‘The Boys’ Recap: Season 3, Episode 1 “Payback”


The time has come — the Boys are finally back. Follow along with us on a weekly basis as we recap each episode of the third season of The Boys, starting off with the premiere, “Payback.”

Warning: This article contains spoilers and descriptions of mature themes not suitable for all audiences.

Dawn of the Seven, the world premiere

We open with a climactic scene from the long-awaited in-universe superhero film, Dawn of the Seven. The film’s plot has shifted to incorporate a modified version of what went down with Stormfront, though another actress has been hired to portray the Nazi Supe. The film wars between its Justice League parallels (#ReleaseTheBourkeCut) and a cheeky nod to Avengers: Infinity War, “He’s not alone.”

Homelander’s expression is dead and vacant as he watches the film with his colleagues at the world premiere, but he plasters on his award-winning smile for the red carpet. Hughie and Annie arrive, and A-Train fields questions from the press as they ask if he’s ever going to race again. Much to Hughie’s discomfort, A-Train slings an arm around him for photo ops. Meanwhile, Homelander finds himself bombarded with questions about Stormfront, and Ashley Barrett is busy getting nasty with the director in a bathroom stall. Hughie runs into Butcher in the bathroom. We learn that the Boys have been working with the Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs, and they need the green light for another mission.

Catching Termite

The Boys’ next target is Termite. Outfitted with a body camera that Butcher is watching the feed from outside, Frenchie and Kimiko make their way into a party in search of the Supe. Kimiko momentarily gets distracted when she finds a girl alone in a room playing a piano, and she briefly fantasizes about singing along to the music.

Termite returns to his normal human size after putting on a pint-sized porno with a doll for the guests, and he heads off into a private room with a man. Things begin to grow heated between the two, and what follows is something that will now forever change the meaning of the words, “I want you inside me,” for viewers. Tiny once more, Termite takes the other man’s request very literally. Unfortunately, their fun doesn’t last long, because the Supe sneezes, returning to his full form and causing his partner to explode. Frenchie walks in on the bloody scene, and a scuffle ensues as he desperately tries not to be Termite’s next victim. Kimiko is unsuccessful in helping him, but Butcher comes to the rescue by barging in and tossing the tiny Supe into a bag of cocaine (though it clearly pains him not to finish the job, because he has to play by the Bureau’s rules now).

Visting Ryan

Butcher pays a visit to Grace Mallory, who has been taking care of Ryan. The boy is excited to see Butcher, immediately running outside to hug him. They head inside to play with the game Butcher brought for him, Connect Four. They chat about homework, his mother, and the nightmares that Ryan has been having about Homelander. Grace offers Butcher another chance at freedom from the eternal battle with the Supes and Vought, reminding him that M.M. got out and pointing out how well he’s been behaving for the past year for Ryan’s sake.

The Cameron Coleman Hour

Homelander arrives for an interview on Cameron Coleman’s show, but he has an awkward run-in with The Deep backstage. The other man is still hopeful to regain his spot amongst The Seven, but Homelander is only concerned to know how he somehow booked the slot before him on the talk show. Once the show begins, the conversation with Cameron turns to Stormfront, and Homelander dutifully recites his practiced line about being a man who just fell in love with the wrong woman.

Moving on

M.M. may have finally given up on running with the Boys, but he was too late to catch up with the life he left behind. He shows up for his daughter Janine’s Supe-themed birthday party, where we see that his ex wife Monique has a new partner now, Todd. To add insult to injury, the other man is wearing a Homelander costume.

Later, we see that perhaps M.M. hasn’t actually let go of his time with the Boys after all, because there’s a closet in his house that’s full of newspaper clippings about the Supes.


Stan Edgar sits in a meeting with Robert Singer and introduces him to V-24, a substance that temporarily gives a soldier 24 hours of Supe powers (coming in at the low, low price of two million per hit). Robert isn’t thrilled about the idea of having Supes in the military. Stan levels with him, admitting what a mess the Supes have become. He admits he hopes to get out of the superhero business entirely and have Vought focus solely on pharmaceuticals and defense.

The bad news is …

After Butcher’s stunt with the bag of coke, Victoria Neuman tells Hughie that Termite is off the table now. Vought closed a new endorsement with him and is sending him to a wellness retreat, and the Bureau is getting a few B-list Supes instead. On the bright side, their hard work still means something, because Supe collateral is down 60% for the year! Butcher is furious when Hughie shows up at the Boys’ latest hideout to share the bad news.


Homelander is confused when he shows up for a meeting with Stan and finds that Starlight is there, too. Stan then essentially ruins his day when he drops a bombshell on them: he wants Starlight to be the co-captain of The Seven. The board has already voted, she just needs to accept the offer. They’re both shocked. Stan brusquely makes Homelander leave, and he assures Starlight that it will be fine. As long as he’s the CEO of Vought, he has Homelander under control. As she mulls over the decision, Starlight begins to realize what kind of positive power she could have as co-captain.

American Hero

Who will be the next new member of The Seven? The spot will be secured by a contestant on a new reality show, American Hero, which Starlight is hosting! And much to the dismay of Hughie, her ex-boyfriend Supersonic is one of the contestants. Later, as the couple heads back to her trailer, Annie tells Hughie about the co-captain offer. She seems to be more open to the idea now and what it would mean for women, but Hughie isn’t thrilled. He makes a snide remark about Supersonic, letting his jealousy get the best of him, and the mood between them is ruined.


Though she was essentially fried to a crisp, Stormfront is still alive and living out her days in a hospital bed inside of Vought Tower. Homelander goes to visit her while she’s watching a news segment about her crazed supporters, the Stormchasers. He’s adamant that he did nothing wrong in being with her, and he sulks about Starlight’s promotion. Homelander continues to complain as he goes to Stormfront’s bedside and unzips his pants for some extracurricular activites, but he pulls away in disgust when she begins babbling about her Nazi ideals.


After seeing Homelander nearly lose it on A-Train, Maeve texts Butcher and tells him that they need to meet. She arrives at the hideout and gives Butcher a file on a Supe named Soldier Boy. She thinks that the weapon that killed him could be the key to taking down Homelander once and for all. He comes across a photo of a Supe team, Payback, and Maeve explains that they weren’t happy when The Seven surpassed them. She suggests that he seek out two of Soldier Boys old teammates, Crimson Countess and Gunpowder, to try to get more information. She leaves him with a parting gift: a few vials of V-24. Butcher’s going to need it if he’s going up against Payback, even if he doesn’t want to use it.

After he gets home, Butcher is about to pour the vials down the sink, but a noise distracts him. He hides them in a cookie jar and finds Homelander waiting outside of his window. He lets him in and the two sit down for a chat. Homelander asks about Ryan and then gets to the real reason that he’s there: Vought, the Bureau, and the way that they’ve been handling things lately.

Victoria Neuman is a Supe

Hughie leaves the Bureau for the day shortly after Victoria exits and sees the man named Tony who has been following her everywhere and calling her Nadia. He tails them, crouching down behind a dumpster to listen as they stop to talk in an alley. Victoria calmly tells Tony that she’s not Nadia anymore, and he protests, reminding her that they used to be best friends. He encourages her that they need to tell everyone about “Red River” now that she has a platform, because he needs people to know about what happened to him. Victoria embraces Tony, and then he panics when his nose begins to bleed. The two start to fight, and Victoria uses her powers to kill him. She calls a team to clean up the mess, and Hughie remains frozen in place just feet away from the bloody scene.

The first three episodes of the third season of The Boys are now streaming exclusively on Prime Video. Catch the next episode on Friday, June 10, and stay tuned for all of our coverage on the series, including episodic recaps and more.

Lindsey joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2018. If she's not writing or out and about with her camera, she's probably watching anime, nerding out over Star Wars, reading manga, and definitely forgetting to water her plants. And waiting for the Genshin loading screen to pop up. Contact: lindsey@nerdsandbeyond.com

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