Fans, you may want to binge-watch the 1980s sitcom My Two Dads before The Boys returns for its fourth season. Warning: Spoilers ahead!
The Amazon Prime Video series' season three finale kicked off the next phase of the ongoing war between Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and Homelander (Antony Starr), thanks to Ryan (Cameron Crovetti), the son of Homelander and Butcher's late wife Becca (Shantel VanSanten). Despite Butcher trying to protect the boy from his biological father all season, Ryan ended the July 8 episode choosing to fly off with Homelander. Gulp.
As if that wasn't concerning enough, Homelander then went to a rally, where he introduced his son to the public. And when one of Homelander's critics threw something at Ryan, the supe impulsively killed the man with his laser eyes...much to the rest of the crowd's delight.
The final scene was a slow smile creeping across Ryan's face as he watched the adoring audience cheer on his father, a moment that give our goosebumps chills. So what did the young supes' look mean?
"I'm a big believer in cliffhangers and people sometimes say to me, 'Can't you just end a season with a happy ending?'" showrunner Eric Kripke exclusively told E!. "No one wants to tune back in off a happy ending! They want to tune back in off of an 'Oh shit! What's going to happen now?!' That was a hint that Ryan's soul is at risk and he has to be saved because if it doesn't he's really going to go in a dark place."
Of course, Ryan isn't the only character whose storyline is heading down a potentially tragic path: Billy Butcher received a terminal diagnosis after taking Compound V24, which temporaril gave him superpowers, too many times.
But, Butcher being Butcher, he's not planning to go quietly into the night, especially after he learned that Victoria Newman (Claudia Doumit)—who has the secret ability to make people explode, NBD!—has just been tapped to become the next vice president of the United States.
"Butcher has a very limited amount of time to live and in that time, he needs to figure out how to save Ryan, how to get rid of Homelander, how to deal with Newman," Kripke said of the antihero's impending journey. "He has a lot on his plate."
Fortunately, he will have some help, with Kripke saying it will be "really fun to play" with Annie (Erin Moriarty) now that she's officially a member of the Boys.
While Butcher will be dealing with a lot, Kripke did reveal what will be the central driving force when the show returns.
"A lot of the season will be a battle over Ryan," he teased, "because if Homelander ends up raising and influencing the kids that's basically a second Homelander with apocalyptic stakes."
So, yeah, expect the tension between Butcher and Homelander to be more intense than ever, despite the two rivals briefly teaming up in the finale to save Ryan from Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles).
"Look, they're the Batman and Joker of this thing," Kripke said. "They're the Holmes and Moriarty. There's this bizarre connection between them and, in a strange way, they need each other. Any time we can give them both the same emotional arc in an episode we always jump out it for that reason, so they both have Ryan in common."
He joked, "It is a little My Two Dads," referencing season three special guest star Paul Reiser's NBC sitcom that aired for three seasons in the late '80s.
Aside from continuing to keep the rivalry between Butcher and Homelander fresh and engaging for audiences, Kripke and the writers' room might also be feeling the pressure to top "Herogasm," the sixth episode that featured the long-awaited superhero orgy party from the comics. Yes, it was exactly as wild and shocking as you'd expect it to be. And it was a storytelling moment, along with the infamous exploding penis scene from the premiere, has made The Boys his most memorable job experience.
"I cannot picture myself happily running a show after this. Like, never say never, but how am I ever going to have a better job where I am building giant penises and have floating vibrators?" Kripke admitted. "What, I'm going to be on some f--king doctor show? 'Oh, I guess he's got some mysterious new cancer!' How am I ever going to top the fun that this job is?"
But, when it comes to The Boys, Kripke shared that fans can expect to see the show continue to walk the line between satire and storytelling, comedy and character development.
"We just go where the characters tell us to go and the absurdity finds itself," he explained. "Some episodes are big and some episodes are small and it becomes whatever it wants to be, so again, I just let the characters lead the way."
And we'll certainly be following.
The Boys is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.