What fate does the boys’ Homelander deserve?
Nerds contain multitudes. And that applies to your friend nerdist the crew too. Our staff doesn’t always agree on everything that happens in pop culture. But that doesn’t mean we don’t talk about things, though. Sometimes we nerds like to debate and chat a bit. Call us “argumentanerds” if you want. So we’re going to do something unorthodox and let you in on one of our discussions on perhaps the craziest show on TV: The boys. After spending the entire season trying to kill Homelander, he survives until the end. Quite a choice, indeed. Let’s find out what ultimate fate should befall one of television’s most disgusting characters.
Eric Diaz (nerdist personal writer): Homelander is the most loathsome character in genre television. I only think of Joffrey game of thrones was on point. (Which is funny, because they’re sort of the same character at different ages. But I digress.) Homelander needs a death as gruesome and painful as Joffrey’s. In fact, he needs a death worse than Joffrey’s. He is just too despicable, too irredeemable, and has done too much harm. The public needs this catharsis.
I realize that Antony Starr is this show’s MVP and one of the best TV villains of all time, but he can’t go long without getting his reward before the audience gets tired of it. Without Homelander, you kind of don’t have a show, so we have a dilemma ourselves.
Mikey Walsh (nerdist personal writer): I think you’re cheating on Homelander. He is the most detestable character of the television period. (I think I also hate him more than Joffrey, because at least Joffrey was just a kid. But hoo boy, you know you’re real garbage when your closest pop culture comp is freaking Joffrey Baratheon.) That’s why dying is too good for Homelander. He is afraid of death, but it could end up being a gift for him. In some ways, he hates himself as much as we do. His little conversation in the mirror highlighted what a scared little boy he is. Why let him get away with taking that away from him?
The much better punishment would be to strip him of his powers. Remove anything that makes it both special and loved. Let this coward rot in prison for all his crimes, unable and unwilling to defend himself. If you want to see Homelander really suffer, that’s how you do it. It might not be as cathartic as watching a blonde freak choke to death at his own wedding, but it would be a more fitting ending for Homelander.
Eric: Yeah, Homelander being stripped of his powers might be the most fitting ending for him. And it’s also a way to keep the actor to some extent. I guess in some ways it would be even more satisfying than just his death. I would still like to see a scene where everyone scares the hell out of him, like they did for Stormfront. We should at least get that.
But I think you need to steal more than just his powers. He needs his worship taken away from him. Right now, he has the love of a sycophantic cult, one that applauds his most gruesome deeds. He will see how far he can push it. How long can he continue to murder people who annoy him without any reaction? At some point, he’s really going to lose it and slaughter a bunch of people like he did in his season two fantasy. And then he will lose all but the most fervent of his worship, and perhaps even his son’s love. This is when the gloves will come off. We really want him dead then. Is just taking his power away from him enough at this point?
Mike: You’re right. Taking away his power alone won’t be enough, as it also leaves open the possibility of him becoming a martyr. He must be both helpless and hated by just about everyone. Even being sent to prison and convicted of crimes won’t be enough for the Storm Chasers, who will simply see it as deeper state persecution. We know that reality never stops some people from believing what they want.
He must lose his powers the same way he used them – publicly. He needs the whole world to see, almost certainly on live television, that he’s a scared coward. And I hope that happens before he loses his powers so he has no excuses. Let everyone learn exactly who they are deep down inside. In this way he can live out his days in shame, a disgraced fraud hated by all and everything.
It would also be a pretty funny ending for a guy who brews the Civil War. His downfall might be the only thing that saves America. Which is another reminder that this is a) definitely a work of fiction and b) showrunner Eric Kripke was right that the series is oddly hopeful. I am much more optimistic for the future of The boys‘ world that I am ours. Shit, the conversation we’re having right now could be banned by early 2025.
…OK it does not matter. I just convinced myself that I want to see Homelander die before it’s illegal to kill fictional fascists on TV. So the question now is “How?” What’s the best way to assassinate the worst person in the world?
Eric: Well, without too much spoiler, they’re definitely not going to kill off Homelander the same way he did in the comics (Spoilers: in the comics, he eventually dies. But the show strays the most often source material). I feel like it has to be Butcher doing the deed, even if other people are helping. The character that cast him in Garth Ennis’ story isn’t even alive on the show anymore, and wasn’t even really the same character. I don’t think viewers would be satisfied that anyone other than Butcher could kill Homelander. Or at least Butcher having a big role in his death or at least his downfall. It wouldn’t satisfy viewers if Homelander goes out as a redshirt or dies carried away by a redshirt.
Mike: I don’t know, it would also be very nice to see Starlight or Hughie – or Starlight AND Hughie – kill him. And I would definitely go for a non-super powerful Maeve assassinating a non-super powerful Homelander. I would also agree with the poetic cruelty of Soldier Boy nuking his own needy son…right before Soldier Boy eats him too.
Also, I think Butcher will probably suffer the same fate as Homelander down the line. “Two sides of the same coin” and so on. However, I promise I don’t want to see that. Let our poor little monster of rage get revenge and then maybe find some peace. I want to see this almost (almost) as much as I want to see Homelander slowly bleed to death in seven hours. In real time.
Eric: The boys has some of the best writing on TV right now, so if anyone can get anyone other than Butcher to be the one to bring Homelander down, I trust them to do it. But the heart wants what the heart wants. And my heart wants Butcher to be the one to do it. And yes, he will probably die in the process too. It’s not like he deserves happiness either, he’s just not as bad as Homelander. But it 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 compensation for him. It’s not like people in real life who deserve to be punished get it, you know?
Mike: Unfortunately, on that we agree.