Movie Reviews

Why Homelander Doesn't Kill Barbara In The Boys Season 4

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for The Boys season 4, episode 4, “Wisdom of the Ages.”


Summary

  • Homelander’s return to the Vought lab shows his volatile nature and desire to eliminate his humanity, but he still spares Barbara’s life.
  • Leaving Barbara alive suggests Homelander seeks her approval and respects her more than the other Vought scientists at the lab.
  • Barbara’s punishment is still cruel, as she must watch her colleagues die at the hands of Homelander.


Homelander is more volatile than ever in The Boys season 4, and episode 4 finds him returning to the Vought lab where he was created — and killing everyone except for one person: Barbara. The ending of The Boys season 4, episode 3 sees Homelander deciding to return to his place of origin, as he wants to get rid of his humanity. He associates his traumatic upbringing with his need for approval and love, and so, he visits the place responsible for his troublesome childhood.

Many of the scientists who “raised” Homelander are still working at the lab, and he makes sure to pay them back for the pain they caused him as a child. His methods of torturing them are gruesome, and they seek to show the scientists exactly what they put Homelander through. Of course, they’re far less capable of surviving the experiments and circumstances the Supe did. And by the time Homelander is finished there, all but one of them is dead. Viewers may be wondering why Homelander leaves Barbara alive in The Boys season 4, but her interactions with him make it obvious.


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Not Killing Barbara Proves Homelander Still Seeks Her Approval

The Supe Respects Her More Than The Other Vought Scientists

Anthony Starr as Homelander with a bloodied face in The Boys season 4 trailer

Homelander may be hoping to eliminate his need for approval in The Boys season 4, episode 4, but leaving Barbara alive suggests that he’s still seeking hers. It’s obvious Barbara is one of the higher-ranking employees at the Vought lab, and the fact that Homelander listens to her suggests that he respects her more than her colleagues. She also doesn’t fear him like the others do, and Homelander is looking for people who can challenge him in The Boys season 4. It’s why he seeks out Sister Sage, and it’s why he seems to appreciate Barbara more than Vought’s other scientists.


It’s obvious Barbara is one of the higher-ranking employees at the Vought lab, and the fact that Homelander listens to her suggests that he respects her more than her colleagues.

Although his appreciation doesn’t extend to actual affection, it’s not surprising that Homelander leaves Barbara alive in “Wisdom of the Ages.” The Supe is trying to cut all ties to his humanity, but this likely isn’t something he’ll be able to do — and his treatment of Barbara proves it. Killing the other scientists is a step in a darker direction, but Homelander still hasn’t completely lost his need for love and praise. It’s what drives his character, and it’s hard to say if he’ll ever rid himself of that motivation.


Barbara’s Punishment Is Watching Her Colleagues All Die

Homelander Doesn’t Forgive Barbara

Homelander laughing with his mouth wide open in The Boys season 4 episode 4.

Although Homelander spares Barbara’s life in The Boys season 4, episode 4, he doesn’t completely forgive her transgressions. In fact, her punishment is arguably crueler than those of her colleagues. While Barbara doesn’t experience physical suffering at the hands of Homelander, the Supe still punishes her. Barbara’s punishment is watching Vought’s other scientists die, something that will stick with her forever. Barbara will no doubt feel guilt for being unable to stop it, and she’ll suffer much longer than the scientists who die in The Boys season 4 because of this.


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