Is Homelander A Better Father Than Butcher? The Boys Says Yes

Is Homelander A Better Father Than Butcher? The Boys Says Yes

Homelander and Billy Butcher clash over custody of Ryan in The Boys season 3. Here’s how Homelander is portrayed as the better father.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for The Boys season 3’s finale

Season 2 posed the question of whether Homelander or Billy Butcher is the better parent, and The Boys season 3 finally answers. Butcher was understandably hesitant upon first learning that his wife’s child belonged to Homelander, but the black-clad Londoner duly stepped up following Becca’s death. Butcher becomes something of a surrogate father to young Ryan during the gap between The Boys seasons 2 & 3, but Homelander finally discovers his son’s whereabouts in “The Instant White-Hot Wild.” By the time credits are rolling, Ryan has chosen his biological father over Billy Butcher.

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Weirdly, The Boys season 2 suggested fatherhood might actually look good on Homelander. Despite being absolutely awful the rest of the time, Homelander evolved from a pushy parent desperate to awaken his son’s latent abilities to a supportive father who empathized with Ryan’s struggles. The famously egotistical supe even showed emotional vulnerability around Ryan. Nevertheless, the Battle of the Dads remained undecided… until now.

Related: The Boys Season 3 Confirms 2 MAJOR Homelander Origin Details

Amazon’s The Boys season 3 finale really wants audiences to think Homelander is the superior parent. Watching his season 3 scenes with Ryan in isolation, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether the Seven supe is even an antagonist. His “I’m not going anywhere” speech is the polar opposite to Butcher’s “Maybe I don’t want to look at you after what you did to my Becca” scene from earlier in The Boys season 3. Skipping ahead to the final battle, Homelander rushes to Ryan’s side when his son gets attacked by Soldier Boy, even though that means leaving himself exposed to an attack from behind. Butcher, on the other hand, immediately goes on the offensive, blasting Radioactive Grandpa with heat vision. Again, Homelander proves he’s a bad person, but a strangely competent parent.

How Homelander’s Parenting Breaks A Boys Season 3 Pattern

Split image showing Butcher and Soldier Boy in The Boys.

Sins of the father being inherited by the son is a running theme throughout The Boys season 3. Soldier Boy tells Butcher how his own father hated him for being a “disappointment,” then throws that exact jibe back at Homelander during their finale reunion. Young Billy Butcher grew up beaten and abused by his alcoholic father, but eventually reached the point where he would repeat his dad’s insults toward Lenny (“Don’t be such a f**king p**f”). To a lesser extent, even MM is echoing paternal mistakes by obsessing over bringing down Soldier Boy – the very same obsession that claimed his father’s life. According to The Boys, sons with troubled upbringings are more likely to repeat the unhealthy behavior they witnessed as kids than learn from it.

Few would’ve expected Homelander to break that pattern, but break it he does during The Boys’ season 3 ending. Raised in a lab overseen by Dr. Jonah Vogelbaum, little Homelander was treated coldly, deprived of love and affection because Vogelbaum wanted his blond lab rat to grow strong. Following the pattern set by Soldier Boy, Butcher and MM, Homelander’s parenting style should’ve been just as lacking in compassion and kindness as his own. In reality, Homelander removes those shackles of the past, consciously deciding Ryan deserves better than the miserable childhood he endured. Whereas Butcher knew his father was a terrible human but parroted his cruel insults anyway, Homelander is striving to give Ryan the close-knit upbringing he always secretly wished for.

Homelander’s clinical formative years messed him up in other ways, of course (becoming a serial killer for a start), but by isolating Ryan Butcher’s scenes with both his biological and surrogate fathers in The Boys season 3, the Battle of the Dads finally has a clear winner.

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Craig Elvy
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Craig first began contributing to Screen Rant in 2016, several years after graduating college, and has been ranting ever since, mostly to himself in a darkened room. Having previously written for various sports and music outlets, Craig’s interest soon turned to TV and film, where a steady upbringing of science fiction and comic books finally came into its own.
Craig has previously been published on sites such as Den of Geek, and after many coffee-drenched hours hunched over a laptop, part-time evening work eventually turned into a full-time career covering everything from the zombie apocalypse to the Starship Enterprise via the TARDIS.

Since joining the Screen Rant fold, Craig has been involved in breaking news stories and mildly controversial ranking lists, but now works predominantly as a features writer.
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