The Boys Season 3 Flips Butcher & Hughie’s Most Important Comic Scene

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for The Boys season 3, episode 4

The Boys season 3's V-24 storyline perfectly flips Hughie and Butcher's roles from the comics, turning a crucial moment into something darker. Throughout the entirety of The Boys seasons 1 & 2, Karl Urban's Billy Butcher and his cohorts fought supes the old-fashioned way - with guts, blackmail, and copious amounts of explosives. A surprise gift from Queen Maeve prompts a change of strategy in The Boys season 3, however, as Butcher starts injecting a temporary brand of Compound-V as a performance enhancer, giving himself super strength and laser vision.

V-24 is a concept ripped straight from the pages of The Boys' original comic series, but rather than wait two volumes, Butcher's crew are already pumping blue stuff when the story began. Though not all of his pals require the boost, comic Butcher injects himself with diluted V before virtually every battle against a supe, and when Wee Hughie Campbell joins their club, he too reaps the benefits of Compound-V injections as a pre-game ritual.

Related: The Boys Just Hinted At Queen Maeve Dying In Season 3

Here's where The Boys season 3 does a complete mirror image of the comic story. During their mission to locate "BCL Red," Hughie realizes Butcher is doping with V-24 and begs for a hit himself. Butcher refuses the request, telling Hughie he's better than sinking to such a grim level, but Starlight's frustrated boyfriend goes behind Butcher's back and takes a dose regardless. The complete opposite transpires in The Boys' comic books. Here, Hughie has only recently been recruited when Butcher abruptly sticks him with a Compound-V injection sans consent. A horrified Hughie is aghast at being forcibly prescribed this mystery substance, and temporarily leaves the Boys to decide whether he really wants to team-up with a man who'd take such despicable measures against supposed friends.

Butcher assaulting Hughie with a surprise Compound-V injection is arguably the duo's defining moment in The Boys' comics. Though Hughie does eventually come around, the violation immediately establishes Butcher's uncaring attitude towards his allies - a ruthless streak even darker than Karl Urban's in live-action. That dominance flows through their entire relationship towards an inevitably bloody conclusion, all stemming from Butcher's willingness to step over anyone on his mission to destroy all supes. Butcher trying to protect Hughie from the perils of Compound-V in The Boys season 3 sends completely the opposite message. Though you'd be hard-pressed to call Butcher a hero, there's enough humanity peeking through for him to feel some sense of responsibility for Hughie. This surprising moment of tenderness can likely be attributed to how Butcher sees Hughie in the same light he once saw beloved younger brother Lenny, who's now dead.

The Boys season 3's comic flip might portray Billy Butcher in a slightly kinder light, but it does exactly the opposite for Hughie. Getting unwillingly injected by a needle-waving Butcher made Wee Hughie an innocent victim in the comic books - pushed into becoming something he wasn't due to one man's relentless crusade against supe-kind. By contrast, Jack Quaid's Hughie becomes the instigator in The Boys season 3, pushing for the same extreme measures and exhibiting the same single-minded carelessness as Billy Butcher. So whereas Hughie's reluctant first exposure to Compound-V in the comics made him the opposite to Billy Butcher, his first dose in The Boys season 3 makes the pair disturbingly similar.

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More: 1 Genius Detail Proves The Boys’ Hughie & Butcher Theory

The Boys continues Friday on Prime Video.



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