We’re in the crux of Season Three of The Boys at the moment, and everything is going to hell as Billy Butcher and Solider Boy wage war on Payback and Homelander. But in this fight, new secrets and past transgressions come to the surface in Episode Twenty-Three, ‘Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed’, and everything quickly goes to hell.
Following her revelation of the truth about Homelander (Antony Starr) and Vaught following the infamous ‘Herogasm’ event on social media, Annie January/Starlight (Erin Moriarty) is now public enemy number one in the Supe world, with the company thrown into crisis mode. And Homelander is not handling it very well. Caught on the very edge, he’s a twitchy, paranoid mess, and it’s no good for anyone. But while America’s greatest hero is trying to hold it together, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and Hugie Campbell (Jack Quaid) are stuck with a murderous Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles). And he’s ready to finish off his Paynack team once and for all.
While ‘Herogasm’ might have been a peak moment of The Boys, Episode Twenty-Three, ‘Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed’, contains the fallout that follows, and this is one morning after that isn’t very pleasant. The narrative is twisted, the action is brutal, and the mystery of this collection of oddball, deranged characters are laid bare for audiences with ‘Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed’ which delivers a very intense psychological edge to the storytelling of The Boys. For much of this series, this collection of characters, whether they be ‘The Boys’ or the ‘Supes’ have remained a mystery to us. We’ve had insights into what makes them tick, but in this episode, we finally come to understand why they do what they do, and as we’ve come to expect, it’s shocking.
‘Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed’ is a key episode for the character of ‘The Boys’ leader and all-around ruffian Billy Butcher. Throughout this series, Billy has been the driving force of the series. An unhinged, psychotic vigilante prone to wanton acts of violence and cruelty, all in service of his own personal needs, Billy is, to put it mildly, a complex protagonist. But while Billy has a streak for being a bully, he’s also become fiercely protective of Hughie Campbell and has occasionally proven that he’s a monster with a heart. Now audiences get an insight into the actions and events that informed the creation of Billy Butcher, and it’s a heartbreaking turn of events to witness. While Billy does get a moment of self-forgiveness, Butcher, being Butcher, is just ready to make things worse for himself and everyone around him. And oh of how he’s doing to do it this time.
Audiences also get a deeper look into the life and history of Soldier Boy, and while we’ve come to accept him as a bitter, racist, misogynistic, sexist dinosaur….he’s even worse than we could have imagined. In ‘Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed’ it becomes abundantly clear that Solider Boy is the shitbag to end all shitbags, and his legend is shattered in this episode. He’s a deplorable, thoroughly wretched character, and Jensen Ackles leans into these moments with absolute glee. Since his first appearance in ‘Barbary Coast’ we’ve seen a dramatic transition in his character arc, and now the chains are off, and Soldier’s Boy’s ready to bite!
The drama is heavy, complicated and tortuous in ‘Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed’, and this psychologically complex episode will leave your emotions spent. But it wouldn’t be The Boys without a bit of excessive violence and a good splattering of gore. And there’s plenty of that to be had in this weeks’ episode. Throughout this third season of The Boys we’ve seen an inventiveness to the carnage, and there’s some considerable intensity to the violence of ‘Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed’. But nothing is more shocking than a new revelation that closes out the episode, and it’s a surprise that hits the audience like a freight train.
We’re nearing the end of the third season of The Boys, and this has been the most savage and mental season yet. But with such a shocking revelation, it’s anyone’s guess as to what comes next in television’s most insane show, and I expect that there’s a lot of gore still to come.
The Boys streams every Friday on Prime Video
Image: Prime Video