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The Boys Season 3 Failed One Of Its Most Powerful Supes By NOT Killing Them

The live-action series "The Boys" doesn't pull any punches when it comes to killing off characters in some of the most disturbing ways imaginable. From Hughie's (Jack Quaid) girlfriend Robin getting torn apart by A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) in the show's pilot episode, to Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) popping people's heads like bloody balloons with her incredible powers, to Lamplighter (Shawn Ashmore) horrifyingly setting himself on fire, there's no shortage of messed-up deaths involving supes. However, one of the series' biggest missed opportunities is actually not killing one of its superpowered heroes — with the Season 3 fake-out with Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) failing her and her story.

In "The Boys"' Season 3 finale, "The Instant White-Hot Wild," Queen Maeve seemingly sacrifices herself to stop a deadly battle between Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) and his son Homelander (Antony Starr), leading to the public mourning the loss of the beloved supe. However, it's actually revealed that Maeve survives the attack and becomes depowered, giving her the chance to live a normal life while in hiding. In the process, Maeve's survival takes away a potentially dramatic punch and feels like "The Boys" is too afraid to kill a popular character. 

The twist didn't sit well with some viewers, who believe Maeve dying to stop Soldier Boy would represent a fitting end point for her on the show, as she does the right thing in a defiant last stand that costs her life after being complicit in several terrible actions committed by the Seven for so long.

What viewers said about Queen Maeve surviving

In a Reddit thread lamenting how Soldier Boy made Queen Maeve powerless, several users chimed in about their frustration with the show leaving her alive after her explosive battle. Redditor u/JaseAndStatus wrote they hate it when shows have big scenes and sacrifices with major stakes only to immediately undo them: "I love that Maeve got a happy little ending with a normal life, but please don't set up a scene where she makes a heroic sacrifice to save a building of people by tackling a genuine nuke hundreds of feet in the air, and then have her survive. It just takes away all the tension and high stakes of the situation." 

Meanwhile, u/Gambit_90 remarked that Maeve dying would have meant something while speculating about her future and potentially regaining her powers in upcoming seasons: "Should've killed her off so it actually meant something, you just know they'll find some bs way to give her the powers back."

Ultimately, while Maeve is a likable supe, "The Boys" fumbled a potentially perfect ending for the character and played the safe route by keeping her alive despite what appeared to be an assured death against Soldier Boy. For a show that's unafraid to kill off supes in brutal ways, Maeve living is a bit of a perplexing decision. What story is there really left to tell? A redemptive end being a fake-out just feels cheap. "The Boys" is also bringing back Black Noir in Season 4 despite his death, so maybe the idea that no one is safe is finally gone.

The comics give much more impact to Queen Maeve's death

While there were concerns about the fate of Queen Maeve's character entering Season 3 of "The Boys" live-action series, the show decided not to adapt her death from the comics yet. On the page, she goes out in a noble sacrifice.

In "The Boys" #63, by Garth Ennis, Tony Aviña, Russ Braun, Darick Robertson, and Simon Bowland, Starlight tries to leave the Seven for good. After packing her bags and having a heart-to-heart with Queen Maeve, she departs with the help of her fellow hero. However, before the pair can exit Vought Tower, they're met by a maniacal Homelander, who refuses to let them go. Maeve grabs Starlight and throws her outside, allowing her to fly away. Maeve readies her sword for Homelander before lunging at him and breaking her blade on his face as he barely even winces. He reveals she has a prop sword as he takes her head and rips it off her body, brutally killing her.

The death of Maeve in the comics shows her finally taking a heroic stand against Homelander after being partially complicit in his and Vought-American's actions. She saves Starlight and buys her enough time to escape, risking her life to make it happen. In the live-action series, Maeve sacrificing herself against Soldier Boy would have been a perfect last hurrah for her character while being similar to her comic book death. On the other hand, it's still possible Maeve will eventually die as she does on the page if "The Boys" wants to make her end comic-accurate.