The Boys: [SPOILER] Is Better Off With Homelander

Homelander stands out as one of the greatest we-love-to-hate-him villains in modern television, with The Boys holding nothing back in showing how the violent narcissist persists in being one of the greatest threats to his world. All the more terrifying is that the sociopath’s fan base in the context of the show only ever seems to grow, with the recent season finale culminating in Homelander publicly executing a protestor and receiving a crowd full of cheers from his ardent followers.

What made the moment even more terrifying was the presence of Homelander’s son, Ryan, newly joined at Homelander’s side and built up to one day inherit all of his father’s power. Homelander raising Ryan certainly seems like a terrifying prospect, but as chilling as it might be there is one possibility that stands out: What if this is actually good for the kid?

The possibility that Homelander could raise a second version of himself to plague the world even after he is gone has been a chilling prospect ever since the end of the show’s first season. Kept a secret both from Homelander himself and the world at large, Ryan grew up in an isolated government home where his mother did her best to ensure Ryan would be nothing like his biological father. When Homelander first discovered Ryan’s existence, the star-spangled psychopath’s issues with his own sheltered upbringing motivated him to try to take charge of Ryan’s childhood.

With budding powers that hinted he could one day be the equal of Homelander himself, Ryan’s mother did little to nothing to teach the boy about his potential. Fearing it would lead him down the same road of megalomania, she instead tried to provide Ryan an aggressively normal upbringing in spite of his isolated surroundings. And in the second season of the series, the results already proved unhealthy for the child. Easily overwhelmed, often naive, and almost entirely incapable of controlling powers that only ever get stronger, it’s well past time that Ryan gets the tutelage from Homelander that he deserves.

It’s notable that within the closing moments of the finale itself, when Homelander barely had charge of Ryan for any time at all, he taught his son how to fly. Neither his mother, nor the retired government agent Mallory who took charge of him following his mother’s death, seemingly made any efforts to teach the boy to control such abilities. Homelander may be right when he says he is the only person in the world who fully understands what Ryan is going through, and if he truly ever is going to stand up to his father to provide the salvation the world needs then he’s going to need to know how to use those powers.

The obvious dilemma involves Ryan’s moral education. Prone to murderous tantrums and revealed to be suffering narcissistic hallucinations himself, Homelander is poorly equipped to raise a true hero. Yet Ryan’s sheltered upbringing certainly seemed to be doing him no good in that department either, and the boy willingly joining Homelander’s side may be the only way for him to finally grow past his naïveté to learn the horrors of which the supes of The Boys are capable.

There is no telling what direction Ryan might go from here. Indeed, despite his problems, Ryan has thus far proved to be a sweet boy with a rare innocence in such a gritty and morally depraved world. The best-case scenario is that he holds onto a piece of that innocence as it guides him through Homelander’s attempts at corruption.

With a firm moral center and armed with Homelander’s teachings about how to use his powers to their fullest potential, it’s possible that Ryan could grow into the greatest true hero in his world. There will surely be plenty of missteps and a lot of mangled corpses along the way, but there’s truly no limit to how high the boy can soar.

Season 3 of The Boys is now streaming on Prime Video.

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