The Boys Season 4: Who is Butcher Talking To?

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A lot of ups and downs have happened in Prime Video’s ‘The Boys’ since we first saw Billy Butcher take the fight to the Supes. His hatred for Homelander has been at the center of the conflict, and his motives have changed with each season. It started with revenge for his wife’s death, but in the fourth season, it has morphed into something entirely different. Whether or not Butcher succeeds in his mission will decide the fate of the world. If it wasn’t already a very dangerous task, the clock ticks even faster now that Butcher has only six months to live. In addition to the degradation of his body, it seems that his mind is also breaking down as the people around him notice him talking to himself. Who is he really talking to?

Butcher’s Guilt and Sense of Responsibility Manifest as His Hallucination

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Billy Butcher has always been a flawed character. The more we get to know him, the more reasons he gives for us to dislike him. The only redeeming thing about him is his love and dedication to his wife, Becca, which is the only thing that has kept him going for so long. At the beginning of the show, he thinks Becca is dead and that it is the need to avenge her that pits Butcher against Homelander. But then, everything changed when he discovered that not only was Becca alive, but she also had a son, Ryan, who was fathered by Homelander. Butcher had every reason to hate Ryan, and initially, he did. But then, Becca died for good and, in her last breaths, asked Butcher to take care of her son.

If it hadn’t been for Butcher’s unwavering devotion to his wife, he probably would have left Ryan to fend for himself. Instead, he holds on to her last words to him, and this creates a bond between him and Ryan that leads Butcher to do things he’d never have imagined, like giving up the one clear chance to have Homelander killed and even teaming up with the Supe, even if reluctantly, to save Ryan. Now that he has barely six months left, his sense of responsibility towards Ryan has become even more urgent. With the boy in the clutches of his father, Butcher knows that he must get Ryan out of Homelander’s reach if that’s the last thing he does. Lest he forget his task, Becca’s ghost is there to remind him of it continuously.

For an anti-hero like Billy Butcher, a voice of reason that keeps them on the right path is the only thing keeping them from turning into a full-fledged villain. Becca (and to some extent Hughie) has been that voice of reason for Butcher. Now that he finds himself losing his body and his mind, she is the only thing tethering him to sense and reason. He had always been a dangerous man. With his death day set in stone, it would have made him even more reckless, leading him to do the things he probably would have refrained from before.

Image Credit: Panagiotis Pantazidis/ Prime Video

One of the reasons he doesn’t go guns blazing into the Vought Tower and kill Homelander is because Becca’s voice has been keeping him in line. Previously, Butcher wouldn’t have minded messing over one of his teammates to get what he wanted. He was going to do the same with Hughie when he made a deal with Neuman. But Becca advised him to reconsider his actions and find a different way, so he did.

Clearly, it is Butcher’s own conscience talking sense into him. While he had always been a self-destructive man who was too consumed by revenge to see the damage he was inflicting on others, one cannot deny that he has been through a considerable arc, which is reflected in his actions and decisions. His conscience takes Becca’s shape because she is the only person he would ever truly heed. In some ways, it is a good thing to have this angel on her shoulder to keep him from exploding completely. But this also proves how worse for the wear Butcher is and confirms that things are only going to get downhill for him. He needs to get his affairs in order as soon as possible.

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