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The Boys showrunner says season 3 finale sets up a major 'tug of war': 'I don't think the game's over'

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Warning: This article contains spoilers from The Boys season 3 finale.

The last shot in The Boys season 3 is a close-up of Ryan smiling. It's the context that makes this chilling.

Homelander (Antony Starr) surprised everyone in the final battle by bringing out his son, played by Big Little Lies actor Cameron Crovetti. He was hoping to elicit a familial feeling in Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) with three generations of the same lineage standing in the same room. Things didn't work out, but after the chaos settled, Ryan decided to leave with Homelander instead of Butcher (Karl Urban).

That brings us to this grinning frame. Homelander introduces Ryan as his own flesh and blood to a group of his alt-right (or, rather, alt-supe) supporters when a protestor throws a soft drink at his face. Homelander, not giving any f---s, assassinates him in cold blood with laser vision. And his zealot followers cheer over the death of what they might refer to as a liberal snowflake. Ryan, looking up at his dad and seeing the joy he brought these people, smiles.

The Boys
The Boys

Amazon Prime Butcher (Karl Urban) faces down Homelander (Antony Starr) in 'The Boys' season 3 finale.

Butcher gave Ryan one rule: "Don't be a c---." Is Ryan going to now grow up to be just as awful as his dad? Is Butcher going to have to potentially fight Becca's son, who he's been looking after since her death? Showrunner Eric Kripke says the child's fate hasn't been decided.

"So much of finales are like pilots for the next season, and we really wanted to set up this battle for Ryan's soul," Kripke tells EW in an interview. "I don't think the game's over yet. I think [Ryan] saw this one thing and I think we should all be afraid because if he becomes another Homelander, that's obviously really bad for the planet. But he's still Becca's kid and there's still a shot that Butcher can pull him into the light."

Butcher doesn't have a lot of time to do this. The season 3 finale revealed that all his tampering with Temp-V has made him sick, and he potentially has mere months to live, unbeknownst to his teammates for the time being.

"I think one of the concerns of season 4 will really be this tug of war over Ryan, as both men really try to get a grip on him," Kripke continues. "So I think, if anything, we're just hinting at the danger of what would happen if Butcher loses that fight."

The Boys
The Boys

Amazon Prime 'The Boys' season 3 finale sets up what showrunner Eric Kripke calls a "battle for Ryan's soul" in season 4.

Kripke and his cast also delve into some of the other big moments from the season 3 finale in EW's latest installment of On Set, the video series that goes behind the making of each episode of The Boys this season. That includes what happens to Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) and Soldier Boy in the last episode, as well as the shining moment for Starlight.

Erin Moriarty's character is able to absorb so much energy in the final fight scene after Hughie (Jack Quaid) juices up the electrical lights that she is able to both fly and fire a blast that knocks Soldier Boy on his butt.

"I just thought it was so cool that here we are going through this massive issue as a couple, which is that I'm finding out that he's feeling emasculated by my power… and the major implication of this moment is that not only has he come to his senses, but I think he realized that he does ultimately want to empower me and he was momentarily triggered," Moriarty explains. "But the cool thing is that he saves me, first of all, which is what he's been wanting to do, by not taking Temp-V but by doing what he's good at, which is working with electronics."

Find out more behind-the-scenes secrets in EW's On Set video series.

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