-fueled action.) We might have also seen the demise of A-Train, who died honorably, I think (if he even died at all), and may have even seen the end of Butcher’s crew, which has splintered off into three factions — Butcher and Hughie; Starlight/Annie and MM; and Frenchie and Kimiko — each with differing opinions about how to take down Homelander. (There was also an orgy, but we prob don’t need to delve too deeply into that one.)
More importantly, Episode 6 ended with Annie more or less rescinding her role as Starlight via a live stream on social media during which she also revealed the truth about Homelander and Soldier Boy. In other words: shit’s about to get real.
What Happened in The Boys Season 3 Episode 7
“Here Comes A Candle To Light You To Bed” begins with another series of RoboCop-esque news programming/ads. In this case, Ashley appears on The Cameron Coleman Hour to defuse the hoopla generated by Annie’s live stream revelation. Ever the sly public relations specialist, Ashley claims Annie is trying to incite fear and notes her ties to the “terrorist” Kimiko as evidence of her insanity. (News anchor Cameron Coleman suggests Annie is little more than “another woman scorned by Homelander.” Ouch.)
We then cut to an Elvis Presley-like musical, albeit featuring Soldier Boy singing a rendition of Jimmy Soul’s “If You Wanna Be Happy” alongside a beautiful woman in a red dress. Paul Reiser’s Legend begrudgingly watches the goofy flick from his chair, and tells Hughie: “I actually produced this piece of shit.” (Great line alert: “If you ask me, Soldier Boy did to singing what pantyhose did to finger fucking.”) Hughie is like all of us in that he still wants to believe in the celebrity heroes he grew up idolizing. He suggests Soldier Boy is a hero for storming Normandy.
Legend chuckles at the comment. “Yeah, two weeks after D-Day for the photo op.” Soldier Boy is anything but a hero. He’s a Hollywood actor in the vein of, dare I say it, John Wayne, who likewise avoided WW2 but still managed to appear in a number of war films. (To his credit, the Duke always regretted his decision to avoid combat. Also, I’m not casting judgment — I grew up with John Wayne — just relaying what The Boys seems to be relaying to its audience.) Soldier Boy certainly plays the part of an American hero quite well, even if he may have had something to do with JFK’s assassination.
“To be American means knowing you’re the hero,” Legend says bitterly. “So what do we do? We sweep all our filthy shit under the rug and we tell ourselves a myth like Soldier Boy. And I get stinking rich selling it.” I’m suddenly reminded of my visit to the O.K. Corral, the location of the legendary gunfight between Wyatt Earp and a gang of outlaws. Hollywood has romanticized the tale a number of times (and glossed over any wrongdoings committed by the Earp brothers) in films such as Gunfight at the OK Corral and Tombstone, but the true story is far less interesting. In point of fact, according to our tour guide, no one gave a damn about the relatively brief shootout until Wyatt Earp sold his story to a Hollywood producer, who then got stinking rich selling it to the public. As they say in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” (Now, whether this is strictly an American ideology is up for debate.)
Anyways, we’re only about four minutes into this episode. Let’s get moving.
Butcher, Hughie, and Legend confront Soldier Boy, who’s busy pleasuring himself in front of some very old women. (I didn’t need to see that, but that’s The Boys in a nutshell.) Butcher is having difficulty locating Soldier Boy’s remaining crew, but Hughie, after learning the next target, Mindstorm, is bipolar, suggests combing the local pharmacies for lithium prescriptions — a suggestion that earns high praise from Butcher.
After the title card, Homelander steps into a prison cell where Maeve is being held captive. He wants to know the location of Butcher and Hughie, but all she can do is call out the very noticeable bruises on his face. Sensing her defiance, Homelander switches tactics and reveals he wanted to have children with Maeve back in the good ole days. Their kids would be perfect, he states. Maeve warns Homelander that she will, well, vaporize his dick if he tries to force himself on her. He scoffs, “We’re not savages. I would never force myself onto you, but I am going to harvest your eggs.” Yikes. “I’m not letting you live,” he continues. “I’m keeping you alive.” (Weird how Homelander’s dialogue with Maeve echos Soldier Boy’s final conversation with Crimson Countess. They’re the same, you see.)
Maeve, unfazed, shoots back, “This is still a top three day in my life because this is the day I saw you scared.” Homelander smiles oddly at this line and promptly exits. I’m not sure he has anything to be scared of. Butcher, Soldier Boy, and Hughie had him dead to rights and he still got away. Hell, one might even say he won that fight.
Elsewhere, a battered and bruised Frenchie and Kimiko meet up with MM and Annie.
We then cut to Soldier Boy, Hughie, and Butcher in the middle of a forest where they discuss Mindstorm. “Just don’t make eye contact with him,” Soldier Boy warns, which means someone is totally going to make eye contact with Mindstorm. (I should mention that Jensen Ackles is absolutely killing it as Soldier Boy. He’s a douche, but still kind of a cool guy … it’s easy to see why so many people bought into the facade.)
Hughie asks Butcher why he keeps buying weed for Soldier Boy. “It helps keep his mind off his PTSD,” Butcher replies, noting the events of Herogasm in which a PTSD episode caused Soldier Boy’s latest detonation. When Hughie points out that they’re relying on a nuclear, self-destructive, self-medicating soldier suffering from PTSD, Butcher hands him a syringe containing a new batch of superhero serum and quips, “I mean, what sad bastard self-medicates like that, eh?” Hypocrisy all around. In fact, Butcher may be the only character on the show who doesn’t try to hide his personal blemishes.
The show then jumps to Black Noir hiding out in an undisclosed restaurant. He feasts on black beans with … some animated animals, which is … ah, interesting. “We’re your best pals, aren’t we,” a kindly animated squirrel asks. “We got you through that erection in the seventh grade and that Hard Rock Cafe massacre in Lagos.” I mean, gawd. The squirrel tells Noir he can’t hide from Soldier Boy like he did when he paralyzed that kid all those years ago. By golly, his friends will help him through this latest episode. Noir ignores their advice and sits in a corner by himself.
Meanwhile, back with the Butcher trio, Soldier Boy snaps at Hughie. “What did you say,” he asks. Except, Hughie didn’t say anything. The man is nuts. Following a brief bit in which Butcher wipes some of his leaking brain off his ear, Soldier Boy steps into a booby trap and the three are immediately propelled backward by an explosion. Butcher comes to and finds himself face-to-face with Mindstorm.
We venture into Butcher’s mind where he sees his mum … all the while he’s rendered unconscious (and dying) in the real world. Hughie panics and implores Soldier Boy to force Mindstorm to help his friend. “If you’re gonna act hysterical, I’m gonna slap you like I’m Connery,” Soldier Boy says (open-fisted, of course). I’m using that line forever. Hughie eventually agrees to leave Butcher behind to accomplish the mission but places his head on a soft bag before taking off. It’s the little things that count, people.
Back in Butcher’s mind, two young men are abused by their father. Parallels to Butcher’s violent actions against Gunpowder aren’t lost on our protagonist. Is he turning into his old man?
Elsewhere, Frenchie and MM study up on how to take down Soldier Boy, and it’s clear both men are in really bad condition. There’s a lot of mental struggle occurring on this show. In the other room, Annie and Kimiko share some whiskey and discuss Hughie (“He doesn’t want to be saved,” Annie laments) and whether or not to use Compound V to help Kimiko regain her powers.
Hughie and Soldier Boy continue their pursuit of Mindstorm. Soldier Boy (who smokes some weed whilst recalling the number of people he locked up back in the day for doing that very thing) notices Hughie looking over his shoulder for Butcher and asks why he cares about him so much. (I’m paraphrasing. Soldier Boy’s remarks are quite crude.) “He saved me, okay,” Hughie says. Soldier Boy scoffs and recalls how he stormed Normandy, fought the Nazis, and didn’t regret the men he left behind because he’s not a “pussy.” (Clearly, this man has not seen Black Hawk Down.) Hughie takes a verbal swing: “You didn’t storm shit,” he snaps, and Soldier Boy slaps him for the remark. This is not going well. How long before Butcher calls Homelander for help?
Randomly, we jump over for a brief bit with Deep and his “wife” Cassandra. Everyone’s favorite Aquaman feels like their relationship needs a bit of a boost and suggests they branch out with some, um, sea life. Specifically, a fish mollusk named Ambrosius. Cassandra justifiably freaks out and asks how long Deep has been screwing “it” behind her back. “Okay, it’s not an ‘it,’” he says. “It’s a ‘her.’ Get your pronouns right.” Lol. The pair more or less break up. “You’re an idiot,” Cassandra snaps. Well, Deep is an idiot (and a creep), but also … well, part fish. At least his attraction to sea animals keeps him from sexually abusing women. (As a side: Deep is funny and all, but I’m not sure I understand the point of his storyline other than to provide a few comedy beats. He’s not directly tied to the main plot, and the running sex-with-fish gag has kind of worn thin. Do we need more scenes of mollusk sex to get the point?)
Back with Black Noir, our troubled mute continues his psychological detour with his animated furry friends. They reenact a memory between him and Soldier Boy, in which the latter blocked his attempts at landing the lead in Beverly Hills Cop (by saying mean things behind his back to Don Simpson). When Noir presses, Soldier Boy beats him to a pulp. (Three things I hate seeing in movies/TV shows: 1) Characters drinking endless amounts of alcohol 2) Characters throwing up 3) Characters beating each other to a pulp. One or two hits drive the point home, kids.) “If I see you getting out of line again, trying to move on up, I will put you in the fucking ground,” Soldier Boy warns. Fun guy.
Butcher continues his descent down memory lane and essentially sees the downfall of his brother caused by his father. Hopefully, this event causes Butcher to realize he needs to be a better father figure for Ryan.
Anyways, Soldier Boy and Hughie happen upon a priest and a nun stuck dealing with car trouble. I mean, sure. As the group exchanges pleasantries, Soldier Boy pulls out a gun and shoots the priest, explaining that they are under the control of Mindstorm. Hughie freaks out and screams, “You have PTSD!” Suddenly, the nun attacks and Soldier Boy takes her out. “This is being a soldier,” he says. I’m surprised the writers had enough restraint to make the pair a nun and priest rather than a mother and an infant.
Elsewhere, Homelander gives a Trump-like speech (he’s Trump, you see?) in which he goes off-script to tell attendees they can’t trust the media, who are lying about Starlight and Soldier Boy to instill fear in the public. He then goes to a nearby barn and milks a cow for … reasons. AOC Victoria Neuman interrupts his milk-drinking session and instructs Homelander to tell the truth about Soldier Boy and take control. Homelander grabs Neuman by the neck, but she keeps her cool and suggests a team-up and hands him a piece of paper. “Where did you get this,” Homelander asks, stunned by the document. (Did we see this in previous episodes?)
We then cut to a hospital where we see A-Train awaken — ah, so his storyline isn’t over. In fact, based on what we learn in this scene, his arc has just begun. After Ashley blames Blue Hawk’s death on Soldier Boy, she explains that A-Train now has a new heart — Blue Hawk’s heart. Now, that’s some heavy-duty irony right there. (Kudos to the sound team for the heart monitor beeping in the background.) The good news is that A-Train has a fully functioning heart and, after “insane amounts of rehab,” will be able to run again. The question is: what will he do with his second chance at life? Might we see the speedster actually do the right thing — assuming he doesn’t accept a role in his biopic alongside Tom Hanks?
Back with Frenchie, he discovers Soldier Boy was subdued by gas. Meaning, they’ll have to head back to Russia to get more. Kimiko arrives and shares a gentle dance with Frenchie before announcing Annie has gone to get more Compound V. She shares a letter written to Annie, in which she states the need for power in order to protect Frenchie. (“You don’t need to save me,” Frenchie doesn’t say.)
Speaking of which, Annie smuggles some Compound V out of a lab and discovers a notepad helpfully containing all the side effects of the formula.
Returning to Black Noir, we see an animated recreation of his conversation with Stan Edgar in Nicaragua shortly before the hero lost the ability to speak. Edgar shares with Noir details about a young boy who can fly (Homelander); and who will eventually replace Soldier Boy as the leader of Payback. The conversation is interrupted by the previously seen attack, except this time we learn that Payback attempted to stop Soldier Boy. Unfortunately, the star-spangled leader was too powerful and ultimately overpowered and severely beat Black Noir, rendering him speechless. Eventually, Mindstorm managed to distract Soldier Boy long enough for Crimson Countess to knock him out with the substance Frenchie likely discovered in the previous scene. Soldier Boy was then handed over to the Russians, and our animated squirrel buddy helpfully points out that Noir knew he would return one day.
“Bravery isn’t having no fear,” the squirrel says. “Bravery is having fear, but you d-d-d-do it anyway.” Wise words.
Meanwhile, MM confronts Todd about taking his daughter to a Homelander rally. After some not-so-subtle political back and forth revolving around Homelander’s lies (and those of the media machine), which have effectively captured Todd’s attention. MM says that Todd can believe in the bullshit, but needs to do so without Janine. “You’re not her father,” MM snaps. “Someone has to be,” Todd says, perhaps taking two huge steps over the do not cross line. MM responds by blasting Todd in the face with his fist as Janine watches in horror from afar — in case you didn’t get what the show was trying to say: violence is wrong, folks. I wonder how often this exact scene has played out in American homes since 2017 when public opinion about politics suddenly reverted back to the late ’60s.
Cutting back to Annie, she’s almost home free (but also casually walking around without much care) when Homelander appears and instructs her to recant everything she said on the live stream. Annie counters by saying she plans to seek out Soldier Boy before more people die, and intends to find Maeve. “Your fame is the only thing protecting you,” Homelander says.
“I’m not afraid of you anymore,” Annie says. “Because I see how small you are.” She saw it the night he killed Supersonic. When Homelander counters by repeating his threat to kill Hughie, Annie brandishes a phone and lets her 190 million followers in on the conversation. Homelander tries to play it off but ends up looking like an ass.
Honestly, though, we’re not learning anything new in these episodes. The Boys continues to demonstrate that Homelander is a selfish, immature, tiny man in a superhero costume … but we already knew that. TV is frustrating sometimes.
Finally, after hours of trekking through the forest, Hughie and Soldier Boy happen upon Mindstorm. Before Soldier Boy can engage, Hughie teleports Mindstorm to Butcher and asks for his help. “I’m just trying to get away from the voices,” Mindstorm screams. Hughie explains that he’s not with Soldier Boy and just wants to get his friend and leave. “I want to go home,” he says.
“I’ve been inside his head,” Mindstorm says of Butcher. “That guy’s a piece of shit.” Hilarious.
“I don’t want to be someone who leaves people behind,” Hughie says. “I want to be someone who saves his family. And for better or worse, he’s family.” He promises to teleport Mindstorm away from Soldier Boy — away from everyone — so long as he wakes up Butcher.
Speaking of Butcher, the poor guy is facing his worst memory: the moment he left his brother Lenny behind. The show does a neat job cutting between the different characters — Butcher, Lenny, Hughie, Butcher’s dad (old and young) to tie them all together. Months later, Lenny pulls out a gun and speaks directly to older Butcher. “Anyone who’s ever loved you … you always get ’em killed,” Lenny says before pulling the trigger. The moment snaps Butcher awake (or occurs the moment Mindstorm awakens him), and his first words to Hughie are, “I’m so sorry!” Awwwwww ….
Before Hughie can help Mindstorm, Soldier Boy arrives and brutally kills the old dude, but only after hearing a piece of info that enrages him further. Hughie and Butcher can only watch. Yeah, they’re totally teaming up with Homelander to take down Soldier Boy.
Later that night, Butcher gets a call from Annie who warns Butcher that three to five doses of Temp V (Compound V? Are they the same?) kills you. Uh-oh. He needs to warn Hughie but instead implores him to get more of the serum. At this point, they’re fucked anyway, so they might as well finish the job … oh no, now I’m starting to think like Soldier Boy.
Finally, Kimiko gets a nice dose of blue liquid juice that magically restores her powers. Also, Annie says she plans on saving Hughie whether he wants her to or not. Isn’t that all he wanted to do for her? Oh, never mind.
In the final scene of the episode, Homelander gazes at an address on the yellow piece of paper given to him by the Head Popper — 715 County Highway 2, Aldrich, MN. Seeing how this season has dealt with the circular nature of abuse, I wonder if this is related to Ryan … which goes hand in hand with my theory that Ryan will bite the big one and send Homelander completely over the edge in the final episode. Maybe.
Before we get too much info, Homelander gets a call from Soldier Boy. And then the big twist that we should have seen coming, but didn’t … Soldier Boy is Homelander’s father. I mean, wow. It was right there the whole time hidden in plain sight. Before you criticize me, just know that my mind is old and filled to the brim with useless info. I can’t pack much more thought into my brain. (Though, I didn’t think the show would traverse that much-trodden path … it seems every TV show and/or movie franchise deals with paternal guilt at some point or another.)
Final Thoughts on The Boys Season 3 Episode 7
Anyways, cool episode. More filler than necessary, but it gave the characters a chance to breathe and offered more insight into everyone’s motivation. So, now that everyone is properly motivated to more or less take down Soldier Boy, next week’s grand finale should be a doozy. Again, I think a fight occurs between all the dads — Butcher, Homelander, and Soldier Boy — that ends with Ryan getting killed, effectively causing that already massive rift between our protagonist and antagonist to widen even further. Should be good!